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Attorneys

Michael B. Johnson

John Mark Stephens

Abel A. Leal

Jonathan Smith

Joseph Gorman

Christopher T. Colby

Sarah L. Stephens

 

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Michael B. Johnson

Mike Johnson has over 20 years of extensive real estate experience, having represented clients in all areas of real estate finance, development, acquisition, disposition, leasing, loan restructuring, workouts and foreclosures. Mike's practice consists of an active representation of lenders, banks and insurance companies in all aspects of financing, including loan purchase and sale agreements, interim financing transactions and cash management agreements, as well as varied representation of developers and property owners in workouts, foreclosures and deeds in lieu of foreclosure transactions. Mike recently represented a lender in structuring a $360 million dollar loan for securitization that was secured by six retirement communities in Florida. He represented another lender in closing a complex financing transaction secured by hotels in Florida and Ohio, both owned by the George Steinbrenner family. In addition, Mike also represents numerous borrowers. He represented the borrower in structuring a $140 million dollar Federal Land Bank loan (largest ever in the State of Texas), secured by the nearly 4000 acre Brinkmann Ranch in Frisco, Texas.

Born in Gage, Oklahoma in 1964, Mike obtained a B.B.A degree in finance, magna cum laude, from Oklahoma State University in 1986. A member of Phi Delta Phi, Mike was the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award from the College of Business Administration. In 1989, Mike earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta and served on the Board of Advocates at OU.

In addition to real estate, Mike has considerable litigation experience and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mike began his legal career with Payne & Vendig, P.C. in Dallas, focusing on litigation (primarily involving oil and gas) and real estate transactions. Mike joined Winstead, Sechrest & Minick P.C. in 1997 and was elected partner in 1999. As a member of Winstead's Real Estate Development & Investments Finance Group, in 2007 Mike's clients accounted for the third highest total of revenue generations in a firm of more than 300 attorneys. Mike is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, as well as serving on the University Park Leadership Council and the 2009 University Park YMCA Partners Campaign.

Mike resides in University Park with his wife and three children. He is active in his children's school and athletic activities, coaching two baseball teams and a soccer team. He is a member of the Church of the Incarnation Episcopal Church and also enjoys spending time with his family at their ranch in Point, Texas.

Mike may be reached at 214-542-3605 or mjohnson@jsllawfirm.com.

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John Mark Stephens

John Mark Stephens brings to Johnson Stephens & Leal over 25 years of both legal and banking experience, as a commercial and real estate lender for a major national bank and a regional lender, as well as representing clients in all areas of real estate finance transactions, including acquisition, development, and leasing of active real estate projects. John Mark also has extensive experience with real estate loan restructuring, workouts, foreclosures and disposition of distressed properties. He also has managed several successful real estate auctions for a national lender. John Mark represents both national and regional lenders and real estate developers in his legal practice. In addition, he has extensive experience in agricultural collection and litigation activities for a subsidiary of a multi-national foreign-owned supplier of agricultural products and services.

Born in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1962, John Mark obtained a B.B.A. degree in finance from Texas Tech University in 1985. Thereafter, he began his banking career as a commercial and real estate lender with Texas Commerce Bank in Houston, successfully completing the Robert Morris Associates credit analysis school, and continued his banking career with Chemical Bank, Chase Bank, and American State Bank in Lubbock Texas.

John Mark earned a Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2000, with magna cum laude honors. John Mark was an editor with the Texas Tech Law Review and his extensive analysis of the 2001 UCC revisions regarding agricultural liens was published in the Texas Tech Law Review. John Mark also served as senior editor of the Texas Tech Banking Journal and received high honors in numerous courses. John Mark is a graduate of the Southern Methodist Southwestern School Graduate School of Banking.

John Mark is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association. He is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Courts and Federal Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.

John Mark is the proud father of two adult daughters, one active grandson and twins that keep him young and gray.  John Mark and his wife Sandra reside in Richardson and are members of the Waterview Preservation Association.

John Mark may be reached at 214-404-8725 or jmstephens@jsllawfirm.com.

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Abel Leal

Abel Leal has extensive trial and arbitration experience in complex litigation and has experience in federal and state appellate cases. Abel’s practice focuses on tort and commercial litigation, including disputes regarding contracts,  employment, insurance coverage, professional negligence, and personal injury. He has also successfully defended putative class actions and claims involving numerous parties. Abel has tried cases in multiple state and federal courts and represents clients throughout the US, including in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Missouri. 

His extensive experience includes:

Born on September 5, 1971, Abel graduated cum laude from Texas Tech University in 1996. He then attended Texas Tech School of Law and received his J.D. in 2000.  During law school, he was a member of the Order of Barristers and represented Texas Tech in numerous national mock trial competitions, including one in which he won First Place in the William W. Daniel National Mock Trial Competition. 

Abel is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association.  He is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts, the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Abel is a native son of Muleshoe;  he and his wife Marcie live in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas with their four sons.  They are active in Fellowship Dallas, where Abel serves as an elder.  Abel and Marcie also oversee the production and sale of Leal’s brand salsa, chips and other products  based on the recipes used in his family’s landmark Mexican food restaurants in the west Texas area.

Abel may be reached at 214-395-5325 or aleal@jsllawfirm.com.

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Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith covers all the bases in commercial real estate transactions – new development, lending and leasing. His clients are well-known national retailers, lenders, developers and he has represented clients in all aspects of real estate finance from due diligence to negotiation and documentation of construction and permanent loans, whether for individual development financing, homebuilder finance or large credit facilities secured by national real estate portfolios.

