Susan L. Dawson





Susan provides legal counsel to the closely held business owner, family run companies, entrepreneurs, and “Version 2.0”* companies regarding all aspects of their business. Together with her team they provide legal advice regarding business law, employment law, commercial real estate, employment law, intellectual property and business immigration.


Susan’s clients vary from emerging entities just getting established to large organizations with complex needs. Typically clients come to Susan when they are either emerging from the “start-up” phase to “version 2.0” of their business and have outgrown their current attorney or they are simply looking for a firm that is more adapt at today’s faster-paced business environment – one that is agile, adaptable and able to provide work on a scope basis so that there are no “surprise” invoices.


Whether you are just starting out or you are a sophisticated business owner that is focusing on your succession planning so you can transition into retirement, my team uses plain language in our contracts and our communications (so you don’t need a J.D. just to talk to us).


Regardless of where your business is today, the real value, the part that makes WPD different, comes from the level interaction, advice and problem solving we provide. That is a result of the in-depth working relationship we maintain. Our clients are not numbers. They are people with businesses and employees and we want to be an integral part of helping them achieve their goals.



Areas of Practice: Business Law, Employment Law (Management side), Commercial Real Estate

Susan’s recent recognitions and affiliations include: Illinois State Bar Association, Member; Northwest Suburban Bar Association, Member; National Association of Women Lawyers, Member; 2015 Enterprising Women of the Year, Enterprising Women Magazine and 2009 Influential Women in Business, Business Ledger.






Susan is experienced in all aspects of commercial transactions for international and domestic clients, including:

  • General Business Transactions
  • Mergers, acquisitions and Reorganizations
  • Joint ventures
  • Licensing
  • Secured Lending, including ABL
  • Distributor Agreements and Supply Chain
  • Operating agreements and Buy-sell arrangements
  • Private placement memorandums



Susan has advised employers on all types of employment matters, including:

  • Executive employment agreements
  • Non-competition agreements
  • Severance agreements
  • Employment practices audits
  • Pre-termination analysis
  • FSLA and Wage and Hour issues
  • EEOC and Illinois Department of Human Rights administrative hearings



Susan also applies her business acumen to Commercial Real Estate, Leasing and Construction matters. As a Commissioner on the Arlington Heights Planning Commission, she regularly oversees zoning and special use issues.  She works with clients on real estate matters including:

  • Sales and acquisitions
  • Leasing: Manufacturing, Industrial, Land and retail
  • Special Use, Zoning and Condemnation proceedings
  • Workouts
  • Construction contract negotiation and dispute resolution.


  • Creation of form licensing and distribution agreements, along with other documents and remote work, to streamline internal processes for international automotive product corporation resulting in cost savings to company of over 750M+ annually.
  • Acquisition of 40M+ multi-national manufacturing business involving over 300 employees.
  • Represented various foreign based companies in expansion into US marketplace, including, Switzerland, Germany, and Korea.
  • Coordinated, along with foreign counsel, various US based companies’ expansion into Europe, China and Mexico.
  • Successfully defeated EEOC charge of racial discrimination on behalf of statewide property management company. No settlement was offered and claimant did not file suit.
  • Successfully defeated IDHR charge against national franchisee operator involving pregnancy discrimination. Though claimant had hired counsel to represent her claim during IDHR process, no lawsuit was filed after IDHR process concluded.
  • 9M acquisition of multitenant strip mall
  • Sale of 14 Unit mixed use (residential/retail) commercial building.
  • 4M hotel acquisition (61 bed) from a national hotel chain.
  • Successful resolution of IDOT condemnation proceeding resulting in payment to client of over 100K.


Susan is actively sought out to speak on timely community matters.

