Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) held a successful multi-day Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, from November 18 to 22, 2009.
This twenty-first annual event began with a welcome reception with Massachusetts Appeals Court Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly. The next day kicked off with a plenary breakfast session about the evolution of Asian American media representations, featuring Karen Narasaki, President of the Asian American Justice Center, Brandeis University Professor Shilpa Davé, Victor Jih, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and recent “The Amazing Race” winner, and Jeff Yang, author and journalist. A lunch plenary featuring Preeta Bansal, General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor at the President’s Office of Management and Budget, followed. Other highlights included keynote addresses by Lisa Wong, Mayor of the City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State. The Convention concluded with an installation banquet held on November 21, 2009, honoring Senator Daniel Inouye, who was awarded NAPABA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
NAPABA’s newly-elected officers and Regional Governors for the upcoming bar year were sworn into office by Justice Duffly during the installation banquet. The NAPABA Board of Governors is comprised of the Executive Committee, which consists of NAPABA’s nine officers, and the Regional Governors, who each represent one of the nine NAPABA regions across the United States. Brief biographies of each incoming Board member are included below.
President: Joseph J. Centeno is an equity partner with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, a century-old law firm based in Philadelphia. Mr. Centeno founded the firm’s Diversity Committee and serves as the firm’s Diversity Partner. Mr. Centeno is a trial lawyer with a broad range of experience handling employment and labor matters, as well as complex high-exposure commercial litigation. In 2006, Diversity & the Bar Magazine named Mr. Centeno one of “The Best of the Best” labor and employment lawyers in the country. He has also been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and honored as one of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40.”
Mr. Centeno has served as Vice President of Finance and Development for NAPABA, President-Elect for NAPABA, President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, a Senior Hearing Officer to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary Board and Commissioner to the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission. Mr. Centeno also served as a board member to the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, the NAPABA Law Foundation, the National Employment Lawyer’s Council and the Homeless Advocacy Project.
President-Elect: Paul O. Hirose is Of Counsel with Perkins Coie LLP where his practice focuses on commercial litigation and business advice. Mr. Hirose also serves as Marketing Counsel for Isuzu North America Corporation and as Corporate Counsel for Kia Motors America, Inc. At Isuzu, he is responsible for advising the Isuzu companies with respect to a variety of commercial matters, including motor vehicle franchise laws, marketing & advertising issues, employment matters and intellectual property. At Kia, he advises the company on motor vehicle franchise laws. Before law school, Mr. Hirose was a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California and worked at Deloitte Haskins & Sells as a Senior Tax Consultant. Mr. Hirose served as past Treasurer of NAPABA and is a member of NAPABA’s Leadership Advisory Council and NAPABA’s Finance Committee.
Vice-President for Membership: Bryce K. Kunimoto is a partner (effective Jan. 2010) in the litigation practice group of the Las Vegas office of Holland & Hart LLP. His practice focuses on commercial litigation cases involving contract disputes, banking law, trade secrets, partnership disputes, NASD/FINRA broker-dealer disputes, construction law and employment defense. Mr. Kunimoto has represented large national banks, gaming companies, developers, hotels/casinos and technology companies. Mr. Kunimoto is a former NAPABA Regional Governor and also serves as a director for the Clark County Bar Association in Las Vegas. Previously, he was the Co-founder and Co-President of the Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas.
Vice-President for Programs and Operations: Emily T. Kuo is Associate General Counsel of M. D. Anderson Services Corporation, a nonprofit supporting organization to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where her practice focuses on health and corporate law. Ms. Kuo served for two previous terms as Vice President for Membership. She also serves on the Council of the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section (APIS) and was the 2007 President of the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) of Houston. In 2007, Ms. Kuo was named one of NAPABA's “Best Lawyers Under 40” and from 2007-2009, she was named a Texas Super Lawyer – Rising Star by Texas Monthly magazine. Ms. Kuo also serves on the boards of directors for the Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) and Houston Early Music.
Vice-President for Finance & Development: Linda Lu is a Senior Attorney with the Corporate Litigation Division of the Law & Regulations Department of Allstate Insurance Company. Ms. Lu manages nationwide and statewide class action litigation challenging Allstate’s policies, practices, and procedures. She is also a member of the Allstate Law Department Diversity Committee. Ms. Lu served as NAPABA’s Vice President of Finance & Development and was named one of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40”. She is a past President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area and served on the Steering Committee of the Alliance of Bar Associations. Ms. Lu was also Vice President of the Board of Governors of The University of Chicago Alumni Association and is a board member of the University’s Chicago Society.
Vice-President for Communications: Alice L. Wong is the co-founder and a past President of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington. She served as a past President with the Asian Bar Association of Washington and is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Sections of the Washington State Bar Association. Ms. Wong was born and raised in Seattle, where she attended Seattle University with a philosophy and political science degree, and attended University of Washington School of Law. She has been on the NAPABA board since 2007 and likes to work on expanding her shoe collection.
Treasurer: Camilla M. Eng is a Deputy City Attorney to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, where she represents and advises on a range of energy business projects relating to renewable energy generation, purchase and transmission. In addition to geothermal, wind and biofuel projects, Camilla is currently advising on the Los Angeles Solar Plan, the largest solar plan undertaken by any single city in the world. Camilla serves as the 34 th President of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers' Association and as Co-Chair of NAPABA's Public Sector Committee. She is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Judicial Appointments Committee, an executive committee member of the California State Bar's Public Law Section, and councilmember of the American Bar Association's Government and Public Sector Lawyers' Division.
Secretary: Annie T. Kao is a trial attorney in the Denver office of Hogan & Hartson, LLP. She has handled complex litigation for commercial clients in a wide range of industries, including the ski industry, and has successfully tried jury and bench trials in both state and federal court. Ms. Kao is a past President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado and she served as the NAPABA Southwest Regional Governor from 2007-2009. She is also currently serving a three-year term on the Denver Bar Association Board of Trustees. Ms. Kao graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where she was on the Law Review. Following law school, she returned to her home state of Colorado and clerked for the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.
Immediate Past President: Andrew T. Hahn, Sr. is a partner in the Litigation and Employment Law Practice Groups in the New York office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. His practice focuses on commercial litigation cases involving contract disputes (including software licensing, franchising, and insurance matters), antitrust, securities, bankruptcy, product liability, banking, toxic torts, as well as matters involving employment and trade secrets/restrictive covenant related issues. Mr. Hahn has also been involved in numerous internal corporate investigations, including deceptive sales practices and unsafe banking practices. Mr. Hahn served on active duty from 1986 to 1990 as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He is also a member of the firm’s Diversity Action Team. He is the past President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, and is the Chairman of the Board of the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York.
- California, San Francisco Region: Bijal Vakil
Executive Partner, White & Case LLP, Palo Alto, CA
- California, Los Angeles Region: Ekwan Rhow
Partner, Bird Marella, Los Angeles, CA
- California, Orange County/San Diego Region: Jenny Yoo
Complex Business and Patent Litigation Consultant, San Diego, CA
- California, Sacramento Region: Danette “Dee” Brown
Senior Staff Counsel, California Department of Insurance, Sacramento, CA
- Central Region: Sumbal Mahmud
Shari’ah Law Consultant, Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
- Northeast Region: Jeffrey D. Hsi
Partner, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, Boston, MA
- Southeast Region: William J. Simonitsch
Partner, K&L Gates LLP, Miami, FL
- Northwest Region: David Louie
Partner, Roeca Louie & Hiraoka, Honolulu, HI
- Southwest Region: George C. Chen
Partner, Bryan Cave LLP, Phoenix, AZ
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 61 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.