Meet Dawn Gonzalez
- First licensed in 1994, with 29 years of private practice in complex civil litigation focusing on insurance coverage litigation, tort defense litigation and commercial litigation.
- “Recommended” or “Qualified” ratings from all bar associations that conduct evaluations of judicial candidates (see full list in the “Bar Ratings” page).
- Substantial involvement in bar associations, including 2005/2006 President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (see full list in “Bar Association Involvement” page).
- Substantial involvement in several community groups and organizations in and around Oak Park (see full list in “Community Involvement” page).
Dawn Gonzalez has always been committed to the resolution of disputes, cutting through distractions to get to the heart of complicated matters, with a reputation for having a calm temperament under pressure and professional respect for counsel and parties. Throughout her career, she has been a leader in the Cook County legal community and has been active with numerous local community groups.
Awards & Recognition
2021 – “Short List Finalist” in selection process for Cook County Associate Judge
2008 to 2016 – Selected as an “Illinois Super Lawyer”
2006 – DePaul University College of Law, Outstanding Young Alumna
2004 – Chicago Daily Law Bulletin “40 Illinois Attorneys to Watch Under 40”
STONE & JOHNSON CHARTERED – Partner 2018 to Present
CONTINENTAL CASUALTY COMPANY, CNA INSURANCE – Senior Coverage Litigation Attorney in the CNA Coverage Litigation Group, a captive in-house law firm, 2015 to 2017
BAUGH DALTON CARLSON & RYAN, LLC – Equity Partner 2011 to 2015
LITCHFIELD CAVO, LLP – Associate 2000 to 2003; Partner 2003 to 2011
MECKLER BULGER & TILSON, LLC – Associate 1997 to 2000
HASKELL & PERRIN, LLP – Associate 1994 to 1997
Throughout these positions over the last 29 years, Dawn has litigated complicated tort and insurance coverage cases in Cook County, downstate Illinois, several U.S. District Courts, and several Midwest States. The types of cases and claims that she has handled have involved a wide range of subjects, including: bodily injury, toxic exposure, product liability, construction defects, food contamination, statutory violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act (“BIPA”), trucking accidents, professional liability, commercial transactions, and environmental contamination. Her cases have ranged from huge multi-million dollar law suits with numerous defendants, to small value private disputes. In every case, Dawn strives to find a path to resolution with efficiency and equity.
Early Background & Family Life
Dawn grew up as active student and athlete in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She was Class President for three out of four years at Harrison High School, while also playing on the school’s Varsity Softball, Volleyball and Golf Team (Mens) and earning three varsity letters in each of those three sports.
From 1987 to 1991, Dawn attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History. For about three weeks in her freshman year, she was a member of the Michigan Women’s Varsity Golf Team. On that campus, she met lifelong friends, as well as her husband Michael. They married in the summer of 1991, right after their graduation and right before they both start law school. They will be celebrating their 32nd anniversary this summer.
From 1991 to 1994, Dawn attended the DePaul University College of Law. While there, she was a recipient of a small scholarship endowed by the Class of 1972. She also was a Student Representative on the Faculty Tenure Committee. She graduated in May 1994 in the top 15% of her class. She was the first in her extended family to go to law school and become a lawyer.
For the first six years of moving to the Chicago area, 1991 to 1997, Dawn and her husband lived in an apartment in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. From 1997 to 2002, they lived in a bungalow in the Portage Park neighborhood. Their first son was born in 2000 and their second son was born in 2002. In 2002, they found their “forever home” in Oak Park, with arguably the best neighbors anyone could have.
Living in Oak Park for the past 21 years, Dawn and her husband have been active in a wide range of community groups and an even longer list of their boys’ sports teams and various activities, including while their boys attended Oak Park River Forest High School. (See the “Community Involvement” page for more information)
Both of Dawn’s sons continue the family tradition at the University of Michigan – one has graduated and one is now a rising Senior on campus.
Dawn’s Extended Family
is a Microcosm of America
Dawn’s own ethnic heritage is a mix of Irish and German (through her mother’s McGrath family), as well as English and French (through her father’s Culbertson family). For 32 years now, she has been married into and part of a wonderful Cuban in-law family. Her father-in-law moved from Cuba to the United States as a 14-year old teenager in the 1960s, after Fidel Castro’s takeover, and was placed into foster care in Oak Park through “Operation Pedro Pan”. Several family members of hers are LGBTQ+. Several extended family members of hers are active with the Native American Seneca Tribe, while other extended family members are first or second generation Lebanese, Italian, Greek and Mexican. Some extended family members have disabilities such as down syndrome, trisomy 18, or other physical limitations. Her father was a U.S. Army drill sergeant at Fort Dix, NJ from 1964 to 1966, three other family members saw active duty in Vietnam, and one recently retired after a 20+ year career in the U.S. Army.
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