The Firm's attorneys are diverse in background and experience. They include alumni from Stanford, Duke, U.C.L.A., University of Chicago, Yale, Columbia University, University of San Diego, St. Louis University and other accredited law schools. Many of the Firm's attorneys were members of their respective law reviews or legal honor societies, or both. Some have clerked for judges of the federal or state courts prior to joining the Firm. Each is actively involved in community and/or philanthropic work. All bring to the firm a superior record of academic, professional and civic achievements

 

Our Founding Partners

 
 

Our Managing Partners

 
 

Our Associates

 

PRACTICE AREAS:

Arbitrator and Mediator for Complex Disputes in the Following Areas:

Business
Employment
Construction
Mergers and Acquisitions/Joint Ventures

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
American Bar Association
San Diego County Bar Association
American Arbitration Association
International Society of Primerus Law Firms

Stanford University

LAW SCHOOL:

1968

JOINED FIRM:


Alfred G. Ferris is the founding principal of Ferris & Britton and is currently of counsel to the firm, limiting himself to acting as an arbitrator or mediator in certain complex business disputes.  He was admitted to the California Bar in 1964 having received his undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University. He served as a law clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. After entering private practice, he became a partner in another prominent San Diego law firm before forming Ferris & Britton in 1968.

As an arbitrator or mediator in selected cases, Al is recognized for his expertise in complex business disputes, construction disputes, executive employment disputes, and disputes involving mergers and acquisitions or joint ventures.  He is a member of the California, American, and San Diego Bar Associations.  He has served as chair and member on various California State and San Diego Bar committees and boards.  He is a member of the National Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and is frequently sought after as an arbitrator or mediator.  He has served as an arbitrator or mediator in hundreds of disputes over the last 20 years.  He was a former member of UCSD CONNECT, the National and California Cable Television Associations, Vistage, the Corporate Finance Council of San Diego, and Biocom.  He is a former adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law.  Al sits on a number of profit and not for profit boards.  He is Vice Chair of the International Society of Primerus Law Firms, the most prestigious organization of boutique law firms in the world.

Al and his late wife Jean, an award-winning novelist specializing in young adult literature, have two grown daughters.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Litigation
Antitrust and trademark disputes
Business disputes

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
American Bar Association
American Arbitration Association
San Diego County Superior Court
National Institute of Trial Advocacy

Duke University

LAW SCHOOL:

1984

JOINED FIRM:


Christopher Q. Britton (retired) was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1968 and the California Bar in 1973. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and his law degree from Duke University. He served for three years in the United States Marine Corps and for seven years worked for a large San Diego law firm, where he became a partner in 1975, specializing in business litigation.

Chris joined Ferris & Britton in 1984. He was the principal in charge of the litigation department and was recognized for his expertise in civil trial advocacy in both the federal and state court systems, particularly in the areas of cable television, antitrust and trademark litigation, and other business disputes. He was a former member of the California, American and San Diego Bar Associations and was admitted to practice in various federal district courts and appellate circuits.

He has served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the San Diego County Superior Court. In addition, Chris has been a member of the faculty for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the Hastings faculty for College of Trial Advocacy, and he is a former chairperson of the Litigation Section of the San Diego County Bar. Chris has been selected as a Super Lawyer 2009 to the present.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Tax
Business
Corporate
Commercial Real Estate
Estate planning

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
American Bar Association

LAW SCHOOL:

University of San Diego

JOINED FIRM:

1989


Gary T. Moyer joined the firm in 1989 after working as a tax lawyer in a tax boutique firm in San Diego. His background also includes a stint with the Internal Revenue Service. Gary received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Arizona State University and his law degree from the University of San Diego, from which he also holds a Masters of Law in Taxation (LL.M.). He is a member of the Tax Section and also the Trust, Estate Planning and Probate Sections of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California and the San Diego Bar.

Gary is the managing officer of Ferris & Britton and the principal in charge of the firm’s estate planning and business department and his practice emphasizes estate planning, commercial real estate, business transactions and general business representation transactions.  Gary is proud to represent a wide variety of businesses, including well established San Diego-based family owned companies and commercial real estate owners.

Gary and his wife Vicki reside in the Mission Beach area of San Diego and enjoy fishing and sports.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Litigation
Business disputes

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
American Bar Association

UCLA

LAW SCHOOL:

1988

JOINED FIRM:


Michael R. Weinstein joined the firm in September 1988, after practicing for six years with the Law Department of San Diego Gas & Electric Company. He received his law degree in 1982 from UCLA, where he was an editor of the UCLA-Alaska Law Review. He also received his undergraduate degree from UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude and was Phi Beta Kappa. Mike practices in the litigation department of the firm. He is admitted to practice in all California courts as well as the U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California. He is an expert in business dispute litigation. He is a member of the American, California and San Diego Bar Associations.

