At the age of 19, Dawn started her professional career working for the King County Prosecutors Office in Seattle, the largest in Washington State. She worked in both the felony fraud division and the district court unit from 1991 through 1994.
In 1995 she became employed with the Port Orchard Municipal Court to be closer to home. She then worked at Pierce County District Court 2 in Gig Harbor from 1996 until 2003. In 2003, she transferred to Bremerton Municipal Court. She started as a clerk, transitioned to lead clerk, and in 2011 was promoted to Court Administrator. All of the courts she has worked in have only had one Judge.