Katie Porter, a freshman member of Congress representing California's 45th district and tenured law professor at the University of California, Irvine, is a national leader in consumer protection.
In Washington, Congresswoman Porter has remained committed to putting Orange County families first. As a member of House Financial Services Committee, she’s asked tough questions of bank CEOs and administration officials to hold them accountable to the American people. She has also been a key supporter of legislation to reduce the influence of dark money in politics and restore ethics to Washington.
As a single working mom, Rep. Porter knows firsthand about the challenges faced by working families. She’s introduced bipartisan legislation to allow families to set aside more pre-tax income for dependent care. She’s continued to press for a repeal of the limits on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which has hit California’s middle-class families especially hard.
Before coming to Congress, Porter spent nearly two decades taking on the special interests that dominate American politics and drown out the voices of working families. As California’s independent watchdog against the banks, she made sure the big banks that had cheated Orange County homeowners followed through on their promise to help affected families get back on their feet. As a consumer finance expert, Congresswoman Porter also helped Congress pass the original Credit CARD Act in 2009, which enacted federal protections from abusive credit card fees.
Porter lives in Irvine with her three school-age children.
Katie Porter, Member of Congress Representing California's 45th district
Todd Spitzer has dedicated his life to keeping families safe and was inspired to dedicate his career to public service as an Orange County Supervisor, former California State Assembly Member, and now as the Orange County District Attorney. A champion for public safety,
District Attorney Spitzer is recognized as an expert on security issues, whose reputation as an advocate for victims’ rights is respected nationally. Spitzer chaired the ground-breaking campaign for Proposition 9, Marsy’s Law, the nation’s most comprehensive Victim’s Bill of Rights, and served as State Co-Chair for Proposition 83, the nation’s toughest sex offender punishment and control law as well as Proposition 69, which requires the collection of DNA samples from all felons.
Fighting to protect our community, he joint-authored Megan’s Law on the Internet, the landmark legislation requiring the release of public information related to sex offenders and as a former deputy and assistant district attorney he handled complex criminal matters while managing line prosecutors.
As Third District Supervisor, he secured Orange County’s first year-round, supportive housing shelter for the homeless, established an Ethics Commission, gained passage of pension reform measures, and strengthened public safety oversight by expanding the Office of Independent Review.
Spitzer earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA (1982), a Master’s degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley (1989), and a Law Degree from UC Hastings School of Law (1989). While at Hastings, Spitzer was awarded the George Moscone Fellowship, for the law student dedicating his career to public service.
Spitzer is a former high school teacher and reserve police officer assigned to DUI enforcement and patrol duties. He is a doting father of a son and daughter and a dedicated husband to Judge Jamie Spitzer, Presiding Judge of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Todd Spitzer, District Attorney of Orange County, California
Ramin Montazeri graduated cum laude from University of California, Irvine, where he received a B.A. in Political Science and Business Economics. Thereafter he received a J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in 2013, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Mr. Montazeri also attended the Sorbonne Law School in Paris, receiving a certificate in International Business Law and Governance. During law school Mr. Montazeri served as the President of the Middle Eastern Law Student's Association, as well as the President of the National Muslim Law Student's Association. He also received the IABA scholarship for outstanding service to the Iranian American community. Mr. Montazeri currently works at Latham & Watkins LLP as a Project Finance associate, specializing in the renewable and oil and gas sectors. Mr. Montazeri has served on IABA's board of director since 2014, and was elected as the IABA National President in early 2019.
Ramin Montazeri, IABA National President
Jamal Abdi joined the National Iranian American Council as Policy Director in November 2009, directing NIAC’s efforts to monitor policies and legislation, and to educate and advocate on behalf of the Iranian-American community. He has served as President of NIAC since August 2018, and also serves as the Executive Director of NIAC Action, the group’s sister organization.
Abdi joined NIAC’s team following his work in the US Congress as Policy Advisor on foreign policy, national security and immigration issues. As one of a small number of Iranian Americans working on the Hill, he served as a Congressional advisor, liaison, and expert on foreign affairs, immigration, and defense. Prior to coming to DC, Abdi worked in his home state of Washington as a field organizer for national Congressional elections, coordinating and establishing grassroots campaign efforts in Seattle and Bellevue. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, majoring in Political Science with a focus on International Relations.
Jamal has written for The New York Times, CNN, Foreign Policy, The Hill, and USA Today and blogs at The Huffington Post. He is a frequent guest contributor in print, radio, and television, including appearances on Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC Radio, and VOA.
Jamal Abdi, President, National Iranian American Council
As the Founder and Principal of Ferrari & Associates, P.C., Mr. Ferrari represents U.S. and foreign corporations, financial institutions, exporters, insurers, as well as private individuals in trade compliance, regulatory licensing matters, and federal investigations and prosecutions. He frequently represents clients before the United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the United States Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and in federal courts around the country. With over 12 years of experience in national security law, exports control, and U.S. economic sanctions, he counsels across industry sectors representing parties in a wide range of matters from ensuring compliance to defending against federal prosecutions and pursuing federal appeals.
Mr. Ferrari's representations before OFAC frequently involve investigations concerning violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, and the Counter Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions Regulations. As part of these representations, he has worked to have names removed from OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), and OFAC administrative subpoenas issued during the course of an OFAC investigation, procure OFAC specific licenses to engage in transactions prohibited by OFAC, draft OFAC voluntary self-disclosures, develop and implement OFAC compliance programs for international import-export companies, and provide general counseling on OFAC related matters.
