Winstead, which marked its 40th anniversary on April 9, has stuck to two specific goals over four decades ― teamwork and a business focus, says Tom Helfand (pictured), a shareholder in Dallas who was the firm’s first summer clerk.
“From day one, the whole concept of this firm was teamwork and collaboration . . . the other to be a business law firm representing business clients,” Helfand says, who joined the firm in 1977 after graduating from Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law.
The Dallas-based firm, originally known as Winstead McGuire & Sechrest, was founded on April 9, 1973 by Pete Winstead, Chuck McGuire and Bill Sechrest. Winstead, a shareholder in Austin, continues to practice at the firm.
Mike Baggett (pictured), a shareholder in Dallas and chairman emeritus, who joined the firm in 1974 after clerking at the Texas Supreme Court, says Winstead recruited him to the firm, and he stayed for 39 years because of its culture.
“They wanted to make it more like teamwork and me being an Aggie, I like all that teamwork. The lawyers get along here very well. We don’t get into arguments,” he says.
“When I started, we had seven lawyers and we did real estate, some banking, some business stuff and just grew the base from there,” Baggett says, noting that the firm’s initial expansion into Houston and Austin was for a banking client, the former Mercantile National Bank. Even today, Baggett says, the firm’s five largest clients are banks.
Today, Winstead has 305 lawyers in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, The Woodlands, along with Charlotte, N.C., New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
― Brenda Sapino Jeffreys