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Nossaman LLP

Ashley K. Dunning


T 415.438.7228
F 415.398.2438
50 California Street, 34th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Ashley Dunning is Co-Chair of the Public Pension and Investments Group at Nossaman LLP and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department. She has provided fiduciary and governance counsel services to public retirement systems since 1998. Ms. Dunning currently serves as fiduciary counsel to the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the majority of the twenty California retirement systems governed by the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL), and to the city retirement systems in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.  She is also general counsel to the county retirement system in Marin. She also has provided fiduciary training and advice to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association’s Board and staff and to the Board of the Government Employees’ Retirement System of the Virgin Islands.  She speaks regularly at national pension conferences and seminars, including most recently the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA) 2019 Winter Seminar in February.  Ms. Dunning also spoke in 2016 at the Oklahoma Pension Conference in Tulsa and the National Conference on Teachers’ Retirement Systems’ annual conference in Rhode Island.   

Additionally, Ms. Dunning has represented public retirement systems in litigation in numerous cases resulting in published decisions.

Ms. Dunning was elected to the Executive Board of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA) in 2014 currently serves as President of the organization.  She is immediate past-Chair of NAPPA's Fiduciary and Governance Section, a position she held for several years.

Representative Work

Representative Services

Ms. Dunning advises on issues involving fiduciary obligations, governance, and public retirement, conflict of interest, open meetings, and public records laws. She appears regularly before boards of trustees and in court proceedings on these issues. Ms. Dunning also regularly provides training on these topics to clients and at conferences throughout the country. In addition, she has taught "Ethics for Public Officials" for a decade at the Principles of Pension Management for Trustees conference sponsored by the California Association of Public Retirement Systems (CalAPRS).

Published California Supreme Court decisions in Ms. Dunning's public pension cases include:

  • Flethez v. San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Assn. (2017) 2 Cal. 5th 630; and  
  • Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal. 4th 1050.

Published California Court of Appeal decisions in Ms. Dunning’s public pension cases include:

  • Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Assn., et al. v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Assn. et al (2018) 19 Cal.App. 5th 61, Cal. Supreme Court review granted March 29, 2018 (S247095);
  • Marin Assn. of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees’ Retirement Assn. (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 674, 702, Cal. Supreme Court review granted Nov. 22, 2016 (S237460);
  • Shelden v. Marin County Employees' Retirement Assn. (2010) 189 Cal. App. 4th 458;
  • Block v. Orange County Employees’ Retirement System (2008) 161 Cal. App. 4th 1297;
  • San Ramon Valley Fire Protection Distr. v. CCCERA (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 343; and
  • In re Retirement Cases (2003) 110 Cal. App. 4th 426.

Ms. Dunning regularly presents to national public pension organizations on fiduciary, issues applicable to public pension boards and systems, as described under “Select Presentations” below.

Representative Clients

Ms. Dunning currently provides fiduciary and/or litigation counsel for the following public retirement systems (in alphabetical order):

  • Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • California Public Employees’ Retirement System;
  • Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association;
  • Kern County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System;
  • Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions;
  • Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association ;
  • Mendocino County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Pension Reserves Investment Management Board of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
  • Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System;
  • San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System;
  • San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • San Francisco Employees' Retirement System;
  • San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Tulare County Employees’ Retirement Association;
  • Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association; and
  • Water and Power Employees' Retirement Plan. 

Additionally, Ms. Dunning is part of Nossaman’s public pension team that serves the following additional public retirement systems (in alphabetical order):

  • Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System;
  • Maryland State Retirement and Pension System;
  • New York State Teachers’ Retirement System;
  • State of Connecticut Office of the Treasurer; and
  • Texas Municipal Retirement System. 

Awards & Honors

Named to California’s “Top Women Attorneys” list in 2016 by The Daily Journal.

McFetridge Inn of Court, San Francisco (2000-2003)

Urban Fellow, City of New York (1991-1992)

Ashley  K. Dunning
Ashley  K. Dunning



J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1996, cum laude; Order of the Coif, Thurston Society, International and Comparative Law Review, American Jurisprudence Awards in Property, Trial Advocacy, Judicial Administration and Professional Responsibility

B.A, Yale University, 1991, cum laude, with Distinction in History, Yale President’s Award for Public Service




U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Professional Affiliations

President, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys

Program Committee, State Association of County Retirement Systems

Board of Directors, Montera Middle School PTO

Awards & Honors

Named to California’s “Top Women Attorneys” list in 2016 by The Daily Journal.

McFetridge Inn of Court, San Francisco (2000-2003)

Urban Fellow, City of New York (1991-1992)

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