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
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 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.
Evan Gautier is a tax and corporate transactional attorney at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) and is a current board member and Membership Committee Co-Chair for the Orange County Asian American Bar Association. Evan’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, general corporate law including entity formation and corporate governance issues, transactional tax planning, and general tax and business matters. Evan regularly assists clients with drafting and reviewing transaction documentation, shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, and other commercial contracts. Evan earned his J.D. from Western State College of Law (2014), a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from Chapman University (2016), and a Master’s (A.L.M.) in the field of Management from Harvard University (2020).
Evan also serves the community through involvement in various legal and civic organizations. He is a longstanding member of the Orange County Bar Association’s Tax Law Section, where he is currently serving as Chair-Elect, and he recently served as a volunteer English language moderator at the 8th Annual Japan Bowl of California.
Jessica Cha is a Certified Family Law Specialist at Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, LLP and is the current Secretary for the Orange County Asian American Bar Association. Jessica is an experienced family law litigator who represents clients in cases ranging from issues of support and division of assets/debts to parental child abduction cases under the Hague Convention. She currently serves as a Commissioner and the Chair of the Arts & Culture Commission for the City of Santa Ana and is active with various community based organizations serving the AAPI population in Orange County. Jessica obtained her Juris Doctorate from the Syracuse University College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California San Diego.
Jessica is an avid traveler and adventure seeker who loves the outdoors and all things food related. Most weekends you can find her hiking up a mountain or in the kitchen cooking up elaborate meals.
The Orange County Asian American Bar Association ("OCAABA") is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.