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Michael T. Dawkins

Shareholder
Jackson
T: 601.351.2428
F: 601.592.2428

Michael T. Dawkins, shareholder in the Jackson office, concentrates his practice in the areas of white collar criminal defense, environmental law, conducting internal investigations and defending investigations of all types conducted by state and federal government departments and agencies.

Featured Experience

Obtained a Brownfield designation from the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality on behalf of a regional biofuel company.
Defended an engineer in an environmental crimes investigation involving wastewater violations of the Clean Water Act, resulting in no indictment.
Defended a CPA sued for marketing of tax shelters.

Professional Biography

Overview

Mr. Dawkins' white collar practice involves his defense of individuals and companies investigated or charged with various white collar crimes, including financial and tax fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, crimes against the environment and charges of mail fraud and wire fraud. With regard to investigations and lawsuits under the civil Federal False Claims Act he has decades of experience defending individuals and companies, including government contractors. 

Mr. Dawkins' environmental practice includes conducting confidential compliance reviews and audits, encompassing all areas of state and federal environmental law and regulation. He advises clients in situations where environmental violations have been self-detected in these reviews and audits and advises clients on questions of self-reporting and the employment of best practices to reduce the future risk of noncompliance. He advises with regard to Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments and other aspects of due diligence in the sale and acquisition of property and the development of contaminated property, including Brownfields. 

He has nearly 30 years of experience in the defense of clients in administrative, civil and criminal investigations and enforcement matters involving environmental permitting, regulatory and statutory noncompliance. He frequently works with consulting engineers, toxicologists and other experts, including experts in the fields of the fate and transport of hazardous and toxic substances into the environment. 

In the area of internal investigations, most recently, he has conducted internal investigations of allegations of financial statement misstatements and insurance fraud. He often works on investigations with forensic accountants and financial statement auditors in the testing and investigation of fraud. He has several years of experience defending criminal federal income tax and state sales tax investigations and prosecutions. 

Due in large part to his experience in accounting, auditing and the performance of internal investigations, Mr. Dawkins conducts systems reviews for the purpose of monitoring compliance with requirements of federal and state statutes and regulations, as well as compliance with best practices procedures implemented for the purpose of systematizing and maintaining that compliance. He advises clients on changes to practices, policies and procedures in order to improve compliance and avoid violations of statute and regulation.

Mr. Dawkins worked in public accounting for four years, principally in the areas of auditing and tax, and he has maintained his license as a certified public accountant since 1984. He has represented CPAs in professional liability cases, disciplinary proceedings and in civil and criminal matters involving allegations of violations tax law.

Representative Matters
  • Obtained a Brownfield designation from the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality on behalf of a regional biofuel company.
  • Defended an engineer in an environmental crimes investigation involving wastewater violations of the Clean Water Act, resulting in no indictment.
  • Defended a CPA sued for marketing of tax shelters.
  • Represented a recycler in an environmental crimes investigation, resulting in no indictment.
  • Defended a NASA contractor accused of submitting false claims for reimbursement of labor charges incurred under cost reimbursement contract, three-month trial in federal district court, resulting in a verdict for less than three percent of amount sought by the government.

  • Represented a hospital management company in a lawsuit filed by the hospital, establishing the negligence of the independent CPA's performance of annual audits and failure to comply with generally accepted auditing standards.

  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a government contractor, who was engaged to expand a commuter railway servicing a major New England municipality, accused of making false claims in an environmental impact statement.
  • Represented the defendant in a federal perjury investigation, resulting in no indictment.
  • Defended taxpayers and CPAs investigated or prosecuted for tax evasion.
  • Conducted a timecard internal investigation for an Eastern seaboard civil engineering company/government contractor.

  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing the action against a property manager in False Claims Act litigation regarding HUD rental assistance payments.
  • Represented CPAs facing licensure inquiries by state boards of accountancy.
Professional Honors & Activities
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Environmental Law since 2008; White-Collar Criminal Defense since 2015 
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2019 Jackson-MS Environmental Litigation "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2010
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers (2007 – 2008, 2010 – 2017)
  • Selected by American Lawyer Media as a "2013 Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar – Criminal Defense"
  • Member – ABA Section of Litigation, Criminal Litigation Committee; Chair, Ethics Subcommittee (2012 – 2013)
  • Mississippi Bar Association (Member – Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, 2006 – 2007; Chair – Environmental Seminar Committee of Section on Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law (SONREEL), 1997 – 1998; Chair – SONREEL Environmental Crimes Subcommittee, 1996 – 1997)
  • Fellow – American Bar Foundation
  • Named the 2013 Volunteer of the Year by Mission First Legal Aid Office
  • Certified Public Accountant since 1984*
  • North Jackson Rotary Club – Secretary (2011 – 2012); Treasurer (2010 – 2011); Director of Club Administration (2007 – 2008); Programs Committee (2006 – 2007); Sergeant at Arms (2005 – 2006)
  • Jackson Public Schools – Partners in Education (Adopt-a-School program; mentoring, Book Buddy program); Advisory Board Member (2000 – 2008); President of Advisory Board (2006 – 2007)
  • Mentor – Baker Elementary School (1990 – 2000)
Publications
  • "DOJ's Offshore Compliance Initiative Will Reach Outside Switzerland," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2015)
  • "Conviction Stands Despite Defendant Not Having Sent Fraudulent Emails," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2015)
  • "Pro Bono Lawyers Obtain Reversal of Sabotage Act Conviction of Catholic Nun," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2015)
  • "Former Hughes, Hubbard & Reed Partner Enters Plea of Guilty to Tax Fraud," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2015)
  • "Ethical Issues for Corporate Counsel in an Internal Investigation," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (December 2014)
  • "'Privacy Comes at a Cost': Cellphones and the Fourth Amendment," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2014)
  • "Federal Grand Jury in SDNY Investigates GM Ignition-Switch Defect," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2014)
  • "Attorney Sentenced to 15 Years for Marketing of Abusive Tax Shelters," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (June 2014)
  • "Supreme Court Denies Cert Supported by the NACDL," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (May 2012)
  • "South Carolina Businessman Charged With Illegally Exporting to Iran," American Bar Association Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation News (May 2012)
  • Co-author – "When Criminal Defense Fees Come From Insurers ...," Law360 (September 2011)
  • Co-author – "The Pitfalls of Multiple Representations," Law360 (August 2011)
Press Releases

 
*Baker Donelson is not a CPA firm

Education

  • University of Alabama, J.D., 1988
  • University of Mississippi, Bachelor of Accountancy, 1981
  • Meridian Junior College, A.A., 1979

Admissions

  • Mississippi, 1988
  • Alabama, 1990
  • Tennessee, 2008

Michael Dawkins heads the team and is regarded by sources as 'very smart and very capable.' Clients also enthuse about his efficiency and pragmatic approach. A white-collar crime specialist, his environmental practice focuses predominantly on regulatory defense, although he also handles transactional matters, such as acting for the University of Mississippi Medical Center in yearly environmental audits.

Michael Dawkins focuses his practice on defending company and individual clients in environmental criminal cases. He also advises on self-reporting, due diligence and internal investigations in Mississippi and the broader Southeast. Clients highlight his knowledge of the EPA and auditing programs, and praise him for being 'receptive to our needs and going above and beyond.'

Found by clients to be 'competent and responsive,' Michael Dawkins is well known for his work in the environmental field.

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