Lawdragon Magazine: The 2021 Plaintiff Issue

Page 116


His successful track record sprouted from an impressive background: After serving as a Merchant Marine Deck Offi cer and in a federal appellate clerkship position, Charest cut his teeth at the storied Susman Godfrey, building a dexterous practice on both the plaintiff and defense sides. Five years ago, Charest hung his own shingle alongside Warren Tavares Burns, forming the Dallas-based Burns Charest – and they’ve been exceptionally busy ever since. Lawdragon: Will you describe for our readers the mix of work you do within your litigation practice? Daniel Charest: My practice reaches from oil and gas contract disputes to class actions on behalf of detained immigrants to toxic tort cases for asbestos-exposed workers to international arbitrations over offshore drilling rights to condemnation cases for mass flooding events. The only constant is complex, high-stakes litigation. LD: Quite the scope! What led you to develop this type of broad litigation practice?




stakes litigation. Reflecting his adopted home of Texas, his work in oil and gas has been expansive, from royalty matters to contract disputes to offshore drilling rights. He recently achieved a crucial international arbitration award for Kosmos Energy, securing a multimillion-dollar award and deepwater drilling rights for the company off the coast of Africa. But his oil and gas work presents just one area of large, complex cases in which Charest has built a track record and continues to excel. To name two recent standout examples, Charest also served as co-lead counsel in a $52M settlement on behalf of Facebook’s content moderators, and won a critical trial on behalf of property owners in Houston surrounding damages and relief from Hurricane Harvey, which is reported as the largest takings case in U.S. history. 110


DC: As a young lawyer, I joined a successful litigation boutique that focused on developing trial skills while maintaining a generalist perspective with respect to subject matter. We have continued that perspective. LD: What keeps you excited about the work? What motivates you? DC: Winning. And the fight. Exposing the flaws of the other side’s argument through cross examination. But also learning about the many subjects of litigation. I enjoy every aspect of the trial practice and try to excel at them all. LD: Looking back at your career so far, is there a case or matter that stands out as seminal? DC: As a young partner in my first firm, we tried an oil and gas case that involved many different aspects of the oil and gas world. It was my first trial as a major contributor. I learned so much about the industry, the trial practice and myself. I think of that experience as my dissertation. It helped transform me into the lawyer I am now. LD: Five years ago, you founded your first firm. What was that experience like? DC: Going from a partner position at a successful firm to founding a brand new firm was not a comfortable move. But we have built a vibrant practice and provide excellent service to our clients. It has been an amazing ride!


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