Companies and educational institutions trust Dawn Sestito as their go-to outside counsel, relying on her to guide them through all manner of sensitive disputes, from arbitrations and regulatory inquiries to class-action claims and bet-the-company litigation. Drawing on her own wide-ranging commercial litigation experience and leveraging the expertise of O’Melveny specialists, Dawn builds the right teams and brings the right resources to achieve the best outcomes for clients across a range of industries.
As a member of the Firm’s Colleges & Universities practice, Dawn has extensive experience counseling and defending educational institutions, including in matters involving Title IX, Clery, and allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Dawn also represents some of the world’s largest companies, defending them against claims including product mislabeling, breach of contract, employment discrimination, and public nuisance—an emerging legal battleground where she has extensive experience. The Daily Journal recognized Dawn’s success representing clients in matters ranging from patent disputes to major environmental litigation, honoring her as one of California’s “Top 20 under 40” attorneys in 2015.
A respected leader within the firm, Dawn serves as Managing Partner of O’Melveny’s Los Angeles office. She previously served in several other leadership roles, including as the firm’s Southern California Litigation Regional Head, as head of the Associate and Counsel Review Committee, and as a member of the Partner Compensation Committee.
Dawn also maintains an active pro bono practice focused on marriage equality and reproductive rights. Her work helped overturn Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban, and she filed amicus briefs in several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, including in the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor.
Honors & Awards
- Recommended by The Legal 500, Dispute Resolution - General Commercial Disputes (2018-2019)
- Southern California “Rising Star” in annual surveys conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc.
- Published in Los Angeles magazine
- Published in the Southern California edition of Super Lawyers
- O’Melveny Values Award recipient (2005)
- Nominated as a “Rising Star” in Litigation by Euromoney Legal Media Group at the 2014 Americas Women in Business Law Awards
- US District Court for the Central, Eastern, Southern, and Northern Districts of California
- US Court of Appeals, Ninth and Second Circuits
- United States Supreme Court
- University of California at Berkeley, J.D.: Order of the Coif
- University of California at Berkeley, B.A.: Phi Beta Kappa; with high distinction