Chris Johns advocates for people and causes he believes in. He represents individuals and businesses as they confront powerful interests on the other side: property owners in eminent-domain matters and other cases against the government, people and organizations seeking to exercise constitutional rights, and others with a just cause in a civil trial or appeal.
Chris has won cases for clients in courts across the country—from state and federal trial and appellate courts to the United States Supreme Court. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches the course on eminent domain and private-property rights.
Chris grew up and attended public schools in Buckhannon, West Virginia. He went to Brigham Young University on academic and piano scholarships and, after his first year of college, served for two years as a full-time volunteer for his church in Oakland and San Francisco. Chris spent most of his time in neighborhoods unlike anything he’d ever seen in rural West Virginia. Still, he can’t imagine a better education: speaking with thousands of people about life, hopes, fears, and spiritual paths; becoming fluent in Spanish; observing communities that thrived and others that failed; and making friends with individuals from many countries and many walks of life, from gang members to high-level government officials. Chris decided during his volunteer service to become a lawyer and advocate. He studied English upon return to BYU, graduating magna cum laude in 1997.
Chris received his J.D. with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law. There, he was editor in chief of the Texas Law Review, a member of the Chancellors honor society, and a member of the Order of the Coif. He received Dean’s Achievement Awards in several of his classes. After graduation, Chris clerked for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
He then attended the University of Oxford, where he received a postgraduate law degree and authored a frequently cited dissertation analyzing the relationship between property and the law of obligations.
Chris entered private practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he worked with former Texas Solicitor General Greg Coleman in the firm’s national Supreme Court and appellate practice. He and three of his law-school classmates founded Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP, a trial and appellate boutique, and practiced together for nearly nine years.
In March 2018, Chris opened Johns & Counsel PLLC with a small, elite team dedicated to the clients and causes that mean most to him and the other members of the firm.
Chris appears on the 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 lists of The Best Lawyers in America, a peer-selected honor. Texas Super Lawyers Magazine named him to its 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 lists of “Super Lawyers” and to its 2013 and 2014 lists of “Rising Stars.” He has also served as a barrister in the Lloyd Lochridge American Inn of Court. Chris has testified about property rights on invitation from the Texas Legislature, is a regular speaker at national and state CLE conferences, has received multiple pro bono service awards, helped train UT’s moot-court teams, and has appeared as a legal commentator on television news programs.
Chris is licensed in Texas and New York and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, D.C., and Federal Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, several other federal courts across the country, and all state courts in Texas.
Chris has volunteered for the Boy Scouts of America and previously served as Scoutmaster to one of the highest achieving troops in Central Texas. He is also an accomplished pianist, teacher, soccer player and coach, and former Spanish interpreter. He believes relationships are the most important thing in life.