Dawn M. Jones
Dawn M. Jones (Rebecca Breyer)

Dawn Jones has left King & Spalding to launch a consultancy that uses her background in nursing and litigation to assist other lawyers, from assessing cases through taking them to trial.

It is the same type of work she did at King & Spalding, where she spent a decade defending manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and consumer goods in product liability and mass tort lawsuits.

Jones was a nurse working on the trauma unit at Grady Memorial Hospital before she became a lawyer and it was that experience that led her to King & Spalding.

She said she’d never thought about law school until she met other nurses with J.D.s while working on a graduate degree as a clinical nurse specialist in critical care at Georgetown University. Those nurses worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as patient advocates, making sure hospitals and physicians followed the law in patient care.

That made Jones realize that she could do other things with a nursing degree. “I would never have thought to go to law school if I had not had that experience,” she said.

Jones continued working as a nurse while earning her law degree at Georgia State University College of Law. Even during her first three years in practice at Cozen O’Connor, where she was an insurance defense lawyer, Jones worked one nursing shift a month at Emory Healthcare.

“I couldn’t give it up,” she said.

She quit nursing when she took a job as an associate counsel for Grady Health System in 2003. Soon after that she heard from a classmate that King & Spalding was looking for nurse-J.D.s to help with pharmaceutical cases. “Pharmaceutical litigation was starting to pick up,” she said.

She went to work for King & Spalding, then briefly returned to Grady’s law department. When King & Spalding “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Jones said, she returned to the firm seven years ago.

“This is the natural next step,” she said. Jones will be helping other lawyers to work up their cases, just as she did as a senior attorney at King & Spalding, but now as her own boss as the proprietor of The Firm of Dawn M. Jones.

That allows her more flexibility in setting rates, taking on clients and managing her own time.

Jones said she is helping both defense firms and plaintiffs lawyers to assess and prepare cases. She screens and evaluates potential cases, reviewing medical and insurance records to determine the viability of potential claims—and to spot what documents might be missing. “There is always something missing from a medical record,” she said.

She helps lawyers determine what experts they need, then vets the experts and prepares them for depositions and trials. She also does legal research and writing, including discovery, motions and briefs.

Jones said she plans to continue her community involvement and she hopes being her own boss will give her time to take on some pro bono cases. She is the immediate past president of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, a member of GSU Law’s board of visitors and on Emory Healthcare’s citizen advisory board.

She is also a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s board of governors and active in the Atlanta Bar Association.

The executive director of the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, Cristal Waldrop, is resigning because her husband has taken a job in the San Francisco Bay area. Dave Whisnant, the group’s legal director, will take over as executive director.


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