Duke Johnston, JD, MBA

Duke Johnston is an experienced business attorney headquartered in Central Texas. He is a leading authority on franchise and distribution law, and one of the country’s top lawyers in this dynamic and constantly evolving field. Duke is managing partner with the Law Offices of James M. Johnston, Jr. PLLC where his practice focuses on franchise, distribution, business, trademark, trade secret, commercial and real estate transactions, operations, and disputes.

Prior to founding his firm Duke drafted opinions for a United States Bankruptcy Court and worked as a trial lawyer for a law firm in Austin, Texas. Thereafter, for over 20 years he managed the legal affairs of one of the country’s largest franchise organizations. In his capacity as General Counsel of The Dwyer Group, its eleven franchise brands, corporate-owned locations, and software, marketing, buying and system account companies, Duke successfully resolved hundreds of franchise and business disputes. He also handled a wide variety of transactional matters for these franchise systems including the preparation and registration of franchise disclosure documents, the negotiation and drafting of numerous business and commercial agreements, due diligence investigations, acquisitions, mergers, divestures, private equity deals, and international expansion.

In addition to his law degree and legal experience Duke has a Bachelor of Arts, in Sociology and Political Science, from Trinity University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dallas, and he graduated from Harvard Law School’s Program of Negotiation. This education in organizational thinking, advanced business concepts and strategies, and negotiation, combined with his legal and business experience, allows Duke to better understand his clients’ businesses and thereafter use that knowledge to help his clients identify business opportunities, implement and streamline systems, protect their businesses, and otherwise survive and thrive in today’s highly competitive and litigious climate. In a nutshell, Duke uses this combination of education and experience to find cost-effective solutions for his clients.

Duke has been a speaker at many franchise conferences, he has published articles and co-authored books on franchise law topics, and he has been profiled and quoted in magazines. Since 1994 he has been a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum Committee on Franchising and he is also a member of the International Franchise Association. In addition to chairing the Corporate Counsel Committee and being a member of the Legal Symposium Steering Committee, Duke was one of the first lawyers in the country to be designated a Certified Franchise Executive by the International Franchise Association. He has received numerous awards, recognitions and honors over the course of his career but being recognized as one of the Top 50 in-house attorneys in the State of Texas is at the top of the list.