Kirsten M. Castañeda



  • 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

Kirsten M. Castañeda


214.396.0432 – phone

214.369.2359 – fax

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. A response requested by the Texas Supreme Court at 10:00 a.m. to be filed by close of business. A motion for mistrial on novel grounds requiring immediate argument in the trial court. An oral argument time clock extended to accommodate a deluge of additional questions. Clients and trial counsel rely on Kirsten’s experience and ability to think on her feet to make the most of unexpected opportunities for advocacy.

At the other end of the spectrum, Kirsten also enjoys the craftsmanship involved in formulating issues, drafting briefs, and honing points for oral argument. Her appellate work has helped shape the law in several key areas, including class-action standards, statutory and constitutional issues, federal preemption boundaries, and procedural limitations in first-party insurance lawsuits.

Kirsten is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Her commitment to innovation and excellence has led to recognition by Chambers USA for Texas appellate litigation, Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation, Super Lawyers Texas Appellate list, and D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Appellate practice.

Kirsten is also passionate about advancing diversity in our profession, including current service as the officer liaison to the State Bar Appellate Section’s Diversity Committee and past service as ADJ’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer. She also currently serves on the State Bar Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committee, as Chair-Elect of the State Bar Appellate Section, and as Chair of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers.

+Court Admissions

Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas

State Bar of Texas

+Honors and Distinctions

Recognized by Chambers for Litigation: Appellate – Texas (Band 4)

Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation

Selected by BL Rankings to the Best Lawyers in America – Appellate (2020-2023)

Selected by Super Lawyers Texas Super Lawyers–Appellate (2016-2023) 

Selected by D Magazine to the Best Lawyers in Dallas—Appellate list (2016-2020, 2022-2024) 

Awarded Peer Review Rating of Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished

+Published Works and Presentations

Standing Chapter, A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions, Third Edition (ABA Book Publishing 2021) (co-author with Alex Wilson Albright)

Appellate Counsel and Injunction Proceedings, For the Defense (DRI February 2020) (co-author with Greg Castanias, James C. Martin, and Fred A. Rowley)

Five Critical Points to Propel Litigation Toward a Successful Conclusion, 22 The Woman Advocate Issue 1 (ABA Section of Litigation Winter 2016)

The Impact of Equitable Remedies on Litigation Analysis and Strategy, 71 The Advocate 51 (State Bar of Texas Litigation Section Summer 2016)

Pandemic Preservation: Practice Tips for Preserving Error Before, During, and After COVID-19, Panelist (31st Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals, June 10, 2021)

Texas Supreme Court Update, Moderator (Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section, May 19, 2021)

Has the COVID Pandemic Changed the Courtroom Forever?, Moderator of Judicial Panel (ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and Judicial Division Joint Conference, April 30, 2021)

Changes in the Amended Rules of Civil Procedure, Panelist (Dallas Bar Association Business Litigation Section, February 9, 2021; and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, January 13, 2021)

Jury Charge Update: How to Make the Jury Charge Work for You, Author/Speaker (State Bar of Texas Advanced Civil Trial Course, July 16, 2020)

Lights, Camera, Appellate Record: Preserving Error at Zoom Hearings, Panelist (Dallas, Austin, and Houston Bar Associations, April-May 2020)

Reel Appeal II:  You Can’t Handle the Truth, Or Can You?, Author/Panelist (Appellate Judges’ Education Institute, November 17, 2019)

+Professional Memberships

Chair (2022-23) and Executive Committee member (2008-16, 2018-20), ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers

Chair-Elect (2022-23), State Bar of Texas Appellate Section

Member (2017-present), Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committee, State Bar of Texas

Master (2020-present), Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court

Member and Immediate Past Chair (2022-23), Women Trial Lawyers Committee, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section

Woman Advocate Committee member (2016-present), ABA Section of Litigation

Member and Past Chair (2020), Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section

Board of Trustees member (2022-present), Texas Supreme Court Historical Society

Fellow, American Bar Foundation, Texas Bar Foundation, and Dallas Bar Foundation