Deborah Yim-Yao is an Attorney-Adviser at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor. Previously, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Frauds and General Civil Litigation Sections of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Before becoming an Assistant United States Attorney, Deborah was an associate at Reed Smith LLP, practicing commercial and financial services litigation. She obtained her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her J.D. from UCLA, where she served as an editor-in-chief of the Asian Pacific American Law Journal and co-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association. While in law school, Deborah externed for the late Hon. Arthur L. Alarcón of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of California, and was awarded the SCCLA presidential scholarship. She has also served as a Code Enforcement Commissioner for the City of Pasadena, and she is the founder of Kids Reading to Succeed, a children’s literacy program in Los Angeles. Finally, Deborah has served as Pasadena’s representative to the Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee, an organization that advocates on behalf of 10,000 women statewide and pursues legislation in the areas of education, family support, health, human trafficking and violence protection. She was recognized as a PBS SoCal Community Champion in 2013 and the Best Citizen of Pasadena by the Pasadena Weekly in 2014. Deborah was also awarded certificates of commendation for outstanding volunteer service by then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California State Assemblymember Carol Liu. Deborah has served on the board of APABA for over ten years, and during eight of those years, she also co-chaired the Community Service & Outreach Committee. Prior to that, she co-chaired APABA’s Public Appointments Committee for two years.
Robin Jung currently practices financial services litigation and automotive products liability defense at Dykema Gossett LLP, where he represents banks and mortgage servicers in foreclosure litigation. Robin also has extensive experience in products liability defense and breach of warranty for manufacturers of automobiles, pharmaceuticals, industrial machinery, and consumer hand tools. He previously practiced business litigation and insurance coverage defense involving major property and commercial liability claims litigation. During law school, Robin was a certified law clerk at the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office - Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit and also clerked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles' Asian Pacific Islander Unit. A graduate of Loyola Law School and UCLA, Robin was been an APABA board member since he was a student representative during law school and also serves as APABA's social committee chair.EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT:
William Sung is a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and vice chair of its Wage & Hour Class Action Practice. Billy specializes in the defense of wage and hour class and PAGA representative actions in federal and state court and represent employers in single-plaintiff discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation, wage and hour, and trade secret misappropriation lawsuits and governmental agency investigations. Billy received his J.D. from USC Law School, where he served as a Senior Content Editor on the Southern California Law Review and published an article entitled, Taking the Fight Back to Title VII: A Case for Redefining "Because of Sex" to Include Gender Stereotypes, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity, 84 S. CAL. L. REV. 487 (2011). A recipient of SCCLA's scholarship, Billy has externed for the Hon. Kim M. Wardlaw of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hon. Ernest M. Robles of the United States Bankruptcy Court. Billy graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Philosophy.TREASURER:
Christina Yang is Pro Bono Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. She cultivates and leads volunteer involvement programs to support Advancing Justice - LA’s work, including developing opportunities for pro bono attorneys. Christina also focuses on strengthening relationships between Advancing Justice - LA and pro bono stakeholders like attorneys, law firms, corporations, bar associations, and law schools. Prior to rejoining Advancing Justice, Christina was Staff Attorney with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a global nonprofit HIV/AIDS advocacy group, where she represented the organization in both plaintiff’s- and defense-side litigation. At AHF, her cases concerned alleged violations of federal and state anti-kickback laws by healthcare-related entities, violations of First Amendment and other constitutional rights, and landlord-tenant issues, among others. Before joining AHF, Christina was an associate in the litigation and dispute resolution group with Mayer Brown LLP in Los Angeles, focusing primarily on commercial litigation. Christina is a 2009 graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law, and received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. During law school, she was a Publishing Editor for the California Law Review and a Senior Articles Editor for the Asian American Law Journal.SECRETARY:
Arnold Lee is a litigation associate at Lawrence, Beach, Allen & Choi practicing civil rights, employment, and public entity defense. He received his J.D. from Southwestern Law School and his B.A. in history and political science from UCLA. During law school, Arnold served as the president of the Asian Pacific American Law School Association, a judicial extern to Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen of the United States District Court, Central District of California, and a legal extern for the United States Attorney’s Office, Civil Division. Arnold has been active with APABA since his first year in law school.
