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Cara Van Dorn is an Associate at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP.

At Sanford Heisler Sharp, Cara’s practice has focused on discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and wrongful termination, representing individuals treated unjustly by employers. Cara was an integral part of the four-attorney team that represented twenty-two victims of the now infamous fraudulent and exploitative pornography scheme GirlsDoPorn through a 99-day bench trial that resulted in a more than $20 million judgment and permanent injunctions prohibiting the company’s deceptive and unlawful practices. This case received both national and international attention and earned Sanford Heisler Sharp the honor of being named the 2021 Elite Trial Lawyers’ Human Rights Firm of the Year. The perpetrators of GirlsDoPorn’s criminal enterprise were indicted on federal sex trafficking charges, and several have pleaded guilty, while one remains a fugitive wanted by the FBI.

Alongside the same team of attorneys, Cara also represented fifty GirlsDoPorn victims in a trail blazing case against MindGeek, the company that owns and operates behemoth pornography website Pornhub.com, for participating in and profiting from GirlsDoPorn’s sex trafficking venture in violation of federal law. The case was resolved on mutually agreeable, confidential terms in October 2021.

Working with a team of Sanford Heisler Sharp attorneys, Cara’s clients have included:

  • female scientists at the top of their fields who were discriminated against and terminated from pharmaceutical companies based on their sex and gender
  • a city attorney who was fired for her refusal to violate public records laws
  • healthcare executives who were terminated from their positions after investigating, reporting, and opposing unlawful conduct at a California hospital district and medical foundation
  • an auditor of a nationwide bank who was retaliated against and terminated for reporting violations of banking statutes and regulations
  • a nurse at a psychiatric hospital who was fired for opposing and reporting persistent and dangerous understaffing
  • a female lawyer who was discriminatorily denied business development opportunities and wrongfully terminated

Cara received her law degree from Wake Forest School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While at Wake Forest, Cara received CALI awards for achieving the top grade in several classes and provided pro bono legal services to elderly individuals with limited means in the Elder Law Clinic. While at UNC, Cara studied comparative literature, ran two marathons, and walked on to the varsity Women’s Rowing team.

A member of the California and South Carolina (inactive) bars, Cara has authored two articles that appear in the Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law.

Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Cara was an associate at Motley Rice, where she gained valuable experience in tobacco, asbestos, securities, and burn pit litigation.

When Cara is not lawyering, she enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, endeavoring to grow things, and watching hummingbirds perform aerobatics.

    Education

    • J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law, cum laude
    • B.A., University of North Carolina

    Bar Admissions

    • California, 2018
    • South Carolina, 2017

    GirlsDoPorn.com Lawsuit – $13 Million Verdict

    The women allege they were exploited by the defendants after answering modeling advertisements on Craigslist. When Plaintiffs submitted their personal information to sham modeling websites (such as www.beginmodeling.com), they became targets of Defendants’ fraudulent recruiting scheme for www.girlsdoporn.com.

    Cara Van Dorn Photo

    Cara Van Dorn

    Associate