Jim Dunnam Waco Attorney at Dunnam & Dunnam

Jim Dunnam is a Board Certified Specialist in both Civil Trial Law and Family Law.  Jim was born and has spent his entire life in Waco.  He graduated from Baylor University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and from Baylor Law School in 1987 with a Juris Doctor degree.

Since being licensed to practice law in 1988, Jim has worked as a member of Dunnam & Dunnam, where he is a partner. A considerable portion of Jim’s time outside the office is spent working with his Labrador Retrievers, Daisy and Willow – frisbee being the preferred game of choice. Daisy and Willow are also weekly fixtures in Jim’s office as the Dunnam & Dunnam unofficial mascots. Jim has been married to his wife, Michelle, for more 35 years, and the have three children and two grandchildren.

Jim represents both plaintiffs and defendants. And although he has obtained dismissals, summary judgments, and take-nothing verdicts in high-stakes cases as a defense lawyer, some of his biggest wins for the plaintiff include the following.

  • $27.5 million settlement in matter involving the close head injury of a two-week-old child. Read about this case as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald, KCEN-TV, Meat & Poultry Magazine and Topverdict.com.
  • A reported $15 million settlement in a matter involving the death and injuries of ATF agents in the Branch Davidian raid. Read about this case on Justia.com.
  • $3.6 million verdict for intellectual property and breach of contract matter. Read about this case as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald.
  • $1.6 million verdict in malicious prosecution case. Read about this case on Justia.com.
  • $1.5 million verdict in wrongful termination case.
  • $1.5 million settlement reported for the injuries caused by a straw purchase of a gun at a pawn shop. Read about this case as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald, and MoreLaw.com.
  • $800 thousand verdict for motorcycle driver with broken femur involved in collision with a car.

We are proud of Jim’s results reported above, but please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Each matter depends on the facts of the case.

Jim was named Young Lawyer of the Year by Baylor University in 2001. Voters have named Jim one of Waco’s Best Trial Lawyers and Best Business Lawyers in Wacoan Magazine on multiple occasions.. He is AV Rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and regularly selected as Super Lawyer. Among other positions, Jim has served on the Texas Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee and the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee. During that time, he oversaw the full evaluation and re-authorization of the State Bar of Texas and the State Board of Law Examiners.  Jim is a member of numerous organizations, including the Masonic Lodge, York and Scottish Rites and the Karem Shrine.  He is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

In addition to being licensed to appear before the Texas Supreme Court and all other Texas Courts, he is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.  He is also licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado.

Jim is a Public Policy Fellow through the University of Texas School of Law Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, a Credentialed Mediator in the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association, and a member of the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association.

Jim Dunnam has been certified as a specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the practice of Civil Trial Law since 1994 and Family Law since 1995.  Only about 1 percent of lawyers are board certified in these specialties. In addition to those two specialties, he engages in the practice of Appellate LawBusiness LawCommercial LawConsumer LawCriminal Law, Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, and Personal Injury Law.

During his 14 years as a Texas State Representative, Jim served on the House Select Committee on Judicial Interpretation of the Law and the House committee responsible for oversight of Family Law and the Texas Family Code.  Jim has received numerous awards and recognitions, including:

