Dawn Smalls

Jenner and Block

My Contact Information

Jenner and Block
New York, NY
Work: 212-891-1639


Ms. Smalls is an accomplished leader with experience in law, politics,
government and philanthropy. Her clients benefit from her strategic advice and
legal counsel on complex legal, policy and regulatory matters. She currently
serves as the Monitor of a tier-one global financial institution. Previous
representations include serving as co-lead counsel for one of the largest Fair
Labor Standards Act class actions on record, representing more than 90,000 au
pairs for wage fixing and violations of federal, state and minimum wage. Her
service in two presidential administrations gives her unique insight into
government and politics, while her more recent role as a commissioner of the
New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics places her at the forefront of
lobbying and ethics law.

Ms. Smalls’ clients turn to her for her independent sensibility, her leadership and
her vast experience as a legal strategist. In her private practice, she has fought
for undocumented immigrants, victims of financial crime and voters facing
intimidation. As a commissioner of the New York State Joint Commission on
Public Ethics, she provided oversight to the state agency tasked with ensuring
that state elected officials and lobbyists comply with the state’s ethics and
lobbying laws and regulations. Previously, Ms. Smalls served as the Secretary
of the New York City Bar’s Ethics Committee.

Her knowledge of the intersection of law and politics comes from serving, first, in
the Clinton Administration as assistant to the White House Chief of Staff and as
a liaison on policy and budget issues for the District of Columbia, and then as
executive secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the
Obama Administration. In the 2008 election cycle, Dawn served as a regional
political director for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign, covering six
states, and in the general election as the New York political director for then-
Sen. Barack Obama.

In addition to her private practice, Ms. Smalls is a recognized civic leader. She
serves as a national board member of the American Constitution Society, the
nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with more than 200 student and
lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses.
Before serving on the board, Ms. Smalls co-founded the student chapter at
Stanford Law School and upon graduation, she co-founded the New York
Lawyer Chapter to provide a space for progressive lawyers in New York City to
meet and exchange ideas about how to support a progressive agenda in the
law. She also serves on the board of the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank and
campus network that serves as the non-profit partner to the Franklin D.
Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.

Ms. Smalls also worked for the Open Society Foundations and the Ford
Foundation, two of the largest philanthropies in the world, managing
approximately $40 million of grants promoting and increasing civic engagement,
political reform, and grassroots activism. Ms. Smalls is actively engaged in
politics, advising candidates on the local, state and federal level.

Practice Areas

  • Compliance Counseling
  • Crisis Management
  • Due Diligence Investigations
  • Monitorship Experience