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Click here to download a PDF copy of the press release.

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006

November 19, 2012

Contact: Tina Matsuoka
(202) 775-9555


Washington, DC - The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) presented the 2012 NAPABA Trailblazer Awards, the 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards, the 2012 NAPABA Affiliate of the Year Award, and the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award during the 24th Annual NAPABA Convention in Washington, DC.

The 2012 Trailblazer Awards were presented on Friday, November 16, 2012, during a reception and awards ceremony hosted by Walmart. The Trailblazer Award, which is NAPABA's highest honor, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal profession, as well as the broader APA community. NAPABA is proud to present the 2012 Trailblazer Award winners:

  • Hon. Danette "Dee" Brown, California Office of Administrative Hearings (Eastern California Region)
  • Nicholas V. Chen, Pamir Law Group (Southeast Region)
  • Michael P. Chu, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione (Central Region)
  • Hon. Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California (Northern California)
  • Hon. Kimi Kondo, City of Seattle Municipal Court (Northwest Region)
  • Carol C. Lam, QUALCOMM (Southern California Region)
  • William F. Lee, WilmerHale (Northeast Region)
  • Hon. Kathryn Doi Todd, Second District Court of Appeals for the State of California (Central California Region)
  • Lawrence Tu, Dell Inc. (Southwest Region)

The 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards were presented at NAPABA's Anniversary Gala and Celebration Dinner on November 17, 2012. These awards recognize talented Asian Pacific American attorneys under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence in their respective areas of law while demonstrating an unwavering dedication to the APA community. NAPABA congratulates the following 2012 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards recipients:

  • Akemi Arakaki, LA County Superior Court, Central Juvenile District
  • Steve Choi, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  • James Derry, Arbitron, Inc.
  • Marita Etcubañez, Asian American Justice Center
  • Rio M. Guerrero, Guerrero Yee LLP
  • Mark Hanasono, LA County Alternate Public Defender
  • Melissa S. Ho, Polsinelli Shughart PC
  • Peggy L. Ho, LPL Financial
  • Laboni Hoq, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • Blossom Kan, MetLife, Inc.
  • Naho Kobayashi, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Nicole Kubista, Office of the Public Defender, St. Paul, MN
  • Jason Leung, Ridout & Maybee, LLP
  • Edward Lew, The Walt Disney Company
  • Tirzah Abe Lowe, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP
  • Samuel S. Park, Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Teena-Ann Sankoorikal, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
  • Jeannie Suk, Harvard Law School
  • Vinoo Varghese, Varghese & Associates P.C.
  • Carla Wong McMillian, State Court of Fayette County, GA
  • Calvin K. Woo, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP

This year, Christopher Kang, Senior Counsel to President Obama, was awarded the President's Award for outstanding service to NAPABA and the legal community. Mr. Kang was honored for his dedication to NAPABA and his efforts to diversify the federal bench.

The 2012 Affiliate of the Year Award was presented to the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento. This award was established to recognize outstanding local NAPABA affiliates and their best practices and accomplishments in their respective local communities.

NAPABA established the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award to recognize NAPABA's law firms—solo, small, and large—that have achieved prominence and distinction, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Asian Pacific American community. The Award celebrates law practices that embrace the APA community while maintaining the highest ethical and legal standards in our profession. The Award also recognizes firms that have advanced the goals and ideals of NAPABA and APA legal advocacy groups. The inaugural APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award was presented to Minami Tamaki LLP.


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 64 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 people of color in the legal profession.


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