|Board of Governors|
Daniel Sakaguchi is a partner at Alto Litigation, PC in San Francisco, CA. He handles litigation, arbitration, and appeals in a variety of areas, including complex commercial and intellectual property disputes, and has tried jury cases to verdict in state and federal courts from California to Missouri to Illinois.
Bonnie Lee Wolf
Bonnie Lee Wolf is Counsel at Nationwide Insurance in the Litigation Employment Department responsible for managing all aspects of agent litigation and working with a team on Nationwide Financial litigation. In addition to managing outside counsel and overall litigation strategy of pending matters, she collaborates with business legal partners and clients in mitigating litigation risks. Previous to this role at Nationwide, Bonnie supported the Company’s exclusive sales channel in the P&C Sales Legal Practice group handling a wide variety of legal matters, including drafting agent contracts and programs, investigations and pre-litigation matters.
Prior to joining Nationwide, Bonnie worked at a regional law firm in its litigation department for seven years. There she gained experience in representing clients in all phases of litigation, including appeals, settlement negotiations, mediations, trial and arbitration.
Bonnie is currently serving as the President-Elect and Board member for NAPABA. She is a Board Member and Community Service Chair of her local affiliate the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Central Ohio (“APABA-CO”) and former President of APABA-CO. Originally from Severna Park, Maryland, Bonnie received her B.A. magna cum laude from Winthrop University and her J.D. from Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law with distinction.
Jeffrey Javinar serves as an employment prosecutor at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in Sacramento, California. There, he investigates and prosecutes matters on behalf of the department regarding disciplinary actions against state employees who commit misconduct. Jeffrey previously served as a Hearing Officer and Administrative Law Judge Pro Tem at the California State Personnel Board, and as Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. Before that, Jeffrey was an associate with Littler Mendelson, P.C. He also worked as a criminal prosecutor with the Sacramento County Office of the District Attorney.
VP FOR FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT
Bruce Ishimatsu is the founder of Ishimatsu Law Group, P.C. in Marina del Rey, California and handles commercial litigation in state and federal courts and advises clients in business and employment disputes, trade secrets, intellectual property, and unfair competition. Bruce is an independent workplace investigator and is certified FINRA arbitrator in securities law disputes.
VP FOR PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS
Charles Jung is as a trial lawyer at Nassiri & Jung LLP, where he both defends wage and hour/employment cases and represents in-house lawyers and executives in their workplace disputes. Charles is a frequent commentator in the legal press on the topics of class actions, arbitration, and employment law. He graduated with Distinction from Stanford Law School, where he was an articles editor for the Stanford Law Review. He earned his B.A. from Duke University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He earned his Master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Kennedy Fellow.
VP FOR MEMBERSHIP
Alen Hsu is Of Counsel at the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L., in Boca Raton, Florida. He regularly advises publicly traded companies and privately owned multi-national businesses on domestic and international issues. Alen also regularly represents clients in a variety of complex commercial litigation involving business, real estate, and employment litigation, and class action defense. He has successfully served as counsel on a number of multimillion dollar litigation matters in state and federal courts, and has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict. Alen has been recognized by Super Lawyers as Florida’s Rising Star in Business Litigation for the past three years (2015-2018), and he received the Legal Advisor of the Year Award from Sterling 5, Inc. in 2016.
VP FOR COMMUNICATIONS
Avanti Bakane is a partner in the Chicago office of Gordon, Rees, Scully, Mansukhani, LLP. She is a member of the Commercial Litigation and Consumer Protection Litigation practice groups. Avanti represents publicly traded and smaller companies alike in areas such as complex class action, antitrust, and general commercial litigation, with a focus in consumer class action defense. Ms. Bakane’s practice also includes representing businesses and creative professionals in software and e-commerce development, data privacy, data loss, licensing, and copyright infringement disputes. Licensed in Illinois and California, Avanti has experience in federal and state courts across the country.
Gary represents clients in high-stake and complex business litigation matters nationwide. A partner in SmithAmundsen LLC’s commercial litigation group, Gary has secured victories through both trial and arbitration for his client in cases involving breach of contract, intellectual property, false advertising, unfair competition, business fraud and other disputes. He co-chaired SmithAmundsen's firm-wide Diversity Committee from 2013 to 2015. Gary was recognized by NAPABA as a Best Under 40 recipient in 2015.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Pankit J. Doshi
Pankit J. Doshi is a Partner in the San Francisco, California, office of McDermott Will and Emery. Mr. Doshi focuses his practice on US employment law, preventative counseling, defending employers in both state and federal cases, and representing employers in complex class actions. These cases have involved trade secret misappropriation, whistleblowers, restrictive covenants, wage and hour, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, statutory leave, retaliation and breach of contract claims.