BOARD OF GOVERNORS:
Nehemiah Choi is a 3L at USC Gould School of Law. Nehemiah previously served as the President of USC's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) and currently serves as an advisory member of the board. Nehemiah also serves as the Executive Senior Editor of the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice. During his 1L summer, Nehemiah worked as a Law Clerk for the Survivor and Family Empowerment (SAFE) Project of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles and was a recipient of the Sidley Austin Foundation Summer Grant (sponsored through PILF) and Judge Delbert E. Wong Fellowship (sponsored through SCCLA). Since the Spring semester of his 2L year, Nehemiah has been with Rushovich Mehtani LLP, which is a boutique plaintiff-side employment litigation firm. Nehemiah obtained his B.S. from University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management and worked for a multinational telecommunications company prior to attending law school.
Sandra Chung is a Staff Attorney for the Survivor and Family Empowerment (SAFE) Project of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA. She practices family law, predominately serving low-income, limited-English proficient, domestic violence survivors. Prior to her work with Advancing Justice, she worked as a Staff Attorney for the Eviction Defense Center of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), assisting low-income tenants facing eviction. She also worked as a law clerk for the Asian & Pacific Islander Community Outreach Unit of LAFLA, assisting survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking obtain family law and immigration relief. She obtained her B.A. from UC Irvine and her J.D. from Loyola Law School, where she was awarded as a Public Interest Scholar and served as the Internal Vice-President and Secretary of Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
Derek Ishikawa is an associate in the Santa Monica office of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, where he practices labor and employment litigation, as well as higher education law. Previously, he was a litigation association at Loeb & Loeb LLP. Derek graduated from UCLA with a joint J.D./M.P.P. degree and served as Co-Chief Managing Editor for the Asian Pacific American Law Journal. In addition, Derek externed for U.S. District Court Judge Dean D. Pregerson. Prior to law school, Derek worked as a Management Aide for the City of Torrance, as a California Senate Fellow in Sacramento, and as an assistant English teacher in Ibaraki, Japan. Derek graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis-Politics. He currently serves as APABA's MCLE chair.
Ryan Iwasaka is a partner at Greenberg Glusker and the Chair of its Real Estate Department. Ryan's practice focuses on acquisition/sale, development, finance, joint venture, and leasing transactions. Ryan received his BA from Claremont McKenna College and, in 1994, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, representing his home state of Hawaii to study at Oxford University. Ryan received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of The Yale Law Journal, and an executive board member of the Pacific Islander, Asian & Native American Law Students Associates. Following law school, Ryan received a MA in Political Science from Yale University and was a law clerk for the Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ryan is Vice President of the Japanese American Bar Association and serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.
Kathy Khommarath is a staff attorney at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) with a focus on immigration law and immigrants’ rights. Kathy obtained her J.D. at Southwestern Law School where she served as the president of the Public Interest Law Committee and as an executive board member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and the National Lawyers Guild. During law school, she was a law clerk in the Impact Litigation Unit at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA and a regular volunteer with its Immigration and Citizenship Project. She served as a judicial extern for U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero. Kathy currently serves on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance and the Thai American Bar Association, and is a steering committee member of API Equality-LA. She is also an active member in APABA’s Community Service and Outreach Committee. Prior to law school, Kathy was the community organizer for API Equality-LA and earned her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Asian and Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
Jade Leung is an associate in the Employment Law group in the Litigation Division of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Her practice includes various aspects of employment litigation, including employment discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and wage and hour issues, in both single-plaintiff and class-action cases. She also counsels employers regarding compliance with California employment law. Jade is actively involved in pro bono and charitable work. She is a member of the Pro Bono Advisory Council for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. In both 2012 and 2013, Jade was honored by the ACLU of Southern California for her pro bono work with the organization. She also regularly partners with Public Counsel and Bet Tzedek on pro bono projects. Additionally, Jade is the Treasurer of the Jeff Yang Memorial Scholarship, which provides scholarships to high school seniors who are immigrants or children of immigrants. Jade received her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, cum laude, in 2011. She served as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and Communications Chair of the Women's Leadership Coalition, as well as an Articles Editor for the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy.
