Meet John A. Ernst, Jr.

“I love Brookhaven, its culture, its energy. No other city in the state is as  vibrant and full of possibilities as Brookhaven. We’ve built an incredible community, a great quality of life, and our city has a bright future.”

“I’ve lived in Brookhaven for almost my entire life, and we’re happy to be raising our family here.”


John A. Ernst, Jr. grew up in the Hampton Hall neighborhood of Brookhaven – where his parents still live. He attended Montgomery Elementary, played baseball at Murphey Candler, and earned his Eagle Scout Award at Troop 21.

John is a lifelong member of Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church. He is married to attorney, Monica Vining, and has two children, Jack (9) and Evan (7). The Ernst family currently resides in Lynwood Park, after living for six years in Ashford Park, with their two Great Danes, Apollo and Finn, and cat OJ.


John received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Emory University. After college, he served as assistant to Georgia Governor Roy Barnes. John then continued his education and received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law.

During his tenure in law school, he served as a prosecutor in the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney’s office under the third-year practice act and was a summer clerk for the Honorable John J. Ellington, Georgia Court of Appeals.

After law school, he served as the Attorney of the Majority Caucus in the Georgia House of Representatives during the 2004 Legislative Session.


John opened his law practice in 2005. At the Ernst Legal Group, he specializes in real estate transactions, bankruptcy litigation, and personal injury cases. He is licensed to practice before all Georgia Trial Courts, the Georgia Supreme Court and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the American Bar Association, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice.

John was honored with Daily Report’s “On the Rise” Award in 2015, given to Georgia lawyers under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the community and will continue to do so in the future.


John served as Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics from 2013 to 2015, where he successfully filled lingering board vacancies, hired investigators, and increased the board’s annual budget nearly ten-fold to handle a sharp increase in ethics complaints. Under John’s leadership, the Ethics Board convicted a public official of an ethics violation for the first time in more than 15 years.

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