Wendy C. Shiba, President
Retired EVP, GC & Secretary,
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (818) 257-1260
Wendy Shiba is a recently retired corporate attorney and business executive whose career of more than 30 years included private practice, teaching, government service and serving as an executive officer of three NYSE-listed companies. Her corporate positions have included Executive VP, General Counsel and Secretary of KB Home in Los Angeles, CA; Senior VP, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of PolyOne Corporation in Cleveland, OH; and VP Secretary and Assistant General Counsel of Bowater Incorporated in Greenville, SC. Earlier, she was Corporate Chair of the City of Philadelphia Law Department; a tenured Associate Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law; in private practice with O'Melveny & Myers; and law clerk to Justice Stanley Mosk on the Supreme Court of California.
Ms. Shiba is President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Japanese American National Museum, and has held board and leadership positions with numerous professional and non-profit organizations, including the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley (since renamed APABA-PA) (past President). She received NAPABA's 2009 Trailblazer Award and the YWCA's 2007 Woman of Achievement Award, and was a member of the 2010 Japanese American Leadership Delegation to Japan and the 2007 inaugural class of the DirectWomen Board Institute. Ms. Shiba has been a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on topics including corporate governance, securities law, women's leadership and diversity in the legal profession.
Ms. Shiba earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and her J.D. from Temple University School of Law, where she graduated first in her class and was Articles Editor of the Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board.
William J. Simonitsch, President-Elect
K&L Gates LLP
200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 3900
Miami, FL 33131-2399
Phone: (305) 539-3336
William Simonitsch is a partner with K&L Gates LLP's Miami office. He represents businesses and their principals in commercial and insolvency-related disputes. He regularly litigates in federal and state court on a wide-array of matters, and has extensive experience representing secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy, state court liquidation, and commercial foreclosure actions. Among other things, Mr. Simonitsch has brought and defended actions regarding broken contracts, fraud, deceptive and unfair trade practices, commercial leases, wage and hour violations, accountant liability, and judgment collections. He has also litigated construction lien foreclosures, construction defect and delay claims, and retainage issues for general contractors, subcontractors, and materialmen. In bankruptcy court, Mr. Simonitsch regularly represents banks, private equity investors, asset-based lenders, and other creditors in proceedings under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, including stay relief motions, use of cash collateral, asset sales, preference claims, and fraudulent transfer actions. He also gives strategic advice to companies that conduct business with financially distressed entities and is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy related issues. Mr. Simonitsch is admitted to the United States District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He currently serves as the chair of the firm's Asian American Attorney Affinity Group. Mr. Simonitsch received his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law, his M.A. and B.A. from Florida State University.
Ekwan E. Rhow, VP Finance and Development
Bird Marella et al.
1875 Century Park, 23rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 201-2100
Ekwan E. Rhow is a principal at Bird Marella. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. Well-versed in all aspects of litigation and motion practice, Mr. Rhow has particular expertise in the conduct of trials and has first-chaired over twenty five cases that were taken to final verdict. Representing Fortune 500 companies, Korean conglomerates, Hollywood producers and other companies, he has tried high-stakes matters in courts throughout California. Mr. Rhow has been named a "Southern California Super Lawyer" by Los Angeles Magazine every year since 2004, one of the nation's "Best Lawyers Under 40" by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and an "Impact Lawyer" by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. He is an appointee to the State Bar of California's Commission on Access to Justice and a past President of the Korean American Bar Association. In 2003, he was selected by the federal judges of the Central District of California to serve as one of its 33 lawyer representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He co-chaired NAPABA's Los Angeles Convention in 2010 and has been a board member of NAPABA since 2008.
Jin Y. Hwang, VP Programs & Operations
100 Southgate Parkway
Morristown, NJ 07960
Phone: (973) 656-7058
Alexander M. Lee, VP Communications
Law Offices Of Alexander M. Lee
354 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 201
Caldwell, NJ 07006
Phone: (973) 864-1688
Brad Yamauchi, VP Membership
Minami Tamaki LLP
360 Post Street, 8th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 788-0449
Brad Yamauchi, in practice for over 36 years and a Partner with Minami Tamaki since 1993, represents plaintiffs in individual and class action employment discrimination, wage and hour and consumer and financial fraud cases. His dedication to civil rights and Asian-American issues is inspired by the courage and sacrifice of his father who served with thousands of Japanese American soldiers during World War II and the imprisonment of his father and mother's families in relocation camps.
