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
    School (1991)

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. 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 for Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation since 2020. 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.

+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 (2020-2022)

Selected by Super Lawyers Texas Super Lawyers–Appellate (2016-2021) 

Selected by D Magazine to the Best Lawyers in Dallas—Appellate list (2017-2020, 2022) 

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

Vice-Chair, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section (2021)

Immediate Past Chair, Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section (2021)

Member of Court Rules Committee (2016-present) and Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committee (2017-present), State Bar of Texas

Women Trial Lawyers Committee Chair, and Law Practice and Legal Department Management Task Force Vice-Chair, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (2021-Present)

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

Chair-Elect (202-present) and Executive Committee member (2008-16, 2018-20), ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers

Master (2020-present), Barrister (2016-2019), Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court

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