As written in the September 2016 issue of Texas Lawyer magazine.
Donn Fullenweider SENIOR PARTNER, FULLENWEIDER WILHITE, HOUSTON
HE’S RENOWNED FOR HIS FAMILY LAW practice and as a leader in the field, but that’s not how it started for Donn Fullenweider.The senior partner for Houston’s Fullenweider Wilhite wasn’t supposed to be a lawyer at first. A test in high school sent him to journalism.”I kind of got funneled into it,” Fullenweider said. But as a student at the University of Houston, he saw that it wasn’t working. More tests suggested law school. He switched gears and found himself.Fullenweider’s degree from the University of Houston Law Center came in 1958. He clerked for litigator Fred Parks during school and joined him until 1965.
Then Fullenweider joined forces with Richard “Racehorse” Haynes for 24 years, working the civil side while Haynes handled criminal matters.”Somehow, I started morphing into family law,” Fullenweider said. The cases came his way and he liked them, though he says most lawyers didn’t because of the contention that so often comes mixed with emotions and anger. “You’re not trained for that in law school.”But Fullenweider found he had skills in that area and with helping “legal issues and life issues” involving separations, divorce, custody battles and more.”I don’t deal with anybody who isn’t crying,” he said. “It drains you a lot.”Fullenweider started his own firm in 1989. Along the way he also founded the Texas Bar’s litigation section and served as its first chairman.
He’s a founding fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is former president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, among other accomplishments.He’s received numerous awards. Among them, the Texas Bar Foundation this year selected him for an Outstanding 50-Year Lawyer Award and Texas Lawyer in 2010 named him one of the 25 Greatest Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.