• Duquesne University School of Law, J.D. 
  • John Carroll University, B.A., Communications 


Supreme Court of Ohio 

Jessica L. Dawso

No one can question that Jessica cares—about her clients, her cases and the children served by Ohio’s public school districts.  Jessica shares her clients’ commitment to serving all students and it is demonstrated daily in her practice.  A skilled advocate, Jessica represents school districts in special education disputes, civil rights claims, student discipline matters, and employment matters.  Jessica’s approachable manner, negotiation skills, and depth of knowledge on student issues makes her valued counsel for school districts.   

Prior to joining Scott Scriven LLP, Jessica served as Legal Counsel and Associate Director in the Office for Exceptional Children at the Ohio Department of Education.  She practiced family, juvenile, and immigration law at the beginning of her career.  Her prior experience provides a deep understanding of the regulatory and legal circumstances confronted by boards of education.

Primary Focus & Experience

  • Education General Counsel:  Provides comprehensive advice and counsel to boards of education throughout the state of Ohio, including advising on public records, open meetings and board policy and governance issues, ethics and contracting advice, contract drafting and interpretation, community and media relations, litigation preparation and avoidance.  
  • Special Education Counseling & Litigation:  Defends boards of education in special education due process proceedings, administrative proceedings and in federal court.  Provides proactive advice to manage special education disputes and compliance concerns.   
  • Employment Law:  Defends boards of education in complaints before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other state agencies; represents clients in all aspects of employment law, from managing internal complaints and investigations, day to day human resources issues, and complex litigation.   
  • School Business Operations:  Provides proactive advice, review, drafting and negotiations regarding vendor contracts and strategic partnerships, risk assessment and management, and advice regarding financial issues.    
  • Investigations:  Provides guidance to administrators conducting investigations or directly assists with investigations into student and staff issues.   
  • Litigation:  Represents boards of education through all phases of litigation, including employee and student discrimination and civil rights cases; constitutional claims, including equal protection; Section 1983 claims; retaliation claims; sexual harassment and Title IX claims; teacher termination and employee discharge cases; and student discipline and special education claims.   
  • Student Matters:  Provides guidance and advice on various student matters, including bullying, parent complaints, student discipline, equity and diversity issues, and student records and privacy concerns.

Presentations & Publications

Jessica frequently speaks and writes on the following topics:  

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
  • Student discipline  
  • Student privacy rights 
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 
  • Student services compliance 


Jessica has presented for the following organizations: 

  • Ohio School Boards Association 
  • Buckeye Association of School Administrators 
  • Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators 
  • Ohio Association of Pupil Services Administrators 
  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys 
  • Ohio Educational Service Centers and State Support Teams  
  • Ohio School Psychologists Association 
  • Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) 

Jessica has authored the following publications: 

  • Educating Students in the Least Restrictive Environment, OSBA Journal Magazine 2018 

Professional Associations & Community Involvement

  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys 
  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys Special Education Roundtable, Member 
  • National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys  
  • Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland

You Might Not Know

Jessica grew up along the Ohio river in Steubenville, Ohio. She loves to travel, meet new people and spend time with her family and friends. Jessica’s most recent travel has taken her to various baseball fields, hockey rinks and dance studios throughout Ohio. Jessica lives with her husband and their two children in Westerville where they are active members of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.

“The best part about my job is working with highly dedicated clients and witnessing their passion for serving and supporting their students.”