Title: Superlawyer (of counsel)
Company: Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC
Location: Plano, TX
Tonya L. Johannsen, counsel at Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in construction law.
For more than 30 years, Ms. Johannsen has been an attorney specializing in commercial litigation with a focus on the construction and banking industries. A natural storyteller with a gift for distilling complex topics into understandable forms, she grew up dreaming of a career in law. After graduating with honors from Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and teacher education, Ms. Johannsen spent four years teaching 9th grade English. When her school’s principal encouraged her to move into educational administration, Ms. Johannsen realized that she had more interest in her childhood dreams of law school than she did in pursuing an advanced degree in education. She was awarded her Juris Doctor by the Texas Tech University School of Law in 1983 and began her practice as a litigation equity shareholder at Winstead PC in 1990. Quickly making a name for herself as a construction attorney to watch, Ms. Johannsen was named one of the 100 Best Litigators in Dallas by Dallas Business Lawyers in 1996 and became a fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America the following year.
In 1998, Ms. Johannsen became a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where she continued to build her reputation as a thoughtful and adaptable litigator with expertise in many areas of practice. She left the firm in 2008 to join The Beck Group, where she was responsible for managing and restructuring the in-house legal department over the course of her eleven years with the practice. Ms. Johannsen considers her time with The Beck Group and the opportunities for transformative leadership that it presented her to be a career highlight. Since 2019, Ms. Johannsen has practiced with Estes Thorne & Carr, PLLC. Throughout her career, Ms. Johannsen has used her legal expertise to offer counseling and advocate for victims of sexual abuse and violent crime. She has spent more than 25 years as a member of Attorneys Serving the Community and is the former president of nonprofits Bryan’s House and Victims Outreach. Ms. Johannsen believes that all things should be done “with passion, or not at all,” and credits her success to her thoughtfulness, communication skills, and strong sense of ethics. In recognition of her professional integrity and stellar courtroom record, she has been honored by the National Diversity Lawyers Council, presented with a 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award by the Texas Tech School of Law, and included on D Magazine’s 2021 list of the Best Lawyers for Construction and Commercial Litigation.
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