Q&A: RONALD W. JOHNSON

Partner | Touchstone Bernays
Dallas Business Journal

DBJ: What was your first job (as a teen or in college, etc.)?

JOHNSON: My first job was as a janitor at my family’s church when I was in junior high school. I progressed to working as a gas

station attendant in high school.

DBJ: What did you decide to become a lawyer, and why a business litigator?

JOHNSON: My interest in becoming a lawyer started by interacting with family friends who were attorneys. Trial lawyers intrigued me, and although I knew absolutely nothing about what was required to be an effective trial attorney, being in the courtroom appeared to be both interesting and challenging. My courses and activities while I was in law school at the University of Texas convinced me that I wanted to be a litigator, and it was my goal upon graduation to associate with a firm that had a strong trial practice. I was fortunate to land a job with Touchstone Bernays where I was mentored by some of the best trial lawyers around. I have now been practicing with that firm for 31 years as a trial attorney.

DBJ: What do you enjoy most about being a business defense attorney?

JOHNSON: Being a defense attorney is a constant learning experience. Each case is different which requires me to become knowledgeable about the subject matter of the case and intimately familiar with the case facts. A trial attorney actually becomes somewhat of an expert in many different subjects. This is necessary to properly understand and defend a lawsuit. Even cases with similar subject matter present unique challenges with witnesses, opposing counsel and changing case facts.

DBJ: What are the biggest misconceptions about being a defender?

JOHNSON: Defense lawyers, when representing sizable clients, may be perceived as attempting to take advantage of the “little guy”. In my experience, this is simply not the case. I find that my clients are interested in making sound business decisions and fairly resolving disputes. It is usually more productive in dollars, personnel time and business relationships to fairly resolve a lawsuit instead of trying a case to a jury verdict. However, in some situations, the courthouse is the only avenue for resolution.

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