Denise Crawford is a Deputy Public Defender IV trial lawyer with the Orange County Public Defender's Office. During her career, she has handled all manner of criminal matters from simple misdemeanors to complex felony cases. As a senior lawyer in the office, she mentors younger deputies, conducts hiring interviews and provides training. She began her career under the expert tutelage of preeminent trial lawyer Jennifer L. Keller. When she transitioned to the Orange County Public Defender's Office, not only did she handle criminal matters, she was assigned to Mental Health, LPS, Probate, SVP, Guardianship and Juvenile units gaining extensive experience in niche areas of practice. By far, however, Ms. Crawford is most at home in front of her juries. She travels to conduct trainings on trial practice both domestically and abroad with international partnerships. Most recently, Ms. Crawford provided trial training to the Public Defender's Office equivalent in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She also writes and publishes on the topic of trial practice.
Ms. Crawford is a frequent speaker and most recently (April 2020) spoke on panel with Congressman Gil Cisneros and Congresswoman Judy Chu. To read about her cases in the media, awards and honors - just Google her! She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) in 2013 and has served as co-chair of the Judicial Evaluation and Community Service Committees. She finished her term as President of OCAABA in 2021 and currently serves as the Immediate Past President while also serving as the NAPABA Southern California Regional Governor. She loves a good fight (in court) and in her spare time is an avid scuba diver, sport motorcycle rider, political news junkie and pug dog lover.
Sharon Oh-Kubisch is of counsel at Smiley Wang-Ekvall, LLP. Ms. Oh-Kubisch concentrates her practice on business litigation, and she has handled a wide range of complex matters, specializing primarily in the areas of commercial real estate, finance, financial services and business disputes. Her current and former clients include a diverse range of lenders, financial institutions, brokers, builders, developers, investors, subcontractors, brokers, mortgage companies, homeowners’ associations, property managers, and businesses seeking outside general counsel. Her experience includes all phases of litigation in both state and federal courts as well as alternative dispute resolution, and she has obtained several multi-million judgments on behalf of clients. Prior to joining Smiley Wang-Ekvall, Ms. Oh-Kubisch served as Assistant General Counsel for three private real estate funds, managing their transactional and litigation department.
Ms. Oh-Kubisch received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of California at San Diego in 1993, and her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 1998. Not only does Ms. Oh-Kubisch serve as a Board Member of OCAABA, Ms. Oh-Kubisch was the former OCBA Business Litigation Section Chair, current Real Estate Section Secretary/Treasurer, and also a member of the OCBA Administration of Justice Committee.
Nicole Su is Corporate Counsel with Hyundai Capital America, where she oversees all consumer financial services litigation nationwide for the company. Hyundai Capital provides financial products for the Hyundai, Genesis and Kia car brands.
Prior to her role at Hyundai, Nicole worked at an international law firm handling financial services and business litigation matters. Nicole obtained her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2014 and her B.A. from Northwestern University in 2009.
ALEXANDER C. PAYNE exclusively practices family law in Orange County at Minyard Morris. Alex is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and has extensively litigated complex issues at trial and on appeal. Alex litigates all aspects of divorce from prenuptial agreements, contested custody matters, business valuation and cash flow to post-judgment modifications.
Alex is a co-chair for OCAABA’s Social Committee and organizes the Annual Moon Festival, OCAABA Golf events, and Wine Tasting.
James Dee is vice president and assistant general counsel at Pathway Capital Management, LP, which is based in Irvine. He thinks of and implements ways to support Pathway and its government, corporate and other institutional clients, including structuring their investment vehicles and navigating their participation in investment funds. He is responsible for general legal and compliance issues related to Pathway and its clients, including review of marketing and advertising materials and the monitoring of private equity, venture capital, infrastructure and private credit transactions. Furthermore, he is the primary manager for the firm's Asia legal and regulatory affairs, working extensively with its Hong Kong office.
Prior to joining Pathway, Mr. Dee was an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP, based in its Palo Alto office. In addition to directing and negotiating private equity fund formation and fund investments for a variety of clients, he also led mergers and acquisitions and venture financing transactions. He worked on several Greater China and Asia-focused matters and spent time in Morrison & Foerster's Hong Kong office. Mr. Dee received a BA from Pomona College and a JD from Yale Law School.
Chang Lim is a partner at Knobbe Martens. His practice primarily focuses on patent and trademark counseling, and he represents a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses of all stages in a wide range of industries, including software, healthcare, e-commerce, fashion, and many others.
Chang is a past President of the Orange County Korean American Bar Association (OCKABA), and he is currently serving as Regional Governor of Orange County for the International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL). He also serves as a mentor and leads various committees in numerous bar organizations, including the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA), Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA), and OCKABA. Additionally, he volunteers at the AAAJ/KABASC pro bono clinics and the OCKABA Foundation.
Chang received his B.S. from UC Berkeley and his J.D. from Cornell Law School. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, working out, and playing golf.
Charles Lin is a partner in the Trusts and Estates group of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP. He provides tax and estate planning services to high net-worth clients, including business owners, C-suite executives, and investors in real estate. Charles often acts as outside general counsel for many clients. Much of his work also includes entity formation and structuring and property tax reassessment issues. Charles focuses on all aspects of income, capital gains, gift, and estate tax planning, wealth and business succession planning, charitable planning, trust tax planning, and trust and probate administration.
As a member of Procopio’s International Tax team and Asia-Pacific Cross-Border practice, Charles advises cross-border and multi-national individuals and families on a number of international tax and estate planning issues, including, but not limited to, pre-immigration tax planning, expatriation, and investments in U.S. property. He speaks Mandarin, Japanese, and Taiwanese at fluid conversational levels.
