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Phone: (214) 754-9185

3838 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 1000

Dallas, TX 75219

Deborah Hankinson


Arbitrator, Mediator, Former Judge, Attorney

Current Employer:

Hankinson PLLC

Areas of Expertise:

✔ Appellate ✔ Banking & finance
✔ Commercial/Business ✔ Contract Disputes
✔ Employment ✔ Energy including oil and gas
✔ Environmental ✔ Executive Compensation
✔ Health Care ✔ Insurance
✔ Joint Ventures ✔ Mergers & Acquisitions
✔ Partnerships ✔ Professional Liability
✔ Real Estate ✔ Securities
✔ Shareholder Disputes ✔ Trade Secrets and Confidentiality Disputes


An experienced chair of arbitration panels who draws on her background as an appellate advocate, mediator, former commercial trial lawyer, and former Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas; trainer of other arbitrators and speaker at numerous conferences on a range of ADR-related topics. Deborah has led or participated in panels on matters that involve a multiplicity of issues in areas that include:

  • Appellate arbitration
  • Commercial transactions
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • International arbitration
  • Securities

Actively manages and facilitates proceedings by clarifying issues and optimizing the use of applicable arbitration procedures; frequently uses pre-arbitration conference calls to handle prehearing roadblocks quickly, effectively, and without substantial costs; listens carefully to arguments presented at hearings and gives full consideration to all claims and defenses; produces clearly written awards that thoroughly and efficiently address the parties’ contentions.

Sampling of cases arbitrated to final award: Breach of contract dispute concerning long-term data processing contracts ♦ Business tort and breach of contract matter involving financial institution’s handling of a small business loan used to finance purchase of real property ♦ Claim against financial institution for alleged aiding and abetting securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty involving secondary insurance market ♦ Breach of contract case between operator and contractor over downhole cement operations and well damage ♦ Dispute between operator and trustee regarding effect upon a royalty trust of settlements of claims for underpaying oil and gas royalties ♦ Controversy involving purchase and sale of working interests in saltwater disposal wells and equity interest in operating company ♦ Breach of contract dispute involving engineering project for design and development of accelerator ♦ Breach of contract dispute involving change-of-control provisions of executive employment contract ♦ Fair Labor Standards Act claims ♦ Breach of contract case involving medical billing and collection ♦ Breach of contract and statutory prompt pay dispute concerning managed health care contract payments.

Oil and gas experience includes oil and gas lease interpretation, lease obligations (royalty/owner), underpayment of royalties, breach of implied and express lease covenants, Texas Railroad Commission regulations, drainage, surface and subsurface rights, operating agreements, asset purchase agreements, pooling, secondary and tertiary recovery, gas purchase agreements, gas processing, drilling contracts, service contracts, pipelines, rights of first refusal, farm-out agreements, joint ventures, production payouts, environmental indemnities, property damage (surface, subsurface, and down-hole), breach of contract, business torts, trespass, and insurance claims. Many of the cases involved significant, cutting-edge legal issues that impacted the development of oil and gas law in Texas.

Work History:

  • Arbitration, mediation, and ADR consulting services, Hankinson PLLC, Dallas, Texas (2018-present)
  • Civil appellate practice, arbitration and mediation services, Hankinson LLP, Dallas, Texas (2011-2018)
  • Civil appellate practice, arbitration and mediation services, Hankinson Levinger LLP, Dallas, Texas (2008-2011)
  • Civil appellate practice, arbitration and mediation services, Law Offices of Deborah Hankinson PC, Dallas, Texas (2003-2008)
  • Visiting Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law (2002, 2003)
  • Justice, Supreme Court of Texas (1997-2002)
  • Justice, Court of Appeals, Fifth District of Texas at Dallas (1995-1997)
  • Civil trial and appellate practice, Thompson & Knight, L.L.P., Dallas, Texas (1983-1995)
For further details, please see bio and cv at


