Tonya L. Johannsen

Practice Areas



Complex Commercial Litigation

Financial Institutions Litigation

Real Estate Litigation

Business Torts




Insurance Coverage

Strategic Business Initiatives

Outside General Counsel Services

A natural born storyteller, Tonya sought a career where she could combine her talent for analysis, research and writing with her ability to explain complicated matters simply.  Becoming a lawyer was a natural fit.

Tonya’s clients describe her as a competitive, creative and proactive problem-solver.  She is an excellent communicator who assists her clients in defining their desired business outcomes and mapping the strategies necessary to accomplish their goals. 

Tonya has extensive experience representing construction and architectural professionals, both in a transactional capacity and during litigation. She has negotiated complex construction and architectural transactions utilizing owner contracts, AIA documents, subcontracts and vendor agreements throughout the United States and Mexico.  During her tenure as General Counsel for The Beck Group, Tonya directed all litigation matters on behalf of this full-service design builder in its nine offices including complex claims related to defective architectural plans, cumulative impact and delay issues, lien priorities, bankruptcy impacts, owner claims and subcontractor disputes.  In addition to litigation, Tonya assisted with real estate development, sustainability and technology matters for the company.

Prior to serving as general counsel, Tonya litigated high profile financial industry disputes including environmental liability for lenders, unique foreclosure issues related to both real and personal property, debt restructuring, real estate disputes, letters of credit and asset securitization matters.  She successfully defended financial institutions and other corporate clients from business tort claims such as fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive trade practices act violations, promissory estoppel, statutory real estate fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Her efforts resulted in two Texas Supreme Court decisions favoring lenders and corporations ( see Fina Supply, Inc. v. Abilene Nat’l Bank, 726 S.W.2d 537 (Tex.1987) (letters of credit) and Cullen Frost Bank v. Dallas Sportswear, 730 S.W. 2d 668 (Tex. 1987) (lender’s collection of accounts receivable) and a myriad of favorable appellate opinions both in state and federal courts.

Tonya’s clients rely on her breadth of experience and keen investigative skills in other disciplines as well. 

For example, her representation of a large cell phone manufacturer required her to become an expert in the technology at issue.  Although she was neither a patent attorney nor an engineer, the client relied upon her ability to synthesize the complicated technical information and to “tell the company’s story” in a persuasive manner in order to obtain a favorable outcome.  Likewise, when a corporate client was charged with fraud, promissory estoppel and breach of contract by an ousted company executive, Tonya represented the company during the pre-trial process, assembled the facts and documents and presented the legal and factual arguments in order to accomplish the client’s business goals regarding resolution of the claims. 

Tonya’s focus on defining and achieving her client’s strategic goals coupled with her wide range of legal expertise and “can do” attitude make her the lawyer of first choice for her clients.

Education And Certifications

J.D., Texas Tech University School of Law (1983)

  • Law Review
  • Comment Editor
  • Outstanding Law Review

B.A., Eastern New Mexico University (1976), cum laude


State Bar of Texas


Member, State Bar of Texas

  • Construction Section
  • Trial and Appellate Section

Member, Dallas Bar Association

  • Construction Section
  • Trial and Appellate Section

Member, American Bar Association

  • Construction Section
  • Trial and Appellate Section

Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

Community Activities

2019 Board of Directors Miss Colleyville Texas Pageant

2015 Miss Texas Outstanding Leadership Award

2014 Miss Texas Outstanding Leadership Award

2012 Hat’s Off to Mothers Honoree-Easter Seals of North Texas

Women’s Global Network-Dallas Branch Leader and National Advisory Board 2007-2012

Advisory Board-WHO Foundation-BeautiControl 2013

Bryan’s House Board of Directors, President 1996-1998

Victim’s Outreach Board of Directors, President 1997-98

Attorneys’ Serving the Community, Member 1987-Present

Prior Work Experience

General Counsel, The Beck Group (2008-2019)

Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (1998-2008)

Shareholder and Associate, Winstead PC (1983-1998)

Professional Achievements

Recognized, Best Lawyers in Dallas, as published in D Magazine (2020)

Vanguard Law Profile (2018)

Dallas Top 50 General Counsels Award (2017)

Dallas Business Lawyers 100 Best Litigators in Dallas

Worldwide Who’s Who for Lawyers

AV Preeminent - Martindale-Hubbell (2012 to present)

Distinguished Alumni Texas Tech University School of Law (2019)

Board of Advisors 25th Annual Corporate Counsel Symposium-Southern Methodist University School of Law (2017-2018)

Southern Methodist University School of Law Trial Advocacy Adjunct Professor

Southern Methodist University School of Law Corporate Counsel Externship Mentor and Supervisor (2013-2018)

Texas Tech School of Law Externship Program Mentor and Supervisor (2017-2018)


American Bar Association Construction Law Forum, “Embracing Building Information Modeling in the Construction Industry” (01/2014)

23rd Annual Construction Law Conference, “Contract Close-Out:  If You Build It, Will They Pay?” (02/2010)


Corporate Counsel Panel: Most Important Issues Facing In-House CounseTexas Construction Law Seminarl, , San Antonio, Texas - 03/2017

Corporate Counsel and Outside Counsel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, American Bar Association Construction Law Forum, Washington, D.C. - 04/2017

Navigating the Unique Aspects of Construction Arbitration-Minimizing the Risks of Ethical Dilemmas, American Arbitration Association Construction Conference , New York, New York - 06/2017