The Rising Stars award recognizes 20 Armenian legal professionals under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their professions and who have made a meaningful impact on their respective communities.
Lana Akopyan, New York
Lana Akopyan is a patent attorney registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Lana has a Computer Science degree and, having spent over 4 years as an engineer in the software industry, she brings a wide variety of technical knowledge and experience to her patent work. Lana’s experience in preparing and prosecuting patent applications spans a wide variety of technologies including computer hardware and software, bioinformatics, e-commerce, telecommunications, electronics, medical devices and wireless communications. Lana counsels clients regarding patent infringement and validity, including providing high-stakes freedom-to-operate opinions and helps clients manage large global patent portfolios.
Silvia Babikian Pacia, New York
Silvia Babikian Pacia is a senior litigation associate in the New York office of Mayer Brown LLP. She focuses on serving clients with complex commercial disputes, mostly in the financial sector. She has successfully represented clients facing claims alleging hundreds of millions of dollars from their inception, through trial, and to appeal. She concentrates on the areas of banking and financial services, including securities actions.
Silvia graduated from Stanford University, with honors, and from Cornell Law School. She is involved in the Armenian Bar Association in New York and the greater Armenian community there. She is sincerely honored for having received this award from the Armenian Bar Association.
Alex Hrag Bastian, San Francisco
Alex Bastian is the Deputy Chief of Staff and an Assistant District Attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. Alex has been an active member of the State Bar of California and a practicing attorney for nearly a decade, beginning his career in civil litigation before developing his skills as a highly reputed, respected, and successful prosecutor for the City and County of San Francisco over the past 9 years. Having previously served as an Assistant District Attorney, the Director of Communications, and now the current Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex has and continues to wear many hats within the SFDA’s Office as a dedicated public servant.
Alex was hired as a prosecutor by then-District Attorney Kamala Harris. His success in the courtroom as a litigator and finesse for reaching common sense resolutions in the interests of public safety has served him well for his current role: advising District Attorney George Gascón on key policy, strategy, and legal matters. Alex’s portfolio of work includes criminal justice and immigration reform, improving transparency and public access to the legal system, fostering greater trust in 21st century law enforcement practices, and increasing consumer rights through innovative educational and safety campaigns. Alex has played key roles in facilitating the office’s implementation of first-oftheir kind actions, including working with media and legislative partners to generate the momentum needed to pass the Smartphone Theft Prevention Act that has led to sizable reductions in smartphone thefts and laid the blueprint for similar efforts worldwide. He has tackled important regulatory and compliance issues by working to bring the first consumer action by a government office against Uber, but has also spearheaded efforts to cooperate with the company on other public safety endeavors. Most recently, he contributed to shaping the country's first office-level policy to proactively review, reclassify, or dismiss all marijuana related convictions for impacted individuals under the landmark voter initiative Proposition 64.
Alex is the first Armenian-American prosecutor in San Francisco and is a visible proponent of diversity and inclusion. Utilizing his personal and familial experiences, Alex is committed to combating racism and discrimination by improving transparency and accountability in our policies and practices and increasing diversity within the legal profession, especially in public interest law. His most recent op-ed, featured in The New York Times, provides his personal account of being racially profiled and unlawfully detained at San Francisco International Airport and the negative impact of such practices on public safety. Alex has been published, both locally and nationally, on topics discussing gentrification, human rights, history revision, and genocide.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He speaks six languages, including: English, Spanish, French, Russian, Armenian (both dialects), and Arabic (currently learning). He often appears in both local, national, and international media outlets, including as a representative for the SFDA’s Office in high profile matters. Alex is a native San Franciscan and remains committed to finding innovative and equitable ways to improving the legal system.
Aram Gavoor, Washington DC
Aram A. Gavoor is an authority in the fields of administrative law, federal courts, and national security law. His law review article, Administrative Records and the Courts (co-authored) was cited by the Supreme Court of the United States in Department of Commerce v. New York (2019). He is a professor at The George Washington University Law School and his scholarship is frequently cited in academic and professional publications alike.