Each year Jonathan handles sales transactions involving retail, office, warehouse, and multifamily residential properties throughout the United States, counseling sellers and purchasers from initial contract negotiation through title and survey review, financing and closing. His work in this area has also included several multi-state, multi-property transactions.

In the landlord and tenant arena, Jonathan counts among his recent clients several regional and national tenants, whom he has assisted on a wide variety of different leasing scenarios including traditional mall, power center, outlet mall, and stand-alone ground leases. He also regularly represents landlords and tenants in office leasing, as well as developers in the initial construction, leasing, refinancing, and redevelopment of retail and office properties.

Bar & Court Admissions

Education

Associations

Presentations

"Lender Issues in Shopping Center Finance," Roundtable leader, ICSC Annual Law Conference
"Easement Drafting, Amendment and Termination," Law of Easements: Legal Issues and Practical Considerations in Texas
"Mortgage Foreclosure," Advanced Real Estate Short Course, University of Houston Law Foundation

Publications

"Drafting Lease Default and Remedies Provisions," Co-author, Advanced Real Estate Law Course, State Bar of Texas

Community

Jonathan may be reached at 469-990-3315 or jsmith@jsllawfirm.com.

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Joseph Gorman

Of Counsel
Joe Gorman has over 30 years of extensive experience in complex real estate and other business transactions, both as a lawyer and a principal.

Joe was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas, Texas. Joe obtained his B.B.A. degree, emphasis in finance, summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 1978. He graduated in three years, first in the Business School. Joe received his Juris Doctorate degree, also from SMU, in 1981.

Joe began his legal career with Payne & Spradley, P.C. (later Payne & Vendig, P.C.) in 1981 and retired from that firm in 1996. Since 1996, he has been actively involved in the real estate business and other business activities, as well as continuing to practice law for selected clients.

Joe and his wife, Coleen, reside in North Dallas, and they are the parents of three grown sons. They are active in the St. Rita Catholic Church and School, where Coleen works as a P.E. teacher.

Joe may be reached at 214-392-1982 or jgorman@jsllawfirm.com.

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Christopher T. Colby

Chris has a diverse practice that primarily focuses on tort and commercial litigation in trial and appellate proceedings in federal and state court, including disputes regarding insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, breach of contract, claims handling practices, loan default, statutory claims, and personal injury.  He has tried cases in federal and state courts, and represents clients in federal and state matters in Texas, Colorado, and other regions of the United States.  Chris also advises clients and handles matters on the preparation of personal wills, estates, and trusts, and on implementing strategies for the development of business practices and procedures, including risk management, confidentiality, privacy, and electronic data.

Chris’s experience includes:

Representative cases for Chris include:

Chris graduated magna cum laude from Abilene Christian University in 1997, and graduated cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2001.  During law school, Chris was a member of the Texas Tech Law Review and its Managing Editor in 2000-2001.  In 2000, he authored the Outstanding Student Article for Book 4, Volume 3, of the Texas Tech Law Review:  “There’s a New Sheriff in Town: The Texas Vexatious Litigants Statute and its Application to Frivolous and Harassing Litigation,” 31 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 1291.

Chris is licensed to practice in Texas and Colorado.  He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association.  He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Tenth Circuits; the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.  Chris was also named a Texas Super Lawyer, Rising Star, from 2006-2012 (Super Lawyers is a Thomson Reuters service).

Chris has presented on the following: “Joint and Several Liability,” PLRB/LIRB 2012 Regional Adjusters Conference, Dallas; “Emerging Theories and Limits, Including Latent Claims, Product Cases, and New Coverage Issues,” University of Houston Law Foundation – Advanced Insurance and Tort Claims Seminar, Dallas, 2008-09; “Update on the 2003 Legislative Change in Texas Tort Law,” 2003 Bad Faith Seminar sponsored by Cowles & Thompson, P.C.

Chris and his wife, Kara, live in Coppell with their two children, and are members of St. Ann’s Parish.  Chris and Kara are active members of their community, volunteering with YMCA basketball, Cub Scouts, PTO, and Coppell Baseball Association.

Chris may be reached at 214-552-2866 or ccolby@jsllawfirm.com

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Sarah L. Stephens

Associate
Sarah is Johnson Stephens & Leal’s most recent litigation associate. Sarah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies, graduating summa cum laude from Texas Tech University in 2011. Sarah earned her Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2014. As a part of her legal training, Sarah served as attorney and counselor in Texas Tech University School of Law’s Family Law and Housing Clinic and also was active with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. Sarah’s practice includes:

Sarah is a member of the State Bar of Texas, and is also a member of the United States Federal District Courts for the Northern District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Texas and Western District of Texas. Sarah is also a member of the Dallas County Bar Association and the Texas Young Lawyers Association.

Sarah resides in Dallas and may be reached at 972-646-0624 or sstephens@jsllawfirm.com.

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Contact Us

Johnson Stephens & Leal, PLLC
4809 Cole Avenue, Suite 260
Dallas, TX 75205

 

Michael B. Johnson
214-542-3605
mjohnson@jsllawfirm.com

John Mark Stephens
214-404-8725
jmstephens@jsllawfirm.com

Abel A. Leal
214-395-5325
aleal@jsllawfirm.com

Jonathan Smith
469-990-3315
jsmith@jsllawfirm.com

Joseph Gorman
214-392-1982
jgorman@jsllawfirm.com

Christopher T. Colby
214-552-2866
ccolby@jsllawfirm.com

Sarah L. Stephens
972-646-0624
sstephens@jsllawfirm.com