Donya Cannon Folco


Ardmore High School, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 1976
University of Texas at Austin (Bachelor’s in Journalism, 1980)
University of Texas at Arlington (obtained my teaching certification, 1983)
Southern Methodist University (J.D. with honors,1993)


Rotary Exchange Student to New Zealand, 1975
UIL Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year, 1990
Phi Delta Phi (Legal Honors Fraternity), 1993

Professional Background

I have had a wide variety of work experience and professional training. All of which has well equipped me to represent our clients, to understand their real life problems and to effectively fight for their rights.

While attending the University of Texas at Austin, I worked as a newspaper reporter for the Houston Post Austin Bureau at the state capitol building. After graduation, I went to work at the Wichita Falls Times and Record News as a newspaper reporter covering the courts and city hall activities. In 1983, I obtained my teaching certification and worked as an English and journalism teacher for the Fort Worth Independent School District at Arlington Heights High School. In 1990, I was named outstanding Texas journalism teacher of the year. After receiving my Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University in 1993, I went to work for the Law Office of Cheryl Wattley, P.C. I left her practice in 1998 and established my own practice. Then in 2001, I went to work for the Law Office of Joe H. Staley, Jr. P.C. where I continue to work today. For these last 15 years, I have dealt primarily with eminent domain issues for landowners. I have worked on cases for people who own commercial property and are losing part of it because of a street or highway being widened. In those cases, we usually focus on getting our client fair market value for the land being taken. But we also do a detailed evaluation of the damages to our client’s remaining land. That is often overlooked or undervalued by condemners when they approach landowners about purchasing their property.

Huge electric transmission lines are being built all over the State of Texas. I have represented a number of landowners before the Public Utility Commission to try to prevent an electric line from being built on their property. I have also worked on a number of lawsuits where landowners have been sued by electric companies building transmission lines across the property of our client. In all of these cases, we have been able to get our clients substantial increases in payments for damages to their remaining land. Almost invariably, appraisers for the electric companies claim that these large, ugly lines do not affect our client’s ability to sell the property when we know that anyone selling property next to an electric transmission line will have to discount the value of that property because of the unsightliness of the power lines. I have also worked on a number of billboard cases where the owner is losing his site. We have been very successful in getting top value for our clients in these cases. These are complex cases that require someone with experience to handle effectively. We also represent a number of landowners who have faced gas companies constructing high pressure gas lines or oil pipelines across their property. Other types of cases include cases where clients are losing property for the construction of a lake or a school or a water tower or a number of other public projects. Our clients include churches, individual homeowners, real estate developers, strip shopping mall owners, retail stores, ranchers, owners of commercial and industrial property, and trusts that own land.