Dawn M. Knepper


Dawn Knepper is licensed in both California and Texas and she is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  She represents employers in all aspects of employment law, including employment litigation and counseling.

Dawn advises and defends clients in federal and state employment-related lawsuits and agency claims, including actions alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.  Dawn’s experience includes successfully defending employers in both jury and bench trials and in arbitration proceedings. She also draws on her background in commercial litigation to represent employers in cases that involve employee theft of trade secrets, non-compete agreements, defamation, fraud, business interference and violations of the fiduciary duties owed by an employee to his/her employer. 

Along with her litigation practice, Dawn provides advice to employers concerning litigation avoidance, wage and hour laws, leaves of absence, employee discipline, hiring and termination issues, privacy claims, reductions in force, and other issues arising in the human resources context. 

Dawn also has extensive experience reviewing and creating employee handbooks and policies of all types; drafting and negotiating employment agreements (including independent contractor, non-competition, non-disclosure, and non-solicitation agreements) and severance agreements; and providing training for employers on employment-related issues.

Dawn served as a Staff Attorney with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2000 to 2001.

AV Rated Martindale Hubbell

Education and Honors


J.D., with honors, Golden Gate University School of Law, 2000
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1996

Honors and Awards: 
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star (2010 - 2013)
  • Southern California Super Lawyer (2014 - 2015)
  • Preeminent AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Orange County Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Association (Employment Law Section)
  • Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce (Member)
  • Ogletree Deakins Fall Seminar - "Firing the Company’s Top Brass – Special Considerations for Executive Terminations" - Costa Mesa - November 5, 2014
  • Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce - "ABCs and 123s for California Supervisors and Managers" - Laguna Beach - July 31, 2014
  • Laguna Beach Business Club - "Auditing Employee Handbook and Workplace Policies" - June 19, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Bundles of Joy – Pregnancy and Postpartum Issues in the Workplace" - Las Vegas - May 7, 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar - "Standard Sports Franchise Contracts for Independent Contractors and Class Actions: Assessing the Risk" - April 15, 2014
  • Costa Mesa Breakfast Briefing - "Alphabet Leave - Managing the Convergence of FMLA, CFRA, PDL, ADA, and WC LOA" - Orange County - April 10, 2014
  • Napa Seminar - "California Workplace Investigations - So Much More Than Just the Facts" - Napa - March 27, 2014
  • Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce - "Doing Business in California is Unique - Basic Blocking and Tackling" - Laguna Beach - February 28, 2014
  • Webinar - "Pregnancy Liabilities in California" - November 21, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Fall Seminar - "Employee Mobility in California - Protecting Your Company Against a Former Employee's Unfair Competition" - Costa Mesa - October 15, 2013
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar - "Workplace Investigations - How To Do Them Right!" - June 13, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "California's New Pregnancy Disability and Disability Discrimination Regulations" - Costa Mesa - April 10, 2013
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Sports and Entertainment Law Conference - "Helping Your Guests See and Hear the Hottest Ticket in Town! Accommodation of Guests with Vision and Hearing Impairments Under Title III of the ADA" - Los Angeles - February 13, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "Workplace Investigations—How To Do Them Right!" - September 6, 2012
  • Lorman Education Services Webinar - "Navigating Potential Landmines - Employment Tests and Selection Procedures" - May 21, 2012

In The News

Media Quotes:
  • September 30, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "Quit or Retired? It Makes No Difference When It Comes to Paying Final Wages in California"
  • March 27, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Supreme Court Allows Whistleblowing Doctor to Sue Before Exhausting Judicial Remedies "
  • December 16, 2013 - Ogletree Deakins Publication - "California Court Further Expands FEHA Protections to Employees Based on Association with Disabled Person"
  • May 27, 2011 - San Antonio Business Journal - "Dawn M. Knepper Clarifies the Often Murky Issues of Unpaid Leaves of Absence"
Published Works:
  • February 4, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins Blog Post - "NFL Cheerleader Cries Foul Over Compensation"
  • December 11, 2013 - Association of Corporate Counsel - "Top Ten on Public Accommodation Considerations for Sports and Entertainment Venues Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act"
  • 1999 - 29 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 580 - "Note - California's Foul Strike: A Single Act Punished With Two Strikes"