2021 - 2022 Executive Officers & Governing Board Members 

PRESIDENT

Derek Ishikawa is a partner at Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, representing and counseling employers in all areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, as well as trade secret, wage-and-hour, breach of contract and employment-related tort claims. Derek also conducts workplace and student misconduct investigations, and regularly speaks and provides training on proper investigation techniques.  Derek has represented employers from a wide variety of industries, including hospitality, food and beverage, banking and finance, retail, higher education and information technology, and before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. He also regularly counsel colleges and universities on employment matters, as well as student affairs, privacy, risk-management, and other compliance issues, including Title IX. Derek graduated from Pomona College, and obtained his JD/MPP from the University of California, Los Angeles, 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.  Previously, he was a litigation association at Loeb & Loeb LLP. Derek serves as MCLE co-chair, is currently is a member of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession’s Social Impact Incubator, and is part of the 2019 NAPABA Leadership Advancement Program.  

PRESIDENT-ELECT

Erica Yen is Senior Legal Counsel at KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America, Inc., where she advises the North American entities of parent company KARL STORZ SE & Co. KG, a global medical device company based in Germany. At KARL STORZ, she focuses on supporting the business in various matters related to compliance, litigation, marketing, privacy, and contracts, among others. Prior to KARL STORZ, Erica was a senior associate at Reed Smith LLP where her practice focused on defending life sciences companies and healthcare institutions in litigation. At Reed Smith, she served on the firmwide Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee as Associate Liaison for the Southern California offices, on the Summer Associate Recruiting Committee, and as Pro Bono Coordinator for the summer associate program. She also previously served as pro bono counsel to the Organization for Chinese Americans-Greater Los Angeles, a chapter of a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans. She received her B.A. from Columbia University where she was a John Jay Scholar and worked as an intern for the Committee of 100. She received her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was an extern for the Honorable Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California, an Executive Board Member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and notes editor for the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review. She is a former Co-Chair of the Mass Torts & Class Actions Committee for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and a former concertmaster of the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Seaton Tsai is an Attorney IV in the Corporate Legal Department for California's State Compensation Insurance Fund. His practice entails advice and counsel to internal partners and executives, litigating State Fund's complex civil RICO, class action, and insurance bad faith disputes in state and federal court, civil appeals, and administrative writs. Previously, he worked in private practice representing a Fortune 100 insurance carrier in Cumis counsel disputes, Buss and Crawford recovery cases, insurance bad faith, and other additional insured issues. Having represented both institutional and individual clients, he has also extensively litigated consumer-side TCPA/FDCPA, fraud, personal injury, and breach of warranty actions. He co-chairs APABA's Community Service and Outreach Committee. He graduated from University of California, Davis with a dual B.A. in English and Communications, and earned his J.D. at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated as a member of The Order of Barristers. He is also a professional actor signed with Image Powerhouse for theatrical work and Prestigious Models for commercial projects, and has worked on multiple Amazon and Netflix productions.

TREASURER

Jennifer Tsao is an in-house attorney at ByteDance/TikTok. Previously, Jennifer managed the employment law function at Forever 21, and was a senior associate with the employment and labor law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. 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.

SECRETARY

Travis Kaya is an associate attorney at Richards Watson Gershon LLP, where he represents local governments and public agencies on a wide variety of transactional matters. He received his B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, Economics from Pomona College, a Master of International Studies from the University of Sydney, and his J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. At Loyola, he served as President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Senior Developments Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, and student representative to APABA. Travis also served as judicial extern to the Honorable Suzanne H. Segal, U.S. Magistrate Judge (Ret.), and the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, U.S. District Judge, both of the District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to law school, Travis worked as a newspaper reporter, served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Sydney, Australia, representing his home state of Hawaii, and taught English and culture in Tottori, Japan through the Japan Education and Teaching (JET) Program. He is an active member of the AAPI and legal community. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American Bar Association Educational Foundation. He also currently serves as co-chair of APABA's Professional Development Committee and is a founding member of the Loyola Law School Asian Pacific Alumni Chapter.

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Amy Chau is a judicial law clerk to a district judge in the Central District of California.  Prior to her clerkship, she was an associate at Paul Hastings LLP, where she represented clients in all aspects of employment law in both single-plaintiff and class action matters, and maintained an active pro bono practice through her work with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Public Counsel.  She received her J.D., cum laude, in 2020 from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as Managing Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and member of the Constitutional Impact Litigation Practicum. She also served as a student attorney in the Center for Applied Legal Studies Asylum Clinic and as a judicial extern to the Honorable Gonzalo P. Curiel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.  Amy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Law and Society, magna cum laude, in 2017 from the University of Southern California.

