Deborah Chang, one of the founding members of Athea Trial Lawyers, has won record-breaking verdicts and settlements in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases across the country. As if this wasn’t enough, she’s also a partner at Los Angeles firm Chang | Klein LLP. As a trusted advocate at two powerhouse firms, Deborah has made a name for herself as an attorney capable of fighting complex and high-profile cases.
At Athea Trial Lawyers, Deborah has been involved in some of their most significant trials. As the first legal team to address certain issues, their work has been essential in setting precedents and informing policy. The impacts of Deborah’s work have rippled out to affect individuals and industries across America:
Along with a record-winning $17 million verdict, Cuhbertson v. LACMTA also resulted in industry-wide changes to ensure visually impaired train riders would not fall into gaps between cars.
The California Supreme Court awarded a hard-won decision in Rosen v. The Regents of the University of California requiring colleges and universities in the state to protect students from known dangers in the classroom.
The National Commission on AIDS cited a class action lawsuit that established medical, programming, and housing protocols in prison based on the complaints of a population of maximum security prisoners who had AIDS. Deborah’s work on this case informed the legislation she drafted for Connecticut to permit the release of terminally ill prisoners.
Just 2 years after the Violence Against Women Act was voted into law, its constitutionality was challenged. While Deborah won the issue in the first federal court to consider the law, the United States Supreme Court ultimately overturned that decision. However, her work earned her multiple invitations to national shows, where she raised awareness of gender-based violence.
Even when she’s not making waves nationwide, Deborah has helped multiple individuals and families find justice after being wronged. She has fought for, and received:
$160.5 million for the victim of a traumatic brain injury who was injured while at a nightclub
$37.5 million to help multiple victims who were injured in a pair of truck accidents in Beverly Hills, CA
$24 million in a products liability complaint
$20.5 million for the family of a child who was tragically killed while in a school crosswalk
$20 million for a biker after dangerous roadway conditions caused a serious accident
$17 million for the family of a visually impaired man who fell into the gap between rail cars at a Los Angeles Metro station
$14.9 million for a motorcyclist struck by a negligent driver
$8.1 million for a motorcyclist who was in an accident after running into a paper roll that was dropped on the roadway.
Her skill as an advocate has helped multiple families find justice, and she’s done so in record-breaking ways:
She won the largest non-economic wrongful death verdict in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties for the death of an adult child
The largest personal injury verdict in North County (San Diego) was awarded to one of her clients
She has also won the largest personal injury verdicts in both Imperial County (El Centro) and San Francisco
Over the course of her career, Deborah has earned many notable settlements and verdicts
In 2019, she received 2 of the top 100 personal injury settlements in the U.S.
In 2019, she also received one of the top 50 motor vehicle accident settlements in the U.S., and two of the largest motor vehicle accident settlements in California
In 2019, she was behind the second largest premises liability settlement in California, which was also one of the top 10 premises liability settlements in the U.S.
In 2017, her client received the second-largest settlement awarded in California that year
In 2015 and 2015 both, she was behind 4 of the top 25 verdicts
In 2014, she earned the 2 largest wrongful death settlements in California
In 2014, she also received the largest motor vehicle settlement in California
Deborah started her legal career representing plaintiffs and defendants in suits involving products liability, commercial litigation, professional liability securities fraud, and complex torts. She has served counsel at the local and national levels for a variety of large corporations and insurers including AIG and Ford. This experience has contributed to her legal success: With an insider’s knowledge of how insurers analyze and prepare cases, Deborah can help her clients prepare for some of the challenges their claims may face.
Deborah has also sought to develop her experience by participating in jury research and focus group programs. In 2000, she helped create and launch one of the first companies to facilitate online focus groups. Multiple trial lawyers and insurers used the service to test their arguments for prominent cases; the National Law Journal recognized its value as a tool for lawyers. Though she only served as CEO and General Counsel for just over a year, Deborah brings with her the invaluable knowledge gathered from everyday Americans during that time.
Best Lawyers 'Lawyer of the Year' in Los Angeles: Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs (2022)
2019 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award Recipient for her work in Rosen, which was named the Top Appellate Reversal of 2018 by the Daily Journal
Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers honoree
Named of the 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers in the inaugural Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar category in the National Law Journal/ALM. The finalists were selected after thorough research analysis, and vetting by editors and reporters at VerdictSearch, Law.com, and the National Law Journal.
The American Lawyer’s 2018 Titans of the Industry honoree
National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100 Plaintiff Attorney selectee
Named to the Top 100 Lawyers in California, Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, and Top Women Lawyers in California for multiple years by the Daily Journal.
Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) Consumer Attorney of the Year award recipient in 2014, and finalist in 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2020.
CAOC Women’s Caucus 2017 Women Consumer Advocate of the Year for outstanding commitment to furthering the education and careers of women trial lawyers.
Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers for Southern California and The Best Lawyers in America©.
2021 President, Consumer Attorneys of California
2022 President and 2021 Vice President, Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); Executive Committee and National Board Member
Los Angeles County Bar Association, President’s Advisory Committee on Women
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Member
American Association for Justice (AAJ) Member, Diversity Committee
American Fellow, International Society of Barristers: Membership is by invitation only and proceeded by a rigorous screening process that considers the lawyer’s ability, experience, accomplishments, and ethical standards as assessed by trial lawyers and judges.
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.
National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Plaintiff Attorney: Membership is extended only to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state or region who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and public profile measured by objective and uniformly applied standards.