Celebrating 125 Years

Jackson Walker 125th Anniversary Timeline


Rooted in Texas

For 125 years, Jackson Walker has played a vital role in the growth and development of Texas business. Since our founding in 1887, our attorneys have represented some of the most influential companies in the state in key industries that shaped the course of Texas history, including railroads, the media, and oil and gas exploration. Today, we remain firmly rooted in Texas, serving clients across the globe. Our commitment to those clients remains the same: to provide practical, effective solutions that add value and address their specific needs.

Our beginnings
Our story begins with two brothers, John and George Robertson, who brought their legal expertise to Dallas in the late nineteenth century. In association with prominent Dallas attorney W.J.J. Smith, the Robertson brothers were instrumental in the formation of Dallas institutions including The Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas County Gas Company (later known as TXU), as well as railroads, insurance companies and other businesses in the city, which was just beginning to emerge as a commercial hub.

As the expanding railroad system spurred trade and population growth in Dallas, the firm grew as well. In 1924, Robert G. Payne joined the Robertson brothers, and in 1930, Fort Worth attorney John L. Lancaster Jr. moved to Dallas to join the firm. His presence helped solidify the firm's tradition of excellence in railroad law. Today, John Lancaster III carries on that tradition as a senior partner with the firm.

Growth and change
During the next three decades, the firm underwent a number of name changes as it expanded to meet the business needs of the growing city:

1936: Leading Dallas attorneys Neth Leachman and George Gardere joined the firm that came to be known as Robertson, Leachman, Payne, Gardere & Lancaster.

1942: Orrin Miller joined the firm out of law school and went on to become a name partner.

1947: The firm reorganized following a separation from Leachman and Gardere and came to be known as Robertson, Payne, Lancaster, and Miller.

1948: Paul Jackson and his protégé Sam Winstead left Thompson, Knight, Wright, and Simmons to join the firm, which now became known as Robertson, Jackson, Payne and Lancaster. At about the same time, A.W. Walker, Jr., a professor at the University of Texas School of Law and noted authority on oil and gas, left teaching to join the firm as a name partner.

With the addition of Jackson and Walker, the firm now called Robertson, Jackson, Payne, Lancaster and Walker became a full-service law firm with particular expertise in tax and oil and gas matters.

1950s: Don Case, who had been with the firm for a time in the 1940s, rejoined the firm in 1952 from the Texas & Pacific railroad. In September of 1958, Dallas attorneys Conan Cantwell and Howard Lennon joined the firm. Mr. Lancaster and Mr. Robertson had by that time passed away, and for the next 30 years the firm would be known as Jackson, Walker, Winstead, Cantwell & Miller.

In June 1988, the firm's name was changed to Jackson & Walker, L.L.P., and later simply Jackson Walker L.L.P.

Expanding to serve Texas
Over the past two decades, Jackson Walker has become one of the dominant firms in Texas, with a significant presence in all the major cities and expertise in a variety of practice areas.

Dallas: Jackson Walker further expanded in 2001 when it joined forces with Cohan, Simpson, Cowlishaw & Wulff. The Dallas office gained 16 attorneys with expertise in commercial, employment, and antitrust litigation, as well as telecommunications regulatory law. The firm also significantly expanded its land use practice in 2003 with the addition of five attorneys with experience in that area from Jenkens & Gilchrist.

Fort Worth: The Fort Worth office opened in 1988 with five attorneys, four of whom joined the firm from Kelly, Hart & Hallman. Within a year, eight additional attorneys had joined the office.

Houston: In 1990, Jackson & Walker combined with Dotson & Scofield to become one of the ten largest Texas-based law firms with the opening of Jackson Walker's Houston office.

San Antonio: In 1991, Jackson Walker opened an office in San Antonio, and in late 1999, that office welcomed the attorneys of Miller, Sisson, Chapman and Nash, the Alamo City's oldest firm focusing strictly on intellectual property matters.

In 2001, Gresham, Davis, Gregory, Worthy and Moore joined Jackson Walker in San Antonio. Founded in the 1880s, Gresham, Davis was among San Antonio's oldest firms, with expertise in business transactions, bankruptcy, and real estate.

The San Antonio office grew again in 2007 when Jackson Walker welcomed 10 attorneys from Jenkens & Gilchrist bringing additional complex commercial litigation and international expertise.

Austin and San Angelo: Jackson Walker further expanded its statewide presence by opening an office in the state capital in 1996. The office grew in 1999 when the attorneys of Small, Craig and Werkenthin joined Jackson Walker.

Small, Craig and Werkenthin had played a key role in the economic growth of Texas through the development of some of the most important legislation and regulations affecting industries throughout the state. Ed Small, a descendant of one of the firm's founders, continues to practice regulatory and legislative law as a partner with Jackson Walker.

The merger of the two firms also resulted in the creation of Jackson Walker's San Angelo office.

Texarkana: In 2012, David Folsom, former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, joined Jackson Walker as head of a new office in Texarkana. The decision to open an office in Texarkana was a natural one for a firm so immersed in intellectual property and patent litigation matters in the Eastern District of Texas.

Texas based, global reach

At Jackson Walker, we're proud of the role we've played in helping Texas businesses thrive. Today, our clients conduct business all over the world. Recognizing the needs of corporations competing in a global economy, we were one of the founding members of Globalaw, a world-wide network of law firms with offices throughout the U.S. and in over 65 foreign countries.

Over the years, we've continued to expand our practice areas so that we can add value for our clients by providing efficient, comprehensive service. As we continue to grow, we never lose sight of the fact that our clients come first, and it's our relationships with them that have made us who we are today.

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