Terry W. Dawson Partner
Terry took a unique route to the practice of law. A rock-and-roll disc jockey in his teens and twenties, Terry worked in broadcasting for a decade in news reporting and basketball, baseball and football play-by-play. He was also a music director and later a press secretary for a Congressional candidate in Illinois. After leaving those fields, Terry moved to Indianapolis and joined Barnes & Thornburg, where he has practiced law for nearly three decades.
Terry has negotiated contracts with a number of unions, including the Steelworkers, Teamsters, IBEW, SEIU, AFTRA, UAW, AFSCME, IOE, Carpenters and many others. He offers deep experience arbitrating on behalf of employers, battling to reach his clients’ objectives and to protect their interests and reputation. Terry has also helped clients manage strikes and lockouts, and has handled decision and effects bargaining, midterm contract negotiations and plant closings.
With a detail-oriented approach, Terry represents clients throughout Indiana and across the country in numerous industries, including professional sports teams and organizations, manufacturing, automotive, broadcasting, shipbuilders, cities and municipalities, major retail and grocery stores, museums, utilities and healthcare. He also represents overseas clients located in the U.S., including numerous Japanese and German clients.
Terry has handled scores of union organizing drives and elections across the country – from California to Georgia – including the largest organizing drive in the history of one major union. He has presented the Indiana Chamber of Commerce program, “Remaining Union Free,” for more than two decades and regularly provides training to managers and supervisors on the best practices and strategies for remaining union-free.
In addition to labor relations and client counseling, Terry is known as "the FMLA guy," assisting clients in Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) matters. A large portion of Terry's practice includes counseling employers on dealing with the many everyday practical problems presented by the FMLA and ADA, including strategies for chronic and intermittent leaves and complex leave of absence challenges. He regularly trains employers on topics including FMLA and ADA compliance and strategy, FLSA issues, harassment and the like.
Terry particularly enjoys advising clients on everyday matters in both the private and public sectors, and partnering with businesses to develop strategies to avoid legal problems, achieve business objectives, and deal with the obstacles they confront. He has substantial experience representing employers before federal and state courts and has appeared before many federal and state agencies, such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, various state civil rights commissions, OSHA and the Department of Labor. He has handled hundreds of discrimination matters before the EEOC and other employment agencies across the country.
Consistent with his media background, Terry advises clients on media relations and develops strategies for public relations outreach. He has appeared on television, radio and other media outlets discussing numerous topics, including the National Labor Relations Board, union organizing, various legal developments, and the National Football League's labor relations issues.
The Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2019