Deborah has attended or participated as a faculty member or otherwise at the following: ACE20 Cyber Security: A Shared Responsibility, 2020; Basics: Video Conferencing in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Dallas Bar Association, 2020; Mediating the Political Divide and Overcoming Mediation Cultural & Language Barriers, ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Conference, 2020; Panelist, Managing the Circus: Comparing International and Domestic Procedures Designed to Achieve Efficiency and Fairness, 19th Annual Meeting, College of Commercial Arbitrators, 2019; AAA/ICDR/AAA Panel Conference, 2019; Speaker, Arbitration and Mediation, Oil and Gas Disputes Course, State Bar of Texas, 2019; Faculty, Special Masters in Electronic Discovery, American Arbitration Association Webinar, 2018; Faculty, Sexual Harassment – A Presentation for AAA/ICDR Panelists, American Arbitration Webinar, 2018; ACESIN Managing the Process with E-Discovery 2.0, 2018; Advanced Negotiation Skills Workshop, Dallas Bar Association, 2018; AAA/ICDR Council, New York Law School, Cornell Scheinman Institute Conference, 2018; 69th Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference, Institute for Energy Law, 2018; AAA – ICDR/ICC/ICSID 34th Annual Joint Colloquium on International Arbitration, 2017; 14th Annual Advanced eDiscovery Institute, Georgetown Law School, 2017; AAA – ICDR Council and Columbia Law School Conference: The Future of Arbitration, 2017; Speaker, Arbitration Law: Key Developments of 2015, AAA/ICDR/ Panel Conference, 2016; Panelist, Individuals–Impact on Access to Justice and Trade, Society, Commerce and Dispute Resolution: Goals for Justice and Trade, Fordham University School of Law and the AAA, 2015; Speaker, Developing the AAA Judicial Panel, Working Together, AAA Webinar, 2015; Speaker, Do You Want to Arbitrate? Managing the Process When You Do, Oil & Gas Disputes Course, State Bar of Texas and Texas Tech School of Law, 2015; Speaker, The Arbitrator’s Perspective: Oil and Gas Arbitration, State Bar of Texas’ 32nd Annual Advanced Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Course, 2014; Faculty, AAA Conducting Research & Investigations: The Arbitrator's Authority (ACE9), 2014; Faculty, AAA Principled Deliberations: Decision-Making Skills for Arbitrators (ACE8), 2014; Faculty, AAA Managing the Arbitration Process for Efficiency & Economy Following the Preliminary Hearing, 2012; Panelist, How to Prevent a Runaway Arbitration, ABA Section of Litigation CLE Conference, 2012; AAA/ICDR Neutrals Conference, 2012, 2010; Faculty, AAA Regaining Speed and Economy in Dispute Resolution, 2011; AAA Webinar, New AAA Healthcare Payor Provider Judicial Orientation, 2011; AAA The Ethics Behind “Better, Faster, Cheaper” in ADR, 2011; Faculty, AAA Chairing an Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics (ACE005), 2010; American College of Trial Lawyers Annual Meeting, International Commercial Arbitration: What You Need to Know, 2010; AAA, ADR Strategies That Save Time and Money, 2010; Faculty, 20th Annual Institute for Transnational Arbitration Workshop, Confronting Ethical Issues in International Arbitration, 2009; The Permanent Court of Arbitration/Houston International Arbitration Club, Inc./University of Texas School of Law, Remedies in Commercial, Investment and Energy Arbitrations, 2008; ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, Arbitrating the Mega Case: Surviving and Succeeding in the Mega-Arbitration, 2008; AAA Arbitrator I Training: Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process, 2006; Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law, Advanced Mediation Practice; Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law, Mediation – The Art of Facilitating Settlement.


  • State of Texas (November 1983)
  • Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (1992-present)
  • The United States Supreme Court (October 1991)
  • The United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth (October 1989), Tenth (March 1995), and Federal (June 2004) Circuits
  • The United States District Courts for the Northern (January 1984), Eastern (1989), and Western (May 1990) Districts of Texas


AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; Best Lawyers in America, Dallas Arbitration Lawyer of the Year (2019); Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration (2016-2020), Mediation (2016-2020), Appellate Law (2008-2020); Best Lawyers in America, Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year (2012); Texas Lawyer, Professional Excellence Award: Lifetime Achievers (2016); National Law Journal, ADR Champions (2016); Chambers USA (2007-2016); Texas' Top Rated Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell and ALM (2012-2016); Texas Super Lawyers (2003-2020), Thomson Reuters legal division; Texas Super Lawyers, Top 10 in Texas (2011-2012, 2014-2020), Second overall in Texas (2012, 2019), Third overall in Texas (2015, 2017-2018), Thomson Reuters legal division; Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Texas Dallas (2017); Texas Trial Legend, Dallas Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Practice Section (2015); Texas Lawyer, "Winning Women" (2011); Ann Clarke Snell Award, Women's Advocacy Project (2003); Merrill L. Hartman Award, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Inc. (2003); Harold F. Kleinman Award, Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation (2002); Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service, SMU Dedman School of Law (2002); Ma'at Justice Award, Women in the Law Section, State Bar of Texas (2002); Presidential Citation, State Bar of Texas (2001); Travis County Women Lawyers' Association, Outstanding Achievement Award (2001); Judge of the Year, American Board of Trial Advocates, Texas Chapter (1999).


American Arbitration Association's National Roster of Neutrals:

  • Appellate
  • Commercial
  • eDiscovery Special Master Select
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Judicial
  • Large Complex Cases
International Centre for Dispute Resolution's Roster of Neutrals


Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators (2016-present); Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (2011-present); Former Member, American Arbitration Association Board of Directors (2009-2020); Member, AAA Foundation Board of Directors (2019-present); Advisory Board Member, Institute for Energy Law, a division of The Center for American and International Law (2018); Member, American Law Institute (1999-present); Member, Executive Board, SMU Dedman School of Law (1998-present); Chair (2020-present), Vice-Chair (2007-2020), Board (2003-present), Texas Access to Justice Foundation; Former Member, Texas Access to Justice Commission (2001-2002); Member, National Association of Women Judges (1998-present); Member, American Bar Association (1983-present) and current member of Dispute Resolution Section; Committee Member (2003-2006) and Former Chair (2006-2009), American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants; Member, Fifth Circuit Bar Association (2003-2018); Fellow, American Bar Foundation (1998-present); Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation (1992-present); Former Chair (2005) and Life Benefactor Fellow, Dallas Bar Foundation; Member, State Bar of Texas; Member, Dallas Bar Association.


  • Southern Methodist University School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1983); Valedictorian; Editor-in-Chief, Southwestern Law Journal; Order of the Coif
  • The University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., 1977)
  • Purdue University (B.A., with distinction, 1973)

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