About Dan Lawton

Dan is a writer and practicing lawyer based in San Diego, California. Dan’s short fiction and columns have appeared in The Recorder, Sheepshead Review, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and The Daily Transcript, for which he wrote a biweekly column, “On Law.” Copies of all of these pieces are available on your request. “Above The Ground: The Kevin Barry Artt Story,” is Dan’s first work of narrative nonfiction.

Examples of Dan's Published Works

  • “A Lion in Winter: Senior Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace at 92” (California Litigation, vol. 34, no. 3, January 2022)
  • “The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law” (book review) California Litigation, vol. 34, no. 1 (April 2021)
  • “Annexation, Legally Speaking (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 20, 2019)
  • “The Most Newsworthy Part of a Person’s Entire Life” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 29, 2019)
  • “Freshly Cut Grass and Protective Netting” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 3, 2018)
  • “Open NCAA Basketball Tournament to all Teams” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 16, 2018)
  • “Which Office Do I Go to to Get My Reputation Back?” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 15, 2017)
  • “Players’ Protests a Pointless, Costless Joke” (The Daily Transcript, October 3, 2017)
  • “San Diego’s Marvelous, Artless New Courthouse” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 9, 2017)
  • “The Elephant in the Originalism Room” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 17, 2017)
  • “Awaiting an Apology: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara (The Daily Transcript, April 14, 2017)
  • “Lawyer, Lawyer, Pants On Fire” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 13, 2017)
  • “Telling Truth About Racial Profiling” (San Diego Union-Tribune, August 5, 2016)
  • “Springsteen’s – and Trump’s – America” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 21, 2016)
  • “Somehow We All Made it Through Last Monday: Tax Day” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 26, 2016)
  • “American Exceptionalism and Michael Townley” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 8, 2016)
  • “End the Incivility Plague in Our Profession” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 4, 2015)
  • “Sometimes, Lawyers Work Against Human Rights” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 19, 2015)
  • “Brady Tosses Lawyers Some Lessons” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 5, 2015)
  • “Lawyers Turned Venture Capitalists: A Cautionary Tale” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 17, 2015)
  • “The Hated, Caustic, and Honest Scalia” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 10, 2015)
  • “The Frontiers of Golf, Law and Capital Markets” (San Diego Daily Transcript, June 24, 2015)
  • “Cochran Legacy a Model for Young Lawyers” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 10, 2015)
  • “Take A Closer Look at Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 27, 2015)
  • “A Major Moment for the Major Leagues” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 22, 2015)
  • “Untouchable: The Problem of Prosecutorial Misconduct (San Diego Daily Transcript, April 8, 2015)
  • “Ending Prosecutorial Unaccountability (Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 2, 2015)
  • “SDSU: No. 1 In Your Heart, No. 64 in the Classroom (San Diego Daily Transcript, March 25, 2015)
  • “Lessons in Business, Courage, and Service” (The Daily Transcript, March 10, 2015)
  • “I Dare You, Mr. Mayor” (The Daily Transcript, January 23, 2015)
  • “Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 29, 2014)
  • “What Would Jesús Do?” (The Sheepshead Review, Fall 2014)
  • “John Lennon and His American Lawyer” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, December 2, 2013)
  • “Moving Your Law Offices: Too Much Stuff,” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 22, 2013)
  • “Lessons Abound from Peace Accord Negotiations” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 24, 2013)
  • “The Devilish Things Courts Do” (The Recorder, May 13, 2013)
  • “Torturous Logic, Ten Years Later” (The Recorder, May 6, 2013)
  • “Norb Ehrenfreund and the International Criminal Court” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 7, 2013)
  • “Fraud Statute Invites Bogus Corruption Charges” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 30 and November 5, 2012)
  • “Sister Kathleen Marie and the Code of Canon Law” (San Diego Source – the Daily Transcript, July 30, 2012)
  • “Andy Griffith, William Rehnquist, and a ‘Man in a Hurry’” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 9, 2012)
  • “Flood v. Kuhn: Fortieth Anniversary of Justice versus the Law” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 29-30, 2012)
  • “Thomas Tang, Robert Boochever, and the War between Justice and Law” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 29, 31, 2011)
  • “Drama at the Diamond: The Donnelly Pine Tar Incident of 2005” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 25-26, 2011)
  • “An Open Letter from Frank McCourt to Bud Selig” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 28, 2011)
  • “A Lawyer Looks at Fifty” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 22, 2011)
  • “The Day Lawyers Took Over Baseball” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 17-18, 2010)
  • “Untouchable” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 29, 2010)
  • “The Great Fire Sale” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 17-18, 2010)
  • “For Lawyers and Politicians Alike, Regret Can Be a Valuable Thing” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 9, 2009)
  • “Beyond Civility Codes” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 14, 2007)
  • “Living in an Age of Phony Apologies” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 24, 2004)
  • “Fair Shake? Arbitration Industry Has No Incentive to Reform a System That Serves It Well” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 24, 2002)
  • “Torts Need No Reform; Laws Already Protect Real Victims” (Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 4, 2001)

Education & Experience

Dan attended Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned his law degree and served as an editor of the American Criminal Law Review. Afterward, Dan served for one year as a law clerk to the late Ninth Circuit Judge Thomas Tang in Phoenix, Arizona. Dan practiced law with the San Diego office of Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP for eight years before launching his own law practice in downtown San Diego in 1995. Dan operated Lawton Law Firm for twenty-four years after that, training several young lawyers (all of whom were his law students). In 2018, Dan put his full-time law practice on hold in order to take a sixteen-month sabbatical, which he devoted to researching and writing “Above The Ground.” In late 2019, Dan joined the San Diego office of Klinedinst PC, where he practices today in the firm’s appellate and professional liability practice groups.

Dan is certified as a legal specialist in Appellate Law by the State Bar’s California Board of Legal Specialization), a distinction held by about three dozen attorneys in San Diego County.

Dan’s professional memberships include these: Member, Editorial Board, California Litigation (2019-); Member, San Diego Appellate Inn of Court (2020-); Master, J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court, 2011-; President, Thomas More Society, 2007-2009; Member, San Diego County Bar Assn. Committee on Civility, Professionalism and Integrity (2007-2008).

Dan is admitted to practice before and has practiced in the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal, Ninth, and Fifth Circuits, all U.S. District Courts in California, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, and the California courts.

In his spare time, Dan worked for several years as a volunteer in the Family Literacy Program at St. Vincent De Paul Village in San Diego and at Mama’s Kitchen (a non-profit agency which delivers meals to men, women and children affected by AIDS and other critical illnesses). He has also served as a mentor at Nativity Prep Academy (a tuition-free, inner-city Catholic middle school for at-risk children in Logan Heights).

Recognition & Awards

The State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization has certified Dan as a legal specialist in Appellate Law, a distinction held by 36 lawyers in San Diego County.

In January 2009, Dan learned of his nomination for inclusion in 2009 San Diego Super Lawyers based on anonymous peer evaluation. He was so honored again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in the primary practice area of intellectual property litigation.