Cover photo for Robert M. Dohrmann's Obituary
Robert M. Dohrmann Profile Photo

Robert M. Dohrmann

April 20, 1935 — December 26, 2023

Robert M. Dohrmann

April 20, 1935 — December 26, 2023

Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Robert Maltby Dohrmann, 88, passed away on December 26, 2023, after a short illness.  He was born April 20th, 1935, in San Francisco, CA, to Robert L. and Phoebe Dohrmann, the second of their two children.  An attorney by trade and an adventurer at heart, his presence will be sorely missed.

Robert (aka Bob to just about everyone) attended St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco and continued as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, spending most of his college-era summers working for the Yosemite Curry company in Yosemite National Park, in a variety of menial jobs (his description, not ours).  During this period, he developed friendships with some of the most notable mountaineers and rock climbers of the era, including Warren Harding, Don Harmon and Royal Robbins.   Accompanying them on many climbs throughout the Yosemite Park and high Sierra Nevada, Bob is credited with a first ascent route on Mt. Winchell in the rugged Palisades Region.

After graduation from Santa Clara in 1956, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for a two-year stint and served in the 2ndHowitzer Battalion, 5th Artillery, stationed in Babenhausen, Germany.  While there, he and his fellow artillery mates spent every available leave driving throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.   

Following his honorable discharge, Bob returned to California and enrolled at the Gould School of Law at USC in 1959 – where he met the love of his life and future bride, Barbara Jane Hysong.  He served on the Student Bar Association, and was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity.  Bob became a life-long supporter of everything ‘SC, including scholarship fundraising efforts for the Law School and the school’s Marching Band, while he and Barbara attended most home football games. They married on June 22, 1963, at St. Victor Church in Los Angeles, and welcomed their children, Robert and Jennifer, to the family over the next few years.

Bob graduated from USC with an LLB in 1962 and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1963.  He joined the Los Angeles firm of Arnold, Smith & Schwartz, which later became Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers.  Specializing in the representation of unions, individual workers, and employee benefit plans, Bob became a litigation specialist and was sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1970.  In what became a text-book labor law case, he and his firm successfully argued Manhart vs. Department of Water & Power before the Supreme Court in 1978, where the justices agreed that under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 women had the right to be paid and receive benefits exactly the same as their male co-workers.  This precedent-setting case is often cited in labor and employment law filings to this day.

Always an active member of the bar, Bob frequently lectured on a wide variety of topics throughout his 50+ year career.  As a Fellow of the ABA College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, he co-chaired a few committees and was elected Section Chair of that body for 1997 - 98.  In 2020 he was honored with the ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Attorney of the Year Award.

Bob and Barbara were enthusiastic travelers, voyaging across the world and learning about the history of the places they visited. Some of their favorite trips included stops in the UK, visiting glaciers in Alaska and tortoises in the Galapagos Islands, boating in the San Juan Islands, and witnessing first-hand the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  Always an adventurous spirit, he traveled to Nepal for a month-long trek through the Annapurna region in 1989, was a regular back-country visitor in the Sierra Nevada Mountains well into his 70’s, and could often be found cycling around the Santa Monica Mountains with friends.

Barbara preceded Bob in death by 4 months; he is survived by his children Robert J. (Kathleen) Dohrmann, and Jennifer A. Dohrmann; grandchildren, Robert L. Dohrmann and Willa Z. Dohrmann; and many nieces, nephews, godsons and goddaughters.

A memorial service and interment will be held at 9:30am on February 17, 2024, at Wee Kirk o’ the Heather Chapel, Forest Lawn Glendale.  

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name are suggested to St. Ignatius High School of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, or The Gould School of Law at USC, to support student scholarships.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service of Robert Dohrmann

Saturday, February 17, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Glendale - Wee Kirk o' the Heather


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