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Our History



For almost a century, Jones Foster continues to be inspired by its historic contribution to the legal profession. Since our earliest incarnation, our alumni have included a mayor, district judges, a member of the United States Congress, and presidents of the Florida Bar, Palm Beach County Bar Association, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

Building on our brand’s past to re-imagine its future.

From our humble beginnings, we have grown into a dynamic team committed to pursuing excellence. Now, one of the most respected law firms in Palm Beach County, our unique history gives us the power and momentum to continually drive our business onward and upward.

The story of Jones Foster is the result of two prominent West Palm Beach law Firm’s merging after practicing side-by-side for decades. This is our journey.

Colonel Johnston

1909

In 1909, Palm Beach County was officially recognized as Florida's 47th county; a move that prompted Mr. H.L. Bussey to open his one-man legal practice in West Palm Beach. At the time, 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. As did Mr. Bussey’s growing list of clients.

1917

In 1917, West Palm Beach's Lt. Harry A. Johnston left for Europe and World War I. Then, in 1924, he returned to South Florida with his University of Florida classmate, Henry F. Lilienthal.

1926

After Mr. Lilienthal joined Mr. Bussey’s flourishing practice, they changed the firm’s name to Bussey, Johnston & Lilienthal in 1926. In the years that followed, 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.

1936

By 1936, Harry Johnston had become Palm Beach County Attorney, but in 1940 he again left to serve as a United States Army Colonel in World War II. On returning, he served as County Attorney until 1968.

1958

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

1924

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. Later, they were joined in 1935 by D. Culver Smith, who became a partner in 1940, and then left for WWII after Pearl Harbor.

1946

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 subsequently renamed Earnest, Lewis, Smith & Jones.

1950

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.

1957

When D. Culver Smith left in 1957 to become a Florida Circuit Court Judge, the firm changed its name to Jones, Adams, Paine & Foster.

1967

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.

1968

In 1968, Colonel Jones succeeded Colonel Johnston as Palm Beach County Attorney.

1970

In 1970, the firm became the professional association of Jones, Paine & Foster, P.A.

1979

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.

1988

After decades of working to shape and re-define the civic and legal landscape of Palm Beach County, Johnston, Randolph & Weaver, P.A. (Colonel Johnston's firm) and Jones & Foster, P.A. (Colonel Jones' firm) officially merged in 1988. The result was Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A. Or as it’s better known today: Jones Foster.