He is AV rated and a "Superlawyer" since 2004. From 1996-2005, he was on the Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association comprised of over 2,500 plaintiff attorneys nationwide. From 2002-2005 he was Board President of www.workplacefairness.org, a resource on employment rights. From 2003-2008, he was on the Board of the California Employment Lawyers Association. From 2008-2011 he served on the Board of the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco. For NAPABA, from 2007 to 2011 he was a Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee and from 2011-2012 he was a Co-Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Committee. Mr. Yamauchi currently serves on the Judicial Nominee Evaluation Commission of the California Bar Association to evaluate judicial nominations by the Governor and serves as a Vice-President on the Board of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California.
Cyndie M. Chang, Secretary
Duane Morris LLP
865 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 3100
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 689-7400
Cyndie M. Chang is a partner and commercial litigator at Duane Morris handling matters involving complex business disputes, trademarks, trade secrets, insurance coverage, unfair competition, and real estate. She also handles insurance claims involving large, multi-million dollar environmental, asbestos and toxic tort matters. Cyndie has obtained favorable results for many kinds of businesses at trial and arbitration.
Prior to serving as NAPABA's Secretary, she was the Regional Governor of the California-Central District/Los Angeles Region. Cyndie is also the President-Elect of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association ("SCCLA") and will be installed as President in April 2013. SCCLA is one of the oldest and largest minority bar associations in the country. Cyndie has been named as NAPABA's "Best Lawyers under 40" and also a "Rising Star" by Los Angeles Magazine's Super Lawyers publication for several years. Cyndie also participated in the American Bar Association-Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section ("ABA-TIPS") 2010 Leadership Academy and has been appointed as the Vice-Chair of the ABA-TIPS Business Litigation Committee and a member of the Standing Committee on Diversity in the Profession. Her other leadership positions include serving on the board of the Asian Pacific Community Fund ("APCF"), which supports Asian Pacific Islander communities in need and generates funding for 29 affiliate agencies in Southern California, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles. In addition, she is her firm's office Pro Bono Coordinator. She is also a Fellow to the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Cyndie graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University and Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
George C. Chen, Treasurer
Bryan Cave LLP
Two North Central Avenue, Suite 2200
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 364-7367
George Chen is a Partner at Bryan Cave LLP. He is the leader of the intellectual property practice in the Phoenix office, is a co-chair of the firm-wide Lawyers of Color Affinity Group, and is the chair of the Recruiting Committee for the Phoenix office. He assists long-term clients with development, protection, enforcement, defense, licensing, and commercialization of intellectual property and other business assets. His practice includes litigation, licensing, counseling, and prosecution of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, Internet, cybersquatting, and other intellectual property matters. Mr. Chen is recognized by Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers of America® for excellence in intellectual property law, and he was honored as a "Best Under 40" by NAPABA and a "Top Pro Bono Attorney" by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. He is also a co-inventor of 4 US patents.
Mr. Chen has served as the Southwest Regional Governor for NAPABA, the President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, and a member of the Arizona Governor's Asian-American Advisory Council and the Mentoring Committee for the State Bar of Arizona. He also serves as a mentor for the American Bar Association's Judicial Intern Opportunity Program, the Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law's Minority Writing Program.
Nimesh M. Patel, Immediate Past-President
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Phone: (202) 357-8154
Nimesh M. Patel is the Executive Director for Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity Mr. Patel leads diversity and inclusion management for the third largest department in the Federal government, covering approximately 250,000 employees located throughout the country and around the world. Prior to returning to public service, Mr. Patel was a member of the labor and employment practice group of an AmLaw 100 law firm where he also had a specialty in corporate diversity and risk management. His experience includes conducting diversity/risk assessments and implementing diversity action plans and best practices for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Mr. Patel also advised clients on compliance with employment laws and regulations and represented clients involved in government investigations. Mr. Patel began his career as an Honor's Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and his tenure included serving as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, where he investigated state and local law enforcement for excessive use of force and abuse of authority. Mr. Patel's community and professional leadership includes serving as president-elect of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, vice chair of the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and member of the ABA President's Commission to Advance Diversity in the Legal Profession. Mr. Patel also was selected as one of NAPABA's Best Lawyer's Under 40.