Like so many other law school graduates, I came into private practice thinking I knew everything there was to know. I thought the more aggressive I was and the louder I yelled, the better attorney it made me. Then, I had the opportunity to work with Dawn Traverso, my boss and mentor. I watched her repeatedly having conversations with people on the other side of the aisle; asking how their families were, and how their vacations went. This didn’t apply to just the attorneys she considers friends, it applied to all of her opponents. I couldn’t understand how she could be so friendly towards someone who had treated her poorly or recently pulled something I considered less than ethical. But, Dawn knew the best way to get an issue or case resolved was by not further “poking the bear.”
It was through seeing this time and time again that I quickly learned the best way to litigate and to get cases settled was to have a respectful and professional relationship with those on the other side. The idea of calling up a claimant’s attorney joking around and getting a case settled as we talk about vacation is something that seemed completely foreign to me. It is for this reason and so many others that Dawn Traverso was recently named Defense Attorney of the Year by WorkCompCentral, inducted as a Fellow in the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, and awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the Florida Friends of 440 Scholarship Fund.
Dawn has been practicing workers’ compensation for the vast majority of her career. Throughout that career, she has fine tuned these skills along with countless others. No one is more universally respected by those on both sides of the aisle. This is why she has been so successful in her career and has been given the recognition she long deserved.
I owe a great many things to Dawn. She was my workers’ compensation professor in law school, hired me as a law clerk due to my persistent begging, and even hired me as an attorney after law school. However, the aspect of the law I’m most grateful for her teaching me is that the best attorney in the room was rarely the one screaming the loudest. The best attorneys are those who understand their opponent, how that person “operates,” and how to make that person see things from your point of view. It is that skillset that perfectly encapsulates Dawn Traverso as an attorney.
Our firm congratulates Dawn for all of the recognition she received in 2017.