In the United States Department of Justice, Mr. Gavoor serves as Senior Litigation Counsel. There, he civilly prosecutes war criminals and defends constitutional, national security, and administrative challenges to federal executive branch actions and policies. He has briefed and argued cases before a majority of the federal courts of appeals and dozens of federal district court jurisdictions. His contributions to the Department have earned him numerous awards and his cases have been covered by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and HuffPost, among others.
Mr. Gavoor received his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan, his J.D. degree from The George Washington University Law School, and his LL.M. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Steve Gokberk, New York
Steve Gokberk has been an attorney at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, a New York plaintiff’s personal injury and medical practice firm, since 2010. Following his admission to the bar in New York and New Jersey, he became an associate in their personal injury division. He is a first-generation Armenian-American and credits his parents for instilling a dedicated work ethic. Steve’s ambition to help others through the law led him to St. John’s University for both his undergraduate and law studies. While at St. John’s he served as the president of the legal society and organized many altruistic and voluntary initiatives.
At SSKB, Steve has been instrumental in securing his clients significant monetary rewards through settlement and trial. The results of his motion practice have been highlighted in the New York Law Journal and selected for publication on WestLaw. Outside of practice, Steve writes “Case Law Updates” for the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is an article circulated to their members. He is also on the New York State Bar Association’s “Tort Systems” Committee. Steve is proud of his charitable work as well, serving as the President for the New York Chapter of the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief and is currently on the board for the New Jersey Chapter.
Allen Haroutounian, Los Angeles
Allen Haroutounian is an experienced plaintiff's attorney who has the privilege of representing individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases. He has litigated hundreds of commercial trucking, auto, pedestrian, and bicycle cases, as well as premises liability and products liability cases. He currently works at Stalwart Law Group in Los Angeles, where he co-manages the firm's personal injury practice. Through his hard work and perseverance, Allen has obtained millions of dollars for his clients from large corporations, insurance companies and governmental entities.
Allen credits his success to his parents, who instilled in him a strong work ethic and compassion for people at a young age, as well as his wife and daughter, who inspire him to be the best version of himself that he can. He takes great pride in representing people who are often times left on the sidelines to fight for themselves against all odds. Allen thanks the Armenian Bar Association for this recognition, and hopes to continue to give back to the legal community, including young lawyers, just as others did for him early in his career.
Irina Hovhannisyan, New York
Irina Hovhannisyan has been representing business and individual immigration clients with complex immigration cases since 2012. She is now heading the Law Offices of Hovhannisyan and Rodriguez, PLLC, based in New York City. She is licensed to practice U.S. immigration law in all 50 states.
Ms. Hovhannisyan immigrated from Armenia having earned two Master's Degrees in Law. Since she moved to the U.S., she has had a special interest in U.S. immigration law. As an immigrant herself, she relates to her clients' life situations and does not hesitate to litigate on behalf of immigrant rights and fight for her clients' better future in the U.S. She chooses to take on especially sensitive cases such as abused women and children, who are found in extremely complicated legal and desperate life situations and vigorously fights for justice on their behalf.
Ms. Hovhannisyan is a member of the Armenian Bar Association. She serves as a Co-Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee of the Association's NY/NJ/CT Chapter. She has made it one of her goals to give back to the community by volunteering her time to different bar associations and charity organizations.
Alexandra Kazarian, Los Angeles
Currently, the Principal of her own law firm, Alexandra Kazarian cemented her reputation as a fearless trial lawyer nearly 13 years ago, jumping into her role as a Los Angeles County Public Defender with back to back acquittals in cases ranging from murder to rape to battery and beyond. Since starting her private practice in 2015, she has carried on her zeal for taking tough cases to trial and within the last 24 months, Alexandra has earned her clients nine jury trial acquittals, with half a dozen felony trials in her sights on the 2020 calendar.
Her aggressive, unflinching, and successful defense of her clients has earned her the respect of her colleagues and adversaries, and, as a result she is sought out by news and media agencies to comment on and explain today’s bombshell cases. She appears regularly on the nightly news as a legal analyst for CBSLA, has provided hours of live analysis alongside Sharon Tae and Jeff Michaels during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing, and has been quoted extensively in People Magazine, Us Weekly, and on Fox News.
