Dawn has spent two decades partnering with her clients to help guide and direct their employment decisions to avoid the time and expense of litigation, and creating and executing a strategy to defend them through trial should the need arise.
She is committed to knowing her client's businesses. Dawn's familiarity with her client's businesses and industries and knowledge of current legal trends is beneficial to her clients in preparing for and thwarting any potential adverse actions. It is for these reasons that employers turn to her to defend them in administrative proceedings and state and federal court actions involving sex, age, national origin, race and other discrimination claims. Dawn has extensive experience handling Family and Medical Leave Act claims and has successfully litigated multiple plaintiff Age Discrimination claims in state and federal court.
Dawn provides regular training and counsel to employers on a variety of issues to ensure compliance with new laws and emerging trends. She provides helpful tools, including checklists for employers to use to detect and prevent potential claims and acts as a partner to employers in evaluating day-to-day employment decisions from disciplinary actions to termination.
Dawn is the Firm's Diversity and Inclusion Partner with responsibility for the oversight and implementation of the Firm's Diversity Strategic Plan. As the Firm's Diversity Partner, Dawn is a member of the Management Group and the Firm's seven (7) person Executive Committee, the Firm's highest governing body that sets policy and compensation. Dawn is recognized as a Certified Diversity Executive through the National Institute for Diversity Certification.
Dawn serves on the Board of Directors for USAmeribank. She is also active in the American Bar Association's Aids Coordinating Committee (1998-present); National Conference of Women's Bar Associations (President 2002-03, President Elect 2001-02, Vice President 2000-01, Board Member 1997-present); Florida Association for Women Lawyers (Past Newsletter Editor 1996-97, Constitutional Revision Committee Chair 1997-98, representative to the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations 1997-present, Board Member 1996-present); Hillsborough County Women Lawyers Association (1998-present); the Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association (1994-present); and the George Edgecomb Bar Association (1998-present).
Dawn is very active in civic and community organizations, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Black Women Attorneys Network, the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Seminole Heights Baptist Church, (Trustee Board 2000-present (Chair), Personal Committee 2000-present (Chair 2002-04, 2006-07), Haiti Mission Committee 1999-04 (Chair 2003-04)), the Women's Executive Club and the Women's Chamber of Commerce (Charter Member). She has spoken and continues to speak on numerous areas of employment and labor law, throughout the state of Florida and throughout the country, for various organizations and employers. Dawn also serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Great Apes.
Successfully represented a large regional power company in a family and medical leave act claim. Obtained judgment and costs in favor of the company in 2009. Judgment was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Won a non-compete trial before the District Court, including the enforcement of a one year injunction against the former employee and his new employer in 2008. Injunctive relief was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Acts as the Labor Relations Management Team for a national supply company, providing advice, training and expertise on labor relations and management issues in 2008-2016.
Per Florida Bar rules, information on litigation and other legal successes has not been disclosed but is available upon request.
Honors & Awards
"2016 Client Choice Award"
"Most Powerful Employment Attorneys," LawDragon, 2015 & 2016
"Most Influential Black Lawyers," Savoy magazine, 2015
"Women Worth Watching," Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2011
Certified Diversity Executive, National Institute for Diversity Certification
Chambers USA: America's Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business
"Florida Super Lawyers," Super Lawyers magazine
Florida's Top LawyersFlorida's Diversity Council Promoting Diversity FirstFellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
2012 Delano S. Stewart Diversity Award, George Edgecomb Bar Association
University of North Carolina School of Law
University of North Carolina
American Bar Association
American Bar Association - AIDS Coordinating Committee Chair
The Florida Bar
Hillsborough County Bar Association
National Bar Association
George Edgecomb Bar Association
Member, The Trial Law Institute
Member, Diversity Law Institute
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida