John Eckel
  • Of Counsel


Galveston, TX





John practices in the areas of civil litigation, including business litigation, personal injury defense, representation of governmental entities, and probate litigation.

John is board certified in Civil Trial Law and in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He specializes in the areas of personal injury defense, governmental law litigation, and civil law litigation.

A native Houstonian, John joined Mills Shirley in 1962 and became a partner in 1965. Beginning July 1, 2015, John has become "Of Counsel" to the firm. Throughout his career at Mills Shirley, he has tried numerous cases, including automobile and industrial accidents, business litigation, products liability, municipal law, civil rights, and estate litigation. John is active in his community, having served as a Director of the State Bar of Texas and as a Trustee for the Galveston Wharves, also serving as Chair. He currently serves as a director of the Sealy & Smith Foundation. John has also been named a Texas Super Lawyer for 2003 through 2012 by Thomson Reuters. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Areas Of Practice

  • Litigation and Governmental Law
  • Litigation and Appeals
  • Insurance Defense

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Civil Trial and Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1962
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1962


  • The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas
    • LL.B. - 1961
  • Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
    • B.A. - 1958

Published Works

  • Texas Civil Trial Handbook (Co-Author), 1984
  • Texas Pattern Jury Charges (Co-Author), Vol. 3, 1982

Honors and Awards

  • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters
  • Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, 2011
  • Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award, Texas Bar Foundation, 2013
  • 2014 list of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • America College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • America College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Association of Insurance Attorneys, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Director
  • Galveston County Bar Association, Member
  • Galveston Wharves, 2009 - 2010, Chair of the Board of Trustees, 2009 to 2010

Past Employment Positions

  • Alaska Legislative Council, Juneau, Alaska, Attorney, 1961 to 1962

Pro Bono Activities

  • Participation in the Galveston County Bar Association's program to provide legal consultation to Veterans through the VA program