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Dawn Hathaway

2019 Unsung Legal Heroes: Dawn Hathaway

In 34 years at Quinlivan & Hughes, Dawn Hathaway has made a watchword of versatility. She has taken on a variety of roles in the firm — including that of firm administrator for several years. Her secret is an engaging, outgoing personality.

“I like engaging with people,” she said. “Clients, colleagues, everyone.”

Her curiosity and thirst for learning have made her an essential part of the firm. At one point, she took classes and received a second bachelor’s degree in accounting — not on orders from her bosses, but just because she thought it would bring a supplemental skill to her job.

After earning a degree in history from the University of Minnesota, Hathaway worked a series of retail jobs and then enrolled at North Hennepin Community College to be a paralegal.

“That changed everything,” she said. “It gave me the confidence to do meaningful work.”

“Dawn is able to do the highest level of work as a paralegal,” said Brad Hanson, lead partner in the firm’s trust & estates practice area. “She is always learning and takes the time to understand the client’s challenges and issues and then he finds solutions.”

This has also been a big year for Hathaway personally. In June, Hathaway — formerly known as Don — revealed to Quinlivan & Hughes staff, clients that she was transgender.

The response, she says, has been “unbelievably positive” across the board.

“There hasn’t been a single negative whisper,” she said. “I’ve gotten cards, emails; it’s been amazing.”

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