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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 Group. She is a longtime fiduciary advisor to public pension boards, with nearly two decades of experience advising and representing such boards in adjudicated and non-adjudicated matters. Ms. Dunning currently serves as general counsel to MarinCERA, and provides fiduciary, litigation and/or other legal services to the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the majority of the twenty 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.

Representative Work

Representative Services
Ms. Dunning advises on issues involving fiduciary obligations, governance, and California's public retirement, conflict of interest, open meetings, and public records laws. She appears regularly before boards of trustees and in court proceedings throughout California 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 many years at the Principles of Pension Management for Trustees conference sponsored by the California Association of Public Retirement Systems (CalAPRS).

Ms. Dunning's retirement system related cases that have resulted in published decisions include the California Supreme Court decision, Flethez v. San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association (March 2, 2017) __ Cal. 4th ___, Lexin v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal. 4th 1050, and lower Court of Appeal decisions, Shelden v. Marin County Employees' Retirement Assoc. (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.

After serving for several years as Chair of the Fiduciary and Governance Section of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA), Ms. Dunning was elected in 2014 to the Executive Board of NAPPA. She presents regularly at the Legal Education Conference and Section Sessions of NAPPA on fiduciary, administrative and related issues of public pension law. She also has presented at the General Assembly of CalAPRS and regularly presents at the CalAPRS Trustees and Attorneys Roundtables on these issues. Ms. Dunning also presents regularly at conferences of the State Association of County Retirement Systems (SACRS) on issues regarding public pension law.

Representative Clients
Ms. Dunning has served as fiduciary and/or litigation counsel for most public retirement systems in California, including (in alphabetical order): Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, California Public Employees’ Retirement System; California State Teachers’ Retirement System; Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association; Fresno County Employees’ Retirement Association; Kern County Employees’ Retirement Association; Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System; Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association; Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association (MarinCERA); Mendocino County Employees’ Retirement Association; Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association; Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System; San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association; San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System; San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association; San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association; Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association; Tulare County Employees’ Retirement Association; Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association.  Ms. Dunning also has provided fiduciary training to the Board of the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association.

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


All California Courts

Professional Affiliations

Executive Board, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys
Program Committee, State Association of County Retirement Systems
Board of Directors, Montclair Language League

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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