Dawn Estes


Direct Dial: 214.599.4002
Mobile: 214.924.3296
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Practice Areas

  • Commercial/Business Litigation
  • Internet and Computer Technology
  • Personal Injury Defense
  • Arbitration/Mediation/ADR
  • Electronic Discovery and Document Retention

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.

Don’t let her high-wattage smile fool you; she consistently beats the competition in e-commerce, Internet and technology disputes as well as domain name issues, cyber-smearing and website development cases. Dawn can play tough, but she also plays well with others. She serves as a court-appointed mediator as well as on the American Arbitration Association’s National Panel of Commercial and Employment Arbitrators.

Clients appreciate her passion and 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.

Experience and Expertise

  • Breach of contract and breach of warranty claims
  • Negligence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Trade secret and proprietary information misappropriation
  • Asset security actions relating to mortgage backed securities
  • Creditor's rights
  • Website development contracts
  • Fidelity Bonds
  • 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
  • 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

Dawn has also been selected by fellow members of the Texas Bar Association as a Texas Super Lawyer in Business Litigation in for the past 15 years.  She also has the distinction of being selected as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth (by Law & Politics, as published by Texas Monthly), Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine, one of the Best Women Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine. Dawn has also served as an Adjunct Professor at SMU's Dedman School of Law.

Education And Certifications

J.D., St. Mary's University School of Law (1989)

  • Associate Editor, Law Journal
    • B.A., Southern Methodist University, cum laude (1986)


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

Member, Dallas Committee for a Qualified Judiciary

Member, Association of Attorney/Mediators

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

Life Fellow, Dallas Bar Foundation, Former Trustee

Member, Dallas Bar Association

  • Board of Directors (2016-2017)
  • CLE Committee,
  • Judiciary Committee Co-Chair (2012)
  • Bench Bar Committee Co-Chair (2011)
  • Presidential Citation, Dallas Bar Association (2011)

Member, Dallas Women Lawyers Association

Member, Attorneys Serving the Community

Master and Executive Committee Member, Higginbotham Inn of Court

Fellow, Dallas Young Lawyers Association (DYLA) Foundation

Former Member, State Bar Committee on Administration of Rules of Evidence (2008-2012)

  • Former Subcommittee Chair, Technology

2016 Texas Trial Legend, Tort & Insurance Practice Section, DBA

2016 Outstanding Female Partner Award, Dallas Women Lawyers Association


Community Activities

Board of Directors, Texas Appleseed

Board of Directors, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra

Volunteer, Austin Street Shelter

Former Board Member, Lakewood Service League

Northaven United Methodist Church

Band Member, Black Dirt Tango

Member, Leadership Dallas Alumni Association


Prior Work Experience

Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell, LLP, Dallas (1997-2007) Trial Section

Associate, Gardere & Wynne, Dallas (1989-97) Trial Section


Security and Protecting Sensitive Information – World Business Review – 01/2003 – Interview

Congress Set to Grind Up Spam – DFW TechBiz – 07/2001 – Quoted

Cybercrime: Are You At Risk? – AIP Lecture Series, SMU Hart eCenter, Dallas Morning News – 03/2001 – Panelist

Cyberslander – Electronic Business Today- reprinted in Electronic Consumer Magazine – 03/2001 – Quoted

Cyberslander – Electronic Business Today, reprinted in Electronic Consumer Magazine – 03/2001 – Quoted

Professional Achievements

Recognized, Best Lawyers in America® in commercial litigation, Woodward/White, Inc. (2016-2019)

Recognized, Best Lawyers in Dallas, as published in D Magazine (2011-2019)

Recognized, Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2003-2018)

Recognized Top 100: Dallas/Ft. Worth Super Lawyers , Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2011-2012, 2015-2018)

Recognized, Top 100: Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2017-2018)

Recognized, Top 50: Women Texas Super Lawyers in Texas, Thomson Reuters, as published in Texas Monthly (2006, 2011-2013, 2015-2018)

AV Preeminent - Martindale-Hubbell

Recognized, Best Women Lawyers in Dallas in commercial litigation, as published in D Magazine (2010)

Recognized, Best Lawyers Under 40, as published in D Magazine (2002)


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 Symposium, New 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

Spam, Spam and More Spam – 5 No. 7 E-Commerce L. Rep. 5 – 05/2011 – Author

When Businesses Hire Lawyers, Gender Matters – Texas Lawyer – 10/2010 - Co-Author

Electronic Evidence and Discovery - It's a Whole New World – Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course, University of Houston Law Foundation CLE– 01/2007 – Author

Electronic Evidence and Discovery - The Law of Electronic Discovery – Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course, University of Houston Law Foundation CLE – 01/2007 – Author


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 at 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