Dawn Smalls is a strategic advisor and multi-disciplinary leader with experience across law, government, politics and philanthropy. This year, she was named to the inaugural edition of “Northeast Trailblazers” by The American Lawyer and recognized by Crain’s New York Business as one of their “Notable Women in Law.” In 2020 she was featured as a “Power Player” in government and politics by City & State New York and The Amsterdam News.
In her private practice, Dawn litigates high stakes matters, and has successfully secured two temporary restraining orders, one against the Trump Campaign in 2016 and another in 2021 against the City of New York on behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless. 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 elected officials and lobbyists comply with 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 in the Clinton Administration as assistant to the White House Chief of Staff and as liaison on policy and budget issues for the District of Columbia, 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 as the New York political director for then-Senator Barack Obama in the general election.
Dawn is a recognized civic leader. She also serves on the board of the Roosevelt Institute, a national progressive think tank and campus network that serves as the nonprofit partner to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. She previously served on the national Board of the American Constitution Society, the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with over 200 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses.