Patricia Dodson, General CounselDirector of the Research Institute
As General Counsel of K9s For Warriors, Patty serves as the chief legal advisor to the organization. Her responsibilities cover a broad range of legal compliance, personnel and business management and general legal services. She also helps our warrior applicants and graduates with understanding federal and state laws pertaining to service dogs and preventing disability discrimination. Patty is an AV-Preeminent-rated attorney who has earned the respect of her clients and peers in the courtroom and in the boardroom, where she has represented corporations, individuals, the State of Florida, plaintiffs and defendants. Throughout her 25-year legal career, she has tried more than 70 civil and criminal jury trials to verdict, including labor and employment law cases, federal diversity actions, commercial and contract law cases, actions on insurance contracts, will and probate contests, civil rights cases and personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. Patty has been a partner in two highly regarded local law firms and most recently served as the Managing Director of the State Attorney’s Office where she tried first degree murder cases while providing counsel directly to the elected State Attorney and managing all aspects of the largest law firm in northeast Florida (350 government employees). She relies on her wealth of litigation and legal counseling experience when providing support to every department and team of K9s For Warriors.
As the Director of K9s For Warriors Research Institute, Patty is the guiding force behind the affiliated entity dedicated to leading public dialogue, and partnering with prestigious academic institutions conducting and publishing data driven results from rigorous scientific research, directed at solving problems facing our veterans, proving effective treatments for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and/or MST, including the efficacy of service dogs, shaping public policy initiatives that improve veteran quality of life, and most importantly, preventing veteran suicide.
Patty is a native of Jacksonville and is committed to giving back to her legal and local community. She has chaired and served on many committees for The Florida Bar Association and the Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA). Patty was recently appointed by the President of the JBA to Chair the Special Committee on Women in the Legal Profession. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of The Florida Bar Code and Rules of Evidence Committee, the Chair of the JBA Corporate, Business and In-House Counsel Committee, and is a Master of the Bench in the Chester Bedell American Inn of Court. Patty served as the Past President of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association (JWLA), received the JWLA Women of the Year Award and continues to provide pro bono counsel to other nonprofits and indigent clients. She is on the Board of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, serves as the President of her Homeowners Association and is Of Counsel with the firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.
In her “spare” time, Patty is an avid horsewoman, a golfer and an experienced skydiver. Her 4-legged children include an Australian Cattle Dog (Blue), a German Shepherd from K9s (Chase), 4 horses (Blaze, Apache, PC and Cadi), 3 cats (Lakota, Apache and Winchester) and 11 chickens.