• University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 1992
  • University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, B.S., 1989, with highest honors
Bar Admissions
  • Texas, 1992
  • Wisconsin, 1993, Inactive
  • United States Court of Appeals  Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Court Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
Shawn W. Phelan
Shawn W. Phelan Photo
Partner, Management Committee
700 North Pearl Street
Twenty-Fifth Floor - Plaza of the Americas
Dallas, Texas 75201
214-871-8245 direct  |  214-871-8209 fax
Dana Ward
214-880-2628 direct

Shawn Phelan regularly represents design professionals in litigation throughout Texas. He has defended cases involving architects (commercial, residential, and landscape), civil engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, construction managers, geotechnical engineers, surveyors, and design-build contractors.

Shawn’s clients have ranged from multi-national architectural and engineering firms working on multi-million dollar commercial and public works projects, to architects designing single family residences and small retail establishments. He also defends design professionals in administrative proceedings before Texas licensing regulators, and regularly consults with design professionals on contract issues and loss prevention measures.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained dismissal of claims against Colorado landscape architect on certificate of merit issue.
  • Obtained dismissal of claims against Minnesota structural engineer on jurisdictional grounds.
  • Represented national architectural firm in lawsuit involving the alleged defective design of a local courthouse.
  • Obtained dismissal of suit on behalf of structural engineer sued for errors in design of restaurant HVAC system.
  • Defended civil engineering firm in lawsuit by developer asserting errors in design of residential neighborhood preliminary plat.
  • Defended architect who designed “big box” retail establishment who sued owner for fees and drew a counterclaim for alleged design errors.
  • Obtained dismissal of lawsuit against North Carolina architect sued in Texas based upon lack of personal jurisdiction.
  • Defended structural engineer against claim that design error in remodeling of historic commercial building caused damage to owner.
  • Defended an architect sued for errors in design of hotel and alleged misrepresentations to owner regarding schedule for design work.
  • Represented prominent residential architect in claim asserted by homeowners.
  • Obtained summary judgment for civil engineer on claim asserted by homeowner and homeowners’ association for millions in damages as a result of alleged defective retaining walls.
  • Represented architect that designed local elementary school against claims asserted by school district and general contractor.
  • Obtained dismissal of claim against structural engineer who designed commercial building.

Professional and Community Activities
  • Member of the Professional Liability Underwriters Society
  • DRI Professional Liability Section
  • Member of Dallas Bar Association
Speeches and Presentations
  • Presented "Overview of Contract Law" at the Legal Issues for Texas Civil Engineers seminar on January 21, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.
  • Participated in a mock mediation session presented by Hanover Insurance at the A/E ProNet Spring Meeting 2015.
  • Presented "The Tripartite Relationship: What Is It? The Relationship Between The Insurer, Insured, And Defense Counsel” Thompson Coe's Texas Litigation Update 2014
  • Co-Presented "Ethics in Business Litigation" along with Randy Johnston at the Business Disputes 2013 seminar sponsored by the Texas Bar CLE.
  • Presented "Adopting Strategies to Minimize Liability Exposure" on July 31, 2012 at the Minimizing Engineering Liability Exposure seminar in Arlington, Texas.
  • Presented "Protect Yourself at All Times: Words Every Fighter and Lawyer Should Follow" on August 18, 2011 at the Advanced Consumer Law Course in Houston, Texas.
  • Presented at the McLaughlin Brunson Insurance Agency 2011 Loss Prevention & Risk Management Seminar on Design Professional liability issues and recent Texas case law affecting architects and engineers, April 20-21, 2011.
  • Presented “Avoiding and Defending a Malpractice Suit—Welcome to the Real World” on August 11, 2008 at the 2008 Advanced Family Law Course in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Presented "Avoiding Bad Faith and Responding to Stowers Demands" to Firemans Fund Insurance Company on October 1, 2007.
  • Regular speaker at Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) educational seminars, most recently on issues relating to construction observation, risk management, contract and other liability issues (2005-present).
  • Panel member at the 2006 Texas Society of Architects Annual Convention, case study presentation.
  • Presented “Pitfalls Under the Texas Securities Act” to the Securities Section of a Dallas law firm on July 29, 2004.
  • Presented “The New Grievance Process and Ethics Issues Criminal Defense Lawyers Encounter” to the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association on June 11, 2004.
  • Presented “Ethical Consideration and Legal Malpractice Prevention in Litigation” to the Plano Bar Association on January 2, 2004.
Professional Recognition
  • Named in Law & Politics magazine's Texas Super Lawyers® - Rising Stars list for 2004, 2005 and 2007.
  • “AV” Peer Review Rated by Martindale Hubbell.