Roberto Cañas

Roberto Cañas

Dallas, Texas

Rob Cañas is a former criminal court judge who has been practicing law for over twenty years. As a judge for almost twelve years, he had a reputation for being tough and fair. He presided over high-profile cases such as the assault cases against Heisman-Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and NFL superstar Dez Bryant. Rob gained a national reputation for the way he handled his cases and he gained the respect of both prosecutors and defense attorneys for his fairness, knowledge of the law, and work ethic.

Now, Rob handles both criminal and family law matters. He represents his clients with the same toughness he exhibited as a judge and use his experience and reputation to get results for them. Examples of the types of criminal cases Rob handles include: Driving while intoxicated (DWI), self-defense claims, drug possession, theft and property crimes, violent offenses, white collar, fraud, embezzlement, government investigations, conspiracy, firearm offenses, probation violations, expunctions, petitions for non-disclosure, appeals and writs of habeas corpus. Rob also handles criminal appeals including writs of habeas corpus. In addition, Rob handles all matters related to families including complex divorces, property and asset division, contested child custody, post-divorce modifications and orders of protection.

Rob graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law with honors in 1997. He immediately went to work for the firm of HaynesBoone LLP in their Dallas office where he handled a variety of cases involving deceptive trade practices, price-fixing and fraud. In 1999, wanting more courtroom and trial experience, he joined the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. After four months with the DA's office, Rob was promoted to Chief Prosecutor over two misdemeanor courts. Within a year, he was promoted to the felony trial division. During his eight years with the DA's office, Rob tried nearly 150 cases to a jury for almost every type of crime.

In 2006, the people of Dallas County elected Rob to preside as a judge over County Criminal Court #10. This court was a dedicated domestic violence court that disposed about 3,000 cases annually. Rob worked to make his court one of the best domestic violence courts in the country. In 2013, his court was one of only three in the whole country, to receive the Domestic Violence Mentor Court designation from the U.S. Department of Justice. This means that his court exhibited best practices on how to handle domestic violence cases. This designation remained in place until Rob left the court in 2018

Currently, Rob is an attorney at Lisa E. McKnight PC in Dallas. Rob brings his trial and litigation experience, his professionalism, and his record of achievement to a firm of very talented lawyers.

Areas of Practice

  • 70% Family
  • 30% Criminal (State, Federal, Appellate)

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1997
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, 1997


  • Texas Tech University School of Law, Lubbock, Texas
    • J.D. cum laude
  • University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
    • B.A. cum laude

Published Works

  • Supreme Court's Rule on Testimonial Hearsay, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, The Dicta, 2007


  • 2019 Judicial Summit, Texas Council on Family Violence, August 2019
  • Hot Topics in Criminal Law, March 2019
  • Assessing Risk in Domestic Violence Cases, National Trial College, 2018 - Present
  • Professionalism in Court, Dallas Bar Association, 2018
  • Assessing Risk, Offender Accountability, and Ethical Issues in Domestic Violence Cases, General Jurisdiction, 2018
  • Professionalism in Court, Ethics Fest, 2018
  • The Intersection of Domestic Violence Dockets and Procedural Justice, 13th Annual Conference on Crimes Against Women, 2018
  • Webinar: Courts and Abusive Partner Intervention Programs: Strategies for Increasing Accountability through Collaboration, 2017
  • Assessing Risk in Court, Indiana Annual Judicial Conference, 2017
  • Gun Forfeiture, BIPP and Referral Source Relations, Tools for Transformation: 14th Annual BIPP Conference, 2017
  • Domestic Violence, Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Workshop, 2017
  • Delaware Annual Judicial Conference, Recognizing Responsibility and Risk of Abusers in Court, 2017
  • Firearm Protocols in Domestic Violence Cases, Family Justice Conference, 2017
  • Domestic Violence Mentor Courts, Annual Statewide Domestic Violence Symposium, 2017
  • Assessing Risk in Court, 12th Annual Conference on Crimes Against Women, 2017
  • Enhancing Judicial Skills Workshop, NCJFCJ, 2016
  • Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Vital Voices, 2016
  • Domestic Violence, The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, 2016
  • Domestic Violence, Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases Workshop, 2016
  • A Conversation About Firearms and Family Violence, Family Law Conference, 2015
  • How a Domestic Violence Court Works, Partner to Protect: A Leadership Summit for Family Violence Programs and Law Enforcement, 2010

Honors and Awards

  • Mexican American Bar Association 2019, Misdemeanor Judge of the year
  • Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, President’s Award 2018
  • HeRO Award, Genesis Women's Shelter, 2018
  • Outstanding Court Staff Team Award, Dallas Bar Association, 2017
  • Public Elected Official of the Year, National Association of Social Workers, 2014
  • Champion of Human Rights, Mosaic Family Services, 2013
  • Make a Difference Award, New Beginning Center, 2009
  • Five Outstanding Young Dallasites Award, Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce, 2008
  • Outstanding Director, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, 2003

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Chair of the Ethics Advisory, Commission to the City of Dallas, 2019 - Present
  • Vice Chair to the Animal Shelter Advisory Commission
  • College of the State Bar of Texas, Member, 2018 - Present
  • Texas Bar, Criminal Justice Section, Council Director, 2017 - Present
  • Former Board of Directors for the Dallas Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas, Criminal Justice Section, Board Member, 2017 - 2019
  • Former Board Member for the Texas Young Lawyers Association, 2002 - 2008
  • American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, District Representative, 2002 - 2005
  • State Bar of Texas, Member, 1997 - Present
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Former Board Member, 1997 - 2008

Past Employment Positions

  • County Criminal Court #10, Judge, 2007 - 2018
  • Dallas County District Attorney's Office, Assistant District Attorney, 1999 - 2006
  • Haynes & Boone, Attorney, 1997 - 1999

Pro Bono Activities

  • Texas Bar Foundation, Member
  • SPCA of Texas, Director, 2018 - Present
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation, Former Board of Trustees
  • Family Compass, Former Board Member
  • City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission, Former Vice-Chair, 2009 - 2010
  • Operation Kindness, Former Board Member, 2007 - 2011


  • English