Victor Diune is a First Vice President and Trust Specialist with the Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions Group at Merrill. He is responsible for the coverage of the Merrill Lynch Private Wealth and Wealth Management teams in New England, including the Merrill Private Wealth Management in Boston, Massachusetts. He has been with Merrill since 2003 and provides guidance to Merrill advisors and their clients on sophisticated legacy planning and wealth transfer strategies. He also provides guidance on fiduciary investment management, intergenerational wealth transfer planning, tax minimization strategies, business succession planning, and trust and philanthropic services.
Gregory Schwartz is a senior associate at Billion & Armitage, a boutique intellectual property law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications in the U.S. and beyond, advising a large client on global patent portfolio management and strategy, and preparing opinions. Gregory also has experience in representing clients in intellectual property litigation and pre-litigation matters. He has a technical background in chemical engineering.
Christopher J. Chan
Whether advising in-house counsel at a Fortune 100 corporation, or counseling principals at a technology start-up, Chris Chan helps clients identify key intellectual property and implement state of the art legal strategies to protect it. His practice encompasses all facets of patent law including international and domestic portfolio management and strategy, patent procurement, opinions and clearance studies, due diligence, licensing and related litigation. Chris offers clients a unique combination of intellectual property legal knowledge, advanced technical training and an intimate understanding of the international marketplace. He obtains and enforces key patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret rights for a variety of technologies, from computers, software, and financial transaction systems, to power generation equipment and controls, electro-mechanical devices and medical devices.
Prior to entering the legal profession, Chris worked as a power industry engineer analyzing and resolving mechanical issues relating to power plant equipment and systems. He is skilled in identifying weaknesses in third-party patents and prepares non-infringement and invalidity opinions. He counsels clients on alternative options, including reexamination, design-around, and pre-litigation activities. Chris focuses on one of the fastest growing global IP issues: protecting and leveraging trademarks and IP on the Internet, including in social media, keywords and sponsored links and domain names. Chris also devises and implements proactive strategies to defend against aggressive patent holding companies.
Daniel Hu is a career prosecutor with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas. He currently serves as the Chief, Civil Division. In addition to working for DOJ, he is the Board Chair, Lone Star Legal Aid, the fourth larger provider in the United States. He also serves as a trustee of the Huston Arboretum, a community association at Rice University and various advisory boards. He is a past President of the Houston AABA, founder of Texas Asian Pacific Islander Section of the State Bar of Texas, past commissioner of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, past director of the State Bar of Texas and president of the Federal Bar Association. He is married to Dr. Susan Yang and has two teenage children.
Craig I. Nakanishi is a partner with Cades Schutte LLP in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He is the chair of the Firm’s Energy and Public Utilities practice and has extensive experience representing clients in the electric, petroleum, and alternative/renewable energy industries. His energy practice includes advising on a wide array of energy issues, including those arising in purchase power negotiations, capital projects, fuel contracts, rate cases, financing matters, infrastructure, mergers and acquisitions, legislation, administrative proceedings, and investigations, as well as providing guidance in the formulation of strategic plans, regulatory frameworks, case management, regulatory interaction, and government affairs.
Central California Region
Puneet V. Kakkar is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. He is currently a member of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section, focusing on money laundering and cyber-facilitated crimes. He is the Digital Currency Coordinator for the Office, coordinating prosecutions and investigations of illicit use of cryptocurrency. During his time as an AUSA, he has prosecuted significant cases involving tax fraud, theft of government property, money laundering, narcotics distribution, and child pornography. Prior to being an AUSA, he was an associate at the law firm formerly known as Caldwell Leslie & Proctor (now Boies Schiller and Flexner) and O'Melveny & Myers. His private practice included representing entertainment clients and working on general commercial litigation. He also led a vibrant pro bono practice, representing victims of domestic violence and low-income workers. He has been recognized by the South Asian Network and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Valerie Baker Fairbank, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from U.C. Berkeley, and his J.D., Order of the Coif, from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he also served on the California Law Review.
Eastern California/Nevada Region
Robert C. Kim
Robert C. Kim is a Co-Practice Leader of the firm's Gaming Group and Managing Partner of the Las Vegas office. He practices in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities, and gaming matters. Rob represents clients in business entity formation and operation, corporate governance matters, public offerings, private placements, licensing, and energy-related agreements. He also has experience in renewable energy, public finance, public-private partnerships, and distressed real estate.
