After exploring a broad range of opportunities during and after law school, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law alumna Samantha (Kohler) Dorey (JD ’11) is handling civil litigation for multi-billion dollar companies at the national firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.
We caught up with Samantha and asked her a few questions about her experience working at a large firm and the lessons she learned at Fowler School of Law, which we’ve shared below.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career path?
I volunteered at the Legal Aid Health Consumer Action Center during my first summer, and externed with the Honorable Kathleen O’Leary at the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana during my second year. Through On-Campus Interviews (OCI), I interviewed with large and mid-size litigation firms and spent the summer between my second and third years as an associate at a national mid-sized firm, Woods Smith Henning & Berman LLP. After five years of practice, I made a lateral move to my current position as a litigator at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, a national firm with more than 1,000 attorneys.
Tell us more about your position at Lewis Brisbois.
I am an associate in the firm’s Orange County office, where I specialize in complex civil litigation with an emphasis in catastrophic injury, public entity defense, mass torts, and chemical exposure. I represent agents and brokers, property owners, property managers, cities, and corporations in all aspects of litigation. I also regularly advise clients on non-litigated matters, including development of risk management protocols and procedures related to property management and environmental issues.
Describe your day-to-day activities in your current position?
I independently handle all aspects of civil litigation through trial and manage a litigation caseload for a multi-billion dollar private company. Every day is different – I meet with clients, draft briefs, argue motions in court, take depositions, attend mediations, and investigate pre-litigation incidents to manage risk. I am also an adjunct professor at Fowler School of Law and serve on the Advocates Board for the Public Law Center, which keeps me busy but is a labor of love.
What skills did you learn at Fowler School of Law that have proved instrumental in your career?
When I started law school, I had no confidence in my ability to write. Fowler School of Law’s many writing courses (both mandatory and elective classes) gave me all the tools I needed to develop my legal writing skills. Clear written communication is the key to success in any practice, and especially in the type of work I do for my clients.
What advice would you give to current students?
I recommend that law students take every opportunity they have to write something. I am passionate about writing and have published numerous articles in my area of expertise. But also remember not to be too hard on yourself!
What is your favorite memory from your time at Fowler School of Law?
My most memorable experience was traveling to London with the Alternative Dispute Resolution team to participate in an international mediation competition.