Southern Methodist University School of Law, J.D., 1994
Hatton W. Sumners Scholar; Order of Barristers
Baylor University, Bachelor of Arts, 1991
National Merit Scholar; Outstanding Scholar of the University
After serving as a briefing attorney at the Dallas Court of Appeals, Kirsten Castañeda began her career as a trial lawyer. That experience in courtrooms and war rooms taught her the important balance between building a record for appeal and working toward victory in the trial court. When Kirsten joins trial lawyers in the trenches as an appellate attorney, she’s there to win.
Kirsten loves the challenge of drawing on her experiences and skills to serve clients in trial-by-fire moments. Early in her appellate career she received a 10:00 am phone call from the Texas Supreme Court clerk informing her that the court wanted a reply on a pending issue — by 5:00 pm. She marshaled all her resources, knowledge, and training to craft an organized and authoritative reply that she and her team could be proud of. (And it was filed before 5:00 pm.)
Since then, Kirsten’s work has helped shape the law in several key areas, including the standards for class certification and decertification throughout the life of a class action; the scope of statutory, contractual, and equitable duties applicable to oil and gas lessors, lessees, and operators; the impact of threshold statutory mandates, expert testimony standards, and causation requirements on healthcare liability claims; the proper boundaries for federal preemption of state tort and contract claims; and the reach of various provisions of the Texas Constitution.
Kirsten is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and listed in Best Lawyers in America 2020 for Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation. In addition to her role as ADJ’s Chief Diversity Officer, she serves on the State Bar Court Rules and Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committees, is Secretary of the State Bar Appellate Section and co-chair of its Diversity Committee, and is Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section. She is asked regularly by local, state, and national bar associations to write and speak on state and federal appellate issues.
State Bar of Texas
Ranked by Chambers USA as a Recognized Practitioner (Litigation: Appellate – Texas) (2019, 2021)
Selected by BL Rankings to the Best Lawyers in America – Appellate (2020-2021)
Selected by Super Lawyers Texas Super Lawyers–Appellate (2016-present)
Selected by D Magazine to the Best Lawyers in Dallas—Appellate list (2017-present)
Awarded Peer Review Rating of Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished
Co-author, chapter on standing for A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions, Second Edition (ABA Book Publishing 2017), exploring developments following Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016)
Barrister, Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court, 2016-2019
Women Trial Lawyers Committee Vice-Chair, and Law Practice and Legal Department Management Task Force Vice-Chair, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, 2018-2019
Woman Advocate Committee member, ABA Section of Litigation, 2016-present
Appellate Judges’ Education Institute Chair, 2016-2017 and Executive
Committee member, 2008-2016, 2018-present, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
Member of Court Rules Committee, 2016-2019 and Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committee, 2017-2020, State Bar of Texas
Diversity Committee Co-Chair, 2014-2019 and former Council Member, 2015-2018, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section
Vice-Chair, Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section, 2019
Fellow, American Bar Foundation, Texas Bar Foundation, and Dallas Bar Foundation