Life is better when you’re laughing.

Robin L. Thornton

Robin has nearly 20 years of law firm experience, including thirteen years practicing in eminent domain and public agency law. She has represented public and private entities and individuals in a variety of contexts, including appellate matters, trials, administrative hearings, alternative dispute resolution proceedings, private negotiations, and in advisory capacities. In addition to condemnation law, Robin also practices general civil litigation, property tax, real property, insurance coverage, and employment law.

She is best known for her representation in the Richmond Refinery case, which was among the most complex assessment appeals matters in California’s history. Additionally, she has worked on mediations, arbitrations, court and jury trials in Alameda, Solano, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Orange Counties.

Notable public projects include the Interstate 80 / Interstate 680 / State Route 12 Interchange and the North Connector in Solano County, Caltrans Truck Scale project in Cordelia, and the State Route 4 Bypass in Brentwood and Oakley.

In 2004 and 2006, Robin externed with federal Judge Ware of the Northern District of California. She also is a Moot Court and Court Tour Docent Volunteer for the Contra Costa County Superior Court.


  • J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley


Experienced, forward-thinking advocates who go beyond the expected for clients in dispute prevention and resolution.

Fennemore’s seasoned eminent domain team provides advice and litigation support to both public entities and private land owners through all stages of project planning and acquisition.

Our attorneys practicing in the employment and labor relations area advise and defend management in virtually all aspects of the employment relationship.

Our real estate practice is one of the largest in the American West, including Arizona, California, Colorado and Nevada with experience in all aspects of the real estate development process, from due diligence, acquisition and finance, through land use permitting and entitlements, to leasing and sale.

Our tax attorneys are committed to helping clients proactively structure their businesses, transactions, and estate plans in the most tax-efficient manner.


•  Real Estate Litigation
• Insurance
• Public Agency
• Transportation Agencies


Appellate Decisions

  • Navigators Specialty Ins. Co. v. Moorefield Construction, Inc., (2016) 6 Cal. App. 5th 1258 (insurance)
  • Western States Petroleum Association, v. Board of Equalization, (2013) 57 Cal. 4th 401 (property tax)
  • Mann v. Said, (2019) 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6641 [Unpublished] (contract dispute)
  • Solano Transportation Authority v. Scherner, (2020) First Appellate District Case No. A159764 [Petition for Writ Summarily Denied after Preliminary Opposition Filing] (Eminent domain)
  • Solano Transportation Authority v. Anderson, (2020) 2021 WL 1203017 [Unpublished] (Eminent domain)


  • Legal Visionary in the Business of Law, L.A. Times, 2021
  • Rising Star, Eminent Domain, Northern California Super Lawyers®, 2013-2020
  • Top Women Attorneys in Northern California, San Francisco Magazine, 2013-2020


  • Featured, “Bizwomen Mentoring Monday,” San Francisco Business Times, February 2023
  • Featured, “Influential Women 2022: Robin Thornton of Fennemore Wendel,” San Francisco Business Times, October 13, 2022
  • Presenter, “What’s Mine May be Yours: An Introduction to Real Property Transfers,” Wendel Rosen Webinar, 2021
  • Speaker, “An Introduction to Easements,” County Counsels’ Association of California, 2021
  • Speaker, “The Sanchez/Stamps Hearsay Rule: Saving Expert Opinions Based on Out-of-Court Statements of Others,” Appraisal Institute, Northern California Chapter, 2021
  • Speaker, “Eminent Domain – Annual Legal Update – International Right of Way Association”, Chapter Two Luncheon; International Right of Way Association, Chapter 42 Luncheon, 2021
  • Speaker, “Into the Unknown: Condemnation in the COVID-Era,” International Right of Way Association, Chapter Two Luncheon, 2020
  • Speaker, “Precondemnation Damages: Hidden Dangers in Project Planning,” International Right of Way Association, Chapter Two Luncheon, 2019
  • Speaker, “Property Dedications: Rough Proportionality in the Age of Trump,” CLE Eminent Domain Conference, San Francisco, 2018
  • Speaker, “Potential Impacts from Temporary Construction Easement Acquisitions,” International Right of Way Association, Annual Conference, Anchorage Alaska, 2017
  • Speaker, “Precondemnation Offers / Appraisals: Right‐of‐Way / Legal Strategies for Successful Project Delivery,” International Right of Way Association, Chapter Two Luncheon, 2017
  • Speaker, “Front End Issues and the Right‐of‐Way Process: An Introduction to Precondemnation Appraisal and a Case Study on Identification of Early Issues,” Appraisal Institute Fall Litigation Conference, San Francisco, 2017


  • Member, Contra Costa County Bar Association
  • Treasurer and Inns of Court, International Right of Way Association (IRWA)


  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California