Mr. Ferrari has served as lead trial counsel on a number of complex federal criminal matters. He is a seasoned litigator that has obtained mistrials and acquittals for his clients in various matters including in prosecutions for smuggling, and International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) based export control charges. He has also successfully handled mail and wire fraud cases, tax fraud cases, money laundering cases, espionage case, economic sanctions criminal cases, and federal criminal appeals. These representations have occurred in various courts across the United States and involved by U.S. and international clientele. He maintains a security clearance and has served as cleared counsel in national security cases.
Mr. Ferrari's civil litigation experience includes multiple lawsuits against OFAC arising from blocking both of assets, as well as those targeting parties under the Foreign Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). He has also represented clients in other contexts including in securities matters arising before the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and in civil forfeiture proceedings.
Mr. Ferrari actively writes on OFAC administered trade sanctions and has been published on the matter. In addition, he is often called upon by media outlets to speak on U.S. trade sanctions issues. He has been interviewed on OFAC related issues by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington, Post, Forbes Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and Executive Editor of the U.S. economic sanctions blog and research site: www.sanctionlaw.com
Erich Ferrari, Founder and Principal of Ferrari & Associates
Mehrnoush Yazdanyar was born in Gorgan, Iran and moved to the United States at the age of three. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in Near Eastern Languages. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Southern California’s Law School. She has been a member of the California State Bar Association since 2005. She opened own private practice in 2009 and her firm currently has offices in Beverly Hills, Irvine, San Francisco, and Westlake Village.
Her firm, Yazdanyar Law Offices, specializes in assisting clients nationwide to comply with and address issues related to the sanctions programs administered by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). More specifically, her practice focuses mainly on assisting Iranian-Americans and Legal Permanent Residents of the United States with the legal and transparent transfer of assets from Iran to the United States and/or obtaining specific licenses from OFAC authorizing otherwise prohibited transactions. Ms. Yazdanyar has successfully defended federally prosecuted clients on issues relating to U.S. trade sanctions, handled OFAC matters arising before the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as well as successfully assisted thousands of clients throughout the U.S. with the transfer of assets from Iran to the United States. As such, her practice encompasses the regulatory, enforcement, and criminal aspects of sanctions law.
In addition to the legal assistance and guidance Ms. Yazdanyar provides to the Iranian-American community in navigating through the complex Iran sanctions law, she is also a dedicated supporter of many non-profit organizations within the Iranian-American community. She has served as a member of Farhang Foundation’s Patrons Council as well as a board member of the International Society for Children with Cancer’s Second Generation. Additionally, Ms. Yazdanyar has been an avid supporter of the Iranian American Bar Association, Pars Equality Center, Iranian American Women’s Foundation, as well as Mothers Against Poverty. And finally, Ms. Yazdanyar has been an active member of the Rancho Park Rotary Club for over 5 years and is now serving as President of the Rancho Park Rotary Club for the 2018 to 2019 term. Through her local rotary club and through Rotary International, she regularly organizes and participates in both local and international service and humanitarian projects.
Mehrnoush Yazdanyar, Principal, Yazdanyar Law Offices
Mohammad “Mike” Kazerouni is one of the founding partners at Kazerouni Law Group. Mike’s legal areas of interest include Personal Injury, Consumer Rights, and Class Action. Mike attended the University of California Irvine where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and thereafter attended Chapman University School of Law.
In his legal career, Mike has successfully litigated over 100 personal injury cases involving minor soft tissue damages to catastrophic injury cases involving brain, burn, and mold injuries. As a staunch advocate for his client’s, Mike has also successfully litigated multiple Attorney Malpractice Cases, Consumer Rights Cases, and Immigration Habeas cases involving the wrongful detention of Immigrants.
In 2017 Mike was selected to Super Lawyers’ Southern California Rising Stars list, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Only 2.5% of Attorneys in Southern California receive this distinction. Mike was honored to be on the list of The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 in 2017.
Mike has a passion for representing consumers at large and furthering consumer rights whether on an individual basis or as a class action matter and does not shy away from taking on large national corporations, banks, or insurance carriers.
Mike is currently licensed to practice law in CA, TX, DC, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mike Kazerouni, Founding Partner at Kazerouni Law Group
Dr. Niaz Kasravi is a national expert and advocate on criminal justice, social justice, and racial justice, with more than eighteen years of experience leading campaigns across the country - including on police accountability, racial profiling, and death penalty abolition. Dr. Kasravi is the Founder & Director of the Avalan Institute – a research, advocacy & training institute focused on connecting just and objective data to organizations working to create a more fair and effective system of justice. She has previously served as Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Associate for the Domestic Human Rights Program of Amnesty International USA. Dr. Kasravi holds a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine.
Niaz Kasravi, Founder & Director, Avalan Institute
Ally Bolour has been practicing immigration law since 1996. He is the managing attorney of Bolour Immigration Group, a full service immigration law firm in Los Angeles. He is an elected Director at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Previously, he served on the Board of Trustees at the American Immigration Council. He is a member of the LA County Bar Association & the LGBT Bar Association. Ally is a frequent speaker on immigration issues for AILA and other local, national, and international organizations. He is fluent in Persian.
