M. Dawes Cooke, Jr.’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation, professional liability defense, and personal injury litigation. He is also a much sought after mediator and arbitrator. 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-Hubble 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 Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year in both 2011 and 2013. In 2012, he was named Personal Injury Litigation Litigator of the Year. 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 he was profiled in the April 2011 edition. He was ranked number one in South Carolina in 2014 and 2015. The South Carolina Association for Justice awarded Cooke 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 past president of the Charleston Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, past president of the Charleston County Bar Association, and past member of the South Carolina Bar Board of Governors. He currently serves as Secretary of the South Carolina Bar and chairman of South Carolina’s 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. 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 immediate past president of the Board of Directors of East Cooper Community Outreach and has served on the board since its inception 21 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.