Monty Agarwal is a partner in Arnold & Porter LLP’s San Francisco office. He advises businesses in technology and intellectual property disputes. He has tried numerous cases to juries. He is a commissioner on California State Bar’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission and a board member of the San Francisco Bar Association. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights-Bay Area has honored him for asylum work and the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, of which he is a past president, for his commitment to diversity. He has served as the board chair of the Asian Law Caucus, the oldest legal nonprofit organization for low-income Asians. Prior to his legal career, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Southern Africa.
Douglas K. Chia is senior counsel and assistant corporate secretary at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His responsibilities include providing legal counsel to the corporation on matters of corporate governance, securities regulation, public company disclosure, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance. Douglas is a member of the Board of Directors, Executive Steering Committee, and Corporate Practices Committee of the Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals, and is chairman of the society’s Membership Committee. He is also a member of the Corporate & Securities Law Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Douglas is frequently invited to speak at corporate governance and securities conferences around the country. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College, and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
James P. Chou is a senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, focusing on complex commercial litigation. In addition to his work as a commercial litigator, Mr. Chou was a principal attorney representing the New York County Democratic Committee in Lopez Torres v. New York State Board of Elections, a case concerning the constitutionality of New York’s convention system for nominating judicial candidates. Profiled in the New York Law Journal as one of the “Top Ten Cases of 2004,” the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which rendered a 9 – 0 decision in his client’s favor. A graduate of NYU and the Georgetown University Law Center, James is NAPABA’s Northeast Regional Governor and the president-elect of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
Fred Chung is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Palo Alto, where he practices intellectual property litigation. After receiving his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University, he clerked for the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Fred has successfully represented high-tech companies in district courts around the country, as well as in Section 337 investigations before the International Trade Commission. He also works on a wide variety of pro bono matters and serves on the Board of Directors of the Pro Bono Project, Silicon Valley. He is currently the overseas vice president of the International Association of Korean Lawyers.
As legal counsel to the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power, Camilla represents and advises the nation’s largest public utility in a range of energy business projects relating to renewable energy generation, purchase, and transmission. Prior to this role, Camilla managed the city’s outside counsel and its annual budget of more than $30 million. Camilla has also counseled the city’s Department of Airports on real estate and state and federal regulatory law, where she represented the city on complex, long-term commercial leases and on the LAX Master Plan, a $12 billion modernization plan. As president-elect of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers’ Association, Camilla is a native San Franciscan and a graduate of UC Davis and UC Hastings College of Law.
Susan Kim, a partner in Bingham McCutchen’s litigation area, represents commercial entities in high-stakes litigation and appeals, including complex financial, regulatory, and technology matters, as well as Chapter 11 cases. Named one of Connecticut’s “New Leaders of the Law,” Susan was also recently recognized by the Connecticut Law Tribune as one of Connecticut’s high-achieving women in the law. The Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court recognized Susan for her contribution to improving diversity within the state’s court system. Susan also serves on the firm’s diversity, hiring, and women’s leadership committees. She is a current director of CAPABA, and a member of NAPABA. Ms. Kim graduated from Tufts University in 1994 and Syracuse University School of Law, cum laude, in 1998.
Sophia Lee is senior litigation counsel at Sunoco, Inc. in Philadelphia. She oversees Sunoco’s wide-ranging portfolio of major litigation nationwide, which includes commercial, environmental, products liability, and business disputes, among others. She is also responsible for Sunoco’s litigation and electronic discovery policies and procedures. Sophia is a co-chair of NAPABA’s Litigation Committee, past president of APABA-PA, and assistant secretary of the Philadelphia Bar Association. She is active in Philadelphia’s civic and charitable communities, and co-owns Bistro 7, an acclaimed Philadelphia bistro, with her husband. Sophia received her J.D. and LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, where she was a member of Temple Law Review and the Moot Court Honor Society. Sophia received her B.A. in English from Cornell University.
Linda Lu manages class actions challenging Allstate’s policies, practices, and procedures. Linda is a member of the diversity committee, where she leads the company’s efforts in promoting diversity amongst Allstate’s panel counsel. Prior to Allstate, Linda was a litigator at the Chicago firm of Lowis & Gellen. Linda was president of the Asian American Bar Association in Chicago, and chair of the Chinese American Professional Association. She served on the Steering Committee of the Alliance of Bar Associations, which evaluates judicial candidates. Linda was vice president of the Board of Governors of The University of Chicago Alumni Association. Linda is a board member of the Chinese American Bar Association, and a member of the Local School Council. Linda graduated, with honors, from The University of Chicago, and the Georgetown University School of Law.
Terri Ann Motosue is one of three managing partners of Carlsmith Ball LLP, Hawaii’s largest law firm with seven offices stretching across the Pacific region. She is the youngest partner to hold this position in the firm’s 151-year history. In addition to her management responsibilities, Terri continues her full-time law practice, specializing in bank finance and real estate transactions. Her legal career started in New York City at White & Case LLP. Terri’s pro bono work includes work with the United Nations on anti-human trafficking laws, and the ABA’s Asia Law Initiative on development of Afghanistan’s secured transactions law. Terri is a graduate of the University of Hawaii (B.A., M.A.) and Boston University (J.D.), where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Public Interest Law Journal.
Nimesh Patel is a senior associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in Washington, D.C. His experience includes conducting diversity/risk assessments, and implementing diversity action plans and best practices for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Nimesh also advises clients on compliance with employment laws and regulations and represents clients involved in government investigations. Prior to entering private practice, he served with the U.S. Department of Justice, including tenure as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division. Nimesh’s community involvement includes serving as chair pro tempore of the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights; board member of the NAPABA Law Foundation; co-chair of the NAPABA Diversity Task Force; ambassador for the ABA Section of Business Law; member of the South Asian Bar Association-D.C.; former vice president of communications of NAPABA; and former president of APABA-DC.
