Dawn L. Smalls
Areas of Practice
Stanford Law School, J.D., 2003
Boston University, B.A., magna cum laude, Linguistics with minors in Italian and Political Science
New York and Massachusetts
United States Courts of Appeals: Second Circuit
United States District Courts: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, District of Massachusetts
Dawn L. Smalls is a partner in the firm’s New York City office. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and crisis management and government response. Past representations include:
- Barclays Capital in its defense against a $13 billion claim by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy estate and creditors committee;
- Investors in two of the largest "feeder funds' - Fairfield Greenwich and Kingate - that financed Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme;
- Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg and the C.V. Starr Companies in connection with various regulatory and civil litigations, including claims brought by American International Group (AIG) seeking control of Starr’s board of directors and billions of dollars of Starr’s assets.
- The largest entertainment company in Latin America in a tortious interference lawsuit against a United States Spanish language television company;
- A major Mexican beverage distributor in an action alleging violation of its minority shareholder rights;
- Immigrant workers as pro bono counsel in case for sexual harassment, unpaid wages and forced labor.
Ms. Smalls also brings to clients expertise of “how government works,” as well as the complexities of navigating federal agencies and various rulemaking processes, particularly those before the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Smalls served as Executive Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, the third largest rulemaking agency in the federal government with a budget of $940.9 billion, almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and 11 operating divisions. As Executive Secretary, Ms. Smalls served as a principal advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief of Staff, and as the chief regulatory officer for the agency. From 1998-2000, Ms. Smalls served as Assistant to White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, and as a Special Assistant in the Office of Management and Budget, where she assisted in policy development for issues affecting the District of Columbia including governance, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, education, and public safety.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ms. Smalls served as the New York State Political Director for the Obama for America campaign. In that capacity, she managed communication with New York state officials and party leaders and represented the campaign at local political meetings, fundraisers, and events. Prior to that role, Ms. Smalls served as Assistant Director of Delegate Selection and Regional Political Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, where she served as the Iowa and New Hampshire political desk and managed political outreach in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.
Prior to returning to the firm, Ms. Smalls directed the Ford Foundation’s work in democratic participation with a budget of $40 million a year, and served as a Program Officer at the Open Society Institute, where she was responsible for grantmaking strategies for civic engagement and political reform.
Selected Professional Awards and Associations
American Constitution Society
Author, Linguistic Profiling and the Law, 15 Stan. L. & Pol'y Rev 579 (2004).
Contributing Author, Law And Education: Affirmative Action Under Attack: Integrating Elite Law Schools and the Legal Profession: A View from the Black Law Students Associations of Harvard, Stanford, and Yale Law Schools, 19 Harv. BlackLetter J. 43 (2003)
Dawn Smalls Returns to Boies, Schiller & Flexner as Partner (February 26, 2015)