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Thirty-First Annual Meeting and Conference
September 12 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
THIRTY-FIRST VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING DATE
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020
PANEL 1: Armenia, Artsakh and an Ax Murderer
A discussion about the legal and diplomatic takeaways from the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Ramil Safarov case, Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary.
Armine Alexanyan — Deputy Foreign Minister of Artsakh
Yeghishe Kirakosyan — Adviser to the Prime Minister, Republic of Armenia; Representative of Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights.
Siranush Sahakyan — Ad hoc judge, European Court of Human Rights
Karnig Kerkonian — International Lawyer, Kerkonian Dajani LLC
Armine Aleksanyan was born in Martouni, Artsakh, studied English and German at Artsakh State University, and received a master’s degree in 1999 from the Diplomatic Academy of London (Westminster University). In 1995-1996, she worked in the NKR government as an assistant and interpreter to the prime minister. In January 2000, she started to work for the NKR Foreign Ministry, while also teaching at Artsakh State University. Since July 2015 she is a Deputy Foreign Minister of Artsakh.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan holds the position of Adviser to the Prime Minister and is the Representative of Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights. He has an extensive experience of working with the Government since 2008, in the capacity of an Assistant to the Prime Minister, later as Deputy Minister of Justice. Y. Kirakosyan has been teaching since 2006, after defending Ph.D. thesis (title: Custom in Contemporary International Law). Courses taught include: Public International Law, Precedent in International Law, International Courts and Arbitration. Kirakosyan research and academic focus includes international courts and arbitration, responsibility in international law, countermeasure and enforcement of international law. His educational accomplishments include: Master of Science of Law (JSM), Stanford Law School; Master of Laws in International Legal Studies (LLM), Georgetown University Law Center; Ph.D. in International Law, Yerevan State University; Master’s Degree in Jurisprudence (International Law), Yerevan State University; and Bachelor’s Degree in Jurisprudence, Yerevan State University.
Siranush Sahakyan holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from University of Essex, Bachelor’s degree in Law and LLM in Public International Law from Yerevan State University. She is currently preparing her PhD thesis. Since 2008 Siranush has been teaching and conducting training on human rights and anti-corruption topics at various institutions, including the School of Advocates and the Justice Academy. Siranush is a member of the Chamber of Advocates and licensed to practice law. She is also an ad hoc judge of the European Court of Human Rights.
Siranush has held various positions at the public service: She worked for the Ministry of Justice as a leading specialist, was aide to the President. Her recent public office was the Chair of the Commission on Ethics for High-Ranking Officials.
Outside the Public Service Siranush acted as a partner at Legalata Law firm, a founder and president of the NGO “Protection of Rights without Borders,” an expert for OSCE/ODIHR, UNICEF Armenia, UNDP, the Civil Society Institute NGO, the Centre for European Law and Integration, the International Centre for Transitional Justice, being involved in different legislative initiatives, lobbing projects, monitoring, research, strategic litigation and legal counsel. Currently she is the Co-founder of the NGO “Path of Law” and the president of the ICLaw-Center Armenia.
Karnig Kerkonian holds an A.B. magna cum laude in Government from Harvard University and two law degrees—a J.D. from the University of Chicago where he served on the Law Review as well as a post-doctoral Diploma in International Law from Cambridge University, England where he studied under Prof. James R. Crawford, now a Judge of the International Court of Justice.
Upon completing his studies, Mr. Kerkonian joined Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago working on federal litigation and appeals and, in 2003, began his own practice. He currently leads the international practice group at Kerkonian Dajani LLC, focusing on international transactions, foreign sovereign immunities litigation and commercial sanctions regime matters. Aside from his professional endeavors, Mr. Kerkonian presents and writes on a number of international legal issues including the economic analysis of sovereignty, the normative foundations to international law as well as issues involving the International Court of Justice and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
He currently serves a Vice Chair of the Armenian Bar Association, a member of its Board of Governors and its Armenian Genocide Reparations Committee and is co-chair of its Armenian Rights Watch Committee and its Artsakh Legal Initiative Committee.
PANEL 2. Vision Zero: Preventing Domestic Violence in Armenia
A discussion with Honorable Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender in the Republic of Armenia, and Armenian American family law attorneys regarding the current state of the Domestic Violence laws in Armenia.
Natalie Diratsouian — Associate Attorney, Cohen Rabin Stine Schumann LLP
Marina Manoukian — Head of the Family Law department, ADLI Law Group, Los Angeles, CA
Alfred Movsesyan — Family Law Attorney at Boyamian Law, Inc.
