MAXIMIZING RESULTS BY MINIMIZING CONFLICT

Esther R. Donald on divorcing with dignity:

As a parent and stepparent who understands the realities of divorce, I know that lawyers can do more harm than good.  My clients appreciate that I blend my life experiences and collaborative training with logic, patience, and persuasion to move even the most emotional family law cases toward a more positive and peaceful future.  I believe that my clients and their families deserve a lawyer who listens closely, asks the right questions, and works tirelessly to exceed expectations.  The high road is the best place to respectfully resolve family law disputes; it is my privilege to guide clients who want to walk this path.

How we do it:

  • My clients and I set realistic goals. Clients provides their history and the facts of their current situation. I apply my understanding of the law and years of experience to help identify an achievable outcome. Together we move past the conflict to create a better future.
  • We use restraint and good judgment.  We focus on interests rather than positions, considering all the options before moving forward.
  • We utilize the collaborative process whenever possible.  The collaborative law process allows for customized co-parenting plans, transparent identification and valuation of assets, creative property division and support, and an atmosphere of confidentiality and respect.  I urge my clients to utilize this process for divorce, modification, and premarital agreements.
  • We keep our eyes on the prize.  Even if the collaborative process is not the right fit for a particular situation, my experience as a credentialed collaborative lawyer provides tools to resolve family law disputes outside the courtroom. Negotiated settlements produce the most favorable financial outcomes with minimal collateral damage to children.
  • We partner with litigators when there are no other options. Despite my strong commitment to the philosophy and practice of collaborative law, there are rare cases in which agreement is not possible.  In these instances, I join forces with the firm’s talented family law litigators.

Professional experience and credentials

Esther has immersed herself in the collaborative law model and was recently distinguished as a Credentialed Collaborative Divorce Lawyer, one of a select few in the state.  She chaired the Dallas Bar Association’s Collaborative Law Section and continues to develop her skills via active involvement with Collaborative Divorce Collin County.  Esther served the State Bar of Texas as the Assistant Course Director for the Annual Collaborative Law Course in March 2021 and is honored to be named Course Director for 2022.  Her emphasis on cooperative and collaborative family law solutions has led to her recognition as a “Best Lawyer” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Family Law in 2017- 2021 and as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2016-2020.

Personal

Esther earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas, where she served as Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review.  She is now a proud Texas Longhorn and Tulane Green Wave parent, a member of Temple Emanu-El, and a passionate advocate for helping clients divorce differently, with compassion and dignity.

Areas of Practice

Education

  • University of Texas School of Law, 1988
    • J.D., Law
    • Texas Law Review, Associate Editor
  • University of Texas at Austin, 1985
    • B.A., English with Honors

Honors & Awards

  • Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Family Law, Woodward and White Press, 2017 – 2021
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Thomson Reuters, 2016 – 2019

Bar Admissions

  • Licensed to Practice in Texas 1988
  • Admitted to practice in Northern District of Texas
  • Admitted to practice in Eastern District of Texas

Professional Associations

  • Annette Stewart Inn of Court
    • Member, 2013 – 2019
  • Collaborative Divorce Texas (f/k/a Collaborative Law Institute of Texas)
    • Member
    • Spring Course, 2016 and 2018
    • Basic Training, 2016
    • Advanced Training, 2018 and 2019
  • Collin County Bar Association, ADR/ Collaborative Law and Family Law Section
    • Member
  • Collaborative Divorce Collin County
    • Member, 2020
  • Curt B. Henderson American Inn of Court
    • Member, 2020
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section
    • Member
  • Dallas Bar Association, Collaborative Law Section
    • Member
    • Vice Chair, 2018 – 2019
    • Chair, 2019 – 2020
  • Dallas Bar Foundation
    • Fellow, 2019
  • State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section
    • Member
  • Texas Family Law Foundation
    • Member

Related Articles