Brittney Dobbins to serve as 2019 Top 40 Under 40 president

Brittany DobbinsThe National Advocates — Top 40 Under 40 announces that Brittney Dobbins will serve as the organization’s president for 2019. Ms. Dobbins is an associate in Buchalter’s San Diego office and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment and Intellectual Property practice groups. Ms. Dobbins represents individuals and businesses in employment, patent, trade secret, and trademark litigation, including both single plaintiff and class action defense before state and federal courts and agencies, and in mediation and arbitration. In addition to litigation, Ms. Dobbins offers preventative advice regarding all aspects of labor and employment law, as well as trademark prosecution.

A former elite gymnast and student-athlete, Ms. Dobbins offers a very motivated, confident, and disciplined practice of law. In addition to her regular practice, she is an active member of her community, contributing significant time and effort to civic and philanthropic causes as well as pro bono matters.

While attending law school, Ms. Dobbins clerked for Foley and Lardner LLP and was a judicial extern within the Los Angeles Superior Court and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. Prior to attending law school Ms. Dobbins worked full-time as a civil litigation paralegal. She also spent four years in supervisory/operative level management for the retail clothing and accessory industry.

Professional Recognition

  • The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, 2018
  • The National Advocates Top 40 under 40, 2018
  • The National Advocates Top 40 under 40
    • 2019 Executive Committee President 

Memberships and Associations

  • The National Black Lawyers
  • The National Advocates
  • The National Bar Association
  • Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation
  • Enright Inn of Court 


  • “Women’s History Month: Let’s Talk About Gender Equality in the Workplace,” San DiegoCW6 News, January 1, 2015


Ms. Dobbins earned her Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Intellectual Property Law from California Western School of Law. During law school Ms. Dobbins was a member of the mock trial competitive team, she served as the president of the Black Law Students’ Association, she founded an organization entitled Law Students for Disability Rights, and she received awards for her proficiencies in intellectual property law, her commitment to diversity in the legal profession, and her commitment to pro bono services.

Ms. Dobbins earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology (with a concentration on jurisprudence) Cum Laude from DePaul University in Illinois. During undergrad Ms. Dobbins was a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and Pi Sigma Alpha.

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Asylum seekers being turned away by ICE

migrant familiesRefugees seeking asylum in the United States now face an even more difficult process after President Trump signed a presidential proclamation limiting applications to official ports of entry. CNN explains: 

The proclamation put into effect a new rule the Trump administration entered into the federal registry on Friday that would ban migrants from applying for asylum outside of official ports of entry. The American Civil Liberties Union has already called the rule “illegal,” and legal challenges are expected to follow.

However, The Daily Beast reports that even those who are following the latest orders are being turned away because of bottlenecks resulting at official ports of entry. And HuffPost has more on the ongoing fight to get justice for migrants being detained at the border by ICE.

What happens when a nation ends birthright citizenship

President Donald TrumpIn his anti-immigration actions before the midterm election, President Trump threatened to end birthright citizenship, a constitutionally-guaranteed right. According to CNN, “Such a step would be regarded as an affront to the US Constitution, which was amended 150 years ago to include the words: ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.'” While critics pointed out that Trump couldn’t simply eliminate constitutional rights with an executive order, what would happen if a nation did decide to stop granting birthright citizenship? That’s what the Dominican Republic did. How did it work out? Find out in this article at The Atlantic. 

What would you do with a $150K inheritance?

For most of us, inheriting $150,000 would be a significant windfall. But what’s the wisest way to spend or invest that money if you’re in the working class? A Texas woman posed that question to Quentin Fottrell, personal finance editor at Marketwatch, and author of The Moneyist column. The woman plans to spend some of the money on a home and on dental work. What advice would you give her on how to invest the rest? Find out what Fottrell recommended at Marketwatch.

Podcast: Disability management in Workers Compensation

workers compNurse case managers may be viewed with some suspicion by workers comp claimants and their attorneys, but they can often be a valuable part of a legal team. In this episode of Workers Comp Matters from the Legal Talk Network, host Alan Pierce talks to Justin Beck about his paper, “Nursing The Wound: The Law and Ethics of Disability Management in Workers Compensation.” They discuss the role of nurse case managers and the ways they promote synergy between insurance carriers, healthcare providers, and patients involved in a workers comp claim.

