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Steven J Dawson Senior Counsel

3 Park Plaza, Suite 1520
Irvine, CA 92614

Steve advises employers in labor and employment matters, including defending employment claims and litigation in federal and state court and before government agencies. He handles complex, representative, class, and single-plaintiff employment and commercial litigation matters, including wage and hour matters, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, reasonable accommodation, leaves of absence, whistle-blower, and wrongful termination claims arising under California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA), the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), California’s Private Attorneys' General Act (PAGA), and California’s Unfair Competition Laws (Cal. Business & Professions Code, § 17200). He has expertise in absorbing, analyzing, and weighing complex issues quickly and accurately when providing legal counsel and cost-effective strategies for resolving cutting-edge business and employment law issues, such as COVID-19 re-opening matters, employee discipline, and wage and hour compliance, including meal and rest periods, overtime, and final pay. He conducts workplace investigations and prepares and negotiates beneficial settlements, releases, severance, confidentiality, and non-compete agreements. Steve has extensive expertise in handling discovery demands, subpoenas, arbitrations, mediations, depositions, agency investigations, administrative hearings, and appeals.

Prior to joining the firm, Steve was an associate and partner in the downtown Los Angeles office of a state-wide law firm handling labor and employment, business, and real property matters for public agencies and Fortune 500 company clients. He also gained invaluable experience working as an in-house managing attorney at a multi-billion dollar diversified financial services company advising company executives and human resource personnel in 21 states on employment policies impacting 14,000 employees while personally handling (and winning), as the first-chair trial counsel, 19 of 20 binding employment arbitrations before JAMS and the American Arbitration Association.

Since graduating from law school, Steve has worked at several Los Angeles law firms offices performing labor and employment work and has achieved some notable employment and commercial litigation accomplishments as the first-chair trial attorney, including:

  • Winning $500,000 for client Loyola Marymount University against the County of Los Angeles regarding a refund of property taxes concerning undeveloped real property.
  • Obtaining a $1 million federal court settlement for client AAA Hawaii regarding breach-of-contract claims for unpaid commissions against AIG, a multinational insurer.
  • Winning $7 million for client City of Carson regarding retail sales tax sharing issues in a published decision, City of Carson v. City of La Mirada (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 532.
  • Persuading the California Supreme Court to grant the client City of Alhambra’s petition commanding the Court of Appeal to vacate the erroneous reversal of a defense summary judgment in a police department employment matter.
  • Obtaining a state court prohibitory injunction for the client Shrine Auditorium co-producing the annual Emmy Awards Show with Dick Clark Productions, resulting in the dismissal of significant breach-of-lease and trespass claims for zero dollars.
  • Defeating a mall developer’s lawsuit seeking $11 million for capital improvements asserted against the client property owner by winning a summary judgment, resulting in an award of the client’s attorney’s fees and costs. Affirmed in full on appeal.

B.A., Stanford University, International Relations. Stanford Varsity Track Team and recipient, Brooks Johnson Coach’s Award. Congressional Intern, U. S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

J.D., University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law. Extern Clerk for the California Supreme Court, Associate Justice Otto M. Kaus. Studied abroad in Tours, France.