Ajay Raju, a fellow in the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, is vice chair of Reed Smith’s business & finance department, which comprises more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices around the world. His international practice focuses on structured finance, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and India-bound transactions. Recognized by Leadership Philadelphia as one of the region’s top 100 “connectors,” Ajay also appears regularly as a panelist on Inside Story, a Sunday-morning roundtable debate show airing on Philadelphia’s ABC station. A leading expert on doing business with India, Ajay is CEO and chairman of the Global Indian Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization serving more than 20,000 members worldwide. He is also a trustee of Lincoln University and a founding board member of I-LEAD, a community-based college degree program.
Catherine Than practices commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, and banking law with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, L.L.P. She received her law degree (cum laude, 2000) from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was inducted into Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at the school. Catherine is the 2008 president of the AABA of Houston, and previously served as its president-elect, co-chair of the Corporate Counsel Committee, vice president of Membership & Mentorship, and co-chair of the Gala & Silent Auction. She is a founding member (and member of the Board of Trustees) of the Asian American Bar Foundation of Houston. In 2007 and 2008, she was named a Texas SuperLawyer—Rising Star by Texas Monthly magazine.
Amul R. Thapar
Amul R. Thapar, a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, is the youngest judge on the federal bench. He also has the privilege of being the first South Asian Article III judge. Amul previously served as a United States Attorney, serving on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and a Presidential task force on identity theft. He also served seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney, during which he established the Southern Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which successfully prosecuted those engaged in mortgage fraud. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the United States Department of Justice, have recognized his ability to successfully lead complex, multi-agency investigations. He has also spent time in private practice. Amul’s commitment to service is long-standing; while he was a judicial clerk, he founded the “Street Law” program at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. The program continues to serve various underprivileged high schools in the greater Cincinnati area.
James Toma, a deputy attorney general in the Consumer Law Section of the California Department of Justice, investigates and files actions against businesses and individuals engaged in unfair business practices. Previously at Greenberg Glusker, a Los Angeles law firm, James litigated business, entertainment, and real estate matters for a diverse clientele. He is a 2001 law school graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to law school, James was a legislative consultant in the California State Assembly for three years. He has a Masters of Public Policy from Berkeley and a B.A. from Yale. Born in Okinawa, James grew up in Stockton, California. James, his wife, Minerva, and their one-year old son, Cruz Kenzo, live in Los Angeles.
Kim M. Tran
Kim M. Tran, of Stafford Frey Cooper, is the first Vietnamese American woman shareholder at a majority-owned Seattle law firm. Kim handles a full range of employment disputes, and has litigated high-profile cases for the Seattle Police Department. She currently serves on the NAPABA Foundation, the King County Bar Association (as secretary), and the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington. As 2006 president of the Asian Bar Association of Washington, Kim co-founded Washington’s Statewide Diversity Conference, a collaboration of ten minority bar associations. Active in the community, Kim is president of the Asian Counseling Referral Service, the largest nonprofit agency serving the APA population in Washington, where she has volunteered as a naturalization teacher for ten years. In 2007, she attended a trade mission to Vietnam.
Karin Wang is vice president of programs at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a civil rights and legal services organization in Southern California. Prior to her current position, Karin directed APALC’s immigrant rights advocacy, and helped file a civil rights complaint against Los Angeles County on behalf of limited English speaking welfare recipients, resulting in major changes to the welfare department and $1.7 million in back benefits. Karin also ran the first Los Angeles field office of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, enforcing civil rights across the Southwest. Currently, she is chair of the California State Bar’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services; executive vice president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association; and a steering committee member of API Equality-LA. She was one of the lawyers who filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of 63 Asian American organizations in support of marriage equality. A graduate of Berkeley School of Law, Karin practiced at Morrison & Foerster LLP after law school.
Robert Yap is the Chief Legal Officer of Total Call International, Inc. (TCI), a telecommunications company based in Los Angeles. He is responsible for overseeing TCI’s transactional, litigation, and governmental matters. Prior to joining TCI in 2007, Robert was a business litigation attorney at Artiano & Guzman for six years, and a transactional attorney at McDermott, Will & Emery for two years. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Robert has been actively involved in pro bono activities. He has served as a Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles pro bono attorney serving domestic violence victims, as well as national legal counsel for Project by Project, a nonprofit that raises approximately $50,000 per year for nonprofit organizations in New York City and Los Angeles. Currently, Robert is serving as a board member and vice chairman of the Asian Pacific Community Fund, a nonprofit organization that raises approximately $250,000 per year through workplace giving programs and individual donations for distribution to approximately 30 Asian Pacific Islander American nonprofit organizations in the Los Angeles area. Robert received his B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University and his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University School of Law.
Sam Yee is a career prosecutor. He currently fights Medicaid fraud for the Office of Attorney General in New York. From 2002 to 2007, Sam tried more than thirty homicides in Baltimore City. Before that, in Florida, Sam litigated misdemeanor and felony cases and misdemeanor appeals. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work. Equally comfortable arguing complex legal issues as he is convincing a jury of a defendant’s guilt, Sam also enjoys “mooting” teams for the Chief Judge Thomas Tang competition. In addition, he clerked for the Honorable Herbert Dixon, Jr of the D.C. Superior Court. His J.D. is from American University and his B.S. in Accounting and Economics is from N.Y.U. He received an Award of Recognition from APABA-MD in 2007.
From the January/February 2009 issue of Diversity & The Bar®