Susan Dawson Interview

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Susan L. Dawson earned her juris doctorate at Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2000 with a concentration in corporate/business law and taxation. Licensed in Illinois since 2000, Susan has spent her entire career representing businesses, business owners, entrepreneurs and employees. Susan quickly realized that there was a need for a boutique law firm focused on providing prompt, efficient and quality legal services to both small and mid-sized businesses and its owners. Susan founded Waltz, Palmer & Dawson LLC, in 2008 with two partners, both women, creating one of the only entirely women owned law firms in the Chicagoland area. WP&D uses its unique perspective to provide unparalleled legal services to its clients.

Susan also firmly believes in the intrinsic rewards of giving back to the community in which you live. Susan repeatedly dedicates hundreds of hours each year (sometimes each month) supporting various local charitable initiatives and organizations. Feeling that there was a void in charitable fundraising for programs focused on assisting individuals wishing to return to the work force, Susan created a new charitable organization in 2005. All funds raised by the organization support programs that focus on job training or work placement for individuals would are struggling to overcome hardships. For example, in 2005 the organization raised funds for WINGS’s job training program which provides job training for women escaping abusive situations and needing to return to work to support their families. In addition to her business and community involvement,

Susan is also the mother of three young children. Susan began her legal experience working for a Chicago based law firm. After many years of logging thousands of hours on the train, Susan realized that the only way to feed her passion for being a lawyer as well as her deep need to be a hands-on mom, was to relocate close to home in the northwest suburbs. As a working mom, Susan understands the unique difficulties placed on women in business and the difficulties involved in maintaining a satisfying work/life balance. That is one of the primary reasons behind the creation of Waltz, Palmer & Dawson LLC.

Susan and her partners recognize that flexibility in your work environment is key to being not only a good parent, but a good employee as well. Waltz, Palmer & Dawson LLC was created to provide legal professionals and staff with a family friendly work option. It allows flexible schedules and unique employment roles to allow employees to keep in touch with what is most important – their families.

Juris Doctor, May 2000

Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, Illinois
Juris Doctor, May 2000
Dean’s List, The Forum Law Journal, Moot Court Team, Philip C. Jessup Competition Finalist,
International Commercial Arbitration Team, Senior Williams’ Fellowship, London
Comparative Advocacy Honors Program, emphasis in taxation of commercial entities.
Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Bachelor of Science in Communications, Cum Laude, March 1994
Majors: Organizational Communication, Legal Communication
Minor: Journalism

Community Involvement
Northwest Suburban United Way, Director
Involvement includes:

  • Organized numerous fundraisers raising significant funds to support those in need
  • Assisted in coordinating a Northwest Suburban wide food drive that collected thousands of food products for families in need.
  • Provides legal counsel for the organization on a pro bono basis

Buzz A Philanthropic Organization for Dedicated Professionals, Director
Involvement includes:

  • Founder of the organization and first President
  • Created and organized unique fundraising events that have raised over one hundred thousand dollars for various charitable organizations in the Northwest Suburbs, including: WINGS, Shelter, Inc., Clearbrook, Journeys from PADS to Hope and CEDA Northwest.
  • Organized home improvement project for Shelter, Inc. youth home, including collecting thousands of dollars in donations from area businesses to improve the living conditions of the residents.
  • Organized and oversee an annual holiday gift drive for the families of Faith Community Homes (an organization aimed at helping families in severe financial need stay in their homes and learn financial responsibility).

Metropolis Theater Steering Committee, Member
Involvement includes:

  • Organizing numerous fundraisers for the not for profit performing arts theater located in downtown Arlington Heights

National Association of Women Business Owners, Member
Involvement includes:

  • Created a subgroup for members located in the northwest suburbs who wish to meet on a monthly basis to improve their business and develop new contacts.

Arlington Heights Citizen’s Police Academy, Legal Counsel
Involvement includes:

  • Provides legal counsel for the organization on a pro bono basis

District 214 Continuing Education Program, volunteer lecturer
Involvement includes:

  • Provides a free educational program for students in the continuing educationalprogram directed at assisting them with the creation of legal entities for their own businesses

Village of Arlington Heights Planning Commission, Commissioner
Involvement includes:

  • Attend monthly meetings to hear, consider and vote on various development projects, new businesses or other village planning matters for the Village of Arlington Heights

Village of Arlington Heights Housing Commission, 2003 to 2008, Chair 2007 to 2008
Involvement includes:

  • Attended monthly meetings aimed at maintaining and securing affordable housingstock in Arlington Heights and providing education to individuals on options to obtain grants and loans to repair existing homes or purchase new affordable homes.

Arlington Heights Rotary (noon club), Assistant Secretary
Involvement includes:

  • Assist in various community projects like the Thanksgiving food drive, Holiday gift drive, and book drive programs

Legal Industry Involvement

  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association, Member Corporate and Business Law Committee, Palatine
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member

Professional Speaking Engagements

  • Employment Practices: The process of workforce reduction, DS&P Insurance Services, April 2009
  • Employee Classification: Company Employee or 1099?, ADP Open House Key Note Speaker, May, 2008, Cornerstone User Seminar, April, 2008
  • Preparing for the No Match rule, ADP Best Practices in Managing Compliance Issues Seminar Series, November, 2007
  • Corporation or LLC, a practical guide to these entities, Northwest Suburban Bar Association, October, 2007

Teaching Engagements

  • Operating Agreements: and examination of Buy-Sell Arrangements, Northwest Suburban Bar Association, July 2009.
  • Corporate and LLC formation: an examination of LLCs, Northwest Suburban Bar Association, October 2008.
  • Starting A Business, repetitive course, District 214 Community Education
  • Sole Proprietorship, Corporation or LLC, a comparative course, District 214 Community Education, April 2007

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