Avera & Smith Names Dawn Vallejos-Nichols as Partner

November 3, 2015 – Gainesville, FL; The Avera & Smith law firm, which has served the Gainesville community for more than 60 years, today announced that Dawn Vallejos-Nichols has been named a partner, joining partners Mark Avera, Lance Avera and Rod Smith.

“Dawn is an exceptional attorney with nearly 20 years of experience at our firm,” said Mark Avera, Partner, Avera & Smith. “She’s been instrumental in helping our clients achieve just outcomes in many highly-complex cases over the years.”

Vallejos-Nichols, who now oversees the firm’s tobacco litigation division, joined Avera & Smith in 1996 and has represented clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases of almost every kind. She has a set of skills, experience and commitment to her job that make her a major asset to those in need during critical times of personal injury or loss.

Vallejos-Nichols played a major role in the recent Avera & Smith $34 million tobacco case win for a Florida family against R.J. Reynolds. She also was instrumental in winning two other significant Avera & Smith cases against the tobacco giant, separate verdicts for $3.75 million, and $15.5 million. These cases received national attention and set an important precedent for all attorneys who battle the seemingly limitless dollars and resources that tobacco companies use in their efforts to deny victims who have suffered illness and death from the use of their products.

She was appointed by Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to an initial two-year term on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, Northern Conference, through 2015, which was just extended an additional two years. Participation requires the review of dozens of applications from judicial to attorney general candidates, once an opening is available on one of the three District Courts in Florida or in a District Attorney General’s office.

Vallejos-Nichols was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1995 after graduating with Honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 1994. She holds lifetime memberships in the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, and is a strong believer in giving back to the community, having served as a member of the Constituency Board for CARD, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. She has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association continuously since 2005 and served as its President in 2012-13. She is also Editor of the Bar’s monthly newsletter, Forum 8.

Avera & Smith has a legacy of personal service and genuine care for the firm’s clients and the local community. It provides caring, quality service from experienced and qualified attorneys, a remarkable support staff and state-of-the-art supporting technology.