California Western alum, Brittney Dobbins ’14 has been named to the 2018 National Black Lawyers’ 40 Under 40 List for her achievements in the legal field.
Membership into the organization is by invitation only, and it is one of the very few pre-eminent organizations in the United States established to promote the nation’s top black attorneys and is designed to enhance the professional development of its members.
Acknowledging the recognition, Dobbins, who is an associate in the San Diego office of Gordon & Rees and a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Practice Group, reveals her determined spirit. “It is a great honor. I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl. I wouldn't let anything stand in my way—not my gender, not my race, not my learning disability, not people's lack of faith in me, and not financial troubles that resulted in me being homeless during undergrad after my mom had a debilitating stroke,” says Dobbins. “I'm a fighter, and I feel like this award is something that recognizes that trait in me.”
In addition to her regular practice, Dobbins devotes a considerable amount of time promoting diversity in the legal profession. She is on the board of several African American affinity organizations that support the advancement of African Americans in the legal profession. Dobbins serves as one of the Continuing Legal Education committee chairs for the Corporate Law Section of the National Bar Association and holds the same position with the Association's Labor and Employment Law Section. She currently serves as the secretary for the Earl B Gilliam Bar Foundation and is applying to be the Vice President/President-elect for the 2018 - 2019 year.
Dobbins recalls her time at California Western School of Law as being highly influential in determining the direction of her career, emphasizing the great group of mentors she developed at the school.
“I was able to develop this group of individuals through my various internships and my leadership roles within organizations like the National Black Law Student Association and Law Students for Disability Rights,” says Dobbins. “Each of my mentors helped to kick-start my legal career in some way or another, either by writing me a letter of recommendation, introducing me to a decision-maker, or hiring me themselves. Their faith and support have significantly contributed to my success in the legal field.”
Dobbins feels that the award will enable her to help and influence future attorneys that have experienced some of the same struggles she has.
“The thought of that makes me happy,” says Dobbins. “It's the sunshine through my rain. It's something that helps me understand that everything I go through as I navigate my career—every triumph and every pitfall is worth it.”