Dawn S. Holiday
Dawn Holiday is an experienced litigation attorney representing clients in a wide variety of labor and employment matters. Dawn is no stranger to the courtroom and she primarily represents employers in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings in various jurisdictions. Dawn’s unfair advantage is her ability to tackle the day-to-day issues in the workplace setting and provide zealous advocacy in the courtroom setting. Because of her knowledge and years of experience, she equips employers with sound legal counsel throughout the entire employment life cycle. The bottom line: When employers face workplace challenges involving employees, they call Dawn for solutions.
Dawn is a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession. Dawn has personally mentored law students and young lawyers on navigating the complexities faced by racially, socio-economically, and gender diverse lawyers. Internally, Dawn is a member of Jackson Walker’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and externally, she is a frequent speaker on issues related to hiring, retaining and advancing people of color. Dawn is also a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Having obtained a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, Dawn has been asked to provide DEI trainings and workplace culture assessments for organizations throughout the US.
Dawn is also passionate about exposing young students in under-served communities to the possibility of choosing a legal career and is a sought-after Career Day presenter for primary and secondary schools. Dawn has volunteered countless hours of her time teaching 5th and 7th grade classes about the Texas civil and criminal court systems and prominent diverse legal leaders through the Houston Bar Association’s Constitution Day and Teach Texas programs. Dawn is a coordinator of Jackson Walker’s annual participation in the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation’s Adopt-An-Angel Program.
In addition to her commitments to diversity, community service and future generations, Dawn brings leadership to her practice. Dawn is a graduate of the Houston Young Lawyers Association’s Leadership Academy and Leadership Montgomery County. Dawn served on the Board of Directors for Northland Christian School. Currently, Dawn is a Board Member of the University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation.
B.A., magna cum laude, University of Houston
M.A., summa cum laude, Moody Bible Institute
J.D., South Texas College of Law Houston
- South Texas Law Review, Articles Editor
Diversity and Inclusion Certification, Cornell University
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States District Court for Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas
Labor & Employment (Advice and Counsel, Investigations and Litigation)
- Frequently called upon to conduct workplace investigations for public and private sector employers, governmental agencies, and educational institutions.
- Experience initiating injunction proceedings, trade secret litigation, and obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of employers against former employees for violation of non-competition agreements.
- Successfully defended claims against employers for violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and state law equivalents.
- Won AAA arbitration in 2022 on claimant’s wrongful termination claim; prevailed on counter-claim and recovered all costs and attorneys’ fees.
- Conducted investigation of retaliation and harassment complaints for city police department.
- Successfully conducted Title IX investigation for community college system.
- Successfully represented national staffing agency in contractual dispute related to staffing agreements, employee compensation and commissions
- Obtained dismissal of lawsuit against a national healthcare company in class action suit for unpaid wages under the FLSA
- Successfully defended Texas school district in FLSA retaliation suit brought by former employee
- Settled numerous suits against national employers for wrongful termination, harassment, hostile work environment and discrimination based on race, age, disability and gender
- Counseled and represented employers on issues implicating the Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities, Act, Workers’ Compensation, paid/unpaid sick leave, and Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Successfully obtained injunctive relief for employers in non-competition litigation involving forensics investigation of computer systems, virtual environments and electronic devices
Trial & Appellate
- Served as lead appellate counsel for appeals at the state and federal court levels on professional liability matters
- Successfully defended multi-million claims against intermediate care facilities on Chapter 74 Health Care liability claims for wrongful death and survival, traumatic brain injuries and catastrophic personal injury claims
- Negotiated settlements in multi-party suits involving professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims against lawyers, accountants, realtors, insurers and healthcare facilities
- Represented licensed professionals before respective state boards for ethics investigations, disciplinary rule violations, state board rule violations and grievances
- Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers, 2020-2022
- Texas Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, 2023
- H Texas Top Lawyers of Houston, 2020
- “Top 100,” The National Black Lawyers, 2019-2023
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
- Life Fellow, Houston Young Lawyers Foundation
- Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
- Life Member, University of Houston Alumni Association
- Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Class of 2018
- Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell
- Texas Rising Star, Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, 2012-2018
- Selected, Who’s Who in Black Houston
- Selected, International Women’s Leadership Association
- Houston Young Lawyers Association Leadership Academy Graduate
- Leadership Montgomery County Class of 2017
- Selected, National Bar Association’s Top 40 Under 40
- “EEOC Releases Regulations to Implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and Seeks Public Comments,” Jackson Walker Insights (August 2023)
- “As the CROWN Act Gains Momentum in Texas, Employers Should Prepare,” Jackson Walker Insights (May 2023)
- “Why Are Diversity & Inclusion Programs Missing the Mark on Meaningful Change?” Texas Lawyer (September 2021)
- “Employers’ Obligations to Pay Wages for Workdays Missed During Winter Storm Uri,” Jackson Walker Insights (February 2021)
- “Congress Declines to Extend FFCRA Mandatory Leave Deadline, But Continues Tax Credits to Employers Who Provide FFCRA Leave Beyond Deadline,” Jackson Walker Insights (December 2020)
- “Protecting IP and Endpoints with Remote or Departing Employees,” Intellectual Property in Energy Mini-Conference by The Center for American and International Law (2023)
- “Leaders of Color: The Changing Landscape,” Centerforce USA’s The Women in Legal & Corporate Leadership Summit: Houston (2020)
- “Buried Silver: Confidentiality Orders and Issues with Sealed Documents,” Houston Bar Association’s 2019 Civil/Appellate Bench Bar Conference (2019)
- “Trust Me, I’m A Lawyer: Ethical Considerations of Attorney Marketing,” Texas Minority Attorney Program CLE (2018)
- Women in Law and Leadership Houston, Speaker (2018)
- “Confusion Amongst Texas Courts: When Can Insureds Recover Policy Benefits for Statutory Violations?” Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC First Look – Winter Issue 2018
- “When Lawyers Get Sued, Who’s Got Your Back: The Ends and Outs of Legal Malpractice in Texas,” The Woodlands Bar Association Ethics CLE (2017)
- How Does the New Texas Open Carry Law Affect Employers? (2016)
- Texas Supreme Court Examines Liability for Property Owners (2016)
- Texas Supreme Court Rules that General Contractor is Not a Seller Entitled to Statutory Indemnity (2016)
- “Enforcing Mediated Settlement Agreements,” Texas State Bar CLE (2014, 2015)
- “Legal Malpractice in Texas,” Texas State Bar CLE (2014)
- Don’t Be a Vegan at the Courthouse: Drafting Orders that Stick (2013)
- The Surveyor’s Guide to Contract Law in Texas (2013)
- Don’t Let the Data Byte You in the ASCII: Discovering E-Discovery in Texas (2012)
- The University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation, Board of Directors
- Houston Bar Association’s Teach Texas, Volunteer
- Houston Bar Association’s Constitutional Day Reading Program, Volunteer
- The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce
- The Woodlands Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association, Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee
- Texas Young Lawyers Association
- University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation, Board Member (current)
- Northland Christian School (term expires 2021), Board Member
- South Texas College of Law Black Alumni Chapter, Charter Member
- Houston Young Lawyers Foundation’s Adopt-An-Angel Program, Coordinator
- Greater Houston Partnership, Business Resource Group–Talent Resources Group
- Greater Houston Partnership, Business Resource Group–Women’s Business Alliance
September 19, 2023Attorney News
Each year, less than 5% of attorneys in Texas are named to the list. Selection is based off of peer nominations that are then reviewed by a research team. Each nominee is evaluated on his or her professional accomplishments, peer recognition, and community involvement.
August 24, 2023Newsletters
View Jackson Walker’s August 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter, Perspectives.
August 15, 2023Insights
By Dawn S. Holiday
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) was signed into law by President Biden on December 29, 2022, and became effective on June 27, 2023. The PWFA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.
June 9, 2023Speaking Engagements
Jackson Walker partner Dawn S. Holiday will serve as a panelist at the Intellectual Property Mini-Conference presented by the Institute for Energy Law and Institute for Law and Technology on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
May 11, 2023Webinars
Join Jackson Walker and Insperity for the Spring Labor & Employment Law Seminar discussing current labor and employment law topics that might impact you and your company.
May 3, 2023Insights
By Dawn S. Holiday
On April 13, 2023, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 567, known as the Texas CROWN Act, that would prohibit race-based discrimination in schools, workplaces, and housing. The Texas legislation is a state version of the CROWN Act, an acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, including braids, locks, twists, bantu knots, Afros, and cornrows.
April 24, 2023Newsletters
View Jackson Walker’s April 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter, Perspectives.
March 9, 2023Attorney News
Dawn Holiday has been elected as a fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation, an honor bestowed upon less than 1% of Houston Bar Association members each year.
February 14, 2023Podcasts
JW Fast Takes Podcast | ~5.5 minutes
What factors drive a successful diversity and inclusion program at a company? In this Jackson Walker Fast Takes episode, Houston partner Dawn Holiday shares how well-intentioned D&I programs miss the mark and provides the essential elements for success.