Board of Governors

NAPABA Officers
Regional Governors
At-Large Members


NAPABA Officers



President

 

Bonnie Lee Wolf
Nationwide Insurance
Columbus, OH

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.



PRESIDENT-ELECT

 

A.B. Cruz III

 A.B. CRUZ III has helped lead four public and three private companies through challenge, crisis and change. He is also a former Navy Admiral who during his 33+ year career shaped and led high-performing operational teams in demanding, high-stress and ambiguous environments, and represented the U.S. internationally in multiple high-level engagements. A visionary leader of the highest character who has developed and implemented many value- and brand-building initiatives and is a highly respected thought leader on a wide array of topics.

A.B. was an SVP and GC at USAA, and before that, was EVP, GC, Secretary, CECO, and PAC chairman at Emergent BioSolutions. Earlier, he concurrently served as the Deputy Director of Operations for U.S. Fleet Forces Command and as EVP, CLO & Secretary for Scripps Networks Interactive. Before that, A.B. was the Deputy Commander at U.S. 4th Fleet/Naval Forces Southern Command, and EVP & GC for The E.W. Scripps Company.

A.B. holds a JD from Catholic University, an MA from The University of Maryland, and a BS from the U.S. Naval Academy. He is the president-elect of NAPABA, immediate past board chairman of MCCA, and currently serves on the boards of Bellatorum Resources, the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, and the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas. He also serves as a trustee, executive committee member and finance committee chair for Saint Mary’s Hall, and as a trustee and governance committee member for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Foundation. A.B. is also a senior advisor at VetStoreUSA.



SECRETARY

 

Jeffrey Javinar
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Sacramento, CA

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
Ishimatsu Law
Marina del Rey, CA

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 MEMBERSHIP

Bridgette Y. Ahn
Law Office of Bridgette Y. Ahn
New York, NY

Bridgette focuses her practice on intellectual property law and complex commercial litigations.  Her experience includes practicing at Chambers ranked and internationally recognized law firms.  She has extensive experience representing technology, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical companies with respect to their product lines.  She also provides legal advice pertaining to enterprise content management and electronic discovery.


 
VP FOR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Avanti Bakane
Gordon, Rees, Scully, Mansukhani LLP
Chicago, IL

As a lawyer by day and travel blogger by night, Avanti Bakane has global perspective that allows for understanding of diverse viewpoints and the value of her clients’ time. Publicly traded and smaller companies alike retain Avanti in areas such as complex class action, antitrust, breach of contract, and general commercial litigation with a focus upon consumer class action defense. 

As a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), Avanti’s practice also includes representing businesses and creative professionals in software and e-commerce development, data privacy, data loss, licensing, and copyright infringement disputes. With experience in federal and state courts across the country, Ms. Bakane is a key asset in pre-suit negotiations, litigation, and compliance. She understands the importance of responsiveness, efficiency, and effective results to her clients.

Serving as co-chair of the firm’s South Asian Affinity Group and member of its Diversity Committee, Ms. Bakane also dedicates her time outside of the office to the community. Along with serving as NAPABA’s VP of Communications, Avanti is a member of Leading India's Future Today's (LIFT) Board of Governors. Avanti is a past President of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, past Honorary Board Member for the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago (AABA), and volunteers with several non-profit organizations to provide opportunities for underprivileged youth, end gender violence, and find homes for rescue dogs.

Avanti is proficient in Spanish and Marathi and was a consulting academic tutor for the University of Veritas in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she tutored, translated and taught Spanish for International University students learning the language.


 
TREASURER

 

Gary Zhao
SmithAmundsen
Chicago, IL

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

 

Daniel Sakaguchi
Alto Litigation
San Francisco, CA

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. 

 


Regional Governors


Northeast Region

Brendan Wong
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Toronto, ON

Brendan is a Commercial Litigation partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Canada’s largest law firm. He acts on a wide range of complex commercial litigation matters, with a focus on anti-fraud litigation, shareholder disputes, insolvency litigation, and anti-trust law. He holds law degrees from Dalhousie University (2004) and the University of Cambridge (2010), and was called to the bar in Ontario in 2005.

Brendan frequently acts on cross-border matters, often in connection with the recognition of letters rogatory, and in the context of recovering assets or conducting depositions. In Canada, he acts for financial institutions and large corporations on complex fraud litigation matters, often involving recovery well into the millions of dollars. Brendan also regularly acts for both majority and minority investors in shareholder disputes. Brendan acted for Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership in Commissioner of Competition v. Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership, one of the very few contested abuse of dominance applications in Canada.


David S. Sohn
Kings County District Attorney's Office
Brooklyn, New York

David is a Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York.  He /currently prosecutes general crimes as part of the Young Adult Bureau and previously prosecuted domestic violence, elder abuse, and general crimes as part of the Domestic Violence Bureau and the Orange Zone Trial Bureau. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, David was an antitrust litigator representing indirect purchaser plaintiffs while at an international law firm. 