  • Empowerment Through Building a Better Law Practice, Akron Bar Association
  • The Social Media Phenomenon: What every employer should know, Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Concealed Carry, Medical Marijuana and Distracted Driving, DS&P Insurance Services
  • Best Practices in Hiring, Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce
  • Asset Protection Strategies, Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Workers Compensation from an Employment Law Perspective, Stateline SHRM,
  • Employment Practices: The process of workforce reduction, DS&P Insurance Services
  • Employee Classification: Company Employee or 1099?, Cornerstone
  • Corporation or LLC, A practical guide to these entities, Northwest Suburban Bar Association


  • National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Board of Directors 
  • Village of Arlington Heights Planning Commission, Commissioner 
  • National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago, Immediate Past President, Director
  • NAWBO Spirit Foundation, Director
  • Northwest Suburban United Way Women’s Leadership CouncilMember (2010 to 2016)
  • Village of Arlington Heights Housing Commission, Commissioner (2002 to 2007); Chair (2007 to 2008)


Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD



Awarded 2018 as a Leading Lawyer in the following categories: Closely & Privately Held Business Law and Real Estate Law: Commercial

Awarded 2018 as one of Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers by Crain’s Custom Media, published Crain’s Chicago Business

Awarded 2018 Top 10 Employment & Labor Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Jurist Institute

Awarded 2018 Certified Member of the Lawyers of Distinction by The Lawyers of Distinction Organization

Awarded 2018 Top Ranked Attorney by Alm and Martindale-Hubbell

Awarded 2016-2017’s 10 Best Attorneys for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service by American Institute of Legal Counsel

Awarded 2016’s 10 Best Client Satisfaction, Labor & Employment Law Division by the American Institute of Legal CounselTM

  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings

    Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues’ general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice

    Susan received an AV Preeminent® rating by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™. An AV rating is the highest rating an attorney can receive. In Martindale’s own words “AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.”The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. Reviewers are asked to assess their colleagues’ general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.

    Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas: Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability, Legal Experience

    The Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards

    Recognizing the finest women entrepreneurs in North America and around the globe.

    Monica Smiley, publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women magazine, has announced the winners of the 2015 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards, an annual tribute to the world’s top women entrepreneurs. Honorees will be recognized at the 13th Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards & Conference, Sunday, March 29 to Tuesday, March 31 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

    The annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards is widely considered one of the most prestigious recognition programs for women business owners. To win, nominees must demonstrate that they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities. Many of the honorees also serve as leaders of the key organizations that support the growth of women’s entrepreneurship.

    Award winners were recognized in seven categories this year: annual sales revenues of more than $100 million; annual sales revenues of more than $25 million and up to $100 million; annual sales revenues of more than $10 million and up to $25 million; annual sales revenues of more than $5 million and up to $10 million; annual sales revenues of more than $2 million and up to $5 million; annual sales revenues of more than $1 million and up to $2 million; and annual sales revenues of up to $1 million…

    Winners in the “over $1 million and up to $2 million in annual revenues” category:

    • Linda A. Fanaras, Millennium Integrated Marketing, Manchester, N.H.
    • Adie Horowitz, Licenders, New York, N.Y.
    • Debbie Oberbillig, Allen Partners, Inc., Seattle, Wash.
    • Melinda Maine Garvey, AW Media, Austin, TX
    Susan L. Dawson, Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC, Rolling Meadows, Ill.
    • Charmane H. Sellers, ALEON Properties, Inc., Austin, TX
    • Diana Peters, Symbol Training Institute, Skokie, Ill.
    • Francine Friedman Griesing, Griesing Law, LLC, Philadelphia, Pa.
    • Dr. Angela Marshall, Comprehensive Women’s Health, Inc., Silver Spring, Md.
    • Moira Vetter, Modo Modo Agency, Atlanta, Ga.


  • This award annually showcases an outstanding individual for their business achievements and commitment to serving this organization. The winner of this award are exemplary members who inspire us while propelling entrepreneurism forward.
  • The Influential Women in Business awards recognize outstanding women executives who excel in business, civic and personal arenas.[source]

Should you have any questions about Business Law or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847) 253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This bio constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Content provided by Susan L. Dawson.