Ally Bolour, Managing Attorney at Law Offices of Ally Bolour
Yeganeh Torbati is a reporter for ProPublica in Washington, D.C. where she covers the U.S. federal government, focusing on national security, foreign policy and immigration. In her previous role as a Reuters reporter covering immigration, she broke major stories on the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including its implementation of a far-reaching travel ban, new “extreme vetting” measures, and sharp limits on refugee admissions. Her work with colleagues has been recognized with a National Press Club award, Gerald Loeb award, and Overseas Press Club award, among others.
Yeganeh Torbati, Reporter at ProPublica
Leila Golestaneh Austin
As PAAIA’s Executive Director, Dr. Leila Golestaneh Austin provides operational direction and strategy with the primary role of ensuring that PAAIA’s objectives of education, advocacy, and leadership are achieved for its members and the community at large. She oversees programs and activities that promote the role of Iranian Americans in the social, cultural, and economic tapestry of the United States and represent the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large.
Prior to joining PAAIA in 2015, Dr. Austin was Professorial Lecturer in Global Theory and History and Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (“SAIS”), where she also served as deputy director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute.
Dr. Austin received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and her M.A. in International Affairs from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and did her undergraduate work at Bryn Mawr College.
Leila Golestaneh Austin, Executive Director of PAAIA
Elica Vafaie is the Pro Bono & Strategic Partnerships Director at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area; a civil rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of people of color, immigrants, and low-income people in California with a focus on Immigrant Justice, Racial Justice, and Economic Justice. Prior to LCCR, Elica was the a Staff Attorney & Program Manager in the National Security & Civil Rights Program at Asian Law Caucus working primarily on the Muslim Travel Ban. She also worked as the supervising attorney establishing the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center providing free immigration legal services to U.C. students and their families. She received her B.A. from U.C. Irvine and Sciences Po, Paris and J.D. from U.C. Davis School of Law. She is the current Chapter President of IABA NorCal.
Elica Vafaie, Pro Bono & Strategic Partnerships Director at Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Babak Yousefzadeh is a Partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm’s San Francisco office. He represents employers in a full range of employment law matters, with a focus on litigation and class actions. Babak also specializes in advice of counsel and litigation avoidance counseling. He is experienced in practices in both state and federal courts, as well as in various arbitration forums. His practice focuses on several industries, including the financial services, health care, transportation, sports, and retail.
Aside from his clients, Babak is passionate about diversity and inclusion, pro bono and social justice. Babak has led Sheppard Mullin’s recruiting in the San Francisco office, and has been recognized as one of the Firm’s partners leading its pro bono efforts. Through Sheppard Mullin, among other things, he has been able to seek remedies for refugees and asylum seekers, help public interest entities assisting minors going through the judicial system, protect the rights of non-profit minority or religious organizations, and seek remedy for those impacted by the Administration’s executive orders on immigration.
Under Babak’s leadership as IABA National President, the organization has, among other things: (1) Filed four class actions challenging the Travel Ban – three challenging President Trump’s authority to issue the first three versions of the Travel Ban, and a current lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Travel Ban and its waiver provision; (2) Submitted an Amicus Brief on the Travel Ban to the U.S. Supreme Court with civil rights partners, which was the only Amicus Brief referenced during oral arguments in 2018, and was cited in Justice Breyer’s dissent; (3) Worked with Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Pars Equality Center, and Senators Van Hollen and Flake, to secure the first available statistics about the waiver process under the Travel Ban; (4) Prepared know your rights campaigns for immigration and sanctions-related issues; and (5) Fought to combat the rise of hate crimes and discriminatory practices, whether by financial institutions, employers or educational institutions.
Babak’s advocacy has also included media appearances in Washington Post, Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg News, the Seattle Times, and recently published an Op-Ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on the Travel Ban.
Babak Yousefzadeh, Partner, The Labor and Employment Practice Group
International trade attorney Elika Eftekhari has spent over a decade practicing law in the private and public sectors. Her keen understanding of geopolitics and trade has made her a sought-after expert on MENA- and China-related trade matters, and she is a frequent speaker at international trade, sanctions, and export controls conferences. Currently, Elika uses her sanctions compliance and Iran expertise in her role as Director of Trade Compliance and Government Relations at the United States-Iran Chamber of Commerce, a nationwide chamber of commerce based in Washington, DC. A strong advocate of engagement within the Iranian-American community, she proudly serves on the Advisory Board of the Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce, and is on the Board of the Iranian American Bar Association Foundation.
Outside of her non-profit roles, Elika is President of Alamut Trade Partners, an international trade, import/export and geopolitical consulting firm. She also serves as regulatory and compliance counsel to the cosmetic company Persica Skincare. Previously, Elika worked from 2012 to 2016 as an International Trade Attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance at the U.S. Department of Commerce, with a focus on anti-dumping & countervailing duties, WTO/NAFTA, and other international trade matters. Prior to her time in government, she was a litigator with Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP in New York, with a practice focus on insurance coverage, commercial litigation, and professional liability.
Elika Eftekhari, Advisory Board, Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce
George Gascon, Former District Attorney of San Francisco
Since the inception of Children of Persia in 1999, Katayoon Shaya has been an active volunteer serving the organization in multiple roles and capacities, including her current term as the Board Chair. With significant interest in community engagement and humanitarian work, she helps to establish Children of Persia’s evolving strategic plans, and associated policies, and oversee the implementation of its programs and projects.