Mike and his wife, Dana, also an attorney, have three daughters and reside in San Diego.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Corporate Law
Tax Law
Business Transactions/Contracts
Real Estate
Estate Planning

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
EWI of San Diego

California Western School of Law
New York University School of Law (LL.M. – Taxation)

LAW SCHOOL:

2004

JOINED FIRM:


Ms. Dozadiaz originally joined Ferris & Britton in 2004, after a brief stint at a local tax controversy firm. Focusing primarily on corporate law and estate planning, she left the firm in 2011 to pursue a solo practice. Prior to rejoining the transactional department of the firm in 2016, Besse worked as in-house counsel at a national health care management company and at Cubic Corporation, a San Diego based global technology company.

A fourth-generation Gaucho and Santa Barbara native, Besse obtained her undergraduate degree at University of California at Santa Barbara, graduating with High Honors. She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from California Western School of Law in San Diego in 2002, where she served as Executive Editor of the California Western Law Review and as an officer of the Public Interest Law Foundation.  Besse also holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from New York University School of Law, the nation’s premier tax program.

As a member of Ferris & Britton’s transactional team, Besse’s practice focuses on general corporate law, contract negotiation, tax-driven business and real estate transactions, as well as tax and estate planning.  Besse is a member and former President of EWI of San Diego (Executive Women International), which supports college scholarships and community-based literacy programs.  Besse and her husband live in San Diego and enjoy salsa dancing, boating, and chasing after their toddler.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Estate planning
Business planning
Tax
Real Estate
Business Transactions

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
American Bar Association

Hastings College of the Law

LAW SCHOOL:

2012

JOINED FIRM:


Dion G. Dyer became of counsel to the firm in 2012.

While still in college, Dion earned licenses in real estate, insurance and as a stock broker. He worked in those fields, as well as commercial banking and mortgage banking, for nearly a decade before becoming a lawyer.

Dion’s core discipline is planning — for estates, real estate, and businesses. Good planning requires careful coordination — both in the disposition to various asset classes, and via a collegial relationship between attorney and client that focuses on the client’s circumstances and personal objectives.

Today living trusts are the cornerstone of most estate plans, but fall short of achieving optimal results if only used to avoid probate and to save taxes. Trusts are more powerful than that and offer many other advantages including asset protection. Yet they are often overused and sometimes abused for moderate sized estates (less than $1 million) with simple family situations. Other devices, such as remainder deeds and community property with right of survivorship, often provide many of the benefits with less expense and bother than a living trust. The new, “permanent” $5.25 million estate tax exemption beginning in 2013 also now provides broader planning options.

Pension assets, including IRA and 401K investments, often constitute a major portion of many estates. To a large degree this is the result of the pension vesting requirements enacted by ERISA in the mid-1980’s. A well thought out plan gives careful consideration to ERISA’s rules for minimum distributions and designation of beneficiaries, which changed substantially in 2001 and 2002.

The proper titles and structures for holding investment and business assets must also be considered. Will an ordinary corporation, Sub-S corporation, limited liability company (LLC), family limited partnership (FLP), or some other type or combination of legal entities, best achieve the client’s goals?.

Different asset classes need different strategies to properly implement your intended disposition of your property. Your will and trust ordinarily control the inheritance of your investments, real property and business assets. But independently and regardless of your will and trust, joint tenancy assets and other survivorship assets will pass directly to the survivor, and your life insurance and pension funds will pass directly to the named beneficiaries. The failure to coordinate these bequests is a major error in many estate plans, and can seriously undermine the plan and leave heirs with substantially disproportionate inheritances. It can also create liquidity problems, by leaving insufficient cash assets in the hands of the executor or trustee to pay debts, last expenses and any taxes that may be due.

To address these issues, Dion prepares all appropriate estate planning documents, including wills, living trusts, durable powers of attorney, powers of appointment, and marital property agreements, and related business documents, often working as outside general counsel to the client’s businesses. More sophisticated estate plans will include family limited partnerships and irrevocable trusts such as retained annuity, charitable, and life insurance trusts.

Dion also assists clients with the administration of their trusts and in any probate proceedings that might be required. As needed, he provides tax advice about gift and estate taxes, as well as income tax matters involving estates and trusts, and is available to prepare estate, gift and income tax returns.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Acquisitions
International trade
Business counseling

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association

The University of Chicago

LAW SCHOOL:

1988

JOINED FIRM:


Mr. Granby is a business lawyer, currently serves as a trustee, and has served as a court appointed receiver.

He is past President of the San Diego County Bar Association and served as a lawyer delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

As a Receiver he has taken control of and operated many commercial and business entities. He has served as a Receiver at the request of banks and financial institutions.

Mr. Granby received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. He is a Vietnam veteran and served for three years as an officer in the United States Navy. Mr. Granby previously was a partner with Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch and is recognized for his expertise in business, corporate, and partnership matters.

