Although no part of its name appears on firm letterhead before 1924, Jones Foster's roots can be traced to 1909. Today's Jones Foster is the result of the 1988 merger of two prominent West Palm Beach firms which practiced side by side for over sixty years. We are proud to share the story of our heritage and the legacy of our founders as we introduce you to our Jones Foster family.
Colonel Johnston's Firm
In 1909, Palm Beach County became Florida's 47th county, and H.L. Bussey hung his shingle in downtown West Palm Beach. The population of West Palm Beach was less than 2,000, but Palm Beach County's first land boom had started and Clematis Street bustled with activity.
In 1917, West Palm Beach's Lt. Harry A. Johnston left for Europe and World War I. In 1924, Lt. Johnston returned to South Florida with his University of Florida classmate, Henry F. Lilienthal. They joined Mr. Bussey and in 1926 changed the firm name to Bussey, Johnston & Lilienthal.
Mr. Bussey served as city attorney, county attorney, attorney for the school board, state's attorney and as a representative in the Florida legislature. After his death, the name of the firm changed to Gedney, Johnston and Lilienthal.
In 1936, Harry Johnston became Palm Beach County Attorney, but in 1940 he again left to serve as a United States Army Colonel in World War II. He served as County Attorney until 1968.
In 1958, Harry A. Johnston, II, graduated from the University of Florida and joined his father's firm. He served in the Florida Senate from 1974 to 1986, as President of the Florida Senate from 1984 to 1986, and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 1996, when he left public service to resume the practice of law.
Colonel Jones' Firm
Two University of Florida classmates, Robert L. Earnest and R.K. Lewis, began their West Palm Beach practices during the 1924 real estate boom. Mr. Earnest was appointed United States Commissioner in West Palm Beach, and in 1932 Mr. Earnest and Mr. Lewis formed a partnership with offices in the Guaranty Building. They were joined in 1935 by D. Culver Smith, who became a partner in 1940, and then left for WWII after Pearl Harbor.
Colonel R. Bruce Jones, a Tank Destroyer Battalion Commander for General George S. Patton, joined Earnest & Lewis in 1946, the same year D. Culver Smith returned to the firm. The firm was renamed Earnest, Lewis, Smith & Jones.
During the prosperous post-war years, Palm Beach County was one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Samuel Adams, James C. Paine and William A. Foster joined the firm in the 1950's. When D. Culver Smith left in 1957 to become a Florida Circuit Court Judge, the firm changed its name to Jones, Adams, Paine & Foster.
In 1967, Sidney A. Stubbs joined the firm. At this time, the firm concentrated its practice in the areas of personal injury, commercial litigation, real estate, tax and probate law.
In 1968, Colonel Jones succeeded Colonel Johnston as Palm Beach County Attorney.
In 1970, the firm became the professional association of Jones, Paine & Foster, P.A.
In 1979, when James C. Paine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Federal District Judge, the firm changed its name to Jones & Foster, P.A.
Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A.
The 1988 merger of Johnston, Randolph & Weaver, P.A. (Colonel Johnston's firm) and Jones & Foster, P.A. (Colonel Jones' firm) resulted in Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A.
When Mr. Bussey opened his doors in 1909 he did not contemplate the legacy of legal service and community leadership he would inspire. In the midst of all of these changes, our firm has remained a stable and respected force in the courts and community. Our past and present attorneys have served as Presidents of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, a Mayor, State and Federal Judges, and members of the United States Congress, the Florida State Senate, the Palm Beach County School Board, the West Palm Beach City Commission and the Port of Palm Beach District.
Jones Foster approaches the future steadfast in its commitment of innovative service to its clients and community while maintaining traditional values and professional excellence.