Michael Whellan, a land use lawyer who represents clients at the courthouse and at city and county halls throughout Central Texas, and real estate transactions lawyer Travis Phillips are leaving Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody to join Austin’s Armbrust & Brown on Jan. 15.
“They both have outstanding reputations, both in slightly different areas,” said David Armbrust, a founding partner of Armbrust & Brown. “Michael is extremely well-known in the world of Austin politics and entitlements. Travis is very well-known in real estate transaction circles and we have a very substantial practice in that area, too.”
Armbrust said Austin continues to be a “boom town” and Whellan and Phillips add to his firm’s existing real estate practices, as well as other areas such an entitlements, which he said includes zoning, planning and permitting.
Whellan said he decided to join Armbrust & Brown because the land use side of his practice has expanded considerably. His new firm has a well-established land planning, land use and real estate practice, said Whellan, noting that Armbrust & Brown has lawyers doing the corporate, estate planning, litigation and tax work that his clients need.
Whellan said his departure from Austin’s Graves Dougherty, where he practiced for 26 years and once led as president, is bittersweet because he has great friends and memories from the firm. Phillips, who was at Graves Dougherty for four years, said he is excited to continue to practice with Whellan on shared clients.
“It’s basically a continuation and expansion in some ways of the good rapport in the relationship I’ve had with Michael Whellan at Graves Dougherty,” Phillips said. “It’s not just shared clients, but he and I work together to serve those clients.”
Whellan declined to identify clients they will bring with them to Armbrust & Brown. With the new hires, Armbrust & Brown will have 26 lawyers, Armbrust said. Whellan’s former firm wished him and Phillips well in their new endeavor.
“Michael Whellan is an outstanding lawyer and Travis Phillips is a fine upcoming real estate attorney,” said John McFarland, president of Graves Dougherty. “They are joining a fine law firm at Armbrust & Brown and we wish them both the best.”