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Carrie  Johnson Phaneuf


Attorney Grievance Defense
Legal Malpractice Defense
Commercial Litigation
Directors & Officers Litigation


SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas
J.D., cum laude, 1998
Order of the Coif

The University of Texas at Austin
B.A., with honors, 1995


  • Texas, 1998
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
Carrie Johnson Phaneuf
Tel: 214-220-5206
Fax: 214-220-5256
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Carrie Johnson Phaneuf's practice is devoted to professional liability defense, attorney grievance defense, commercial litigation and general tort litigation. She regularly represents Texas attorneys in grievance proceedings filed against them with the State Bar of Texas. Carrie also provides risk management consulting to her law firm clients.

Carrie’s approach to each representation is disciplined, thorough, and focused on the details. She understands the challenges facing professionals in their respective careers, so when she represents professionals, particularly attorneys, she is zealous and determined in championing their defense. A seasoned litigator, Carrie emphasizes strategy, beginning with an upfront discussion on the risks and costs of proceeding with litigation. She comes to the strategy session in command of the facts, familiar with the documents and the issues, and able to point out with confidence the strengths of her client’s position.


Representative Matters:

  • Obtained defense verdict in Dallas County District Court bench trial for a client sued by the State Bar of Texas in a case where State Bar alleged client had engaged in improper solicitation of personal injury clients.
  • Obtained a take nothing summary judgment in favor of law firm and attorney of claims of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.  Summary Judgment was affirmed on appeal.
  • Obtained a take nothing summary judgment in favor of law firm and attorney on claims of negligent misrepresentation and assisting, participating in and conspiring to commit shareholder oppression and breach of fiduciary duties.  Summary judgment was affirmed on appeal.
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict for large product manufacturer in U.S. District Court against allegations of products liability.
  • Successfully defended over 100 grievance matters for clients before the State Bar of Texas resulting in no finding of discipline.
  • Obtained summary judgment for attorney client that no attorney-client relationship existed with the plaintiff based on an alleged referral made during a lunch meeting. Trial court’s summary judgment decision was affirmed on appeal. 
  • Successfully argued in a contested evidentiary hearing in United States bankruptcy court that a debtor’s homestead exemption was capped under 11 § 522(p)(1) because the debtor acquired the property by virtue of distribution deed as part of a settlement during the 1,215 day look back period. The bankruptcy court’s decision, which was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, made significant funds available for distribution to the creditors of the bankruptcy estate that would not have otherwise been available. 
  • Obtained a dismissal for an attorney client of a grievance filed against him with the Executive Office of Immigration Review at the Department of Justice.


  • "The Best Lawyers in America" by BL Rankings, LLC. in Professional Malpractice Law-Defendants  2021
  • Named "Top 50 Women Attorneys in Texas" by Thomson Reuters, 2019, 2020
  • Named to "D" Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2014, 2016 to present
  • Named Texas "Rising Star" by Thomson Reuters, 2006 - 2012
  • Named a "Super Lawyer" by Thomson Reuters, 2013 - 2020

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  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Texas Bar College, Member, 2021
  • Texas Bar Foundation Fellow, 2020-2021
  • University of Texas at Austin, College of Liberal Arts, Advisory Board, 2020-2021
  • Dallas Bar Association, Business Litigation Section, Member
  • Perot Museum of Nature & Science, Advisory Board and Legal Committee
  • Texas Lawyers Insurance Exchange, Board of Directors
  • Hockaday Alumnae Association, Member
  • DRI, The Voice of The Defense Bar


  • Speaker – Dallas Bar Association, Ethics Fest, May 10, 2012, “Multijurisdictional Law Practice and Cross Boarder Representation” 
  • Speaker – Hockaday Alumnae Lawyers Affinity Group, September 19, 2014, “Engaging the Client” 
  • Speaker- Dallas Women’s Law Association, September 24, 2015, “Engaging the Client” 
  • Speaker – CLE for Texas Lawyers’ Insurance Exchange, January 4, 2016, “Engaging the Client” 
  • Presentation – Dallas Bar Association, Transition to Law Practice, May 2, 2016, “Malpractice Traps for the Beginning Lawyer” 
  • Article – “I received a letter from the State Bar of Texas. What do I do now?”, Fall 2016, Texas Lawyers’ Insurance Exchange Blog 
  • Presentation – Rockwall Bar Association, January 18, 2017, “Practical Tips for Client Engagement and Disengagement”
  • Presentation, Texas Tech Law School, Externship Class, February 1, 2017
  • Presentation, Dallas Bar Association, Transition to Law Practice, June 8, 2017, “Malpractice Traps for the Beginning Lawyer”
  • Presentation, Baylor University, Legal MapMaker, August 17, 2017, “Avoiding Malpractice and Disciplinary Actions”
  • Presentation, Baylor University, Legal MapMaker, August 15, 2018, “Avoiding Malpractice”
  • Speaker, Women’s White Collar Defense Association, February 27, 2020, “Tips to Avoid Malpractice and Grievances”
  • Speaker, Attorneys Serving the Community, ASC Goes to School, April 9, 2020, “Tips to Avoid Malpractice and Grievances”
  • Presentation, Texas Bar CLE webcast, November 10, 2020, “Handling your first legal malpractice claim from soup to nuts.”
  • Co-Author and Presenter, “The Dirty Dozen: The Last 12 (or so) Unfortunate Cases”, Chapter 10, State Bar of Texas 10th Annual Advanced Trial Strategies, February 4, 2021
  • Co-Presenter, "The Ethics of Practicing Law Remotely,"  American Bar Association, Live Webinar, April 29, 2021