A mere two months after he was elected, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has been hired by a Dallas law firm. According to a release, Johnson has joined Locke Lord at its Dallas office as a partner in its Public Finance Practice Group.
Johnson most recently worked at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, and prior to that at Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. Before becoming mayor, he served nine years in the Texas House of Representatives and had just been re-elected in November 2018, before his last-minute mayoral run.
In a statement, Locke Lord chair David Taylor says that the company is honored to have Johnson aboard.
"Mayor Johnson is very well regarded within the business community in North Texas and throughout the state, is a Dallas native, and has been practicing law in Dallas for over 15 years, bringing to the Firm a depth of experience in the public finance industry," Taylor says.
Whit Roberts, deputy managing partner of the Dallas office, says that Johnson's experience in public finance will be invaluable, and that they started recruiting him after he was elected mayor.
Johnson says the mayoral job will be his priority.
"To Dallas' residents, I want to say that my duties as Mayor will always come first," Johnson says. "As a practicing lawyer in my early 40s, however, it is also important that I maintain my law license and continue to practice law as time allows. And I will always do so in accordance with all applicable laws, as well as the ethical standards of the legal profession, with respect to conflicts of interest."
He'll be paid a set salary and will not share in Locke Lord profits.
His annual salary as mayor is $80,000; city council members make $60,000. Those rates were established in 2014 when the council approved a raise from their previous rate of $37,500 — a rate so low that it required most council members to hold a job in addition to serving on the council. Some still do hold jobs.
Locke Lord's Public Finance Practice Group is entrenched in governmental activity, including the realm of public borrowing and the federal tax and securities aspects of public debt obligations.
They've served as counsel on numerous bond issues in Dallas over the years and are also general counsel to the North Texas Tollway Authority.
Bonds they've been involved in include:
- City of Dallas, Texas Waterworks and Sewer System Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2015A & Taxable Series 2015B: $604,260,000
- City of Dallas, Love Field Airport Modernization Corp. General Airport Revenue Bonds, Series 2015: $109,235,000
- City of Dallas, Dallas Convention Center Hotel Development Corp. Hotel Revenue Bonds, Series 2009C: $479,821,197
- City of Dallas, Downtown Dallas Development Authority Tax Increment Contract Revenue Bonds, Taxable Series 2006: $50,605,343
- Dallas County Hospital District Limited Tax Bonds, Tax Exempt Series 2009A, Taxable Series 2009 B&C: $705,000,000