Toan Chung is Co-Chair of the Business Restructuring & Reorganization group at Roquemore, Pringle & Moore. A certified bankruptcy law specialist by the California State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization, Toan represents Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees, municipalities, creditors’ committees and shareholders in all phases of bankruptcy litigation.  He has litigated numerous adversary proceedings, contested matters and appeals in Bankruptcy Courts, District Courts, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The son of Vietnamese war refugees, Toan values giving back to the community and serves as pro bono counsel on bankruptcy matters for Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Los Angeles, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services, Public Counsel, ACLU of Southern California and Bet Tzedek. He is a regular volunteer at APABA’s legal clinic in Monterey Park and at SCCLA’s legal clinic in San Gabriel. Toan is the founder of the Lulu’s Water Buffalo Farm Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to high school seniors.

Kira T. Conlon is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.  She also is a member of the Multifamily Housing and Cannabis teams, and serves as a Leader of the firm's Los Angeles Women Lawyers Group and on the Recruiting Committee.  Kira represents public and private sector clients in real estate development. She advises developers through all phases of the approval process and environmental compliance. Her work includes residential, commercial, studio, hotel, industrial, campus, and mixed-use development projects. Kira has deep experience leading complicated development projects in the City of Los Angeles and throughout California. Her land use experience includes advising lenders, prospective buyers, and owners on development opportunities, risks, and value-based strategies through due diligence investigations; negotiating and obtaining complex land use entitlements such as General Plan Amendments, Zone Changes, Development Agreements, Vesting Tentative Tract Maps, and Conditional Use Permits; and appearing before governmental agencies, commissions, and elected bodies. Kira also counsels commercial cannabis companies on state and local regulatory compliance issues, including negotiating and obtaining local permits to operate. In addition, Kira represents developers and management in traditional labor law issues, including union negotiations.  Kira serves on the Board of Directors of the Little Tokyo Service Center and is President of the Japanese American Bar Association.

Mercedes Cook is the Philippine American Bar Association's 2022 President-elect. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Forensics and Criminality. She graduated from UCLA Law School in 2012. Upon graduation, she worked as an associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in the Business Trial Practice Group, representing large businesses in commercial litigation. After 5 1/2 years of civil litigation, she switched her practice area to criminal law. She is currently a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office.

Emily Duong is a 2L at Loyola Law School and a student representative for APABA. She is also a staff member for the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Previously, Emily worked as a judicial extern for the Honorable Martin R. Barash in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. 

Nina Hong is a partner at Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP and specializes in a variety of business transactions and corporate governance matters, including formation and governance of business entities, debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital investments, corporate restructurings, and compliance with federal and state securities laws. She has also advised clients in acquisitions of assets from distressed companies. She represents private and public companies in both domestic and international business transactions, including cross-border transactions involving Chinese companies. Ms. Hong is an author and speaker on a variety of legal issues, including developments in California and Delaware corporate law.  She was recently selected to the Committee of 100 (C-100) Leadership and Mentoring Program (LMP), a membership organization of Chinese Americans dedicated to achievement in America. C-100 provides professionals in the Los Angeles area with exclusive opportunities to engage with leaders in their fields. Its current members include I.M. Pei, master architect; Yo-Yo Ma, renowned cellist; Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube; Leroy Chiao, NASA Astronaut; David Ho, AIDS researcher and 1996 Time Man of the Year; and Michelle Kwan, figure skating champion.  She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she also received her J.D. She is fluent in Mandarin

Roger Hsieh is an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the Major Frauds Section at the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. As an AUSA, Roger investigates and prosecutes cases involving white-collar crime such as health care fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and extortion through trial and appeal. At the United States Attorney’s Office, Roger serves as an Asian Pacific Special Emphasis Project Manager. Before becoming an AUSA, Roger was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles where he represented healthcare, technology, and entertainment clients in litigation and white collar investigations. At O’Melveny, Roger served as Co-Chair of the Asian American lawyers’ group and also counseled clients on the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), state privacy laws, anti-kickback laws, corporate practice of medicine laws, and data privacy and security. Prior to joining O’Melveny, Roger was a judicial law clerk to United States District Court Judge John Z. Lee for the Northern District of Illinois. Roger obtained his B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from UCLA Law School where he served as Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Students’ Association and was a member of the UCLA Law Review and the Asian Pacific American Law Journal.

I-Hsuan Lin is a Staff Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA's Citizenship Project. She provides legal assistance and consultations to immigrants wishing to undergo the process of naturalization.   Prior to joining the Advancing Justice-LA staff, I-Hsuan was a volunteer at Advancing Justice-LA's citizenship clinics and workshops. She has worked as a law clerk in a private law firm and helped the immigration attorney with immigration cases.  I-Hsuan is originally from Taiwan and then immigrated to the U.S. She graduated with LL.M from The George Washington University Law School, Washington D.C. She speaks Taiwanese and Mandarin.