Honorable Arman Tatoyan — Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia
Ruben Stepanian – Matrimonial and Family Law Attorney
Natalie Diratsouian is an associate at Cohen Rabin Stine Schumann LLP, a boutique matrimonial law firm in midtown Manhattan. She concentrates her practice exclusively in matrimonial law, representing clients in a range of matters, including pre-judgment and post-judgment custody, access/parenting time, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution and relocation issues. She received her B.A. in political science, from The College of New Jersey in 2012 and earned her J.D., cum laude, from New York Law School in 2015.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Diratsouian was associated with a law firm in Bergen County, New Jersey, where she also practiced family law. Before entering private practice, she served as the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Peter J. Melchionne, P.J.F.P., the Presiding Judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County. During law school, Ms. Diratsouian served as Notes and Comments Editor of the New York Law School Law Review and affiliate of the Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families.
Ms. Diratsouian is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Armenian Bar Association, and the Barry Croland Family Law Inns of Court. She has been selected as a “Rising Star” in Family Law by New Jersey’s Super Lawyers for 2018-2019 and New York’s Super Lawyers in 2020.
Ms. Diratsouian is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Marina Manoukian is the Head of the Family Law department at ADLI Law Group in Los Angeles, California. Her practice focuses on family law and civil litigation. Ms. Manoukian obtained her BA from UCLA and her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995.
Ms. Manoukian’s family law practice has included litigating custody and support issues, as well as the division of property and domestic violence. She has successfully passed the California Bar Certified Family Law Specialist exam and is waiting for the completion of her application process. She is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, based on the peer review rating system. Her articles on issues concerning family law have been published in the Daily Journal and Divorce Magazine.
Her successful representation of a victim of domestic violence in trial court and the California Court of Appeals, resulted in the appellate opinion being certified for publication based on issues of first impression. The Family Violence Appellate Project celebrated the victory by saying “we believe this case will help other survivors like Nicole G who are seeking move-out orders and property control orders, particularly in cases where survivors have moved to another residence, a DV shelter, or other place while the abuser remains living in the parties’ shared dwelling.”
In her private life, Ms. Manoukian has always made time for her family and community. She faithfully attends her sons’ basketball games and has been the basketball team mom for her son’s Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter’s basketball team for 10 years. She also currently serves on Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter’s Bylaws’ Committee. Additionally, she has been on the school board of St. Mary’s Richard Tufenkian Preschool and Kindergarten for the last 13 years, serving as its chair for almost 10 years.
Ms. Manoukian feels blessed to have the opportunity to serve her clients as well as her family and community.
Alfred Movsesyan is a family law attorney at Boyamian Law, Inc. He has been licensed to practice law in California since 2011, handling complex marital dissolution and paternity matters from inception to post-Judgment. Mr. Movsesyan graduated from USC in the top 10 % of his class with cum laude honors in 2004 with a BA degree in Psychology. In 2011, Mr. Movsesyan graduated from Southwestern Law School in the top 5 % of his class with magna cum laude honors. While at Southwestern, Alfred was a member of Law Review honors program.
Following law school, Mr. Movsesyan served as a judicial law clerk/research attorney in the Family Law Department in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He worked for Judge B. Scott Silverman, Judge Randall Pacheco, Judge Maren Nelson, Judge Ralph Hofer, Judge Shelley Kaufman, and Judge Teresa Beaudet. Mr. Movsesyan has also assisted various other judicial officers with their law and motion calendars including Judge Amy Pellman, Judge Victor Chavez, Judge Stephen Moloney, Judge Marc Gross, Judge Rolf Treu and others.
As a judicial law clerk/research attorney, Mr. Movsesyan was responsible for reviewing the law and motion calendars for family law judicial officers and completing bench memoranda. He recommended rulings on all law and motion related matters on hundreds of high-profile and complex cases. Mr. Movsesyan was subsequently appointed as a Supervising Research Attorney where he managed and supervised the work of over 20 attorneys across Los Angeles County.
Along with his experience in the Courts, and prior to joining Boyamian Law, Inc., Alfred practiced family law with two prominent law firms handling all aspects of family law litigation from inception of the case to trial.
Mr. Movsesyan’s experience is unparalleled to the experience of most practicing family law attorneys in that he has had firsthand experience into how judges apply the rules of family law to each matter. Family law can often be an unpredictable journey in the Courts, but Mr. Movsesyan’s vast knowledge and experience in working closely with family law judges has allowed him to gain an insight in how judges think when ruling on cases. This allows Mr. Movsesyan to better gauge the possibility of success in any given matter when advising clients.
Mr. Movsesyan has been selected to the 2020 Super Lawyers, Rising Stars & 2020 Pasadena Magazine Top Lawyers.
Dr. Tatoyan is the head of the National Preventive Mechanism in Armenia. He has served as an Ad Hoc Judge at the European Court of Human Rights. Previously, he has served as an International Adviser to the Council of Europe (2013-2018). Currently, he is a Member of the Council of European Committee for the Prevention of Torture in respect of Armenia.
