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M. Dawes Cooke, Jr

M. Dawes Cooke, Jr.

Member Attorney

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Contact Karen Jessee, legal assistant for Mr. Cooke

Dawes Cooke’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation, professional liability defense, and personal injury litigation. He is also a much sought after mediator and arbitrator, and he frequently lectures on the subject of alternative dispute resolution. He is admitted to the South Carolina Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar. Cooke is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He holds a Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent rating (the highest, formerly called AV), and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, personal injury litigation for defendants, personal injury litigation for plaintiffs, arbitration, and mediation. Best Lawyers named Cooke the Mediation Lawyer of the Year for 2018, the Arbitration Lawyer of the Year for 2014 and 2017 and the Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2016. In 2012, he was named Personal Injury Litigation Litigator of the Year. Chambers USA recognizes Cooke for his work in the areas of complex civil disputes, professional liability defense and personal injury litigation.  Benchmark Litigation has named him as a Local Litigation Star in 2012 and 2013 in the areas of insurance, product liability, medical malpractice, and construction. He is also regularly listed in Super Lawyers as one of the top 10 attorneys in the state of South Carolina, and was selected as the number one attorney in the state in 2014, 2015 and 2016.  In 2017 he was selected as the number two attorney in South Carolina.   Super Lawyers profiled Cooke in the April 2011 edition. The South Carolina Association for Justice awarded him the “Worthy Adversary Award” in 2013.

A native of Beaufort, South Carolina, Cooke received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, where he majored in Philosophy and graduated with High Distinction. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina cum laude, where he served as Clerk of Court for the Society of Wig and Robe and as Symposium Editor of the University of South Carolina Law Review. In 1993, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. Cooke served as a law clerk for the Honorable Sol Blatt, Jr., U.S. District Judge for South Carolina and as a governor’s appointee to the South Carolina Joint Legislative Automobile Insurance Study Committee. He is currently president-elect of the South Carolina Bar and is past president of the Charleston Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, past president of the Charleston County Bar Association, and past president of the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court. He is past chairman of the South Carolina Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality and is a member of the Dispute Resolution Section Council of the South Carolina Bar. He is also on the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender selection committee, in addition to serving as a member of the board of directors for the Charleston County Public Defender. Cooke is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference and a member of the Defense Research Institute, the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

In addition to his leadership roles within the legal community, Cooke is active in civil society. He is a past president of the Board of Directors of East Cooper Community Outreach and has served on the board since its inception 27 years ago. He has been honored with ECCO’s Stone Soup Award for outstanding service. Additionally, he has served as president of the East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club and vice chairman of the Rotary District 7770 Gift of Life Board of Directors. He is a former Rotarian of the Year.

awards logos for attorney Dawes Cooke including Benchmark Litigation, Chambers USA, Martindale Hubbell AV rated attorney,Super Lawyers and AM Best recommended


logos for Dawes Cooke, Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year for Charleston for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016











M. Dawes Cooke, Jr.
Practice areas

Accounting malpractice defense
Administrative law
Alternative dispute resolution
Commercial litigation
Construction litigation
Legal malpractice defense
Medical malpractice defense
Insurance coverage
Products liability
Civil litigation
Appellate practice
Directors & officers liability
Restaurant and hospitality law

Professional memberships

Charleston County Bar Association
(past president)
South Carolina Bar Association
(2017-2018 president-elect;
past member, Board of Governors)
American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
American Board of Trial Advocates
(past president, Charleston Chapter)
American Association for Justice
SC Defense Trial Attorneys Association
Defense Research Institute
American Health Lawyers Association
International Association of Defense Counsel
James L. Petigru American Inn of Court (past president)
South Carolina Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality (past chairman)
National Association of College and University Attorneys
Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, permanent member

Bachelor of Arts
with High Distinction
University of Virginia
Juris Doctorate
cum laude
University of South Carolina

Court admissions

All South Carolina courts
United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Supreme Court


Alternative Dispute Resolution Mandatory in Charleston County, Charleston Mercury, 2013

“The Supreme Court Reaffirms Its Commitment to Liberal Enforcement of Arbitration Clauses” as published in the International Association of Defense Counsel Newsletter, February, 2012

South Carolina Super Lawyers Profile Article: “Cool Under Fire”

Charleston Post-Courier Profile: Attorney Balances Professional, Personal Life

South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association Defense Line, “How to Win at Mediation”

“Defending Medical Malpractice Cases”, South Carolina Bar Practice Manual, 2001.

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Best Lawyers Award Badge