Welcome to our Members in the News page! Keep track of your colleagues as they receive awards, accept appointments, and gain recognition around the globe. To submit your newsworthy item, please email Info@ArmenianBar.org.
On July 22, 2021, Elina Avakian of Los Angeles, California, received the In-House Counsel Leadership Award by Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing in the Mid-Sized Public Company category (301-3,000 employees). Elina is Senior Counsel at Snap Inc., which is a publicly traded social media and camera company. She is also co-lead of Snap Women LA, which is the company’s employee resource group that helps support, empower, and advance women at Snap.
Sheila Paylan has been appointed by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to a select team of international experts mandated by the UN Human Rights Council as its Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Specialist. Sheila will lend assistance to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in investigating and prosecuting violations of international criminal, humanitarian and human rights law. She is an international law and human rights expert who regularly advises non-governmental organizations as well as governments themselves , including the Republic of Armenia in the aftermath of the 2020 Artsakh conflict. Currently based in Kinshasa (DRC), Sheila otherwise divides her time between The Hague and Yerevan.
Eric Altoon of Porter Ranch, California was recently appointed to a two-year term to the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). As a trustee, Eric is among a select group of leaders who plan and determine the future of LACBA in terms of membership, outreach, sponsorship, CLE programming and networking. Previously, Eric was the Chair of LACBA’s Real Property Section, where he has volunteered for the past 24 years. Eric has his own real estate transactional law practice, which encompasses acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, finance, construction and sustainability. He is the son of Armenian Bar Honorary Member, Judge Alice Altoon, and of world-renowned architect, Ronald Altoon.
Tigran Palyan of Palyan Law, APC was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Bar’s Association’s (LACBA) Delegation to the California Conference of Bar Associations (CCBA). The Delegation directs the study of legislative resolutions proposed to the CCBA in seeking, debating, and promoting creative, non-partisan legislation for the benefit of Californians. The proposed legislative resolutions are intended to improve access to justice, advancing education of lawyers, fostering professional excellence, and supporting the judicial system of California, among other things. Tigran serves on the Executive Committees of the LACBA and Beverly Hills Bar Association Family Law Sections and is a Certified Family Law Specialist. Tigran also teaches as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School. He is a longtime member of the Armenian Bar Association, having served on many of its committees and currently serves on its Domestic Violence, Student Affairs, and Pro-Bono Committees. Tigran has been recognized as a “Top 20 under 40 Rising Stars” by the Armenian Bar Association, and a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.
Kathryn Ossian publishes “Social Media and the Law” with the Practising Law Institute (PLI) Press. Social Media and the Law can help readers minimize the risk of litigation and other legal problems arising from the use of social media platforms. The guide covers a wide range of issues including privacy, copyright and trademark, defamation, employment matters, and discovery. Kathy has previously been a Co-Vice Chair of the Armenian Bar Association and an active member of its Board of Governors. She graduated in the top of her class from Michigan State University College of Law and has been lauded as one of the top lawyers in information technology. Kathy has also been a frequent speaker and author on a variety of IT law topics and trends. As of May 1, 2021, Kathy has retired from Ossian Law P.C. and is continuing to practice law as Of Counsel to Schuster Law PLC and Of Counsel to Young Basile.
Rouman Ebrahim appointed Assistant Head Deputy of the Cyber Crime Division at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Rouman will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of a team at the Division which prosecutes cases involving online child exploitation, identity theft, hacking, and other internet-based crimes. The Division also provides training and instruction on cyber issues to law enforcement, adjacent industries, community groups, and other attorneys. Rouman has been active in the Armenian-American community as a Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial coach for several Armenian schools and a volunteer with the Armenian Bar Association. Rouman was formerly the Deputy-in-Charge of the Victim Impact Program and has served for decades at the District Attorney’s Office.
Raffi Teperdjian wins the Loevinger Prize for his contribution to Volume 60 of Jurimetrics, The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology. Raffi’s article on “The Puzzle of Squaring Blockchain with the General Data Protection Regulation” addresses the regulatory conflicts of blockchain data governance model variations in EU privacy law and the relevant failings of EU regulators. Raffi is a law clerk with Ropes & Gray LLP in Washington D.C. and works extensively in financial technology, intellectual property, data privacy, and cybersecurity. He is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems and Finance from James Madison University. Raffi has worked on systems development and big data analysis projects in both federal and commercial information technology consulting. His articles have been published in The National Law Review and the Journal of Cyber Policy. Jurimetrics is the official journal of the American Bar Association’s Section of Science and Technology Law and the annual Loevinger Prize is awarded to the author of an article to make the best contribution to the field.
