Paula Sweeney

Of Counsel

Paula Sweeney focuses on cases involving complex medical and scientific issues. She has been a leader in the field of healthcare liability litigation (medical malpractice) for decades, and still takes a few cases in that field, along with work on pharmaceutical and prescription liability cases. Paula is well known for her powerful cross-examination skills and her expertise in handling complex cases involving catastrophic injury and complicated medical issues.

Practice Areas

Catastrophic Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Paula Sweeney

Of Counsel

Paula Sweeney focuses on cases involving complex medical and scientific issues. She has been a leader in the field of healthcare liability litigation (medical malpractice) for decades, and still takes a few cases in that field, along with work on pharmaceutical and prescription liability cases. Paula is well known for her powerful cross-examination skills and her expertise in handling complex cases involving catastrophic injury and complicated medical issues.

Practice Areas

Catastrophic Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Professional Background

Education

Publications

Community

Notable Cases

Paula came to Slack Davis Sanger from the Dallas law firm Howie & Sweeney, which she founded with John Howie in 1995. Paula and John practiced together until his death in December 2002. A frequent teacher and invited lecturer for legal, medical, and other professional groups across Texas and much of the United States, Paula was named a Legend of Trial Law by the Dallas Bar Association as well as its 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year.

In the courtroom, Paula's skills as a cross-examiner have been described as “relentless” and “driven”; as one defense lawyer put it, “Paula is like a heat-seeking missile.” Paula has been a Martindale-Hubbell AV®-rated attorney for more than 25 years and has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1986. She has also received the Gene Cavin Award from the State Bar of Texas for lifetime commitment to continuing legal education. Paula is licensed to practice law in Texas and Montana.

  • J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law
  • B.A., The University of Dallas
  • "Presenting Complex Evidence" (State Bar of Texas [SBOT] Advanced Trial Skills Course, 2020)
  • "Case Law Update" (SBOT Advanced Health Care Liability Course, 2020)
  • "Health Care Liability Update" (SBOT Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, 2019)
  • "Trends in Health Care Liability Litigation" (Texas Trial Lawyers Association Annual Meeting, 2019)
  • "Health Care Liability Update" (SBOT Personal Injury Law Course, 2000–present)
  • "Cross Examination of Hostile Witnesses" (SBOT, 2014–present)
  • "Cross Examination of the Technical, Difficult or Uncooperative Witness" (SBOT, 2016)
  • "Case Law Update" (SBOT, 2016)
  • "The Perfect Storm: Strategies for Difficult Witnesses" (SBOT panel presentation, 2016)
  • "Preparation and Trial of Medical Malpractice and Pharmacy Products Cases" (Montana Trial Lawyers Association Annual Summer Convention, 2015)
  • "Making and Responding to Daubert Challenges — Perspectives from a Civil Lawyer" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Trial Lawyer Tips, Techniques and Observations By and For Women Litigators" (Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, 2015)
  • "Advanced Settlement — Why Your Case Won’t Settle" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Case Law Update Mega Trends" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Complex Evidence" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Complex Litigation" (University of Montana School of Law, 2014)
  • "Women in the Courtroom" (Dallas Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section, 2014)
  • "Dealing with the Difficult Attorney" (Dallas Bar Association Judiciary Committee Panel Discussion, 2014)
  • "Cross Examination of the Difficult Witness" (SBOT Annual Meeting, 2014)
  • "Medical Malpractice Update: Themes and Mega-Trends" (SBOT, 2014)
  • "Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Witnesses" (SBOT, 2014)
  • "ABOTA Masters in Trial — Cutting Edge Cross Examination" (SBOT 30th Annual Litigation Update Institute, 2014)
  • "Cross Examination" (Texas Trial Lawyers Association [TTLA} Advanced PI Seminar, 2013)
  • "Tales From the Crypt" (TTLA Legends CLE, 2013)
  • "Medical Malpractice Update" (SBOT, 2013)
  • "Cross Examination" (SBOT, 2013)
  • "Tort Reform Update" (Baylor School of Law General Practice Institute, 2013)
  • "Case Law Update" (SBOT Advanced Medical Torts, 2013)
  • "The Seventh Amendment — What’s Left of it in Texas" (TTLA Best Kept Trial Secrets, 2013)
  • "The Art and Practice of Cross Examination" (SBOT Webinar, 2013)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Trial Advocacy College of Texas, Faculty Member (2014)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates — Dallas Chapter, President (2000)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1998)
  • State Bar of Texas, Director (1992–1995)
  • Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1991)
  • American Association for Justice, Governor (1990–1992)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • International Society of Barristers
  • Innocence Project (Montana), Founding Director
  • University of Dallas, Board of Trustees
  • SMU Dedman School of Law, Board of Law School Governors

[notable_cases]

  • "Thank you again for all of your good help. Since losing Nick, the love of my life, it has been an emotional roller coaster, but I am making progress and standing strong as he would want me to do. Aside from all of the other estate things I have had to attend to, through this law case, your efficient and thoughtful communications have been very kind and helpful. You have performed your job perfectly."

    Sandra T.

    Client
  • "When friends contacted me about the needless death of their daughter in a hospital, I knew we wanted Paula Sweeney as their advocate.  Paula was compassionate, professional and aggressive.  Her tireless efforts resulted in a settlement that exceeded expectations.  Her expertise in medical malpractice is unsurpassed and it was a great pleasure to work with her."

    Thomas C. Riney

    Riney & Mayfield LLP
  • "After a lengthy stay in medical facilities and medical trauma, approaching a medical negligence claim or lawsuit was a daunting task for me. I was aware of Ms. Sweeney's reputation as a very highly regarded medical negligence lawyer and inquired whether she would be willing to take on my case. I knew it was a hard one since I had a complicated medical situation. My experience was excellent. Ms. Sweeney and her staff were totally professional and I cannot think of one time that I did not hear back from them the same day if I wrote or called, always with explanations for any questions I had.   I was kept fully updated on the status of my case. I felt so comfortable with Ms. Sweeney and her paralegals which made the pursuit of the claim so much easier and more relaxing for me.  It was clear that my best interests were foremost and that Ms. Sweeney had an excellent grasp of the medical facts of my case. I highly recommend the firm and in particular, Paula Sweeney."

    Terry M.

    Client
  • "The whole staff at Slack Davis Sanger went above and beyond to make sure that we not only got the best settlement and verdict, but that we were aware, knowledgeable, and comfortable with all that went on before, during, and after the trial. They have the best staff — “the A team” — that anyone could ask for. They all worked hard together and still had compassion for us. They are the team you want in your foxhole."

    Leon Hagerman

    Client
  • "I know I speak for my whole family in expressing appreciation for the genuine care and support provided by Slack Davis Sanger during the lengthy process of working through our legal system. They provided frequent personal contact, without prompting, and someone was always available to answer any question or just listen to our comments and concerns. I feel that we were always treated with respect — individually and as a family."

    Larry McLerran

    Client

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America by BL Rankings (since 1995)
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers (since 2001)
  • Dallas Bar Association Trial Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • D CEO Magazine Dallas 500 (2016)
  • D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas (since 2001)
  • Dallas Bar Association Legend of Trial Law (2012)
  • Texas Lawyer Extraordinary Women in Texas Law (2008)
  • University of Dallas Alumna of Distinction
  • The State Bar of Texas Gene Cavin Award for Lifetime Achievement (2009)
  • Common Cause Texas Defender of Democracy Award (2003)

Contact Paula