DAWN ESTES
Member
Direct Dial: 214.599.4002
destes@estesthorne.com

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Clients turn to Dawn when they need to resolve sophisticated business disputes or just want to catch up over a glass of wine.

They know Dawn is as comfortable in state and federal courts and arbitrations as she is being lead singer of her own band. AV Preeminent-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, Dawn is widely regarded as an attorney of great stature- not only for her impressive track record in state and federal court but also because, well, she’s very tall — even before she steps into her signature stiletto heels. Those who’ve seen her in court say she towers above her competition, literally and figuratively.

Dawn can play tough, but she also plays well with others. She serves as a court-appointed mediator, and she also serves as an arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s National Panel of Commercial and Employment Arbitrators. Over the past 15 years, Dawn has presided over dozens of arbitration hearings with hundreds of millions claimed in damages and more than 70 days of evidentiary hearings.

Dawn recently received recognition as one of 335 attorneys nationwide who have been named as a BTI Client Service All-Star through a national survey of general counsel. Clients appreciate Dawn’s passion and hands-on commitment to their cases; she treats her clients’ problems as if they were her own, working collaboratively to resolve matters, whether that means going to the courthouse or avoiding the courthouse.

Dawn has been selected by The Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation, and she was chosen by fellow members of the Texas Bar Association as a Texas Super Lawyer in Business Litigation in every year since the award was created. She also has the distinction of being selected as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Texas (as published by Texas Monthly), and one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine. Dawn has also served as an Adjunct Professor at SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

  • Breach-of-contract and breach-of-warranty claims
  • Negligence
  • Breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims
  • Asset purchase agreements
  • Force majeure
  • Trade-secret and proprietary/confidential-information misappropriation
  • Trademark and trade dress
  • Licensing agreements
  • Creditor’s rights
  • Website development contracts
  • Director and officer liability
  • Direct sales/multi-level marketing
  • Employee theft and fraud
  • Insurance bad faith involving disability and life insurance policies
  • Software and technology performance disputes
  • Product liability claims
  • Personal injury defense
  • Shareholder derivative actions
  • Tortious interference with contract
  • Negligent misrepresentation and fraud claims
  • Distribution agreements
  • Slander/defamation
  • Deceptive Trade Practice Act claims
  • Temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions
  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Oklahoma
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Member, State Bar of Texas
  • Member, State Bar of Oklahoma
  • Master and Executive Committee Member, Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court
  • Circle of Leaders, University of Texas at Austin, Center for Women in Law
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association
    • Presidential Citation (2011, 2017)
    • Board of Directors (2016-2017)
    • Judiciary Committee Co-Chair (2012)
    • Bench Bar Committee Co-Chair (2011)
  • Advisory Board, Dallas Women Lawyers Association
  • Board of Directors, Dallas Women Lawyers Association Foundation
  • Member, Attorneys Serving the Community
  • Member, Dallas Committee for a Qualified Judiciary
  • Member, Association of Attorney Mediators
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Former Trustee, Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Dallas Young Lawyers Association Foundation
  • Former Member, State Bar Committee on Administration of Rules of Evidence (2008-2012)
    • Former Subcommittee Chair, Technology
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Partner, Trial Section, Gardere Wynne Sewell, LLP, Dallas (1997-2007)
  • Associate, Trial Section, Gardere & Wynne, Dallas (1989-1997)
  • Recognized, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America (2024)
  • Recognized, Hall of Fame, as published in D Magazine
  • Recognized, Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America (2023, 2024)
  • Recognized, Lawdragon 500 Leading Corporate Employment Lawyers (2023)
  • Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America®, BL Rankings LLC, Commercial Litigation and Arbitration (2016-2024)
  • Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Arbitration, BL Rankings LLC (2024)
  • Recognized, Best Lawyers in Dallas, as published in D Magazine (2011-2023)
  • Recognized, Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2003-2022)
  • Recognized Top 100: Dallas/Ft. Worth Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2011-2013, 2015-2021, 2023)
  • Recognized, Top 100: Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2015, 2017-2021)
  • Recognized, Top 50: Women Texas Super Lawyers in Texas, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2006, 2011-2013, 2015-2021, 2023)
  • BTI Client Service A-Team (2019)
  • AV Preeminent – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized, Texas Trial Legend, Tort & Insurance Practice Section, Dallas Bar Association (2016)
  • Recognized, Outstanding Female Partner Award, Dallas Women Lawyers Association (2016)
  • Recognized, Best Women Lawyers in Dallas, Commercial Litigation, as published in D Magazine (2010)
  • Recognized, Best Lawyers Under 40, as published in D Magazine (2002)
  • Texas Business Litigation, Chapter 23, E-Discovery, Adrogué & Baker, Editors (2019 ed.) – Author
  • Partnering Effectively With Outside Counsel – State Bar of Texas 17th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel – 8/10/18 – Co-Author
  • How Preparing for an Arbitration is Different Than Preparing for Trial – Including Discovery, State Bar of Texas, Texas Bar College, 19th Annual Summer School, Galveston, Texas – 07/2017 – Co-Author
  • The Evolving Roles of In-House and Outside Counsel to Identify Sources of Information, Preserve Data, and Collect Documents in Coverage Litigation – DRI Program, Insurance Coverage and Practice SymposiumNew York, New York – 12/2017 – Co-Author
  • How to Win at Arbitration in a Consumer Case – State Bar of Texas, 12th Annual Advanced Consumer & Commercial Law Course, Austin, Texas – 9/2016 – Co-Author
  • “Supporting Women is Good Business” – Texas Lawyer – 10/2014 – Co-Author
  • The Impact of Gender in Litigation, Negotiations, and Trial – Joint CLE, Dallas Women Lawyers Association and Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, Dallas, Texas – 03/2019 – Panelist
  • The Evolving Roles of In-House and Outside Counsel to Identify Sources of Information, Preserve Data, and Collect Documents in Coverage Litigation – DRI Program, Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium, New York, New York – 12/2017 – Panelist
  • How a Small Firm Can Make a Big Splash, My Firm Did and So Can You – Start Your Law Practice Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana – 11/2017 – Speaker
  • Developing Cannonball Cross Examination Through The Adverse Deposition – UT Law, Winning at Deposition Skills and Strategy, Austin, Texas – 8/2017 – Speaker
  • Civility and Ethics – Are They the Same Thing? “Incivility’s Top Ten!” – Northern District of Texas, Bench Bar Conference, Dallas, Texas – 1/2017 – Panelist
  • Arbitration Trends: What’s Happening Now! – Advanced Trial Strategies Course 2016 – 02/2016 – Speaker
  • UT Law’s Winning at Deposition – Skills and Strategy Conference – 09/2015 – Speaker
  • How Do You Win In Arbitration? – State Bar College Summer School, Galveston, TX – 07/2015 – Speaker
  • What Should I Do in Arbitration and What Do I Do If I Don’t Like the Result? – Advanced Trial Strategies Course 2015 – 02/2015 – Speaker