Kelly Margolis Dagger

North Carolina

Ellis & Winters LLP
4131 Parklake Avenue
Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27612

Tel: 919-573-1292


Kelly Margolis Dagger is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on business litigation, employment litigation, and criminal defense. She represents clients on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Kelly is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried a variety of civil and criminal cases in North Carolina state and federal courts. She also regularly appears in federal district court, the North Carolina Business Court, and other North Carolina state trial courts on, a wide range of pre- and post-trial matters.  She has argued multiple cases in the Fourth Circuit, and she has briefed cases in the Fourth, Fifth, and D.C. Circuits.  Kelly’s extensive trial experience gives her a unique perspective on appellate practice—she understands how decisions are made at the trial court level and how the outcome of an appeal may impact further proceedings at the trial level.

Kelly is an energetic and committed advocate. She is a disciplined, tireless worker in all aspects of her life. When she is not working for her clients, she loves to run, competing at the marathon and half-marathon distances. She applies her long-distance runner’s work ethic to her cases. She protects her clients by knowing their cases and working efficiently to gain every possible advantage. She supports her clients at all stages of the litigation process by listening to their needs and communicating directly about what they can expect.

Kelly also defends clients in federal felony criminal cases, including a variety of fraud, money laundering, theft, bribery, robbery, controlled substance, immigration, and firearm offenses. Kelly is committed to equal access to justice. She believes that every person facing criminal charges deserves exceptional and effective legal representation. She serves on the Criminal Justice Act panels for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit, regularly accepting court appointments to represent clients who cannot afford to retain a lawyer.

Kelly also serves on the Eastern District of North Carolina Criminal Justice Act Committee, which oversees the panel and ensures that defendants receive effective representation. In addition, Kelly serves on the Eastern District of North Carolina Local Criminal Rules Committee, the body that reviews and recommends changes to the local rules governing criminal practice in the district.

Before joining Ellis & Winters, Kelly earned her undergraduate degree in religious studies, with highest distinction, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, she worked as a research analyst for a pharmaceutical business intelligence firm in Research Triangle Park and as an intern at Equality North Carolina in Raleigh. She received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif and served as an editor of California Law Review.

Ellis & Winters lawyers have handled well over one hundred appellate cases. These matters involve not only trial court cases litigated by the firm’s attorneys, but also cases in which the firm is retained specifically to serve as appellate counsel. Our appellate lawyers are also frequently retained to write amicus curiae briefs to aid the appellate courts in their decisions. In addition, several of the firm’s litigators have appellate clerkship experience at both the state and federal levels, providing insight into how appellate matters are approached within judges’ chambers.

Ellis & Winters’s appellate practice earned a Tier 1 ranking in Chambers USA, while Benchmark Litigation awarded the firm’s appellate practice a rating of “Highly Recommended.”

Ellis & Winters LLP is a litigation and commercial real estate firm with offices in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The firm represents clients regionally, nationally, and internationally, and  is equipped to handle uniquely challenging and complex matters. Ellis & Winters combines deep insights gained through practice with larger firms, while maintaining the nimble structure and flexibility of a smaller firm.

Ellis & Winters prides itself on their creative and adaptable approach to legal representation. The firm’s organizational structure puts clients’ legal matters in the hands of those who are best equipped to resolve them at every stage of the dispute process.