In pursuit of most impactful and cost effective outcome related to the organization’s charitable programs and projects, Katayoon in partnership with the Iran project management team, takes self-funded trips to Iran and Europe to assess progress of active projects and to meet and collaborate with coordinators and partners to re-enforce effective execution of COP related projects and to pursue further opportunities to serve children in need.
Katayoon graduated from University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Architecture degree with minor in Urban Planning, and is licensed to practice architecture in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.
In her long career in private and public sector, she has been instrumental in managing and leading the successful development and implementation of capital and real estate development programs including Public Private Partnership (P3)/Joint Venture projects in the Washington DC region. She is currently the chief of Public Private Partnership team in Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.
Katayoon Shaya, Chair of Children of Persia
Kevin Kian Hosn
Kevin Kian Hosn has been a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice for the past ten years. He represents state agencies in administrative hearings, trial courts, and appellate courts. Mr. Hosn has argued in the California Supreme Court and four of the six California Courts of Appeal.
Prior to joining the California Department of Justice, he worked as a Trial Attorney at the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. At the Justice Department, Mr. Hosn investigated and litigated federal civil rights claims against local and state governments in approximately thirty federal districts. Prior to pursuing a career in the public sector, he worked as an associate attorney in civil litigation firms in Southern California, as an in-house attorney in the legal department of a large corporation, and as a judicial extern to two bankruptcy judges.
He is a member of the Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association, Editor-in-Chief of the California Labor & Employment Law Review, and a contributing author for California Public Sector Employment Law (Lexis-Nexis). He is fluent in Persian (Farsi).
Mr. Hosn received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine, and a J.D. from the University of San Diego, School of Law.
Kevin Kian Hosn, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
Judge Tamila E. Ipema
The Honorable Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema received her Bachelors’ Degree from Damavand College in Tehran, Iran. She received her Masters’ Degree from the University of Louisville, and her J.D. degree from Brandeis School of Law in Louisville, Kentucky. She received an LL.M. Degree in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University School of Law.
Judge Ipema is the immediate past-president of the National Association of Women Judges (2018-2019). She has served as a judicial officer for nearly 15 years. She has experience in family, criminal, and civil courts. She previously practiced as an immigration defense attorney; as an Assistant District Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice; as a judicial research attorney; and as a supervising research attorney for the Los Angeles Superior Court. She also served as a California Superior Court Commissioner in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties prior to her appointment as a Judge to the San Diego Superior Court.
Judge Ipema has extensive teaching experience at the B E. Witkin California Judicial College, and also presents internationally. She spoke at the International Association of Women Judges Conference in Arusha, Tanzania in 2014, on family law. In December 2017 she was invited by Pope Francis to speak at a two- day Human Trafficking Summit at the Vatican. She was also invited in June 2019 to speak at the Pan-American Summit on Social Justice and Franciscan Doctrine at the Vatican; at this summit, Pope Francis also appointed Judge Ipema along with 5 other judges from Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Columbia to the newly created “Pan-American Commission of Judges on Social Justice” for a period of two years. Judge Ipema was recently invited again to speak at the African Women Judges Human Trafficking Summit at the Vatican in December 2019. Moreover, she has been invited to present in Brazil and Peru in November and December of 2019 on Access and Fairness and Judicial Independence. Judge Ipema is also very active in her community and has chaired the “color of justice program” for 9 years. This program is designed to encourage children to pursue careers in the law and the judiciary. She also has chaired the “Success Inside & Out” program at the women’s local prison in San Diego for the past four years. This is a restorative justice and re- entry program helping incarcerated women to become productive members of the society.
Judge Ipema received the National Association of Women Judge’s (NAWJ) Mattie Belle Davis Award in 2013 for furthering the organization’s mission of “Equal Access to Justice for All.” She received the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s “International Woman of Color” award in 2015, and the “Friend of the Community Award” from Tom Homann LGBTQ Law Association in 2016. She received two “Outstanding Jurist Awards” from the San Diego County Bar Association and from the University of La Verne College of Law in 2016. In 2017, Judge Ipema was awarded the prestigious Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award by the California Judges Association. In 2018, Judge Ipema was awarded the “Women of Influence in Justice and Law Award” from the Iranian-American Women’s Foundation.
Judge Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
BABAK HOGHOOGHI’S practice is focused on U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws, domestic and international commercial and business transactions, as well as corporate law.
Mr. Hoghooghi has had extensive experience on matters relating to U.S. economic sanctions laws involving compliance and enforcement issues as well as on a policy level. He has represented numerous public and private companies and individuals in the U.S. and abroad, providing them with counsel concerning compliance with the ever-changing and complex array of U.S. sanctions on Iran, Russia, Syria, and other countries with respect to licensing matters including for the release of blocked funds or other properties, and in connection with voluntary disclosures, investigations and civil/criminal enforcement actions. He has also had extensive experience representing individuals facing criminal indictments and U.S extradition requests with respect to U.S. sanctions violations.
