Elana Nightingale Dawson represents market-leading companies at the intersection of digital content, technology, and copyright.

Ms. Nightingale Dawson leverages a sophisticated understanding of her clients’ objectives and a pragmatic approach to risk mitigation to help companies, including social media companies, online gaming platforms, and technology companies, navigate:

  • All stages of copyright litigation, from trial to appeal, including before the US Supreme Court
  • A broad spectrum of questions about legal risks related to user-generated content and new technology, with a particular focus on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 
  • New product development in light of copyright law

She skillfully identifies potential areas of exposure and works with clients to craft commercially viable solutions that allow them to achieve their business objectives. Through the lens of her comprehensive knowledge of copyright law, Ms. Nightingale Dawson also advises clients on adjacent intellectual property law needs under federal and state law.

In addition to her commercial practice, Ms. Nightingale Dawson maintains an active pro bono practice. She led the Latham trial team that, after a week-long evidentiary hearing, secured federal habeas relief for an inmate on Alabama’s death row, for which the team received the 2022 Robert M. Dell Prize for Extraordinary Pro Bono Service. She has successfully argued cases before the US Court of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Seventh, and Federal Circuits. She is a member of Latham’s Black Lawyers Group and is a former member of Latham’s Pro Bono and Diversity Leadership Committees. She is also a member, and former treasurer, of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court.

Ms. Nightingale Dawson returned to Latham in 2016 after serving as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the US Supreme Court. Before she first joined Latham, Ms. Nightingale Dawson served as a law clerk to Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Gary Feinerman of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She also served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, where she worked on a number of Supreme Court cases, including copyright cases.

Prior to entering the practice of law, Ms. Nightingale Dawson worked in production and stage management at the Alley Theatre, Imagination Stage, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the National Theatre of the Deaf.

Ms. Nightingale Dawson’s recent, publicly known experience includes representing:

  • Apple in cases involving the unauthorized use of iOS and the copyrightability of emoji
  • Roblox in a variety of litigation matters related to copyright, trademark, trade dress, and other issues
  • Shopify in a suit challenging its eligibility for DMCA immunity
  • The Andy Warhol Foundation in its Supreme Court case about whether Warhol’s iconic depiction of the musician Prince was a fair use of the source photograph from which it derived
  • Pandora in litigation over the use of “pre-1972” sound recordings

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Supreme Court IP Case Review for 2023", Women Leaders in IP Law, June 2023
  • Speaker, "Awareness into Action: Inspiring Change", Centerforce Driving Diversity in Law & Leadership Summit, May 2023
  • Panelist, "Transformation in Practice: Assessing Fair Use In the Wake of Oracle v. Google and Warhol v. Goldsmith", The 2023 Copyright Symposium, March 2023
  • Panelist, "2023 Deaf Law Day", National Association of the Deaf, March 2023
  • Speaker, “Embedding Photos and Videos from Social Media and Copyright Infringement”, Strafford, October 2021
  • Speaker, "Harnessing Collective Energy to Transform Institutional Power", Law Student Leadership Academy, October 2020

Bar Qualification

  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois


  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law
  • BA, American University

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • American Sign Language