Talmage Boston.

Civil litigator Talmage Boston has left Winstead after 20 years to join Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton as a partner in Dallas, saying his departure was due in part to his former firm demonstrating less of a commitment to its litigation practice.

“I found a much better platform here at Shackelford. There are many people here I know and like and have trusted for many years, and they clearly had a need for a senior litigator,” said Boston, who joined Shackelford last week.

Historically, Winstead had maintained a balance between transactional and litigation practices, Boston said. But he believes the balance no longer exists.

“Winstead … has made the decision that litigation is shrinking and it did not appear to have any growth plans,” he said. “What litigation they had, they preferred their younger lawyers to do as opposed to the senior lawyers.”

Winstead CEO David Dawson countered Boston’s assertion, however.

“Winstead continues to pursue growth opportunities in all of our practices, including litigation, so we can exceed our clients’ expectations,” Dawson said in a statement. “We wish Talmage the best at Shackleford.”

Two-thirds of the 330 lawyers at Winstead do transactional work, and the other one-third handles litigation.

Boston said some of the de-emphasis on litigation as a practice at Winstead is related to the cyclical nature of the law business.

“In a booming economy — which the Dallas area certainly is and has been — there are a whole lot more big deals being done than big lawsuits being filed, so you staff your law firm to meet the economy,” he said. “Once the economy goes south, then all of a sudden defaults start rising, fewer deals are made, and more lawsuits arise.”

Boston, 64, said he is excited to join Shackelford, a business and entertainment law firm, because it needs a senior litigator. He said the firm doesn’t have a higher concentration of litigators than Winstead, but “they needed somebody in my experience level to work on the cases.”

Founding partner John Shackelford said in a release that Boston, who also does mediation and arbitration, is a “superb addition” to the firm — someone who will benefit the firm’s clients and complement the firm’s team of business litigators.

Boston has written several books about history and baseball and is a former chair of the litigation section of the State Bar of Texas and chair of the business litigation section of the Dallas Bar Association.

He declined to identify clients he brought to Shackelford.

Boston isn’t the only trial lawyer to depart Winstead in recent weeks. In late September, Brian Vanderwoude joined Dorsey & Whitney as a partner in Dallas, along with of counsel  Jay Madrid, who was once a partner and co-chair of Winstead’s fiduciary litigation section. They both said they looked forward to helping Dorsey & Witney, which opened an office in Dallas in March, build a litigation section.

Neither Madrid nor Vanderwoude immediately returned calls seeking comment for this story.