Having practiced law for over twenty years, Mr. Hoghooghi has also represented clients on a wide range of domestic and international commercial and corporate matters, including the drafting and negotiation of a wide variety of business transactional agreements. He has been involved in the structuring of corporate entities and joint ventures, as well as the drafting and negotiation of organizational, governance and equity documents. He has acted as counsel to Fortune 500 companies and small to medium size businesses in connection with the acquisition or sale of a variety of business entities or commercial assets, as well as the structuring and development of projects, including major domestic and international infrastructure and power projects. He has represented borrowers as well as lenders in connection with the financing of major projects by commercial banks and export credit agencies, drafting and negotiating Credit Agreements and other loan and security documents. A structural engineer by training and previously a practicing licensed professional engineer, he has also had extensive experience with engineering projects and construction law issues. Finally, his practice includes cross-border investment and trade.
Having earned his law degree from Georgetown University, Mr. Hoghooghi practiced at the law firm of Skadden Arps for more than 12 years. Before joining Berliner Corcoran & Rowe, Babak was Lead Counsel at Clearspire Law Company. Mr. Hoghooghi was also a founding Board Member and the first President of the Iranian American Bar Association for five years, beginning in 2000.
Mr. Hoghooghi is admitted to the Bar in the State of New York and the District of Columbia. He is a member of the American Bar Association (Sections on Business Law and International Law, and Forum on Construction Law), the New York State and District of Columbia Bar Associations, and the International Bar Association.
Before entering law school, Mr. Hoghooghi received a Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and worked as a licensed professional engineer (PE) at the Ralph M Parsons Company in Pasadena, California for four years. He is fluent in spoken and written Persian (Farsi).
Babak Hoghooghi, Attorney at Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP
Zaher Fallahi, Attorney At Law and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), is licensed in California and Washington D.C. both as a lawyer and a CPA. He represents tax controversy including offshore accounts and OFAC clients nationwide. Mr. Fallahi has offices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and has a regular radio program on OFAC and discusses legal and tax implication of transferring money from Iran. His Orange County offices are located on the eighth floor of this building.
Zaher Fallahi, Attorney At Law, CPA
Judge Kirk H. Nakamura
Judge Kirk H. Nakamura serves as the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. He was appointed by Governor Gray Davis as a judge of the Orange County Superior Court in 2001. Judge Nakamura graduated from Duke University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1980 and from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science in 1977. He received the Outstanding Service Award from the Orange County Asian American Bar Association in 2008. He is a former President of the Orange County Japanese American Lawyers Association, Orange County Asian American Bar Association, the William P. Gray/Lex Legion Inn of Court and the California Asian Pacific American Judges Association. He was a board member of the Orange County Bar Association and the California Judges Association. He was awarded the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Judge Kirk H. Nakamura, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Orange
Nancy E. Wilson is the CEO of the Relief International alliance organizations, where she oversees more than 7,000 staff carrying out humanitarian and development work in 16 countries.
Since Nancy assumed this role in 2014, she has overseen the growth of Relief International from a $40M to $140M organization and instituted its innovative corporate alliance structure. This scale-up accompanied the new strategic direction she set alongside the Board of Directors, positioning the organization as a leading actor in fragile settings focused on advancing health, economic opportunity, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene. Nancy also championed the development of The RI Way, the organization’s approach to development that integrates local participation, working across sectors, partnerships, and building core civic skills – the keys to advancing dignity in vulnerable communities.
Prior to joining Relief International, Nancy completed ten years in the leadership of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. Under her direction, the college became a national model for university civic engagement and building citizen participation skills among students of all schools, degrees, and fields of study.
Nancy and her family spent more than 15 years living in Africa, where she managed the livelihoods, micro-finance, and gender grant portfolios in East Africa for the Ford Foundation and led capacity-building projects in Namibia as Chief of Party for World Education. She also led the customer relationship management practice in Sub-Saharan Africa for PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a Partner of the firm based in Johannesburg.
Nancy is the Treasurer of InterAction, where she has served on the Board since 2015, and is a Trustee of GoodWeave International, where she was Chair from 2011 to 2014. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Stanford University and her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Nancy Wilson, CEO, Relief International
Sougol is an associate at DLA Piper in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm’s San Francisco office.
Sougol's practice includes representing emerging growth companies, debt and venture capital financings, corporate governance matters and general corporate counseling of private companies. She also has prior experience advising companies on business and technology related transactions. Before joining DLA Piper, Sougol practiced in-house at two startups.
Prior to moving to the United States, Sougol was Counsel at the Pearl Island for Qatar’s leading real estate development and hospitality company. She holds an LLM from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and an LLB from King’s College London.
Sougol Shooshtarian, Associate at DLA Piper
Krystal Anderson is an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s Orange County office. Krystal focuses her practice on complex business litigation and dispute resolution.
Krystal concentrates her work principally on business tort and unfair competition-based litigation, as well as copyright, trademark and trade secret litigation. Krystal has experience representing companies and individuals throughout the litigation process as both plaintiffs and defendants, and has also counseled companies in pre-litigation, including conducting internal investigations in trade secret-related matters.
Additionally, Krystal devotes her practice to pro bono work, representing multiple clients in immigration-related matters, and regularly contributes to various publications, including Orrick’s Trade Secrets Watch blog.
During law school, Krystal completed an externship for Honorable Judge Alex Kozinski at the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, served as President of the Cornell Law Students Association, was the Senior Cornell Law Library Research Assistant, and received academic awards including the CALI Award in Remedies.
Krystal Anderson, Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Bita Ashtari earned her Juris Doctor degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2006. Upon graduating law school, Bita obtained her LL.M. degree in Trial Advocacy, specializing in Federal Criminal Law, from California Western School of Law in San Diego. There, she received extensive training and experience in litigating some of the most serious federal cases, ranging from border related crimes, drug conspiracies, fraud, and cases involving multi-defendant wiretaps and RICO conspiracies.