On June 12, 2019, Dr. Tatoyan was elected as a member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
Ombudsman Tatoyan has an LLM degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he has been honored by the Distinguished Member Award of LL.M Class of 2013 for his professional accomplishments. During his studies at the University of Pennsylvania he has also completed the Business and Law Executive Education Program of the Wharton School at the University. He holds a Ph.D. in Law from the Yerevan State University, and currently is an adjunct professor at the American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University.
Prior to his election as the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Dr. Tatoyan served as a Deputy Minister of Justice in Armenia (2013-2016). In that capacity, he served as Deputy Representative (Deputy Agent) of Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights (2013 –2016).
Dr. Tatoyan has extensive working experience in the judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Cassation Court of Armenia, the General Prosecutor’s Office, as well as in civil society and international organizations, among them, the UN, the OSCE, and the USAID.
Ruben Stepanian is a New York divorce and family law attorney and is an Administrative Law Judge at New York City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Mr. Stepanian is an active member of the New York State Bar Association and its Committee on Families and the Law; the Armenian Bar Association; the Kings County Bar Association; the Queens County Bar Association and is an Arbitrator on Queens County’s Part 137 Fee Dispute Resolution Panel. Mr. Stepanian earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 2004 and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting & Computer Information Systems from Rhode Island College in 1998.
PANEL 3. Covid-19 and Employment Law from the Employer and the Employee Perspective
Join two second generation Armenian-American attorneys as they socially distance in a New Jersey conference room debating the myriad of ways the laws, regulations and executive orders promulgated on an almost daily basis in response to Covid-19 impact employees and businesses alike.
Armen McComber — Managing Partner, McOmber McOmber & Luber, PC
Scott A. Ohnegian — Partner, Chair of Labor & Employment Practice Group, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Armen McComber is a third generation attorney and a lifelong resident of Monmouth County, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor from American University in Washington, D.C. He is the Managing Partner of McOmber McOmber & Luber, PC with offices in Red Bank and Marlton, New Jersey.
In 1998, he was admitted to New Jersey and Federal District Court Bars and joined the firm of McOmber & McOmber , which was established by his parents, Richard and Adrienne McOmber, in 1974. He was promoted to partner in 2001. Mr. McOmber resides in Little Silver, New Jersey with his wife, Dr. Nathalie Zenian McOmber, a general dentist who also practices in Monmouth County, and their two children Taleen and Ara.
Mr. McOmber’s primary areas of practice are civil litigation, employment law, and land use. During his 21 years of practice, Mr. McOmber has successfully tried numerous cases in the Superior Court and before various administrative agencies. He has also represented a variety of municipal and regional boards of education and has handled extensive litigation and appeals on their behalf. He has litigated favorably on behalf of plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, including winning large jury verdicts in favor of his individual clients, and on behalf of corporations and public institutions regarding matters of public concern and attention. A number of Mr. McOmber’s cases involving significant matters of law have been widely reported.
Mr. McOmber serves as a redevelopment, state tax appeal and conflict counsel to the Borough of Tinton Falls and as conflict counsel to the Township of Middletown. Mr. McOmber has extensive experience in redevelopment work and in handling all types of land use applications before planning and zoning boards, as well as litigating land use matters before the Superior Court and Appellate Division. He has successfully counselled many national corporations regarding complex development applications in New Jersey, including public storage facilities and financial institutions.
Mr. McOmber is both a New Jersey Certified Civil Trial Attorney and a R. 1:40 New Jersey State Court-approved Mediator.
Mr. McOmber is a member of the St. Stepanos Armenian Apostolic Church in Elberon, New Jersey. He is an active participant in Armenian philanthropic organizations in the northeast including as a Master of Ceremonies of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Program in New York City. He also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College.
Scott A. Ohnegian is Chair of the Labor & Employment Group at Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP. His practice focuses on the representation of management in litigating federal and state employment matters including claims involving allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing, harassment, Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation, misappropriation of trade secrets and restrictive covenant claims. Scott has handled matters in state and federal courts as well as before various state and federal agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Labor, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Ohnegian regularly counsels employers of all sizes on an ongoing basis on labor and employment law matters including negotiation and preparation of employment agreements, separation agreements and employee handbooks, counseling regarding employee discharge and discipline, training on other personnel matters including diversity, harassment and family and medical leave issues. Mr. Ohnegian also represents high level executives in connection with reviewing, negotiating and preparing employment contracts. Mr. Ohnegian’s client base is made up of companies ranging from small family-owned operations to internationally prominent organizations. As the son of a solo practitioner engaged in the practice of law for more than 40 years, Mr. Ohnegian grew up with the law. Despite the fact that he is a partner in a major New Jersey law firm, his practice is guided by the principles he learned making his first “court appearance” as a six year old tagging along with his father to a municipal court appearance. This background and dedication has helped to engender client loyalty as Mr. Ohnegian advocates for his clients’ interests in all matters as if he and his clients are part of one team. Included in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business Client’s Guides for Labor and Employment Law since 2017, market sources assert that “he is very good – he knows what he’s doing,” and he “knows how to protect corporate clients by knowing when to push.” In earlier Chambers editions, he is described as “very talented” and noted for his “intelligence, practical experience and knowledge” across the full spectrum of contentious employment matters.” Mr. Ohnegian is “clearly respected as the rare attorney who will give objective advice, and can express firm opinions.” He is “sure to be Riker’s big star.” Thomson Reuters has included Mr. Ohnegian on the New Jersey “Super Lawyers” list for Employment Law since 2006. Best Lawyers in America®, a peer review of U.S. lawyers, has included Mr. Ohnegian on its Best Lawyers list in the fields of Employment Law and Employment Litigation since 2007.
