After spending her entire 27-year career at Haynes and Boone, prominent appellate lawyer Anne Johnson has moved her practice to the world of boutiques, joining respected trial lawyer Jeff Tillotson’s law firm.
Tillotson Law is also getting a name upgrade with the move: Tillotson Johnson & Patton, which also puts partner Jon Patton’s name on the door.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Anne want to join us because it brings a dimension at the firm that puts us to the next level with her talent and ability,” Tillotson told The Texas Lawbook. “As a recognition of that, we are changing the firm name to include her and Jon Patton, who has become one of the leading young lawyers in town. This is an epic moment for our shop.”
Johnson’s move bucks the recent trend of elite national firms hiring away lawyers from local litigation boutiques as BigLaw continues to enter the Texas legal market from all corners of the country.
Johnson, who began her career at Haynes and Boone in 1995, had been a member of the firm’s board of directors and executive committee and previously was chair of the firm’s litigation group. She joins Tillotson as the firm’s eighth lawyer.
“I am at a point in my career when this felt like the logical next phase,” Johnson said. “If you’re going to hang out a shingle with someone then I can’t imagine a better partner than Jeff Tillotson. He is not only a brilliant trial lawyer; he has established a practice and reputation and client roster that would be the envy of any lawyer.”
Johnson said she first met Tillotson more than a decade ago when they worked on a Texas Supreme Court appeal together and have collaborated on about a dozen matters since.
“I’ve been offered a lot of opportunities over the years, but none even come close to forming a law firm with someone like Jeff Tillotson, who is really in a class of his own,” Johnson said. “After years and years of working together, the freedom of working at my own firm and working with Jeff and Jon was just an opportunity I could not pass up.”
Johnson’s move from Haynes and Boone to Tillotson’s firm is ironic because, according to multiple litigators familiar with the situation, Haynes and Boone had recruited Tillotson for more than a year to join the Dallas-based corporate firm. Haynes and Boone and Tillotson share multiple clients, the largest being AT&T. Tillotson declined to comment.
Johnson has three children and is married to State Sen. Nathan Johnson, who is also a lawyer at Holland & Knight.
In a statement, Haynes and Boone Managing Partner Taylor Wilson said the firm “will miss our friend and colleague Anne Johnson, and we wish her well on her new career path.”
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. More details will be published.
Mark Curriden contributed to this report.