As a student during her LL.M. program, Bita co-authored an article titled “RAPE SHIELD LAWS AND SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES: IS THERE ANY PRIVACY LEFT TO PROTECT?” which was published in the Federal Criminal Defense Journal, a publication that offers criminal defense practitioners insight into the latest issues in federal criminal law.
After graduating from California Western School of Law, Bita entered private practice where her practice focused on Criminal Defense and Immigration Law. She is knowledgeable on the crossover between immigration and criminal law and has advised criminal attorneys with respect to the immigration consequences of a client’s criminal conviction and/or plea deal. She currently practices in San Diego where she practices Criminal Defense, Immigration Law and Family Law.
Bita is dedicated to giving back to the community and throughout her legal career has provided pro bono legal services to detained migrants before all levels of the immigration court and appellate court system. Bita has been awarded the Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono legal services three consecutive years which is awarded by the State Bar of California for voluntary provision of legal services to the poor. She has regularly presented Immigration seminars within the Iranian- American Community in Farsi and various non-profit organizations within San Diego dedicated to helping individuals within the immigrant community.
Bita has been involved with IABA San Diego as a board member since 2013 and is currently serving her second term as president of the organization.
Bita Ashtari, Esq., ASHTARI & GHORBAN, LLP
Dr. Kathy M. Anderson
Dr. Kathy M. Anderson, M.D., J.D., F.A.C.O.G., A.B.A.A.R.M., is both an attorney and a board certified Ob/Gyn, who has been in private medical practice since 1996. She graduated medical school with high honors, and second in her class, with multiple awards, from Loma Linda University Medical School, in 1992. She then completed her residency training in Ob/Gyn, as Outstanding Resident Teacher of Year, at Loma Linda University Medical Center, in 1996. Dr. Anderson collaborated with her mother, Dr. Nasrin Farbakhsh, who is also a board certified Ob/Gyn, in 1996, to open a private practice in Orange County, called Mothers and Daughters Center. According to the American Medical Association, they are the first Mother/Daughter specialist team in America. Dr. Anderson is also board certified from the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine with a fellowship in Stem Cell therapies. She is an expert in aesthetic procedures, such as Botox, Fillers and multiple lasers. She has also taken an active role in hospital leadership positions, including being on the Governing Board of the Orange County Global Medical Center, and has earned multiple awards on a yearly basis; including Top Ob/Gyn in Orange County Awards, Top Docs LA, National Physician Choice Awards, Most Compassionate Doctor award, Most On-Time Doctor award, and many more. Dr. Anderson also attended Whittier Law School, and graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 2007. She has her own law practice, Doctors Law Group, LLC, regularly serves as a testifying expert witness, and consults on major cases. She also is an active member of the Professional Services Civilian Responder program at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, from 2008 to present. All of these accomplishments come after having come to America on her own at age 13 to claim asylum without speaking a word of English. She has three children.
Dr. Kathy M. Anderson, Attorney and a board certified Ob/Gyn
At MedXM, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Shawheen Moridi has been at the forefront of healthcare. MedXM is a pioneer in the risk adjustment industry. The Company focuses on connecting members, health plans, and their physicians. The Company’s expanded care network provides preventative care for invisible members.
Shawheen’s responsibilities often go beyond the typical General Counsel legal duties. In addition to legal, Shawheen oversees Finance, Data, and Compliance for the MedXM Unit and has a direct team of over 50 employees. During his tenure at MedXM, he has been instrumental in the overall strategy of the company. In his role, he has been part of the significant company growth, and has watched the Company’s employees and contractors quadruple in size.
In legal, he has successfully managed the Company’s legal risk during his tenure and has dealt with high profile lawsuits, including a significant whistle blower lawsuit that involved many of the nations’ top healthcare insurance companies. Under his direction, the Company’s legal and compliance exposure are at an all-time low.
Operationally, Shawheen has been instrumental in overseeing the massive expansion of the Company over the past few years including hiring of over 2,000 employees and Independent Contractor providers (Doctors and Nurses). The Company’s revenues have also exponentially grown during this timeframe.
In addition, under Shawheen recently steered the Company towards acquisition with Quest Diagnostics. This transaction was one of Quest’s largest acquisitions in the last decade and is a significant acquisition to expand Quest’s scale and reach in the mobile/home segment and bolster its overall capabilities in extended care.
Shawheen also serves as an Adjunct Professor for courses in contracts and transactions at USC School of Law and Chapman School of Law. Shawheen holds a Bachelor in Business Economics with honors from UCLA, Master in Business Taxation from USC Marshall, and Juris Doctorate from USC Gould School of Law where he was part of the Hale Honors Moot Court.
Shawheen Moridi, Executive Vice President and General Counsel , MedXM
Paris Etemadi Scott
Paris Etemadi Scott has over 11 years of experience as an attorney with a focus on immigration law and international human rights. Before joining Pars Equality Center, Paris worked as an immigration attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield, Immigration Defense, PC, where she managed extensive family immigration and complex removal defense cases. Her focus on human rights law expands to the Asian continent where she worked with refugees at Christian Action NGO in Hong Kong, representing refugees in their resettlement claims before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Prior to her immigration practice, Paris worked for the law firm of Bullivant Houser Bailey in San Francisco where she litigated insurance and complex commercial matters. Her passion for litigation and advocacy was fueled by a full-time externship at the U.S. District Court of Northern California. She partly attributes her successful law career to her previous professional experience as a Systems Analyst and IT Project Director with multinational companies in Europe and America.