Charles grew up on the island of Guam and spent a portion of his early 20s in Japan. He currently serves as the president of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association.
Thanks to our liaisons for keeping us in touch with law students at the three Orange County law schools!
Kristie Kang, UCI Practice Group Interests: Litigation, Trademark Law, Criminal Defense, Technology Law
Austin Roberts, Chapman Interested in a career as an in-house attorney
Ross Sakai, Western State Focus is on criminal law
OCAABA Past President (2017-2018) Thy Bui was named one of NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award Recipients for 2020: https://youtu.be/KCHo0nx7kJs
The NAPABA Best Lawyers Under 40 Award recognizes talented individuals within the Asian Pacific American legal community under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence and distinction in their fields of endeavor and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.
Thy has served in a range of positions in NAPABA, and is currently serving as Labor & Employment Committee Co-Chair. She previously served as NAPABA Southern California Regional Governor, Young Lawyers Network Co-Chair, and At-Large Board Member. She is on the Board of Directors of the Community Action Fund of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties and the Inner City Law Center, and previously served as President of OCAABA in 2017-2018.
As a partner with Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP, Thy 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. Her clients include public and private sector employers in a broad range of industries, including technology, retail/hospitality, healthcare, higher education, and real estate.
Thy’s hobbies include sailing, yoga, and indoor cycling. She loves animals and has dogs named Sir Rupert Woofington and Senator Fred Thompson.
OCAABA Past President (2019-2020) Denise Crawford is the NAPABA Southern California Regional Governor for 2021
Ms. Crawford is a frequent speaker and most recently (April 2020) spoke on panel with Congressman Gil Cisneros and Congresswoman Judy Chu. To read about her cases in the media, awards and honors - just Google her! She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) in 2013 and has served as co-chair of the Judicial Evaluation and Community Service Committees. She just finished her term as the 2019-2020 President of OCAABA and in 2020-2021, serves as the Immediate Past President. She loves a good fight (in court) and in her spare time is an avid scuba diver, sport motorcycle rider, political news junkie and pug dog lover.
OCAABA Director Geri Wong-Williams is the Alternate NAPABA Southern California Regional Governor for 2021
Geraldine (“Geri”) Wong-Williams is the Juvenile Sexual Assault Deputy District Attorney for Orange County. Geri vertically manages a large felony caseload, handling all aspects of prosecution from review of search and arrest warrants, filing of WIC § 602 petitions, WIC § 707 hearings, motions, court trials, competency hearings, and disposition, to post-disposition re-entry, rehabilitation, placement suitability hearings, reunification, and restitution, and WIC §§ 781/786/793 sealing motions. Geri is both humbled and honored to seek justice for the victims of child molest and sexual abuse, and to be part of the rehabilitation of youthful offenders.
Prior to becoming a Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), Geri was Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office (OCPD). For over a decade, Geri worked in the OC’s criminal defense arena, representing the indigent with a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony charges, as well as in dependency court, representing parents accused of abuse and neglect.
With her unique and diverse background, Geri provides valuable training on trial advocacy and juvenile issues to other attorneys and law enforcement partners. In fact, Geri testified on behalf of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee, as a recognized subject matter expert on juvenile investigative interviews.
Geri was elected to the Board of Directors of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) in 2020 and has served as co-chair for Pipeline Committee and COVID-19 Response Committees. On behalf of OCAABA and Filipino Lawyers of Orange County (FLOC), Geri authored a joint press release on National Nurses’ Assistant’s Day, in recognition of COVID-19’s impact on nurses' assistants. As a parent to a child on the Autism spectrum, Geri is grateful to OCAABA for helping her coordinate and moderate a webinar on "Advocating for Educational Progress During COVID-19.”
Having moved to the United States at age 16 and being the first person in her family to go to college, Geri is well aware of how hard it can be for first and second-generation immigrant lawyers to get their start. Through her work as co-chair to OCAABA’s Pipeline Committee, Geri helped organize a webinar to help them in their COVID-19 job search. Moreover, Geri established the first-ever OCAABA Virtual Mock Interview Program to help prepare local law students for their upcoming virtual on campus interviews.
Geri is also the newly elected Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Criminal Law Section Secretary/Treasurer. She is further involved in OCBA as a member of the Diversity/Inclusion Committee, and Mentorship Committee.
In addition to being the NAPABA Alternate Regional Governor for Southern California, Geri is also a member of Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association (SCCLA), Asian Pacific American Lawyers of the Inland Empire (APALIE), and National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA.)
For the past 15 plus years, Geri has been happily married to her husband, Ryan, who is also an attorney but now homeschools their 9-year-old son, John. Together as a family, they enjoy camping, hiking and off-roading in their old Jeep Wrangler.
Lynda T. Bui is a partner of Shulman Bastian Friedman & Bui LLP, which has offices in Orange County and Riverside. Having been appointed a Bankruptcy Panel Trustee in the Central District of California since 2010, Lynda has served and administered many Chapter 11 and 7 bankruptcies. Her practice also includes all aspects of insolvency and bankruptcy, including work-outs, creditors’ rights, business reorganization, trustees and debtors representation, plaintiffs and defendants in bankruptcy litigation in a variety of industries, including real estate, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, logistics, grocery, food services, non-profit, and professional services.
Lynda graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (1994), and earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School (1998). Through the years, Lynda has served her community by being involved and held different leadership positions in national, local, ethnic and bankruptcy bar associations. Currently, Lynda is on the 2020 Small Business Reorganization Task Force, chair by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Maureen Tighe. Its mission is to ensure equal access to justice, especially bankruptcy, for the diverse group of small businesses in the Central District of California, particularly in light of the new bankruptcy law.
The Orange County Asian American Bar Association ("OCAABA") is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.