PANEL 4. Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Business Interruption Losses
Brian Kabateck – Founding & Managing Partner, Kabateck LLP
Shant Karnikian – Senior Associate, Kabateck LLP
As a nationally recognized consumer attorney, Brian Kabateck is a preeminent leader in the fight to ensure access to the justice system. He’s a powerful advocate in the courtroom and at the California State Capitol for consumers’ rights and protections. Mr. Kabateck’s advocacy on behalf of his clients has netted more than a billion dollars in recoveries. He has won many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in the areas of personal injury, insurance bad faith, pharmaceutical litigation, wrongful death, class actions, mass torts and disaster litigation. He was co-lead counsel in the historic insurance litigation that resulted in tens of millions of dollars for families of victims of the Armenian Genocide. In 2018, he served as the first Armenian-American President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Shant Karnikian is Senior Associate with Kabateck LLP. He started as a post-bar law clerk in 2013 and worked his way up the ranks. His practice now focuses on insurance bad faith, catastrophic personal injury, consumer class actions, and the firm’s trial work. Shant has served as second-chair trial counsel to the firm’s lead trial attorney Brian Kabateck on six jury trials, all of which have resulted in favorable verdicts for their clients. In 2018, he served as second chair in an eleven-week jury trial of a mobile home habitability lawsuit where he and Brian Kabateck obtained a $39.7 million verdict—the sixth largest verdict awarded by a Los Angeles County jury in 2018. The verdict led to a settlement in excess of $56 million, the largest mobile home park habitability lawsuit settlement ever recorded.
PANEL 5. Transterritorial, Transnational, Transgenerational: Epigenetic Armenia Beyond the Nation State
Ara Mgrdichian – Consultant, Aspire Group
Ara Mgrdichian is a writer, counselor, and consultant, who currently provides group facilitation and consulting services to The Aspire Group, purveyors of nuanced and effective DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) education, consulting, and training. His most recent work focuses on facilitating dialogue in the areas of implicit bias and systemic racism within a diverse spectrum of corporate clients. His professional life, for the most part, has straddled the fields of education, communication, and the arts, often in tandem.
Mr. Mgrdichian has worked with young people and their families both in and out of the scholastic environment for years as a teacher, at-risk counselor, violence prevention specialist, and program coordinator in the United States (greater Los Angeles area), the Republic of Armenia, and various locales in the Republic of Artsakh. He has also worked as a journalist, essayist, and general wordsmith, publishing poetry and prose, among other writings, in small press publications, on akmipress.com, and other online platforms. Mr. Mgrdichian has been included in anthologies with noteworthy authors Donald Freed, Harold Pinter, and A.J. Langguth, among others, and is featured in the late Samvel Mkrtchyan’s compendium, Anthology of Armenian Poets.
He served as advisor to the Deputy Education Minister of the Republic of Armenia in the early 1990s and consultant to other government officials, while teaching English at Yerevan’s Experimental High School and participating in humanitarian aid efforts.
He has worked with the UCLA Cultural/Critical Studies Group, the Armenian Relief Society, the Donald Freed Writers Group, the Armenian Cultural Foundation, and the Armenian Youth Federation, among other community and global organizations.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a Master of Arts degree in Education from PLNU, as well as a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Counseling Credential. He has received a variety of private and public sector awards for his work with young people, schools, and the community.
You may find and peruse his literary, arts, photographic, and spoken word projects, as well as news of upcoming publications, and new endeavors at akmipress.com. For insight into his behavioral work and counseling services, please visit akmibehavioral.com.
Please look for a new AKMI site and publications in the offing, featuring innovative analyses and opinions on the latest academic, theoretical, and technological issues as they relate to epigenetics and culture.
Mr. Mgrdichian can also be found on the Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn social media platforms.
Annual Meeting of the Armenian Bar Association and Election of Board of Governors