Paris is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law (J.D. with Honors) and The University of Maryland (B.S., Honors in Computer Science).
Paris Etemadi Scott, Managing Attorney, Pars Equality Center
Guests of Honor
Farrah N. Khan
Councilmember Farrah N. Khan is a small business owner and the Executive Director of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council. She is a graduate of UC Davis and previously served eight years as a Regulatory Affairs Manager for a major biotech company. She was elected to the Irvine City Council in 2018.
Farrah is a PTA member and has served as PTA President for three terms at Deerfield Elementary, PTA Board at Venado Middle School and on the School Site Council at Irvine High. Farrah and her husband are also Legacy Partners with the Irvine Public School Foundation.
Farrah has worked extensively with many community organizations in Irvine and Orange County. She has served on the Steering Committee for the Irvine Global Village Festival, is a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteer with the Irvine Police Department and an active member of the Irvine Rotary Club. She also serves on the faith council for the United Way. Farrah was appointed as a Community Services Commissioner in 2014, where she took the time to get to know the city parks, open spaces, land development, amenities, and employees.
She has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout the years which is a testament to her commitment to service. She was also awarded the Community Service Leader Award from the OC Human Relations Commission in 2015.
Farrah has been a resident of Irvine for almost 15 years and lives in Greentree with her husband and two sons (ages 14 and 17) and two foster sons (ages 12 and 13).
Farrah N. Khan, Councilmember, Irvine City Council
Michael Kent has been recognized as one of the “40 Under 40” by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Lt. Kent is a 15-year veteran of the Irvine Police Department who currently serves as the Portola Area Lieutenant and has command of the SWAT team. His path to this award began in the 1990s, when he served as an Irvine Police Department Explorer.
Michael Kent, Irvine Police Department Commander
Business law, credit cards, economics and law, finance, government regulation and policy, mortgages, real estate law, banking, securities regulation
David Min is a nationally recognized expert on financial markets regulation, and his research interests focus on the law and policy of banking, real estate finance, and capital markets.
Before joining the faculty of UCI Law, Professor Min spent over a decade working in financial regulatory law and policy, including as a staff attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an associate in the Securities Litigation practice group of the Washington, DC, law firm WilmerHale, as Banking Committee counsel for Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and as the senior policy advisor and counsel for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Professor Min was most recently the Associate Director for Financial Markets Policy at the Center for American Progress, a policy think tank, where he oversaw the efforts of the Mortgage Finance Working Group, a collection of leading mortgage market experts responsible for, among other things, one of the leading proposals on housing finance reform that was described by the Wall Street Journal as “influential” and “one of the most detailed road maps yet for the creation of a housing-finance structure to succeed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
Professor Min is regularly quoted on financial markets and housing finance issues, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Reuters, Associated Press and Bloomberg, and is a frequent contributor to radio and television programs, including NPR’s Marketplace, the Diane Rehm Show, CNBC and Fox News. Professor Min is often asked to speak at local and national events.
Professor Min holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and School of Arts and Sciences, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Dave is a current candidate for State Senate.
David Min, UCI Law Professor
Anthony Kuo was elected to the City Council in 2018, bringing almost eight years of experience as a Planning Commissioner, including four consecutive terms as Chairman. During that time, he also served on the City’s Task Force on Housing Needs for the Developmentally Disabled and the Ad Hoc Committee on Veterans Affordable Housing and graduated from Irvine’s Community Police Academy.
Anthony represents the City of Irvine on the Boards of Directors of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, the Irvine Community Land Trust, and the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. In addition, he is a member of the Liaison and Coordinating Committees for both the Irvine Unified School District and the Tustin Unified School District.
Anthony is the first member of the Irvine City Council to have grown up in Irvine. A proud product of Irvine’s public schools, he attended Alderwood Basics Plus, Lakeside Middle School, Woodbridge High School, and University High School. For more than 20 years, his family owned and operated Chinatown Restaurant near UC Irvine, remembered fondly by many longtime Irvine residents.
Professionally, Anthony helps direct efforts in the Office of the Orange County Auditor-Controller to expand transparency in government, accountability over public finances, and to increase taxpayer engagement.
In the community, Anthony serves on the Board of Directors of the Irvine Children’s Fund and the Advisory Boards for Crime Survivors and Brandman University’s School of Business and Professional Studies. He previously served in Board leadership roles for the Brigham Young University Management Society of Orange County, the Raise Foundation of Orange County, the Irvine Valley College Foundation, and the Exchange Club of Irvine.
Anthony Kuo, Irvine Mayor Pro Tem
Dr. Reza Karkia is Emeritus Executive Director of Academic Affairs, California State University, DH. He has more than 30 years of experience in education, senior management, and leadership. He is an involved and participating community member of Orange County at large in all areas of education, businesses, and constructive politics. Dr. Karkia has served the State of California under four recent Governors as Commissioner of “California Council on Criminal Justice (CCCJ). He also served as Commissioner of California Health Policy and Data Advisory for two terms. While at The California State University, he has had budget responsibility of $1.8 billion for CSU system’s Capital Outlay projects, and has had managed over $280 million annual operating budgets. Currently, he is the chairman of advisory board of School of Management and Public Policy at California State University, DH, and the Orange County Sheriff Department’s, Advisory Council. Presently he is also serving on the Advisory Council of 211Orange County, a nonprofit organization serving 34 cities of Orange County.
