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Deborah Chang

Deborah Chang

Trial Lawyer

Key Facts

Education
J.D., Drake University Law School, with honors
B.A., University of Kansas
Legal and Professional Associations
President-Elect, Consumer Attorneys of California
Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); Executive Committee and National Board Member
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA)
Los Angeles County Bar Association, President’s Advisory Committee on Women
American Association for Justice (AAJ), Member, Diversity Committee
American Fellow, International Society of Barristers
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America,
National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Plaintiff Attorney
Honors
Recipient, 2019 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award for her work in Rosen, which has also been listed by the Daily Journal as the Top Appellate Reversal of 2018
Selected as one of the 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers by Lawdragon (2019, 2020)
Selected by the National Law Journal/ALM as one of the 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers in the inaugural Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar category. The fi­nalists were selected after thorough research analysis, and vetting by editors and reporters at VerdictSearch, Law.com, and the National Law Journal
Included in The American Lawyer’s 2018 Titans of the Industry
Selected by the National Trial Lawyers as Top 100 Plaintiff Attorneys
Named in various years by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California, one of the Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, and as one of the Top Women Lawyers in California
Recipient, Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) Consumer Attorney of the Year Award in 2014, and was a finalist for that award in 2012, 2016, and 2017
Recipient, CAOC Women’s Caucus 2017
Women Consumer Advocate of the Year Award for out­standing commitment to furthering the education and careers of women trial lawyers
Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers for Southern California and Best Lawyers in America

Biography

Deborah Chang is the founder and managing partner of Athea Trial Lawyers LLP, a national law firm that promotes women trial lawyers, and a partner at Chang | Klein LLP, located in the Los Angeles area. Both firms have been recognized as one of the 2022 “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers, and Deborah was awarded the 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation Plaintiffs for the Los Angeles area. She is the current 2021 President of the Consumer Attorneys of California, and since July of 2021, has been the President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

Deborah is a recipient of the 2019 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award and has been selected as one of the 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers by Lawdragon. She was selected by the National Law Journal/ALM as one of the Elite Trial Lawyers in the inaugural Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar category and was also included in The American Lawyer’s Titans of the Industry. She has been named in various years (including in 2021) by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California, one of the Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, and as one of the Top Women Lawyers in California. For her work, she was the recipient of the 2014 Consumer Attorneys of California (“CAOC”) Consumer Attorney of the Year Award, and was a finalist for the award in 2012, 2016, and 2017. She is also the recipient of the CAOC Women’s Caucus 2017 Consumer Advocate of the Year Award for her outstanding commitment to furthering the education and careers of women trial lawyers. She is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers for Southern California, and is a Fellow with the Litigation Counsel of America and is an American Fellow of the International Society of Barristers.


Deborah has been an integral part of the trial teams in significant and important trials, including the Michael Jackson wrongful death case, the first ASR model hip implant trial tried in the country, and a $160,500,000 verdict that led to significant changes in industries using security guards. Many of her cases of first impression led to significant changes in industry standards and practices that improved safety for the public, including the following:

• Record $17 million verdict in wrongful death of adult child that ensured that visually impaired patrons using trains would be protected from falling in the gap between cars – thereby setting the stage for changes throughout the industry nationwide (Cuhbertson v. LACMTA).

• After a nearly ten-year battle in the trial court, Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, she prevailed in establishing that colleges and universities in California have a duty to protect students from known dangers in the classroom (Rosen v. The Regents of the University of California).

• Bringing the first class action in the country on behalf of prisoners with AIDS in a maximum security prison, which led to a landmark settlement that established medical, programming, and housing protocols nationwide and was cited with approved by the 1991 Report to the President and Senate by the National Commission on AIDS. She thereafter drafted enacted Connecticut legislation that permitted the release of terminally ill prisoners, and established the first medical scholarship for individuals pursuing a nursing degree to work with patients with AIDS.

• In 1996, she brought the first lawsuit in the country based on the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. section 13891 (VAWA) and successfully argued for the uphold¬ing of the constitutionality of the statute in the first federal court to consider the issue. After reaching a settlement in the case, she lectured extensively on the issue of gender-motivated violence, and was a guest commentator on several national television shows regarding the statute, both before and after the United States Supreme Court eventually ruled that the civil remedy portion of the statute was unconstitutional.

Notable Results:

• A record $160,500,000.00 jury verdict for a traumatic brain injury sustained at a nightclub
• A $37,500,000.00 global settlement for plaintiffs sustaining injuries and damages resulting from two truck accidents occurring on Loma Vista Drive in the City of Beverly Hills
• Three consecutive trials relating to traumatic brain injuries that resulted in settlements before verdict of $6,000,000, $10,000,000, and $8,000,000.
• A $24,000,000.00 settlement for plaintiffs sustaining injuries in a products liability lawsuit
• A $20,500,000.00 verdict for the wrongful death of a child at a school crossing
• A $20,000,000.00 settlement for a bicyclist in a dangerous condition of roadway case
• A $17,000,000.00 verdict for the wrongful death of a visually impaired man who fell in a gap between rail cars at a LACMTA station
• A $14,900,000 settlement for a motorcyclist struck by a car
• A $8,100,000.00 settlement for a motorcyclist striking a paper roll that dropped on a roadway
• The largest wrongful death verdict for non-economic damages for the death of an adult child in Los Angeles County and Orange County
• The largest personal injury verdict ($17,400,000) in North County, San Diego (Vista)
• The largest personal injury verdict ($17,400,000) in North County, San Diego (Vista)
• The largest personal injury verdict in Imperial County (El Centro)
• The largest personal injury verdict in San Francisco
• The two largest wrongful death verdicts in California in 2014
• Four of the top 25 verdicts in California in 2015
• Four of the top 25 verdicts in California in 2016
• The second largest settlement obtained in California in 2017, and the largest motor vehicle settlement in California in 2014
• The second largest settlement obtained in California in 2019

  • Key Facts

    Education

    J.D., Drake University Law School, with honors
    B.A., University of Kansas

    Legal and Professional Associations

    President-Elect, Consumer Attorneys of California
    Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); Executive Committee and National Board Member
    Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA)
    Los Angeles County Bar Association, President’s Advisory Committee on Women
    American Association for Justice (AAJ), Member, Diversity Committee
    American Fellow, International Society of Barristers
    Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America,
    National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Plaintiff Attorney

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