Dinh Luu practices estate planning and elder law at Goldfarb & Luu P.C., where she is a founding partner. She received her J.D. from Southwestern School of Law and her B.A. from Colorado College in History and Political Science. In law school, she clerked at the Children’s Law Center and Hon. Dean D. Pregerson of the United States District Court, Central District. Following law school, she clerked at the Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County. After returning to the Los Angeles area, she was an associate at several Los Angeles firms before going on to serve as the Supervising Attorney of the Compton Court Legal Self Help Center.
Don Nghiem is a Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He previously worked as in-house counsel for JM Eagle, the world’s largest PVC and plastic pipe manufacturer. Don received his J.D. and Certificate of Business Law from the USC Gould School of Law. While attending law school, he was president of the USC Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and an active student volunteer of the various Los Angeles API bar associations. Prior to law school, Don volunteered in the Philippines with the Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment, where he assisted Vietnamese refugees and stateless families resettle to Canada. Don graduated from the University of California, San Diego with dual degrees in Political Science – Public Policy and Management Science.
Zathrina Perez is an associate attorney practicing in the Litigation Department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. In 2005, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in International Economics and a minor in Political Science. She received her Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude in 2009 from Georgetown University Law Center.
Sam Puathasnanon is a partner at Zaccaro Morgan, a litigation boutique focused on defending individuals and entities in SEC investigations and litigation and conducting internal investigations. Prior to joining Zaccaro Morgan, Sam served a senior trial counsel in the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Securities Exchange and Commission where he tried and litigated the SEC’s enforcement actions. Before joining the government, Sam spent 6 years as a litigation associate with the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Sam is a graduate of Loyola Law School, where he served as APALSA vice-president in my third year, and Columbia University.
Ashe Puri is a trial attorney at Fox Rothschild LLP specializing in patent litigation. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, B.S. Biomedical Engineering (1999), and Villanova Law School (2002). Prior to Fox Rothschild, Ashe practiced in Palo Alto and New York City. Ashe is an officer of the South Asian Bar Association-Southern California and a board member of the Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association.
Suzetty Shen is a litigation associate in the Employment and Labor Group of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. She received her bachelor of science degree from UCLA, and her law degree from USC Law School, where she served as a Senior Content Editor for the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, and as the elected External Vice President for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. During law school, Suzetty was also an extern for the Honorable Robert L. Hess, Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and an extern for the Honorable Dolly M. Gee, Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Jennifer Song is the Director of Policy for the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Previously, she served as Special Counsel for Consumer Protection in the Executive Office of former Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and as the Senior Staff Attorney at the California Monitor Program, a program created by former Attorney General Harris to monitor the National Mortgage Settlement for Californians. Jennifer has always been committed to public interest issues and started her legal career as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC). As a law student at UC Hastings School of Law, Jennifer served as the Vice President of APALSA and was a judicial extern for the Honorable Stephan Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and for the Honorable Kathleen Thompson Lax of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California.
Diana Taing is a Deputy County Counsel in the Labor & Employment division of the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office. She obtained her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from U.C. Hastings, College of the Law, where she served as a clinic counselor at the Employment Law Center and an extern in San Francisco Superior Court. In Spring 2003, she served as an intern at the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Jane Tanimura is an associate at Greenberg & Weinmann, a firm that practices exclusively in plaintiff’s side employment litigation. Jane obtained her J.D. from USC Law School and her B.A. in English from Brown University. While attending law school, Jane was an active member of the USC Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and co-founded the Faculty Diversity Initiative, an organization aimed at rallying students around faculty diversity and working with the administration to hire a tenure-track, or full-time teaching, Asian American professor. Before law school, she was a corps for Teach for America in Los Angeles. Jane also serves as co-chair of APABA’s Professional Development Committee.
