In more than 30 years of practice, Ms. Dawson has focused on commercial and complex litigation. Early in her career, her cases were typically document (paper) intensive. As a trial attorney, Ms. Dawson understood the important role that document requests, proper document production, and the management of documents played in course of the litigation and trial. Technology and sound business processes in managing documents from preservation to trial became an early and important part of her practice. Recognizing the need for more effective client solutions as documents turned predominately from paper to electronic, K&L Gates formed its unique practice group, e-Discovery Analysis and Technology (e-DAT), in 1997. Today, e-DAT is comprised of more than one hundred lawyer and non-lawyer professionals dedicated to records management, litigation readiness, all aspects of document review (from collection to processing to final production) and litigation support. e-DAT uses systematic processes and advanced technology to provide efficient document review legal services, particularly with respect to electronic documents. These services have been extensively utilized in nationally prominent complex litigation, government investigations and a range of internal private investigations.
The American Lawyer named Ms. Dawson one of its six “most important e-discovery trailblazers” in the July 2013 issue devoted to the “Top 50 Legal Innovators of the Last 50 Years.” The article cited in particular, “Dawson saw it all coming – not just how e-discovery was going to change the practice of law, but how it could also change the business of law. Before most lawyers were using email, she was tweaking – and sometimes inventing – processes to ensure that her firm was getting both sides of the equation right.”
As founder and co-lead of e-DAT, Ms. Dawson’s practice has focused entirely on the legal issues of electronic discovery and records management for the past 15 years. She regularly counsels clients regarding litigation readiness, records preservation and legal holds, collection issues, and all manner of discovery related issues. Ms. Dawson serves as both Special and National e-Discovery Counsel to clients working with their trial counsel of choice. Reasonable, responsible and defensible solutions to often challenging discovery issues require the in-depth knowledge and legal experience that she brings to bear on each matter. An active participant in discussions regarding the 2006 and 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Ms. Dawson now serves as the co-chair to the Local Rules Committee for the Western District of Washington Federal Bar Association, where she represents the bar in providing recommendations to the court on proposed amendments to the civil local rules. She is a frequent speaker and author on electronic discovery issues. In 2016, Lawyer Monthly recognized Martha Dawson’s contributions to the legal profession by naming her the Commercial and Complex Litigation Lawyer of the Year in their Women in Law Awards publication.