Heather M. Hawkins

Industry Chair / Partner CincinnatiNorthern Kentucky
Additional Information


Heather is a construction and business litigator and serves as chair of Taft's Construction industry group. In her trial and dispute resolution practice, she represents general contractors, developers, architects and engineers, investors and public companies, national retailers, and international manufacturers and distributors.

Heather helps clients resolve complex business and construction disputes with cost effective, winning strategies. As a former Division I college athlete, Heather is a focused, competitive, and creative advocate for clients. She has numerous first-chair victories in multi-million dollar jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations. Heather has led numerous litigation portfolios in federal and state courts across the country.

Each year since 2016, Heather has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List, and as a Future Star in Construction and General Commercial Law. She's been honored since 2016 by Best Lawyers in America and is recognized as a “Rising Star” in Construction Litigation by Ohio Super Lawyers since 2011. Heather is also honored by Leading Lawyers for Construction Law.


  • Taft Pro Bono Honor Roll Award

    (2022 - present)

  • Honoree, Benchmark Litigation, 40 & Under Hot List, Future Star, Construction and General Commercial Law

    (2016 - present)

  • Honoree, Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation 

    (2016 - present)

  • Honoree, Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars

    (2011 - 2019)

  • Leading Lawyers Honoree, Cincy Magazine, Construction

    (2020 - present)

  • Charter Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America (CLSA)

Additional Information


  • University of Louisville School of Law (2004)

    cum laude

  • University of Louisville (2001)

    summa cum laude


  • State - Ohio
  • State - Kentucky
  • Federal - Southern District of Indiana
  • Federal - Eastern District of Kentucky
  • Federal - Southern District of Ohio
  • Federal - Northern District of Ohio
  • Federal - 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

Notable Matters

  • Obtained multiple jury verdicts in federal courts, including Central District of California and District of Colorado, for an international construction products company in defense of multi-million dollar breach of contract, warranty and professional negligence lawsuits.
  • Obtained jury verdict in Indiana state court for defendant geotechnical engineering company in lawsuit by owner and developer of condominiums and alleging millions of dollars of damages for breach of contract and professional negligence for the company’s design and construction of retaining walls.
  • Obtained jury verdict in Hamilton County, Ohio in favor of internet domain and service provider in lawsuit filed by a consumer involving conversion and fraud claims.
  • Obtained a decision after a three-week arbitration in Washington, D.C. of a shareholder dispute in favor of a construction products supplier and manufacturer.
  • Obtained a favorable arbitration decision in favor of a regional car dealership and against a consumer in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Successfully defeated appeal of a summary judgment ruling in favor of car manufacturer in Ohio’s First Appellate District.
  • Successfully defeated appeal of jury verdict in favor of geotechnical engineering firm in Indiana’s Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained dismissals and summary judgment and negotiated favorable settlements for developers, construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors and engineering firms in construction defect and contract litigation and arbitrations.
  • Negotiated multiple, positive settlements on behalf of inventors, national retailers, and international manufacturers and distributors in business, trademark and patent infringement litigation.
  • Obtained default and summary judgments on behalf of private and public companies in various contract, lease and other business and consumer disputes.
  • Obtained favorable outcomes and settlements on behalf of public companies securities and shareholder disputes.
Other Representative Matters:
  • Representation of international clinical research organization in litigation involving clinical trials and contracts.
  • Representation of public companies is securities and shareholder litigation.
  • Representation of developers, general contractors, subcontractors and engineering firms in complex construction litigation, arbitrations and other disputes.
  • Representation of professional employee placement company in noncompetition and discrimination lawsuits.
  • Representation of automobile manufacturers and dealers in consumer-related lawsuits, arbitrations and disputes.
  • Representation of pharmaceutical companies in product liability litigation.
  • Representation of commercial property managers and owners and commercial tenants in landlord/tenant disputes.

Speeches and Publications

  • “Legal Project Management: Providing Value for In-House Law Departments,” June 2016
  • "Recent Construction Defect Case Law Updates," National Business Institute, December 2015
  • "Using Experts to Your Advantage in Construction Defect Cases," National Business Institute, December 2015
  • "Drone On, But Consider the Risks", Construction Landmines: How to Tread Lightly in Today's Technology Age, May 2019

Professional Affiliations

  • Federal Bar Association

    Board Member, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky-John W. Peck Chapter (2018 - present)
    Co-Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

  • Southern District of Ohio

    Member, Local Rules Committee (3 year term)

  • Construction Lawyers Society of America

    Fellow (2017 - present)

  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce

    Member, WE Lead, Class VII

  • Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL)

    Member, Class XV

  • Leadership Cincinnati

    Member, Class 41 (2018)

  • Leadership Northern Kentucky

    Member, Class of 2021

Community Involvement

  • Northern Kentucky University

    Member, Construction Management Industry Advisory Board Member (2012 - present)
    Chair, Governance Committee

  • Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue

    Board Member & Legal Chair (2017 - present)

  • Rotary Club of Cincinnati

    Member (2011 - present)

  • Cardinal Athletics Alumni Association


  • Taft Museum of Art

    Board of Directors