Reza Karkia, Vice-President, Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA)
Larisa M. Dinsmoor
Larisa Maria Dinsmoor has been an Orange County Public Defender for over thirteen years, where she tries serious and complex felony cases. Larisa is the 2019 Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Treasurer, and will be OCBA President in 2021. She has over twenty years of experience in public service.
Larisa has served on the OCBA Board of Directors for eight years and held leadership positions in the Pro Bono Committee, Homeless Task Force, Diversity Task Force, Editorial Advisory Committee, and International Law Section.
Larisa has spearheaded several efforts to raise awareness and assist vulnerable populations, including the “Stand Up for Homeless” legal outreach event in October 2017, which provided legal services to over 100 people, and “Human Trafficking In Our Backyard: Why It Matters To You And What You Can Do About It” seminar in June 2016. She taught Criminal Procedure at Whittier Law School, and has published articles in the Orange County Lawyer.
In her free time, Larisa volunteers with international organizations to enhance the rule of law in developing countries. She has trained lawyers and judges in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Her prior experience includes working at the United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office and for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Larisa has lived in Russia, Uganda and South Africa. She has a J.D. from the Washington College of Law, Washington D.C., and a B.A. in International Studies from American University, Washington D.C.
Larisa M. Dinsmoor, OCBA Treasurer and Public Defender
Sukhee Kang, Former Mayor of Irvine
Jessica N. Walder
Jessica Walder has extensive experience representing clients in all manners of litigation and commercial disputes, including class actions, bet-the-company cases and other high-stake matters. Jessica currently serves as Co-Chair of the Class Actions Team, Co-Chair of the Electronic Discovery Team, and in the leadership of Lane Powell’s Women’s Initiative. She has experience at all stages of litigation from dispositive motion practice to managing the discovery process to first chairing federal jury trials. Jessica regularly represents clients in state court, federal court and before arbitration panels.
As Co-Chair of the Class Actions Team, Jessica serves on the Class Actions Panel and regularly consults on class action defense practice. In addition, as part of her work on the E-Discovery Team, Jessica regularly consults on discovery policies, protocols and litigation practice.
Jessica’s diverse practice includes a wide range of disputes, such as:
- Breach of Contract and/or Fraud;
- Class Action Defense;
- Health Care; and
Jessica also maintains an active pro bono practice. She currently represents plaintiffs challenging the government’s failure to grant waivers as part of its Muslim Travel Ban. In addition, she also has co-authored pro bono amici briefs, including a Supreme Court amicus brief to protect the Endangered Species Act and amici briefs to the Ninth Circuit and Western District of Washington in the cases challenging the government’s first Muslim Travel Ban. In addition, Jessica is active in the community. She serves on the Board of Directors for Boyer Children’s Clinic and facilitates PEPS groups for new mothers.
Prior to joining Lane Powell, Jessica practiced in the Securities Litigation Department at Weil, Gotshal, and Manges LLP in New York. At Weil, Jessica defended some of the largest securities class actions during the height of the financial crisis, and earned Weil Pro Bono Service Awards for 2009-2012.
Jessica N. Walder, Shareholder, Class Actions Team Co-Chair, Lane Powell
Nicholas T. Stone
Nick Stone represents health care and long term care providers in litigation matters.
Lane Powell PC, Summer Associate (2017)
Hart Wagner, LLP, Law Clerk (2016)
Griffin Law Group, LLC, Intern (2015)
U.S. House of Representatives, Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, Intern to Representative Earl Blumenauer (2014)
U.S. National Park Service, Office of International Affairs, Intern (2013)
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Counselor, Leadership Opportunities For Teens (2016, 2017)
- Guest Panel Speaker (2012, 2016)
Mentor, Puentes New Orleans (2013)
Nicholas T. Stone, Associate at Lane Powell
On September 7, 2016, Shayan Mazroei, a 22-year-old Iranian American college student, was stabbed by a white-supremacist gang member after being called a series of racial slurs, outside of a local bar in Laguna Niguel, CA. Shahzad and Hamid Mazroei's only child, Shayan, was a bright and caring young man who touched the lives of those he met, and had the brightest future this country has to offer ahead of him. As the killer and his girlfriend will stand for trial this month, for what many consider a hate crime, the Iranian American Bar Association extends its support to the Mazroei family during these difficult times.
Mazroei Family, Parents of Shayan Mazroei
The IABA Annual National Conference is so much more than just a conference. It gathers experts from every industry in the Iranian American community. It's the place where innovators, and people who have an impact, gather around to learn more about the latest status of the Iranian American community in the United States.
Topics range from the latest status of the travel ban and immigration law to public policy and advocacy. Not to mention that we have some amazing keynote speakers-which we will announce soon.( Plus excellent music, lots of laughs, an amazing dinner and creative networking). Most importantly it's a way to give back to your community.
Center Club is the prestigious private city club for Orange County’s social and corporate leaders, hosting a variety of special guests from dignitaries to celebrities. The beautiful and inspiring atmosphere, filled with art and sculptures, reflects the unique personality of Orange County.