Dennis A. Schoville, Class of 1973
Leading trial attorney who successfully represented victims of Tailhook and the Ford Explorer rollover crashes
Dennis Schoville is a nationally recognized trial attorney and founder of the law firm Schoville & Arnell LLP, specializing in the areas of personal injury, products liability, aviation, insurance bad faith and wrongful termination cases. He has been counsel in more than thirty cases resulting in seven-figure or more settlements or verdicts, including Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co. ($369 million verdict) and Coughlin v. Tailhook Assn., Hilton Hotels Corp. ($7.2 million recovery). Earlier in his career, he was an associate and then a partner with Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye and Gray, Cary, Ware & Friedenrich in San Diego.
Schoville is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Senior Master in the American Inns of Court, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and its National Board of Directors. In 1995 and 1999, he received the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Consumers Attorneys of San Diego and in 2005, he received the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego – Consumer Advocate of the Year Award. In 2004, Schoville was voted one of the Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California and in 2009, he was Cal-ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year for the state of California.
What were you like as a law student?
Mature and professional due to prior experience serving in Vietnam as a combat army helicopter pilot.
Describe your career path. What steps did you take to get where you are today?
Because of aviation experience in the military, I wanted to become a trial lawyer handling aviation matters, among others; I was recruited by San Diego’s largest firm for Aviation Law and other related trial work. After 22 and a half years with a large firm, I established my own firm and have continued civil trial work including aviation, products liability, medical malpractice, personal injury, insurance bad faith, and civil rights matters.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
Finding justice for Lt. Paula Coughlin as lead trial lawyer in the Tailhook Trial, which was a landmark case focusing on equality and justice for women in the US military ranks.
What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?
Integrity, sincerity, preparation, civility and professionalism at all times allow you to sleep well at night!
What does your future hold?
I am still trying cases but have lessened the load so that I can enjoy traveling with my family, hiking, fishing and hunting as much as my schedule and health allow. I intend to expand my volunteer efforts, especially related to military veteran organizations and causes.