Dawn Vallejos-Nichols graduated with Honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 1994. Following graduation, Dawn was employed for two years as an attorney with Three Rivers Legal Services, where she had interned during her final year of law school.
Since joining Avera & Smith in 1996, Dawn has represented Florida's injured in personal injury cases of almost every description.
Dawn's primary focus at the firm now is wrongful death and personal injury litigation against tobacco manufacturing giants R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA Inc. Dawn played an instrumental role in winning three of the most significant cases in recent years with verdicts against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company - one verdict for $34.7 million, another for $17.5 million and yet another for $15.5 million. Another successful verdict was rendered against both R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris for $5 million.
These cases received national attention and set an important precedent for all attorneys who battle the endless resources and limitless dollars that tobacco companies use in their efforts to deny victims who have suffered illness and death from the use of their products. To date, Dawn has been involved in the trial of 13 tobacco cases and is currently working to bring more cases to trial this year and next.
Dawn has served on the Board of Directors of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association continuously since 2005 and served as its President from 2012-13. She has also edited the EJCBA's monthly newsletter, Forum 8, since 2005 and received the President's Award for Service for that publication in 2007. She also sits on the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Northern Conference in Florida, and has done so since 2013. She is also a member of the Gerald T. Bennett American Inns of Court and serves at the "Master" level. In the community, she served for several years as a member of the Constituency Board for CARD, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Guardian Foundation and Three Rivers Legal Services.
For the past 3 years, Dawn was honored by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the 10 Best Female Attorneys for Client Satisfaction in North Florida.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Personal Injury Wrongful Death
90% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Florida, 1994 U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida - 1994 Honors: With Honors University of California B.A., History with Highest Honors
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
American Bar Association, Member American Association for Justice, Member Florida Justice Association, Member Florida Justice Association, Board of Directors, 2003 - 2006 Florida Justice Association, Chair of Women's Caucus Section, 2004 - 2005 Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Board of Directors, 2005 - Present Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, President, 2012-2013