Helen Tran is a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA). Her practice includes advocating for consumers' rights in private and public health care programs and connecting NLSLA's services to Asian American communities in the San Gabriel Valley. Prior to NLSLA, Helen was a staff attorney and NAPABA Law Foundation law fellow at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC in Washington, DC. Helen received her J.D. from the University of Southern California in 2012, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in health policy from the University of Southern California in 2009. During law school, she co-founded the Faculty Diversity Initiative and served on the boards of the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, Public Interest Law Foundation, and Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
Seaton Tsai is an Attorney III in the Corporate Legal Department for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, the largest workers' compensation insurance carrier in California. His practice involves litigating State Fund's insurance disputes in state and federal court, including insurance bad faith, civil RICO, and declatory relief actions regarding coverage. Previously, he worked at Aguilera Law Group representing a large insurance carrier in Cumis counsel disputes, Buss and Crawford recovery cases, insurance bad faith, and other additional insured issues. He has also extensively litigated consumer-side TCPA/FDCPA, fraud, personal injury, and warranty (i.e. Song-Beverly and Magnuson-Moss) actions. He regularly volunteers at the Monterey Park Legal Clinic. He received his J.D. from University of the Pacific McGeorge where he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Board and graduated with The Order of Barristers honors. He received his B.A. in English and Communications at UC Davis.
Jennifer Tsao is an associate with the employment and labor law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. Jennifer represents employers in litigation of employment law matters, including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and wage and hour issues. She also counsels employers regarding compliance with California employment law. Jennifer has been actively involved with APABA since she was a law student at USC Gould School of Law. During law school, Jennifer served as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, a legal services intern with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ronald S. W. Lew, U.S. District Judge. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.
Eleanor Ung is the legal compliance supervisor at LoanMart. She obtained her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in Detroit where she served as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Governor-at-Large of the Student Bar Association, and Note Editor of the Journal of Law in Society. She was a judicial extern for the Honorable Fred Fujioka of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Eleanor's contributions to the community have been recognized by the receipt of the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association's "2011 Law Student of the Year" and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan's "2012 Outstanding Woman Law Student Award." Eleanor started college at 16. She obtained her B.A. at UCLA, where she was the founding president of a leadership organization called Ideal Leaders Association and she was the student commencement speaker for the UCLA Asian American Studies Department in 2008. Eleanor currently serves as the co-chair of APABA's MCLE Committee. In addition, Eleanor is the Vice President of Membership of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance (APAWLA).
Shirley Wei is an immigration law practitioner who handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law. She has represented small businesses in hiring foreign workers, as well as defended individuals in removal proceedings, helping them seek redress under the United State immigration laws. Shirley opened her immigration law practice in 2010, when she was inspired by her pro bono representation of a number of unaccompanied children in immigration court. Today, she continues to devote a portion of her practice to pro bono representation. Prior to opening her own immigration law practice, Shirley was a litigator for a boutique firm in Los Angeles, where she handled international trade, multi-modal transportation, and import/export issues. Fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese, she earned two law degrees in the English Common Law and French Civil Law traditions from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she was an editor of the Quebec Journal of International Law. At McGill, Shirley was a finalist in the world’s first French language international arbitration moot competition and pleaded in French before the President of the Cour de Cassation and Alain Juppe, former Prime Minister of France. Shirley has also worked in Paris, France – first at a French litigation firm, and then as a clerk at the International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Shirley currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and as the President of the McGill Alumni Association in Los Angeles.
Erica Yen is an associate at Reed Smith LLP in the Life Sciences Health Industry group, where her practice focuses on defending pharmaceutical and medical device companies in complex products liability litigation. At Reed Smith, she serves as an associate liaison for the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is Co-Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Mass Torts Committee, and a former concertmaster of the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic. Erica received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University. She received her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was a judicial extern for the Honorable Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and served as Secretary for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and Notes Editor for the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review.
Lorraine Y. Yu is an attorney at the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, where she practices in the areas of federal criminal and civil tax law. Lorraine received her bachelor's degree from UCLA and her law degree from UCLA School of Law, where she served as community outreach co-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association and volunteered at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA (formerly, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center).