Dawn R. Smith

Dawn R. Smith

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in Decatur, GA

Smith & Lake LLC
 | 1 West Court Square, #410
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404-909-8300
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2017
Licensed Since: 1990
Practice Areas:
  • Family Law (80%),
  • Schools & Education (20%)
Attorney Profile

 

Dawn Smith is a partner at Smith & Lake, LLC where she practices family and education law. She has represented children and families for over 24 years. Immediately prior to joining the firm, Dawn was a partner at one of Atlanta’s most prestigious family law firms. She also served as Deputy Director of Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation where she was responsible for administration of the city’s largest pro bono family law program. In this role, Dawn worked in partnership with the Judges of the Fulton County Family Court to provide trained Guardian ad Litems in contested custody matters. She has trained Guardian ad Litems throughout the state and has lectured on their role nationally. Dawn is frequently appointed by Courts to serve as Guardian ad Litem in family law cases. She also is a certified arbitrator and mediates family law cases.

In addition to her expertise in family law, Dawn is recognized as one of the leading advocates for the civil and educational rights of children with disabilities. She is the past President of the Board of Directors of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, the national membership organization for special education attorneys and advocates. She has pursued actions on behalf of children in state and federal trial courts as well as in the 11thCircuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Dawn is a frequent lecturer both nationally and locally on the rights of children. At the firm, Dawn provides quality legal services on behalf of children and lends her expertise in this area to all of our family law endeavors.

Dawn began her career as Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob and subsequently was appointed Special Administrative Master for the Court. Dawn was also a partner in the firm Zimring & Smith LLC and was later appointed Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings. She is a 1985 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 1989 cum laud graduate of Georgia State University College of Law where she served as Style Editor on Georgia State Law Review.

Dawn is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  She is a member of the Atlanta, Cobb and DeKalb County Bar Associations; the Family Law Section of the Georgia Bar, the American Bar Association Family Law Section and a barrister of the Charles Weltner Inn of Court. Dawn is a Member of the Board of DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.  She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Founder of Cool Girls, Inc., served on the Board of the Greater Georgia Chapter of the Autism Society of America and was on the Advisory Board of Emmaus House. She has also served as Senior Warden and member of the Vestry of Episcopal Church of the Epiphany and is a current member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Dawn is married to Robin Griffith, has two sons and resides in Decatur.

About Dawn Smith

Admitted: 1990, Georgia

Professional Webpage: http://smithlakelaw.com/dawn-smith-2/

Honors and Awards:

  • Volunteer of the Year , Atlanta Legal Aid Society, 2016
  • Awarded to Cool Girls Founder, Dawn Smith on the marking of the 25th anniversary of the organization http://www.thecoolgirls.org/, Founder’s Award, Cool Girls Inc, 2014
  • 2013, 2014 & 2015 Georgia Trend Legal Elite Top Lawyers listing of Georgia’s top attorneys., Georgia Trend Legal Elite Top Lawyers, Georgia Trend Magazine

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Board of Directors, DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation , 2016
  • Board of Directors, Family Law Section, Atlanta Bar Association , 2016
  • Atlanta Bar Association, Family Law Section; Georgia Bar Association, Family Law Section; American Bar Association, Family Law Section; Past President and Board Member, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates;Leadership Atlanta; Board Member, DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation; Editorial Board Member, The Atlanta Lawyer: Georgia State University Law Alumni Council

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Atlanta Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney, DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Volunteer Attorney, Atlanta Volunter Layers Volunteer Attorney, Pro Bono Partnership Volunteer Attorney, 2010

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Speaker, Third Party Custody Actions , Georgia Superior Court Judges Winter Conference, 2017
  • Speaker, Sexual Abuse Allegations and Custody , Georgia Superior Court Judges Winter Conference, 2016
  • Presenter, Substance Abuse and Parenting, Association Of Family And Conciliatory Courts Annual Conference, 2015
  • Speaker, Special Education and Custody, Georgia Superior Court Judges Summer Conference, 2015
  • Speaker, Substance Abuse and Parenting, Georgia Superior Court Judges Winter Conference, 2015
  • Pro Bono March Madness 2014, Presenter, Volunteer Guardians ad Litem, Atlanta Bar Associaition, 2014
  • 2014 Family Law Institute, Presenter, Special Needs/Special Education in Custody and Support Cases, Family Law Institute, 2014
  • Presenter, Fertile Ground: Cross Examination and Direct of Custody Evaluator , Family Law Section, Georgia Bar Association, 2013
  • Presenter, Guardian Ad Litem Training , Atlanta Bar Association, 2013
  • Presenter, Guardian Ad Litem Training, Atlanta Bar Association, 2012
  • Presenter,  Effective Use of Guardian ad Litems and the Emergence of Parenting Coodinators, Georgia Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2011
  • Trainer , New Attorney Training , Council Of Parent Attorneys And Advocates, 2011
  • Presenter , Family Law for the Low Income Client , Atlanta Bar Association, 2010
  • Writer, Guardian ad Litem Manual, 2010
  • Program Chair and Lecturer, Guardian ad Litem Training, Atlanta Bar Association, 2010
  • Presenter , Compensatory Education , Council Of Parent Attorneys And Advocates, 2010
  • Presenter , Domestic Violence Law , Atlanta Bar Association, 2009
  • Program Chair and Lecturer , Guardian ad Litem Training , Atlanta Bar Association, 2009
  • Program Chair and Lecturer , Guardian ad Litem Training, Atlanta Bar Association, 2008
  • Program Chair and Lecturer, Guardian ad Litem Training , Atlanta Bar Association, 2007
  • Presenter, IDEA Changes in a Nutshell, ICLE Georgia, 2005
  • Co-Author, Georgia School Law Manual , 2004
  • Presenter, Bringing Georgia Special Education Law into Focus, MEDS/PDN, 2004
  • Presenter, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Lorman, 2003
  • Presenter, Special Education Law , National Business Institute, 2002

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Georgia State University Law Review, Member and Style Editor; Law Clerk to the Honorable Marvin H. Shoob, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia; Special Administrative Master, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia; Administrative Law Judge, Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings; Deputy Director and Program Director of Guardian ad Litem Program, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation; Leadership Atlanta Class of 1996; Founder, Cool Girls Inc.

Educational Background:

  • Georgia State College of Law, J.D. cum laude, 1988
  • North Carolina State University, BA Business Management, 1985
Office Location for Dawn R. Smith

1 West Court Square
#410
Decatur, GA 30030

 

Dawn R. Smith:

Last Updated: 4/25/2017

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