Stacy Kwon is an associate attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She obtained her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she was a senior editor for the UCLA Law Review, a member of the Moot Court Honors Executive Board, a staff editor for the Entertainment Law Review, and a mentor for the Law Fellows Program. Stacy was also one of ten students selected for membership in The Order of Barristers. During law school, she was a summer associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a judicial extern to the Honorable Michael W. Fitzgerald of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, a Business & Legal Affairs intern at Marvel Studios, and an APABA law student representative. Prior to law school, Stacy obtained her B.A. in Philosophy and French from UC Berkeley, studied abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, and worked as a practice assistant at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and as a legal assistant for boutique law firms.

Anthony Lai is an associate attorney at Schweitzer Law Partners, APC, the largest family law firm in the San Gabriel Valley. Anthony has extensive experience in divorce, paternity, child custody and visitation, spousal and child support matters, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and domestic violence restraining orders. He has worked exclusively in the area of family law for over five years, with significant courtroom exposure and has gained tools for efficient and amicable resolution of contentious family law proceedings. He is a recipient of the 2021 Superlawyers Family Law Rising Stars. Anthony is active in his community in providing pro bono legal services for immigrant and low-income communities at Asian Pacific American Bar Association and Southern California Chinese Lawyers' Association Legal Aid Clinics. He also Volunteers at St. Francis Center with the Loyola Law School Board of Governors in feeding homeless in Downtown Los Angeles. A committed supporter of young attorneys, Anthony is the current Chair of the California Young Lawyers Association and Family Law Liaison to the Barrister’s Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association where he works to advance the community of new lawyers.

Jason Lee is an attorney practicing family law since October 2010 with Salisbury Lee & Tsuda, LLP He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2006 with highest honors in Legal Studies and distinction in general scholarship. He obtained his law degree from the UCLA School of Law in May 2009. After graduating law school, he clerked at a law firm in Shanghai focusing on international business transactions. Jason’s parents emigrated to Southern California from Taiwan in the early 1980s and he was born and spent most of his childhood in the San Gabriel Valley.  He was the 2018 APABA Volunteer of the Year.

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.

Monica Min is Corporate Counsel for Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, where she is part of the Brokerage & Capital Markets, North America service line supporting brokerage, capital markets, valuation & advisory, consulting, and business incentive services. Monica serves as the National Co-Chair of Cushman & Wakefield's API employee resource group, Asians + Pacific Islanders in Real Estate (ASPIRE), and as an Executive Board Member of the Korean American Bar Association of Southern California. Monica received her B.A. from UC Irvine and her J.D. from Southwestern Law School.

Julius Nam is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Currently, he is on assignment to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy to serve as Senior Counsel with a criminal justice policy portfolio. Since 2015, he has prosecuted a variety of crimes, including civil rights, fraud, and terrorism offenses, and represented the United States before the Ninth Circuit. Notably, he has prosecuted cases related to the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack. Mr. Nam has clerked for the Honorable Arthur L. Alarcón of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and the Honorable Virginia A. Phillips and the Honorable Sheri Pym of the United States District Court, Central District of California. He has also worked as an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP. He holds a JD degree from UCLA School of Law, where he was part of the Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies programs and served as editor-in-chief of UCLA Law Review. He also holds BA, MA, and PhD degrees in religion from Andrews University.

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.

Grace Pak is the Policy Associate Counsel for the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Previously, she practiced employment law, focusing on wage and hour class action, PAGA representative suits, and wrongful termination/whistleblower cases. Grace received her J.D. from Southwestern Law School, and her B.A. in English Literature from UCLA. In law school, Grace was a certified law clerk for the Public Defender's Office of Riverside County, and a law clerk for the Honorable Fred J. Fujioka of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse and the Honorable Timothy Saito of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Edelman Children’s Court. Before commencing law school, Grace worked as an educator.

Patricia Park is a staff attorney with LAFLA’s API Community Outreach Project. Patricia has volunteered at APABA's Elder Law Day events since 2015.  Patricia obtained her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, and her bachelor's degree from KyungHee University in Seoul, Korea. 

Na Hyun Seo is an associate attorney at Berman Berman Berman Schneider & Lowary, LLP. Her area of practice includes premises liability, automotive negligence, and personal injury. She obtained her law degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she received the Bernice and Arthur Ullman Endowed Award. During law school, she worked as a clinical student for the Youth Justice Education Clinic and was a research assistant for Professor Karl M. Manheim. She also worked as a summer law clerk at the Law Offices of Robert J. Nachshin, P.C, a family law firm. In law school, Na served as the APABA law student representative from 2018-2019, APALSA board member from 2017-2019, and Treasurer for the International Student Association. Na holds a Bachler of Arts Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, she received the Chancellor’s Service Award for her services at Project WILD (Working for Immigrant Literacy Development), UCLA Student Legal Services and JusticeCorps. After college, she taught English in Arnedo, Spain, through the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program.