In addition to serving on the NAPABA Board of Governors, David is the current Vice President of Programs of Operations (VPPO) of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and serves as a regional board member of the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association (NAPIPA).  He previously served as AABANY's Membership Director during FY 2018 and as Senior Anniversary Gala Chair of the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY) in 2017.  David earned a B.A. in International Affairs with dual concentrations in 1) International Politics and 2) Conflict and Security at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, J.D. at Northeastern University School of Law, and an LL.M. in Litigation and Dispute Resolution at The George Washington University Law School.  David is fluent in Korean and has elementary proficiency in Russian. 


Central Region

Gregory Schwartz
Billion & Armitage
Minneapolis, MN

Greg is an intellectual property attorney with a background in chemical engineering. His practice primarily focuses on drafting and prosecuting patent applications, client counseling and strategic portfolio development, and preparing opinions concerning patentability, freedom-to-operate, and validity. His technical experience includes specialty chemicals and materials, separation processes, nanotechnology, fuel cells and batteries, semiconductors, medical devices and diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy, agricultural products, and animal feeds. He also has complex litigation experience involving contractual disputes and patent and trademark infringement matters. Greg is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is admitted to the Minnesota state bar.


Southeast Region

Christine Han
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor
Washington, DC

Christine D. Han is a Trial Attorney in the Plan Benefits Security Division in the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor in Washington, D.C. She works on federal district and appellate litigation involving ERISA matters. Prior to this role, Christine was an Honors Attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel working in the Management and Administrative Legal Services Division, Fair Labor Standards Division, as well as the Division of Mine Safety and Health. Previously, Christine served as an Attorney Advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Christine attended Boston University School of Law and Columbia University.


Southwest Region

Lance Ream
Xcel Energy
Denver, CO

Lance Ream is an attorney with Xcel Energy in Denver, CO.  He handles litigation and employment matters.  Prior to joining Xcel Energy, Lance was a commercial litigation partner at Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani.


Northwest Region

Craig Nakanishi
Cades Schutte LLP
Honolulu, Hawai'i

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

Christopher Sukhaphadhana
Becton, Dickinson and Company
Tempe, AZ

Christopher T. Sukhaphadhana is senior counsel, intellectual property, for Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD). He supports BD’s peripheral intervention division in strategic patent portfolio development and IP counseling. Prior to BD, Chris held positions with another Fortune 500 company, a large IP boutique law firm, and the US Patent Office. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a past president of the Thai American Bar Association and currently serves on the board of directors for the Thai American Samakkee Coalition.

 


Eastern California/Nevada Region

Gino Barrica


Southern California Region

Thy Bui
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP
Los Angeles, CA

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 Choi
Baker Botts LLP
Palo Alto, CA

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.


At-Large Members


Jen C. Won
Larson O’Brien LLP
Los Angeles, California

Jen Won is a fully bilingual trial attorney at Larson O’Brien LLP in Los Angeles.  Jen’s practice focuses on high-stake trials and white collar criminal investigations and defense.  Jen has tried a broad range of complex commercial cases and defended charges relating to SEC regulations, FCPA, antitrust laws, wire fraud and money laundering.  Jen previously served as a law clerk for the Hon. Larry A. Burns in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. She is passionate about empowering others and currently serves as a founding board member of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession’s (IILP’s) Social Impact Incubator. Jen was selected as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) fellow in 2019. Jen grew up in Seoul, Korea and is native in Korean.

 

Kristy Gonowon
Allstate Insurance Company
Chicago, IL

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
KC Haugen Law, LLC
Minneapolis, MN

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.

 

Peter Sabido
Chernoff Vilhauer, LLP
Portland, OR

Peter’s intellectual property practice emphasizes patent and trademark prosecution, patent and trademark advisory opinions, and licensing. His patent prosecution and opinion experience encompasses a broad range of technologies, including hydrogen generators and fuel reformers, smart phones and other mobile devices, software, toys, sports and recreation equipment, semiconductor devices, medical and dental devices, and engineered wood products.

Prior to his legal career, Peter was a senior engineer at Intel Corporation. At Intel, Peter assisted in the start-up of the Ronler Acres campus, the home of Intel’s next generations of microprocessors. He also performed process hazard analyses on several waste collection and treatment systems, and reviewed and ensured proper environmental management of over 700 chemicals. Additionally, Peter was a consultant at Arthur D. Little, where he performed safety reviews of various chemical, petroleum, and municipal facilities.

Peter has been recognized by Oregon Super Lawyers magazine as a “Rising Star,” by The Best Lawyers in America as a “Best Lawyer,” and by American Registry as a “Top Rated Lawyer.”


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