AHCA Welcomes Iconic Austin Business Member: John W. Pleuthner
After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975, and law degree in 1978, both from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, John Pleuthner decided he needed a little time off. While driving around the country in the summer of 1978, he wound up in Central Texas, camping in a tent at a lakeside park near Mansfield Dam on Lake Travis, just west of Austin.
“I loved Austin from the outset, even though it was August,” said Pleuthner. Despite the fact that he was not yet licensed to practice law in Texas, Pleuthner decided to look for a job and reached out to an employment agency to see if there might be a law firm willing to hire him as a law clerk. After walking around the University of Texas campus, then sneaking into Gregory Gymnasium to shower, he interviewed with Austin attorney Jack Ritter. Apparently, the shower worked, along with his resume. He was offered a clerk’s position with Ritter’s firm.
Pleuthner stayed with the Ritter law firm for several years, then opened his own practice in 1981, sharing office space with former Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr before finally setting up his own private office.
To build his practice, Pleuthner did criminal appointments, representing indigent criminal defendants facing charges that could lead to their incarceration. Young attorneys would usually show up in court at 8 a.m. and be available for misdemeanor cases until they had built up enough experience to handle felonies.
Pleuthner also served on the board of directors for Austin Young Lawyers and wound up writing a column for the Austin American-Statesman called Ask A Lawyer. He was later appointed relief judge on Austin’s Municipal Court by the city council.
In time, Pleuthner became much more involved in real estate law and eventually wound up becoming a licensed broker. He started Austin Professionals, Inc., a real estate brokerage company, which grew to approximately 100 agents. He also opened a bankruptcy law practice in San Antonio.
Over the course of more than 40 years, Pleuthner’s practice has included many jury and non-jury civil and criminal trials, plus appeals. However, his primary area of practice has remained in real estate, mostly in property closings. He has worked with numerous title companies during his practice and estimates that his office has closed more than 10,000 real estate transactions.
John Pleuthner continues to live and practice real estate law in Austin. He and his wife Sarah have three children, Adam, Zain, and Azra.