Taiyyeba Skomra is a partner at Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP, where she focuses on investor/entrepreneur immigration, family-based immigration, litigation, and the analysis of the immigration consequences of criminal activity. She is a certified specialist in immigration and nationality law through the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Taiyyeba is admitted to practice by the States of California, Illinois, and Washington, as well as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College, magna cum laude, and from the University of Washington School of Law.

Jennifer Song is an Advisor and Counsel to the Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Her previous work experiences include directing the policy work for the Democratic Attorneys General Association, providing consumer protection counsel for former California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and supporting former California Monitor Katie Porter in monitoring 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 Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA (formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center).  As a law student at UC Hastings School of Law, Jennifer served as the Vice President of APALSA and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California.

Alexander Su is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.  Before becoming a prosecutor, Alex was an associate at LimNexus LLP, where he focused on complex cross-border disputes and government enforcement matters. His transnational practice also required foreign language and cultural proficiencies. Alex's other previous work experiences include clerking with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Major Crimes Division, San Francisco trial firm Minami Tamaki LLP, and the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. Alex is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, where he has served as an NGO Observer to the Military Commissions proceedings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, against the defendants accused of planning the September 11th terrorist attacks.   Alex earned his B.A. in International Relations from Pomona College and J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to law school, Alex served as a Fulbright Fellow to the Republic of Korea.

Cathy Ta is a Distressed Debt Legal Analyst at Reorg. She has extensively advised corporate and individual debtors, creditors, trustees, and public agencies in all aspects of chapter 9, 7, 11, and 12 proceedings, in and outside of court, for best “fresh start” and recovery strategies. Prior to joining Reorg, Cathy practiced law with bankruptcy boutique SulmeyerKupetz, APC in Los Angeles, California, and the bankruptcy group at Best Best & Krieger LLP in Riverside and Los Angeles, California. She also clerked for the Honorable Marvin Isgur, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Texas. Throughout Loyola Law School, Cathy was a Dean’s Scholar. She was also a research assistant to property and tax law Professor Theodore Seto. Cathy is an alumnus of Swarthmore College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree for a double major in political science and economics. An active member of the legal community, Cathy holds leadership positions in the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, the Insolvency Law Committee of the California Lawyers Association, the Southern California Network of the International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation, the California Bankruptcy Forum, the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County. She has regularly written numerous published articles and produced and presented on bankruptcy topics and more. Cathy lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and their two young boys, where they enjoy being outdoors.

Katelyn Taira is a 2L at the UCLA School of Law and a student representative for APABA. She also serves as the student representative for JABA's Young Lawyers Group and as a Staff Editor of the UCLA Entertainment Law Review. Previously, Katelyn worked as an intern for the SEC and for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Rong (Summer) Xia is currently a J.D. candidate at the University of Arizona.  Previously, she was an attorney in the Law and Mediation Offices of Elizabeth Yang, where she practices family and immigration law. Prior to joining this firm, she practiced immigration law at the Law Offices of Vivian Szawarc. Summer was born in China, where she earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the Southwest University of Political Sciences and Law and a Master of Law degree from Wuhan University. After that, she worked for more than a decade as a government officer in the Customs agency of China. In 2016 she graduated with a Master of Laws degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. During law school, she served as a judicial extern to Judge Mary Thornton House of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, Pasadena Courthouse. Summer has been active with APABA since her law school. She regularly serves as a volunteer attorney at the APABA and SCCLA monthly pro bono legal clinics since her law school. In 2020, Summer was named Volunteer of the Year by APABA. She is also an active volunteer in other non-profit organizations, such as Asian Pacific Advance Justice, the Public Counsel Law Center, and the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law.


May 2021 Anniversary Gala

January 2021 Board Retreat

January 2020 Board Retreat


May 2019 Installation Dinner

January 2019 Board Retreat


February 2018 Installation Dinner

January 2018 Board Retreat

April 2017 Installation Dinner

January 2017 Board Retreat

February 2016 Installation Dinner

2015 APABA Board and Advisory Board

April 2015 Installation Dinner

January 2015 Board Retreat

 
February 2014 Installation Dinner
 
 

January 2013 Board Retreat



February 2012 Installation Dinner



March 2011 Installation Dinner



November 2010 Board Meeting



February 2010 Installation Dinner

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