Dave Dolkas
Dave Dolkas


About Dave Dolkas

I was a litigator and trial attorney for 34 years and an equity partner in two major law firms. Now I train lawyers on how to MAP (Manage, Analyze, and Present) a complex case and the key skills to become the “Optimal Lawyer.” I’ve taught my methods for over 25 years to lawyers and law students, and I captured my MAP methods in my book, MAP a Complex Case (see Book page). I applied these methods to all forms of complex cases. They worked well for me, and they continue to work well for others.

As a litigator and trial attorney, I was lead counsel in numerous high-risk complex cases, including cases for Bayer (mass-tort litigation—prescription drug), Biomet (patent infringement—orthopedic devices), Charles Schwab & Co. (breach of contract), Enterasys Networks (patent infringement—networking switches), Fairchild Semiconductor (product liability—semiconductors), Hewlett Packard (patent infringement—networking switches), ITT (trade-secret misappropriation—manufacturing methods), Qualcomm (patent infringement—semiconductors), Seagate Technologies (product liability—semiconductors), and Tolmar (patent infringement—generic drug). I led litigation teams to achieve solid and often outstanding results by applying my MAP methods. I literally practiced what I preached.

I was lead counsel in over 30 jury and judge trials in state and federal courts, the International Trade Commission, and in several high-stakes binding arbitrations. In my last trial (November 2017), I was co-lead in a patent-infringement case in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue perceived to be plaintiff-friendly. Our team obtained a complete defense verdict—a verdict of non-infringement and invalidation of the asserted patent, a rare result in that district. For this achievement, my co-leads and I were named “Litigators of the Week” by The American Lawyer.

I developed my MAP methods early in my career. In 1992, as a young partner, I was assigned to manage and direct a litigation team in a high-risk trade-secrets case that went to a three-week jury trial in a federal court. From that experience I became interested in how to MAP a complex case and started my long journey of teaching and writing. Since the early 90’s, I’ve taught lawyers all over the country, including seminars for the American Intellectual Property Association, California State Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, U.S. Department of Justice, and countless bar associations and CLE providers, e.g., ALI-CLE, Clear Law Institute, Commercial Law Web Advisor, and Practicing Law Institute.

In 2002, I created a course I taught for 12 years at Santa Clara University Law School: Managing Complex IP Litigation. After over a decade of teaching, I wrote Managing Complex Litigation, published by LexisNexis in 2013 and now in its fourth edition. My MAP courses are based on the experience I poured into my book.


Work History

McDermott Will & Emery (Partner, 2004-2017)
Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich (Partner, 1994-2004)
Gray Cary Ames & Frye (Associate and Partner, 1983-1994)


Loyola-Marymount University (1978)
University of San Diego School of Law (1982)


Organizations Dave has worked with