Passion & Compassion

I am passionate about what I do, and I care about the people who trust me to fight for them. My clients take pride in their work and work hard every day to support themselves and their loved ones. I see the hardship my clients face when their health and security is taken away through no fault of their own. It’s a privilege and responsibility to be trusted to stand up for someone else’s rights. So I take my job personally, and I make it my personal mission to fight for a just result in every case.

DENISE K. TOP   PRINCIPAL

  • Location
    180 Grand Avenue
    Suite 1300
    Oakland, CA 94612
  • Phone
    510.319.9900
  • Fax
    510.319.9920
  • Email
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  • Areas of Practice
    Employment Law & Civil Rights
  • Bar Admissions
    California, 2005
  • Education
    Golden Gate University, School of Law, San Francisco, CA:
    J.D., May 2005
    Miami University, Oxford, OH: B.A., May 1993
  • Professional Associations and Memberships
    • California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA)
    • Alameda-Contra Costa County Trial Lawyers Association, Board Member, 2017-present (ACCTLA)
    • State Bar of California, Labor and Employment Section
  • Pro Bono Activities
    • Board Member, Ruby’s Place, Domestic Violence/Human Trafficking Shelter, 2014-2016
    • Commissioner, Oakland Citizen’s Police Review Board, 2012-2014

About Denise

Denise is an owner and founding partner of Top Law, PC. Denise is an aggressive, passionate advocate dedicated to helping make the workplace right for everyone. Denise’s law practice focuses on employment issues and litigation in support of the rights of employees. As a former attorney in legal defense firms, Denise defended public and private entities against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. As a result, Denise understands how employers work and can often achieve results before a lawsuit is filed. As a seasoned litigator, she has enjoyed an extensive law and motion practice and has chaired several state court trials and arbitrations. Denise’s practice has included developing and presenting workplace trainings on such subjects as preventing sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation; embracing diversity in the workplace; protected leaves; and the mandated reporting laws.

Unlike most practicing attorneys, law is not Denise’s first career. She worked almost a decade in social services and in the buying offices of several major Bay Area retailers before starting law school. Denise’s real-life work experience gives her a practical advantage in understanding the dynamics of the workplace. For instance, Denise knows as a manager what it feels like to have to make unfavorable decisions. She also knows firsthand what it feels like to be told by a manager that “you just don’t fit in.” She has seen co-workers pushed out the door by unfairly and unevenly applied company policies. Denise’s past work experience and what she has observed about how others have been treated in the workplace are the reasons why she practices employment law.

While in law school, Denise was on the editorial board of Law Review and received Witkin Awards for Academic Excellence in Remedies and Community Property and a CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Appellate Advocacy. She also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Maria-Elena James, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California. From 2010-2011, Denise served as the Director for Examinations for the State Bar of California, where she was responsible for the development of the California Bar Examination and testing accommodations for disabled applicants. Prior to starting her own firm, Denise worked at Gordon & Rees and Liebert Cassidy Whitmore where she gained invaluable experience in all aspects of employment law, in administrative and civil proceedings and through mediation and arbitration.

Denise has been selected to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2013-2015, a distinction reserved for no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state. Since 2018, Denise has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Endurance training for Ironman triathlons has taught Denise that any goal is attainable with hard work, dedication, and a good sense of humor.