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Lawton Penn

Head of DWT De Novo
Lawton Penn advises employers on all aspects of the employment relationship, including employment agreements, policies, and challenging workplace situations. She works with employers to address employment disputes, maximizing employer interests and goals while minimizing the risks of litigation. She has experience both managing and conducting investigations into issues of sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct, gender discrimination and glass ceiling issues, code of conduct violations, expense fraud, theft, and conflict of interest. She regularly conducts management training programs on a range of employment topics.

Representative Experience

Represented publicly-traded technology company defending Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation claim brought by former general counsel, both before the Department of Labor and in U.S. District Court.

Supervised investigations involving extensive electronic evidence, computer forensics, and complicated issues relating to maintaining privileged nature of investigation and communicating results.

Provided advice to publicly-traded company in connection with significant reduction in force, including analysis of WARN Act issues, development of severance pay strategies, conducting adverse impact analysis, and creating documents related to same.

Defended and then negotiated successful resolution of class action lawsuits alleging that company violated provisions under California law related to provision of meal periods, rest breaks, expense reimbursement, and other wage and hour compliance.

Conducted management training programs for a dozen clients, in industries ranging from fish processing, parking, and engineering to technology, on the topics of discrimination law, harassment, effective performance feedback, wage and hour, compliance with FMLA and leave laws, and conducting investigations.

Defended major medical institution in audit by Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of their affirmative action programs.

Defended audit by Washington Employment Security Department seeking unpaid taxes for workers classified as independent contractors.

Conducted attorney-client privileged internal audit of organization's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonable accommodation process.

Advised multiple employers on situations involving employees with performance problems compounded by complicated disability accommodation issues, including terminal illness, to help the employers achieve goals with minimal disruption to the work environment and no legal exposure.

Additional Qualifications

  • Judicial Extern, Hon. Barbara J. Rothstein, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Professional & Community Activities

  • Board of Trustees, ACT Foundation, 2004-present
  • Board of Trustees, A Contemporary Theatre, 1995-2003
  • American Bar Association

Professional Recognition

  • Named one of "America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in Labor & Employment (Washington) by Chambers USA, 2003-2016
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Labor & Employment Law by Best Lawyers, 2003-present
  • Named one of the Puget Sound’s "Forty under 40" by Puget Sound Business Journal, 2005
  • Selected to "Washington Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2004-2006
  • Selected to "Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2008-2016
  • Named one of "155 Top Lawyers" by Seattle Magazine and Seattle Business Monthly, 2007
Recognized by Chambers USA
Davis Wright Tremaine Repeats as Innovative Law Firm of the Year