Mr. Granby is “Of Counsel” to the firm.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Litigation
Business
Labor & Employment

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
American Bar Association

University of San Diego

LAW SCHOOL:

2015

JOINED FIRM:


Elyssa Kulas joined Ferris & Britton in the summer of 2015 as a law clerk.  During law school, she worked with the firm’s litigation team, and she currently works with both the transactional and litigation departments.

In 2014, Elyssa graduated from Loyola University Chicago with Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish.  She spent all four years as a member of the NCAA Division I women’s soccer team.  She left Chicago to pursue her legal education in California.

At the University of San Diego School of Law, Elyssa was a writer on the International Law Journal and a member of the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (VICAM) team, where she had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong, China, to participate in an international arbitration competition.  Elyssa clerked for the United States Attorneys Office in the Civil Division and volunteered for the University of San Diego’s Small Claims Clinic.  Elyssa took many courses focusing on trial work and was awarded the Civil Litigation Concentration.

In her free time, Elyssa enjoys playing soccer, traveling, spending time with family, and playing with her puppy, Chloe.

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Tax
Business
Estate Planning
Probate
High technology

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
San Diego County Bar Association
Korean American Bar Association of San Diego

California Western School of Law

LAW SCHOOL:

2014

JOINED FIRM:

Korean

LANGUAGES:


Justin Paik joined the firm in 2014. He graduated from California Western School of Law cum laude. During law school, he served as Executive Lead Articles Editor for California Western International Law Journal.  He worked as a judicial extern for the Honorable Peter C. Lewis, United States Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, in El Centro, California, and as a judicial extern for the Honorable Nita L. Stormes, United States Magistrate Judge U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, San Diego, California.

Prior to attending law school, Justin graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara earning a Bachelor of Arts in Global & International Studies.  Justin and his wife, Linda, reside in San Diego.

Justin served as Vice Chair of the Forum for Emerging Lawyers (now known as the New Lawyer Forum), San Diego County Bar Association, in 2016. Justin has also served on the Board of Directors for the Korean American Bar Association of San Diego since 2015 and is the President of the Korean American Bar Association of San Diego for the 2017-2018 term.

 

Primerus Member

PRACTICE AREAS:

Litigation
Business
Labor & Employment
Criminal/DUI Defense
Personal Injury
Family Law

AFFILIATIONS:

The State Bar of California
Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
Former Intermountian Volunteer Fire & Rescue Board of Directors

Western State University

LAW SCHOOL:

2015

JOINED FIRM:


Scott H. Toothacre joined the firm in 2015. He is an experienced trial attorney. His practice focuses primarily on civil litigation, with a stint of cases dealing with family law and criminal defense. After graduating from Western State University School of Law in 1989, he immediately began working as an associate attorney for the the law firm of Toothacre & Pederson, which eventually became Toothacre & Toothacre.

Prior to law school he was an intern at the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. While in school he was a member of Law Review and the President of the Delta Theta Phi law fraternity.

Scott has successfully tried over 30 jury trials, primarily civil, but also criminal. His ability to connect with jurors has resulted in favorable outcomes for both his civil and criminal clients. Scott is admitted to practice in all California State courts; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court, where he has appeared and argued resulting in a published opinion.

Primerus Member

Amber Romagnolo is the Office Administrator of Ferris & Britton. She manages the daily administrative operations of the office including accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Amber has been in the legal field since 1989. She has been with Ferris & Britton since 2010 as a Legal Assistant working for the Managing Partner and two Associate Attorneys in corporate, business law and estate planning. As of May 1, 2015, Amber transitioned to Office Administrator.

Amber is a native San Diegan and when not working, Amber enjoys spending time with her two grown children and exploring San Diego beaches.

Debra has worked in the legal field since 1978.  She started out as a legal secretary for the Law Office of Rod M. Toothacre, eventually becoming a legal assistant in various “Toothacre” partnership firms, such as Toothacre & Pederson, Toothacre & Toothacre, Toothacre & Ames, and Toothacre & Associates.  Finally, in January of 2015, she became a paralegal in the litigation department of Ferris & Britton, APC.

Anna joined Ferris & Britton as a litigation paralegal in August 2016.  Anna helps manage the firm’s eDiscovery needs and administers Eclipse SE for the firm’s litigation team. Prior to joining the firm, she was a paralegal for the securities litigation firm Johnson Fistel, LLP.

Anna earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of San Diego and her paralegal certificate from San Diego Miramar College's ABA Paralegal Program. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Paralegal Association for the 2018 term and is a member of the Social Committee of the San Diego Chapter of Women in eDiscovery. Anna also volunteers as a Spanish translator for Casa Cornelia Law Center, a law firm that provides pro bono services to immigrants who have suffered from human rights violations.  

As a San Diegan native, she also enjoys yoga, running, camping, and photographing the many different faces of the city.  

Nick Smith joined Ferris & Britton as a paralegal in August 2017. He assists with corporate formation, estate planning, real property, and probate law. Nick received his paralegal certificate from the University of California, San Diego Extension. Prior to obtaining his certificate, he graduated with a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.