By Leigh Thomas for The Island Eye News
Charleston attorney Dawes Cooke was installed as the 2018-19 president of the South Carolina Bar on Thursday, May 24, during the Bar’s House of Delegates meeting at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms. Judge Stephanie P. McDonald of the S.C. Court of Appeals administered the oath of office, and Cooke addressed the House on initiatives for the coming year.
Cooke is a member of Barnwell, Whaley, Patterson & Helms in Charleston, where his practice focuses on civil litigation, including professional liability, products liability, and commercial litigation. He is a sought-after mediator and arbitrator, frequently lecturing on the subject of alternative dispute resolution.
A native of Beaufort, Cooke received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, where he graduated with High Distinction. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina cum laude, and 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 Hon. Sol Blatt Jr., U.S. District Judge for South Carolina. He is past president of the Charleston chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, past president of the Charleston County Bar Association, past president of the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court, and past chair of the South Carolina Bar’s Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality. He is also a member of the Bar’s Dispute Resolution Section Council and Professional Liability Committee.
Cooke is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He holds a Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent rating, and The Best Lawyers in America has named him Mediation Lawyer of the Year, Arbitration Lawyer of the Year, Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year, and the Personal Injury Litigation Litigator of the Year. He is also recognized by Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation, and he is regularly listed in Super Lawyers as one of the top 10 attorneys in South Carolina, ranking first in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The S.C. Association for Justice awarded him the Worthy Adversary Award in 2013.
In addition to his leadership roles in the legal community, Cooke is past president of the Board of Directors of East Cooper Community Outreach and has served on that board since its inception in 1989. 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 is a former Rotarian of the Year. He and his wife, Helen, have three children and one grandchild.