Southern California Region
Thy represents employers in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff lawsuits in state and federal court. She regularly defends employers in lawsuits alleging causes of action for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage and hour violations, and other statutory and common-law claims arising from the employment relationship. In addition to her litigation practice, Thy also performs workplace investigations and provides day-to-day counseling advice to employers.
She is exceptionally skilled in all facets of courtroom advocacy, fact gathering, discovery, law and motion practice, and legal research. She is often able to resolve matters quickly and efficiently, through creative and sometimes unconventional case strategy.
Her clients include public and private sector employers in a broad range of industries, including retail, healthcare, higher education, and real estate.
Northern California Region
Hogene L. Choi is a Partner at the international law firm of Baker Botts LLP. Ms. Choi works on a range of intellectual property matters, focusing primarily on patent prosecution, transactions, and counseling, and she co-chairs the Patent Counseling & Strategic Portfolio Development Practice Group. Ms. Choi has patent prosecution and IP transactions experience covering technologies related to machine learning and artificial intelligence, blockchain, computer vision, cloud infrastructure and services, internet applications and server-side architecture, desktop applications and operating systems, graphics and audio/video as well as semiconductors, medical devices, electronics, nanotechnology and the mechanical arts. Ms. Choi's patent litigation experience includes cases filed at the U.S. District Courts and at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Prior to her legal career, she worked for eight years as a software engineer and engineering project manager at various high-tech companies, including several startups.
She was the President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) in 2016 and 2017 and has served on the board since 2013. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) for a number of years, and she is a member of the Council of Korean Americans. Ms. Choi holds two degrees from the University of California: a J.D. from U. C. Hastings College of Law and a bachelor's degree in computer science from U. C. Berkeley. She is admitted to the California State Bar and various U.S. district courts, as well as being registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Carolynn Beck, a partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, is a litigator licensed in California, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. She handles both plaintiff and defense-side business litigation. Prior to joining her current firm, Carolynn worked for AV-rated California and Nevada-based Murchison & Cumming LLP, where she handled mainly civil defense work and labor & employment counseling and disputes. She has counseled and advised countless business owners and employers and has represented clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies. She obtained her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Kristy Michelle Gonowon is in-house counsel at Allstate Insurance Company. Kristy performs a dual role within Allstate’s Law & Regulation department, both as the sole ERISA/employee benefits counsel and as part of a team of claim litigation management counsel. On the employment side, her practice focuses on providing advice and counsel on health and welfare plans and wellbeing programs in compliance with ERISA, PPACA, EEOC, and the Internal Revenue Code. On the claim litigation side, she oversees and approves legal strategies within six states on claims involving bad faith, excess verdict, and coverage issues. She also provides legal opinions on pending legislation for the Southern region (Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana) and for the New York region. She is also the department’s subject matter expert on the topics of diminished value claims and Medicare issues.
Prior to becoming in-house counsel at Allstate’s corporate offices, Kristy was a litigator handling both insurance defense and the recovery aspect of subrogation matters on behalf of Allstate in the Chicago staff counsel office for two years. Prior to that, she was a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney for 10 years with a boutique law firm in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
Kristy recently served as NFALA’s Central Regional Governor under President Jhanice Domingo and is presently co-chair of NFALA’s In-House Counsel affinity network. Alongside her current role as NFALA's VP for Programs & Operations, Kristy is also serving a second term as secretary for the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago.
Kristin Haugen is a solo attorney at KC Haugen Law, LLC in Minneapolis, MN. Kristin’s clients include entrepreneurs and emerging companies for whom she serves as outside general counsel. In addition to business law and counseling, Kristin frequently advises on trademarks and licensing. Additionally, Kristin is the founder of Rock Solid Consultants LLC which provides group training and one-on-one coaching on leadership and culture, business development and practice management. Kristin frequently speaks to organizations about implicit bias, diversity and inclusion.
Christopher T. Sukhaphadhana is a strategic intellectual property counsel who develops and implements IP strategy to suit the needs and objectives of the business. His practice includes client counseling, portfolio development, freedom-to-operate analyses, domestic and foreign patent preparation and prosecution, licensing, and litigation, and he is skilled at understanding complex technical information and conveying points of differentiation to technical and non-technical audiences. Chris has experience spanning the global corporate, large law firm, and federal government environments.