  • 2022 Best Trial Lawyer, Wacoan Magazine
  • 2020 Best Trial Lawyer, Wacoan Magazine
  • 2019 Best Trial Lawyer, Wacoan Magazine
  • 2019 Best Business Lawyer, Wacoan Magazine
  • AV Rated Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters 
  • 2011 Star of Texas Award, Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom
  • Named one of “The Most Influential Lawmakers of 2009” by the Associated Press
  • Called “The Third Most Powerful Member of the Texas House in 2009” by Capitol Inside Online Magazine
  • Honored as one of the 2007 “Ten Best Legislators” by Capitol Inside Online Magazine
  • Designated as a 2007 “Honorable Mention” by Texas Monthly Magazine
  • Received the 2007 “Smart on Crime Award” from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
  • Named one of the 2005 “Ten Best Legislators” by Capitol Inside Online Magazine
  • Named one of the 2003 “Ten Best Legislators” by Capitol Inside Online Magazine
  • Named one of the 2003 “Top Five in the House” by GalleryWatch
  • Called a 2003 “Legislative Star” by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association
  • Recognized as the 2002 “Champion for Children” by the Equity Center
  • Named as the 2001 “Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year” by Baylor Law School 
  • Named one of the 2001 “Ten Best Legislators” by Texas Monthly Magazine
  • Named one of the 2001 “Top Five in the House” by GalleryWatch
  • Called “The 2001 Star of Texas” by Common Cause Texas
  • Designated as the “Statewide 2001 Texas PTA Legislator of the Year” by Texas PTA
  • Recognized as a 2001 “Heart of Honor” by the American Heart Association
  • Called a 2001 “Friend of Education” by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association
  • Received the 2001 Legislative Leadership Award from the National Associations of Allstate, State Farm, and United Farmers Agents
  • Recognized as a “Comer” in the 1999 Texas Monthly – Best Legislators Edition
  • Received the 1999 “Golden Apple Award” from Texas Mid-Size School Association
  • Won the 1999 “Excellence in Leadership Award” from the Texas Association of Rural Schools
  • Named the 1999 “Texas PTA Legislative Guardian – District 12” by Texas PTA
  • Honored as the 1999 “Honorary Life Member” by the Texas Association of Community Schools
  • Received the 1999 “Distinguished Service Award” from the Vocational Agriculture Teacher Association
  • Awarded “Special Recognition” in 1999 by the Texas Rural Education Association

What clients say about Jim Dunnam’s work


“We do business all over the world and in all 50 states and the need to hire litigation counsel that can win and is well-connected with the local bench and bar is paramount.  Over my career, I have hired hundreds of lawyers across the globe and still do to this day.  Jim Dunnam is one of the very finest trial lawyers I have ever hired.  Jim is world-class in every sense and has handled our litigation counsel needs for everything from complex intellectual property cases, breach of contract claims, employment matters, and beyond.  His ability to advocate for his client in the complex world of Waco federal court to the everyday battle in the McLennan County state courts is second to none.  If you are looking for a litigation counsel here in the Western District of Texas, search no further, Jim is your man!”


Grayson Brown, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Neighborly (the world’s largest home services franchisor with over 3,700 franchisees and $2B+ in system sales).

“I have been called as expert witnesses in the past to help some people and we are always proud to help. The thing that shocked me and I have to make sure I don’t say more than I should for privacy reasons. I heard Mr Jim Dunnam talking to (who I later come to find out is a partner in the firm) Mr. Thomas West, I witnessed them do something I never thought I would hear an attorney do and that was to tell his assistant (who I found out to be Nicole) to lower the firms fees because They needed it more than him. I asked him about this later when he thanked me for helping out and he told me this “the money I gave up isn’t going to change my day to day life but it is life changing for them”. If I ever need law services they will be my go to dudes! I could tell it really bothered him and what they were going thru. It bummed him out. What’s this…..? A couple of lawyers with a heart? Imagine that. I was impressed. You don’t have to use them but you better hope you are never against them! I’ve seen it! Dude they will sneak up on ya and then you have been “GOT”. Good heart Mr. Dunnam and Mr. West!!! Good heart!!”

Jimmy Meeks

“I have known Jim Dunnam for 30 years, back in the day when it was unheard of for the man to get custody of the kids during a divorce Jim fought for me and got custody of both my children for me, if you are lucky enough to have Jim as your attorney then you have the piece of mind knowing he will fight for your case till the very end, a stand up guy who tells you straight up front what your facing and what he can do for you, I highly recommend Jim Dunnam to anyone who is in need of an attorney for any circumstance.”
Greg Key

“I highly recommend the Dunnam Law Firm.  I have been using the firm for my personal as well as my business, CTWP, for many years.  They are able to successfully take care of all my legal needs.  They are very easy  to communicate with.”

David L. Willie, President, CTWP


“The law firm of Dunnam & Dunnam is the very best in Texas.  When it comes to the law, the knowledge and vast experience exhibited by this firm is paramount. When you want the best to advise and represent you in any situation,  search no further than Dunnam & Dunnam.”

Dr. David Rhoden