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, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 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 has named him a "Lawyer of the Year" numerous in multiple practice areas from arbitration and mediation to bet the company litigation. Benchmark Litigation has named him as a Local Litigation Star numerous years 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. Super Lawyers has ranked him the number one lawyer in South Carolina multiple years.
Dawes Cooke is the immediate past president of the South Carolina Bar and is past president of the Charleston chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Charleston County Bar Association, and the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court, and past chair of the South Carolina Bar’s Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality. He formerly served on the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender selection committee, and as the Governor’s appointee to the South Carolina Automobile Liability Insurance Study Committee.
He currently serves as a member of the Dispute Resolution Section Council of the South Carolina Bar. 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.
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.
In addition Cooke is past president of the Board of Directors of East Cooper Community Outreach and has served on the board since its inception. 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.