James J. Hartnett


Juris Doctorate
University of Texas, 1959

University of Texas, 1957


In Memoriam

Jim brought the firm over 50 years of experience in litigation and received a lifetime achievement award in 2009 from the Dallas Bar Association’s Probate Section.

His journey into the legal profession began in 1953 when he left his native Nebraska for Texas. He earned his business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and stayed to receive his JD degree as well. While in school, Jim became a member of Phi Alpha Delta, a legal fraternity.

James was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958, and soon after moved to Dallas with his wife and two young children, Will and Jim, Jr. There he became an associate and later a partner with Turner, Hitchins, McInerney, Webb, and Hartnett. During this time he began a working relationship with Donna Spencer, a relationship that continues to this day. Eventually, his sons Will and Jim Jr. also joined the firm.

Ultimately, James wanted to open his own firm devoted to probate litigation. In 1982, Jim and his sons left Turner, Hitchins to start their own firm: James Hartnett, P.C. In 1988, the name was changed to The Hartnett Law Firm.

Jim was Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He was a member of the Dallas Bar Association and served as Chairman of the Probate and Trust Law Section in 1974. He was recognized throughout the state, including recognition as a “Super-Lawyer” in October 2004 by Thomson Reuters. He was also a member of the State Bar of Texas, and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Texas Bar Foundation.