FIRM: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

LAW SCHOOL: Columbia

CLIENTS: As an appellate attorney, has handled a wide variety, including Starbucks Corp.


Reason I’m a Lawyer: Lawyers can help others by working with them to solve their legal problems, which often has a major impact on their lives. Also, I enjoy the intellectual challenge of analyzing the facts and law and crafting a persuasive argument.

Most Challenging Case: We represented Bridas, an Argentinean oil company, against the government of Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic, over a failed oil and gas development contract. The issue was whether Turkmenistan was bound by the arbitration award when it was not a party to the contract between Bridas and an entity that Turkmenistan controlled. The case was decided twice by the District Court, twice by the Fifth Circuit, and our opponents’ petitions were both denied. Ultimately, the Fifth Circuit held that Turkmenistan was bound as an alter ego by the arbitration award, which was almost a billion dollars including interest.

Best Career Moment: When the California Supreme Court denied review of Chau v. Starbucks Corp. The trial court had awarded $100 million against our client, Starbucks, in a dispute over how tips should be distributed among Starbucks employees. We were successful in convincing the Court of Appeal to reverse that decision in its entirety.

If I Weren’t an Attorney: I would be unemployed.

Bucket List: Taking another trip around the world, including going to Abu Simbel, Egypt and South Africa.

My Colleagues Don’t Know: I went to college in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was president of the student government and active in anti-apartheid activities. As a result, the South African Government refused to renew my visa, forcing me to leave the country.


FIRM: Buchalter Nemer

LAW SCHOOL: University of San Diego School of Law

CLIENTS: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions, AssistMed Inc.


Reason I’m a Lawyer: I was inspired by my eighth grade history teacher who advised me that I talked too much and I should be a lawyer so that way, at least, I would be paid for talking. And, I have a deep fascination with law, politics and history.

Most Challenging Case: A $200 million Ponzi scheme lawsuit that has lasted more than seven years involving multiple parties, assets, criminal aspects and many gratuitous and salacious facts.

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