Board of Directors 2019-2020

APABA-DC is governed by a Board of Directors composed of
10 officers elected by the active membership and 23 attorneys appointed into
non-voting positions by the President and confirmed by the elected officers.


President and Elected Officers


Dawn Yamane Hewett is Of Counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP with over a decade of experience successfully representing clients in complex investment treaty and commercial arbitrations, multi-jurisdiction litigations, and high-stakes government investigations.  She represents and advises sovereign governments, state-owned enterprises, and private parties with disputes from all around the world.  From 2014-2017, she was the Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she handled a broad range of issues, including trade and investment, anti-corruption, appellate litigation, export controls, digital economy, responsible business conduct, cybersecurity, and privacy.  Prior to her government service, Dawn worked for another major law firm and clerked for Judge Margaret M. McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Before law school, she worked at the Princeton Project on National Security; Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and Front Line, a human rights organization. Dawn received her J.D. from Yale Law School, Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University, M.Phil in Ethnic and Racial Studies from Trinity College Dublin, and B.A.s from the University of Washington.  She is fluent in Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese. [email protected]


President-Elect: Erica Lai is Counsel at Cohen & Gresser LLP, specializing in antitrust, class actions, and white collar defense.  Erica’s broad litigation experience includes class action allegations of price-fixing under the Sherman Act, commercial contractual disputes in the financial services, utility, and railroad industries, and False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act defense.  Erica earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, cum laude, where she was on the Editorial Board of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College.  Before joining Cohen & Gresser, she clerked for the Honorable John M. Walker, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Michael M. Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and practiced for several years at Covington & Burling LLP.  Erica has served on APABA-DC’s Nominations, Education, and Public Policy and Advocacy Committees, and currently serves on the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center’s (APALRC) Board of Directors and the Legal Advisory Board to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).  [email protected]


Immediate Past President:  Mark T. Uyeda is an attorney with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission in the Division of Investment Management.  Between 2017 and 2018, Mark was on detail to the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a policy advisor, where he contributed to several Treasury reports on regulation of financial services in response to Executive Order 13772.  Prior to Treasury, he was senior advisor to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar and also was counsel to Commissioner Paul S. Atkins.  He previously served as chair of the SEC's Asian Pacific American Committee.  Before joining the SEC, Mark was appointed as chief advisor to the California Corporations Commissioner by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Mark was in private practice with O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles and K&L Gates LLP in Washington, D.C.  Mark earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from Duke University, where he served as note editor of the Duke Law Journal.  Mark has served as vice president and board member for the Japanese American Bar Association in Los Angeles. [email protected]


Vice President for Communications: Jason Pan is an associate in the Structured Transactions Group at Morgan Lewis.  Jason is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Darden School of Business, and School of Engineering, where he earned a B.S. degree in Systems Engineering and Economics. [email protected]


Vice President for Community Affairs:  Anjum Unwala is an associate at Hogan Lovells. Anjum’s practice is focused on white-collar defense, government defense, complex civil litigation, and pro bono matters. She regularly counsels clients who are under investigation by various federal and state regulatory agencies for fraud, bribery, and regulatory violations. Anjum is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and earned her B.S. in Finance and International Business from New York University. She is admitted to practice in New York. [email protected]



Vice President for Education:  Lloyd Liu is a partner at Coburn & Greenbaum, PLLC.  Lloyd’s practice is focused on white-collar defense, government investigations, and complex civil litigation. He regularly counsels clients under investigation for fraud, bribery, or regulatory violations. He has represented clients in federal court charged with tax offenses, antitrust violations, and other federal crimes. He also has advised clients involved in congressional investigations and inquiries. His civil practice focuses on representing companies and individuals in contract, business, and other disputes before both state and federal courts and before various government agencies. Lloyd received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. in Economics and English from Boston College. [email protected]


Vice President for Membership:  Arjun Amernath is an attorney at a boutique law firm in Washington, DC where he represents healthcare providers in administrative and regulatory matters. Arjun received his J.D. from the George Washington University where he was an editor on the Federal Circuit Bar Journal and his B.A. from Georgetown University. [email protected]


Vice President for Programs:  Samantha Guo is the Associate General Counsel at OriGene Technologies, Inc., a biotechnology company based in Rockville, MD. She is responsible for a variety of matters, including commercial transactions, employment law, and M&A. Samantha grew up in Beijing, China, and received her J.D. from University of Iowa College of Law and her B.A. from University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. She is currently a co-chair for Association of Corporate Counsel Career Development Forum and also serves as the VP of Membership of Washington DC Chinese Legal Association. [email protected]