Appeals court upholds DACA

A federal appeals court has upheld an earlier ruling preventing President Trump from ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by President Obama. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants born in the United States from being deported. The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals means the DACA program can stay in place for now. The Trump administration has already asked the Supreme Court to review the injunction, according to CNN. 

You can read the 9th Circuit’s ruling here. 

Video: The 14th Amendment

ICE agents immigrationPresident Trump’s statement that he can take away the citizenship birthrights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment with an executive order are simply stirring up fear, according to his wife’s immigration attorney. Michael Wildes talked to CNN‘s Jake Tapper about Trump’s threats to deny citizenship to people born in the US.

The 14th Amendment states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


Despite history, special needs children still sent to controversial Texas facility

special needsThe Shiloh Treatment Center near Manvel, Texas has a history of deaths and abuse of special needs children placed in its care, but at least seven school districts in the Lone Star state have continued sending students there, according to an investigation by Reveal. At least four children have died while at the facility, while even more were allegedly injured or sexually abused. In July, a federal judge ordered Shiloh to stop injecting immigrant children in its care with powerful psychiatric drugs without their consent. However, attorneys say the practice is still happening. Read more about why Texas children are still being sent to this controversial facility at Reveal. 

Podcast: California’s sanctuary law at center of fierce immigration debate

undocumented immigrantsMunicipalities in California are being pitted against one another after a state law went into effect earlier this year limiting how much local law enforcement can cooperate with ICE agents. SB54, or the California Values Act, makes the entire state a sanctuary, but while some cities are embracing the law, others are openly defying it. NPR reports:

“This is an issue that I take very personally because I am the youngest child of a single immigrant mother with a third-grade education,” says state Sen. Kevin de León, who wrote the law. “I wanted to make sure that our local police officers, our sheriffs, were not a cog in the Trump deportation machine, separating innocent mothers from their children and children from their fathers.”

NPR has more on the contentious California battle over immigrant rights.


What Is A Divorce Coach And Why Do You Need One?

divorceIt used to be a coach was just somebody who helped you get better at a sport.  But these days there are all types of coaches – physical fitness coaches, life coaches, marriage coaches, relationship coaches – and even divorce coaches.

You may need an attorney to get divorced, but do you really need a divorce coach?  It turns out that it’s possible you do – but don’t confuse a divorce coach with an attorney.

“The goal of a divorce coach is to try to make the divorce as smooth and painless as possible,”  says Pegotty Cooper, co-founder of Divorce Coaching Inc., (, which both provides divorce coaching and trains divorce coaches.  “Attorneys are the only ones who can provide legal advice or advise a client about their rights.”

Cooper, a co-author of Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce, says divorce coaches and divorce attorneys do work together, however. One of the goals of the divorce coach is to help the client prepare to meet with the divorce attorney, including helping the client get all the paperwork together that will be required.  The divorce coach also works with the client to develop ways to make the divorce as painless as possible.

Divorce coaches can help their clients build self-confidence, and provide them with the tools they need to effectively communicate with everyone involved in the process, Cooper says.

She offers these reasons why a divorce coach is so key to a successful divorce:

  • There are many issues to resolve.  The coach can help the client navigate through the details of those decisions.
  • The divorce is complicated. Sometimes in complicated divorces, a spouse just doesn’t know where to start.  A divorce coach can help the client go through the issues and organize them.
  • Money is limited.  By making sure the client is organized and has all the relevant paperwork, meeting with the attorney is more efficient.
  • Emotional support. The divorce coach can offer emotional support to a spouse who may be overwhelmed and not ready to tackle all the painful issues of the divorce.  This is especially true for people trying to tackle their divorce alone.

“A personal divorce coach can help build your self-confidence, and provide you with tools on how to effectively communicate with your spouse,” Cooper says.  “Divorces are huge emotional events, and sometimes friends and relatives mean well but they will push people in the wrong direction.  A professional and caring divorce coach can reduce the stress and help the person get on with their life.’