Shant Karnikian joins the partnership at the leading plaintiffs’ law firm, Kabateck, LLP. Over the past eight years, Shant’s practice has focused on insurance bad faith, catastrophic injury, and the firm’s trial practice. At Kabateck, Shant has been second chair in numerous long cause trials and has secured over $100 million in verdicts and settlements for his clients. In 2019, Shant was a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Rising Star Award in recognition of his significant achievements as a trial lawyer. Currently, Shant is a Director of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s (LACBA) Counsel for Justice initiative and he serves on the Board of Governors of Loyola Law School and the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a decree on Wednesday appointing the co-founder and chief executive of Yerevan’s Impact Hub and a Armenian Bar member Sara Anjargolian to serve as the chief of staff of the newly-established High Commission of Diaspora Affairs. In 2014, Anjargolian co-founded the Impact Hub Yerevan and served as its chief executive while serving on the Impact Hub Global Association board. The international organization bills itself as “a member-based network of changemakers. Part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center, we offer our members a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration to grow impact.” More on this story here. Armenian Bar Member Marina Manoukian, Head of Family Law at ADLI Law Group will be among a list of other business women honored by the Women’s Council Awards for her hard work and achievements in the city of Los Angeles. The Women’s Council Awards is a half day event that recognizes top business women in Los Angeles for their hard work and outstanding achievements.
Long standing member and proud supporter of the Armenian Bar Association, the Honorable Barry P. Sarkissian retired from the bench in July 2018. He served as a judge on the Vicinage 6 Superior Court in New Jersey and was appointed to the bench in 2005, obtaining tenure status in 2012. He now practices as Counsel in the Arbitration and Dispute Resolution group of Schumann Hanlon Marguiles LLC, in New Jersey.
On April 2, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named Armenian Bar Association member Nicholas Koumjian as head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. The investigation was established by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Sept. 27, 2018, and welcomed by the General Assembly on Dec. 22. Mr. Koumjian has served as the international co-prosecutor for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since 2013.
ArmenBar member Steve Gokberk obtained a $274,000 verdict in a Suffolk County motor vehicle case wherein a 33 year-old client was struck from behind by the defendant. The client sustained injuries to her neck, back and knee, but did not undergo any surgeries or injections. The jury awarded $24,000 for past pain and suffering and $250,000 for future pain and suffering. Mr. Gokberk currently practices personal injury and medical malpractice law throughout New York as an associate at Salenger Sack Kimmel and Bavaro. In 2018, he was was recognized a New York Metro Super Lawyer, Rising Star and given the designation as a “Top 40 under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers. ArmenBar member Marina Samson of Ivie McNeill & Wyatt, APC obtained a default judgment against rapper Desiigner for posting defamatory remarks on his Instagram about College Gurl, LLC President, Jessica Brown. Desiigner was ordered to pay Brown $185,000 in economic and emotional damages for defamation and invasion of privacy. College Gurl, LLC educates students and families on how to pay for college. In 2017, Desiigner hired Brown to mentor his sister and help her get into Howard University. Through Brown’s mentorship, Desiigner’s sister was enrolled into a summer program at the university to improve her grades, and was ultimately accepted to Howard University. Read more here. Ivie McNeill & Wyatt, APC is an accomplished law firm with a diverse range of practice areas. ArmenBar sponsor YMPK Law Group, LLP were pleased to announce their involvement in a project of the international rap artist Drake, announcing that “It was an honor to provide legal services for the music video of God’s Plan.” The song, God’s Plan, featured in the video took home the 2019 Grammy for Best Rap song. YMPK is a civil litigation firm in Los Angeles, CA.
Aslin Koskel Tutuyan makes partner at The Mandell Law Firm, which announced: “Aslin joined our firm 11 years ago as a brand new attorney fresh out of law school. Since then, she has worked countless hours, sought out experienced mentors, fought glorious battles and earned the respect of clients, juries and colleagues. And today, we are so proud to announce that she earned the well deserved title of Partner at The Mandell Law Firm! Aslin, we are so proud of you and your hard work, dedication and loyalty and congratulate you on becoming the newest Partner at our firm!” Aslin is also a volunteer mock trial coach at AGBU MDS. Civil Rights Attorney Narine Mkrtchyan represented three brothers against the city of Pomona in reaching a settlement agreement to pay her clients $700,000 to resolve a federal civil rights lawsuit that claimed Pomona police officers violently and unlawfully arrested them in 2015. It will be the third settlement the city has paid in the past several years in cases in which Pomona police officers were accused of misconduct. “The settlement reached before trial was a successful resolution for my clients, victims of police brutality, who were attacked and arrested in front of their homes while getting ready to go to work, and then were false accused of crimes they never committed,” said Narine. Read more here. As a veteran Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, ArmenBar member and lead mock trial coach at AGBU MHS Rouman Ebrahim will now be serving as the Deputy-in-Charge of the Victim Impact Program in the Van Nuys Branch. This comes after almost 14 years of being assigned to downtown (8 years in Sex Crimes Division and 5+ years in Cyber Crime Division). The Victim Impact Program handles cases involving sex crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, hate crimes, elder abuse, and stalking. “I look forward to working with the amazing prosecutors in Van Nuys VIP,” said Rouman.