Secretary:  Ethel Badawi is Co-Founder & Principal of Pollack Badawi Group, LLC a legal recruiting firm based in DC.  Ethel has dedicated her professional life to helping individuals find careers that inspire joy and growth. She has advised over 500 university graduates, paralegals, recent law graduates, and attorneys in strategic decision making to advance their professional careers and find their professional home at law firms, businesses, and the government. In addition to her role as Secretary for APABA-DC, she serves as a Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and the Career Development Committee of the Women’s Bar Association in DC. She is a faculty member at the College of Professional Studies at The George Washington University and is a frequent presenter on career and professional development for legal professionals. She has held leadership roles at the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the Washington Area Legal Recruitment Administrators Association (WALRAA), and the American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE). Ethel has a B.A. in Spanish and Economics from Wellesley College and a J.D. from The George Washington University. [email protected]

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Treasurer:  Philip Lee is a contract specialist at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [email protected] 


Board of Directors Members



Assistant Vice President for Communications: Brian S. Kang is a litigation associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, where he focuses on anti-corruption, internal investigation, and securities enforcement matters.  Prior to his legal career, Brian was a Tax Associate in KPMG LLP’s New York office, where he worked on federal and state tax compliance matters for clients in the real estate sector.  Brian was also a Foreign Direct Investment Consultant for the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), where he represented South Korea’s economic development agency and advised U.S. institutional investors looking to invest in South Korea.  Brian received his B.S. in Finance and M.S. in Accounting from New York University Stern School of Business, and his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Executive Managing Editor of the George Washington International Law Review.  Brian is fluent in Korean. [email protected]

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Assistant Vice President for Community Affairs: Melissa O. Nonaka is an attorney at Clark Hill, PLC, in Washington, DC where she devotes her practice exclusively to US immigration law. Melissa regularly counsels US employers, including public and private companies, multinational corporations, and nonprofit organizations, on options relating to hiring and retaining foreign national employees through employment-based visa sponsorship. She also advises individuals and their family members on immigration matters including family-based permanent residence and naturalization. Melissa represents clients before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the US Department of Labor, and the US Department of State. Melissa received her JD and Certificate in Comparative and International Law from The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law and her BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Hispanic Studies from Boston College. While in law school, she was a Legal Extern for the US Department of Labor's Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), served on the editorial board for The Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, and volunteered at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC).  Melissa was born and raised in San Diego, CA and is fluent in the Japanese language. [email protected]

 Yifang Zhao


Assistant Vice President for Education: Yifang Zhao is an associate in the Litigation Practice Group in the Washington, D.C. office of Haynes and Boone. Her practice focuses on intellectual property issues related to pharmaceutical development and commercialization, from pre-suit analysis to litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act.  Yifang has represents policyholders in insurance recovery litigation.  Prior to law school, Yifang had significant experience in the field of cardiovascular extracellular protein research. She also volunteered in Tibet, worked, and studied in Asia and Europe. [email protected]


Assistant Vice President for Membership:  Phoebe Yu is an associate at Covington & Burling. [email protected]

Emily Zia

Assistant Vice President for Programs: Emily Zia is an attorney at Maryland Legal Aid. [email protected]



Awards Committee Co-Chair: Judy (Zhu) Wang is an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. Her practice focuses on international trade and investment as well as international regulation and compliance. Judy represents companies across various industries on all aspects of trade remedies proceedings before the US Department of Commerce (DOC), the US International Trade Commission (ITC), US courts, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). She also conducts investigations and assists with enforcement actions related to US and international anti-corruption laws, and counsels organization on compliance with various economic sanctions and export controls regimes. She is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia. Judy received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an editor on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from Vanderbilt University. [email protected]


Awards Committee Co-Chair: Arun G. Rao is a partner at The Lenzner Firm, P.C. and the President of Investigative Group International (IGI), where he directs due diligence and corporate internal investigations, advises clients on crisis and risk management, and handles white-collar matters.  Before entering private practice, he served as Chief of the Southern Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, located in Greenbelt, Maryland.  He also was a Deputy Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel from 2012 to 2013, where he vetted President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominees.  Rao joined the U.S. Department of Justice in 2007 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis).  Prior to working for the U.S. Department of Justice, Rao was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office and an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York, New York. Rao graduated with high honors from the University of Virginia in 1998. He received his J.D. in 2001 from New York University School of Law. He clerked for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. [email protected]