Heather M. Hawkins

Industry Chair / Partner CincinnatiNorthern Kentucky


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, national retailers, international manufacturers, food and beverage companies, and distributors.

Heather helps clients resolve complex construction and business 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.

Heather been honored since 2016 by Best Lawyers in America and recognized in Ohio Super Lawyers for Construction Litigation since 2011. Heather is also honored by Leading Lawyers for Construction Law.


  • 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)

  • Taft Pro Bono Honor Roll Award

    (2022 – present)


  • 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 company in defense of multi-million dollar breach of contract, warranty and professional negligence lawsuits.
  • Obtained jury verdict in Indiana for an 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 Ohio for a construction project owner in defense of delay and loss of productivity claims.
  • Obtained jury verdict in 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.
  • Successfully defeated appeal of jury verdict in favor of geotechnical engineering firm.
  • Obtained dismissals and summary judgment and negotiated favorable settlements for developers, construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors and engineering firms in construction delay, loss of productivity, and contract litigation and arbitrations.


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 private and public companies in Contract, Lease, and other business disputes.
  • 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

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

  • Taft Museum of Art

    Board of Directors (2022-present)

  • Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue

    Board Member & Legal Chair (2017 – present)

  • Rotary Club of Cincinnati

    Member (2011 – present)
    Co-Chair, Member Review Committee

  • Cardinal Athletics Alumni Association