Daniela Paez


Daniela is a trusted litigator and advisor who focuses her practice on complex commercial, financial services, and fiduciary disputes including trust, estate, and shareholder matters. She represents a diverse set of clients ranging from multinational companies and major financial institutions to closely held businesses, trust companies, and individuals. She helps her clients navigate a wide range of disputes involving business torts, breach of contract, broker-dealer and securities matters, breach of fiduciary duties, will and trust construction, trustee and executor removal, and trust modification and termination. She represents clients in federal and state trial and appellate courts across the country, as well as in mediation, arbitration, and international disputes. A skilled advocate, clients value her attention to detail and creative approach.

Daniela is a skilled legal writer and has special experience in appellate advocacy. She has served as primary drafter and argued dozens of motions and appellate briefs in courts throughout the United States, including multiple successful dispositive motions and appeals before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Of note, Daniela was a core member of the team and primary drafter of the summary judgment briefing in a school district’s challenge of a controversial state law that allowed residents of certain Ohio communities to more easily change their assigned school district despite the risk of racial segregation among affected students. Recognized for her talent, Daniela has been named to the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list for Commercial Litigation, to the National LGBT Bar Association’s list of Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40, and to Bloomberg Law’s list of The 40 Under 40, among other honors.

Education & Admissions


  • San Francisco State University

    (B.A., cum laude, 2009)

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law

    (J.D., 2013)
    2011 Klatsky Fellowship Recipient, John Wragg Kellogg Prize


  • State of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois



Complex Business and Related Litigation

  • Won unanimous reversal from the Supreme Court of Alabama of denial of motions to compel arbitration of claims by seven customers who alleged that their signatures on the account agreements containing the arbitration provisions had been forged. Successfully argued the customers were equitably estopped from avoiding arbitration because their claims depended on the existence of the account agreements containing the arbitration clauses. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and rejected the plaintiffs’ attempt to avoid arbitration based on their forgery allegations. Equity Tr. Co., et al. v. Morris, et al., No. 1200551, 2022 WL 3572609 (Ala. Aug. 19, 2022).
  • Won summary judgment on all claims asserted against a major insurance company by an insured alleging that her policy was improperly terminated after she was allegedly misled into taking out loans against the cash value of her life insurance policy, and the trial court’s summary judgment ruling was affirmed by the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Sophie Tracy v. AXA Equitable Life Ins. Co., et al., No. A-1-CA-39250, 2022 WL 831884 (N.M. Ct. App. Mar. 21, 2022).
  • Defended a multinational natural resources company, as part of a litigation team, in a $100 million breach of contract and tort action, assisting in all phases of litigation and appeal, and developing the defense strategy.
  • Defended a retail pharmacy in an unfair competition and trade secrets matter, and after obtaining transfer to the Eastern District of Michigan for lack of personal jurisdiction, drafted a motion to dismiss that resulted in a dismissal with prejudice of most of the plaintiff’s claims. (Prescription Supply, Inc., et al. v. Moussa “Mark” Musa, et al., Case No. 2:16-cv-12070 (E.D. Mich. February 27, 2017)).
  • Served as the lead associate on a team representing Plain Local School District in a successful constitutional challenge of an Ohio statute that allowed residents of certain communities to more easily change their assigned school district, eliminating preexisting statutory safeguards meant to prevent racial and socioeconomic segregation, and drafted key filings including winning summary judgment briefs. (Plain Local School District Board of Education v. Mike DeWine, No. 2:19-CV-5086, 2020 WL 5521310 (S.D.OH Sept 11, 2020)).

Trust, Estate & Fiduciary Litigation

  • Represented an executor, as part of a litigation team, and prevailed at the Supreme Court of Ohio in a precedent-setting matter regarding the requirements for the presentation of a claim against a decedent’s estate. (Wilson v. Lawrence, 150 Ohio St.3d 368, 2017-Ohio-1410).
  • Defended and obtained favorable resolutions for corporate fiduciaries facing a variety of fiduciary-related claims in probate courts throughout Ohio.
  • Primary drafter of successful motion to dismiss claims asserted by trust beneficiaries in Cuyahoga County Probate Court.

Financial Services

  • Represented a self-directed IRA custodian in a putative class action alleging aiding and assisting a Ponzi scheme in violation of the Ohio Securities Act, and served as the primary drafter of the appellate briefs in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio, which resulted in a seminal decision from the Supreme Court on a certified question of first impression on the reach of secondary liability under the Ohio Securities Act. (Boyd v. Kingdom Trust Co., 154 Ohio St. 3d 196 (2018)).
  • Defended a national bank in litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of the Ohio Uniform Fiduciary Act, and obtained summary judgment on all claims in a decision that was affirmed by the Fifth District Court of Appeals. (Tsepas v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, 2017-Ohio-1272 (Ohio 5th Dist. Ct. App.)).
  • Defended a self-directed IRA custodian in numerous cases in and outside of Ohio against customer claims under state and federal securities and consumer protection laws, along with tort and contract claims.
  • Defended major financial institutions in customer disputes, in FINRA arbitration, and in state court, including defending against claims under state and federal securities and consumer protection laws, common law fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and similar allegations.


  • Handles immigration matters including employment and education-based immigration and enforcement, and represents clients in removal and bond proceedings in the immigration courts.
  • Successfully represented a client at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bond hearing after the client had been detained due to the expiration of her F-1 Student Visa.

Publications & Presentations


  • “One Subject Rule Strategy Can Defeat Dangerous State Laws,” Law360 Access to Justice (September 2021)




  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association


  • Stella Maris, Inc. (Board of Directors 2017-present; Board Secretary 2019-present)
  • Facing History and Ourselves (Cleveland Board Member, 2021-present)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association The 3Rs – Rights, Responsibilities, and Realities Program (High School Classroom Volunteer)


  • Chair, Ulmer WILL – Women in Law and Leadership



  • Named a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation (2022; 2023)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2017-2023)
  • Named to the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance (2021-2023)
  • Case Western Reserve University Latinx Law Students Association Trailblazer Award Recipient (2023)
  • Bloomberg Law “They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40” Award Recipient (2021)
  • The National LGBT Bar Association “Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40” Award Recipient (2021)
  • Crain’s Cleveland Business “Forty Under 40” Award Recipient (2018)

Benchmark Litigation 2023