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Nossaman LLP


At Nossaman, our commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment is part of our core values. We understand that an inclusive environment and consideration of diverse perspectives are crucial to creating the best and most productive workplace–one that further enhances the solutions we provide to our clients.

For more information about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, please contact Patricia de la Peña, Partner and Chair of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee.


We are proud to have been honored for our ongoing efforts to foster and maintain a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the Firm. 

  • In 2016, The American Lawyer ranked Nossaman in the top 20 percent (#36) of U.S. firms in its "Diversity Scorecard," which ranks Am Law 200 firms based on diversity at associate, of counsel and partner levels.
  • Law360 recognized Nossaman as one of "The 100 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys" in 2015 and 2016.
  • Law360 recognized Nossaman as one of "The 100 Best Law Firms for Minority Attorneys" in 2015 and 2016.
  • Daily Journal named Nossaman partners Mary Lynn Coffee, Joan Cotkin and Ashley Dunning to their list of California's "Top 100 Women Lawyers" in 2016. 
  • Law360 profiled Nossaman partner Simon Santiago as part of its "Minority Powerbrokers" Q&A series in 2015.  

Recruiting and Retention

Nossaman seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, enhancing our ability to serve the needs of our clients and creating a more dynamic workplace for all of our employees. We cast a wide net to attract a diverse pool, and we invest in their long-term career development. The diversity of our attorneys, policy advisors, paralegals and professional staff provides us with a rich mixture of perspectives that translate into better service for our clients. Our commitment to equal opportunity means that no one's career will be limited in any way by race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, disability, marital or parental status. Our efforts are reflected across the Firm:   

  • Women and minority attorneys comprise nearly half of the Firm's leadership at the firmwide, practice group, and office levels.   
  • Seventy percent of the Firm's administrative management team are women, including the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Talent Management Officer, and Chief Information Officer.
  • The Firm's percentage of minority, women, and LGBT lawyers exceeds the 2014 national average reported by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP).


We host events, partner with key organizations, and launch initiatives to strive towards an inclusive, welcoming environment in the legal profession and our community. Among our efforts:     

  • We organize an annual Diversity Day to raise awareness, disrupt bias, and celebrate diversity and inclusion.
  • We host an annual Women's Retreat for attorneys and policy advisors with a focus on developing key skills and performance that lead to advancement.
  • We launched a Reduced Hours program for associates in 2011 that continues to help us retain individuals that need this type of flexibility without sacrificing career development and advancement.
  • We are a member of the California Bar Foundation Leadership Circle, sponsoring Diversity Scholarships for incoming first-year law students.
  • We sponsor or host educational programming with an array of groups to foster inclusion, such as the Bay Area Women of Color Attorney Network, Women in Transportation Seminar, UC Hastings LGBT Alumni, Lavender Law, AIDS Legal Referral Panel, and Hispanic National Bar Association.  
  • We play an active role in dozens of other organizations that promote diversity in the legal profession. These range from the Asian American Bar Association, California Association of African American Advocacy Professionals, and Minority Corporate Counsel Association to Lambda Legal, National LGBT Bar Association, and California Minority Counsel Program.  
  • We get involved with bar associations that promote diversity by serving as board and committee members and participating in panel discussions. 
  • We host a frequent "Jeans for Charity Day," allowing employees to wear jeans on certain days in exchange for a donation to causes such as fighting heart disease for women and The Trevor Project, the only national organization providing suicide prevention services to LGBT youth in crisis.

Affinity Groups

Nossaman attorneys and professional staff are active in several Affinity Groups, including LGBT, Minority and Women. Our Affinity Groups serve as a resource for mentoring, networking and professional development and provide a voluntary support system designed to create a more inclusive culture.  For more information, please contact the chairs of our Affinity Groups:

Professional Spotlight

Ashley  K. Dunning
Ashley K. Dunning

Ashley Dunning is Co-Chair of the Public Pension and Investments Group at Nossaman LLP and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group. 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 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) 2017 Legal Education Conference in June and the Law Seminars International Public Records Act Litigation seminar in the same month.  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.

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