Along with running her private practice, Alexandra is of-counsel at the internationally renowned law firm of Geragos & Geragos, where she tries high profile criminal cases alongside fellow Armenian and famed Constitutional Rights and trial champion, Mark Geragos--the only lawyer besides Johnnie Cochran ever named "Lawyer of the Year" in both Criminal and Civil arenas. Alexandra earned her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University.
Aram Kerkonian, Montreal
Aram Daniel Kerkonian is the founder and Chief Legal Consultant of Ardaker Space Consultants, a firm dedicated to providing space law and policy advice to governmental and non-governmental entities. Aram is also the Erin J.C. Arsenault Doctoral Fellow in space law at McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law, where he researches the structure and gaps of Canada’s existing space regulatory framework. In addition to being a licensed attorney with the Law Society of Ontario (completing his articles as a judicial law clerk with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice), Aram holds a Master of Laws degree from McGill University, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Windsor and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University.
Aram is frequently invited to present and speak on issues of space law and policy at Canadian and international events and has been interviewed by several news outlets related to these topics. In addition to publishing a book of edited works, various book chapters and multiple articles in leading international space law journals, Aram has drafted two reports for the Canadian government, one of which was presented in Parliament. Aram is a member of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation as well as the coach of McGill University’s Space Law Moot team (the reigning champions of North America).
Aram was recently selected to the highly-competitive Canadian Recruitment of Policy Leaders program and will begin working as a Senior Policy Advisor to the federal government in 2020. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Aram now lives and in Montréal.
Mariam Kuregyan, Los Angeles
Ms. Kuregyan launched Davana Law Firm, APLC in 2017 and practices in the areas of Personal Injury, Catastrophic Injury, Property Damage, Wrongful Death, Asset Protection Planning & Consulting, and Civil Litigation. Prior to launching Davana Law Firm, Ms. Kuregyan practiced law within a multi-billion dollar global film and production company owned by media entertainment conglomerate, Viacom Inc. as in-house counsel. Within her Distribution team at Paramount Pictures, Ms. Kuregyan was instrumental in drafting and negotiating licensing agreements worldwide across all media platforms.
Ms. Kuregyan is fluent in English, Russian, and Armenian which increases her ability to communicate more effectively and appreciate cultural diversity. While in law school Ms. Kuregyan volunteered at the YWCA Domestic Violence Legal Division, in Glendale, CA where she helped women affected by domestic violence. Ms. Kuregyan takes personal pride in giving back to her community, and she is actively involved in several community organizations.
Ms. Kuregyan received her Bachelor of Science, Int’l Business and Finance with Honors from Woodbury University in 1999 and her Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School in 2006. Ms. Kuregyan is a member of the State Bar of California, American Bar Association, Wealth Counsel, CAALA (Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles), and The National Trial Layers.
Malvina Mardirosyan, New York
Malvina Mardirosyan is an in-house corporate attorney for a publicly traded company where she leads key processes on Board support, regulatory disclosure and mergers and acquisitions. Malvina has a passion for corporate governance, strategy and the dynamic responsibilities between management of an entity, board of directors and the stakeholders. She has significant experience in building the corporate governance framework, standardizing processes and developing policies for a publicly traded company consisting of over 30 subsidiaries and more than 5,000 employees.
Malvina is a founding member of the annual Fordham University Mentoring Forum in New York, a founding member of the NY/NJ/CT Chapter of the Armenian Bar Association and a former student of the Cyprus-based boarding school, Melconian Educational Institute where she connected with Armenian students from around the world.
Yelena Nersesyan, New York
Yelena Nersesyan is an associate at Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP in New York. Ms. Nersesyan participates in advising on joint ventures, acquisition, disposition, financing and refinancing of commercial real estate properties, including hotels, retail properties, office buildings and multi-family properties throughout the United States. Ms. Nersesyan was recognized as a “Rising Star” in Real Estate by Super Lawyers in 2018 and listed as a 2017 “Leading Lady” in Real Estate by The Mann Charitable Foundation. She serves on the Board of Young Mortgage Bankers Association and Armenian Bar Association.
Paul DerOhannesian, New York
Paul DerOhannesian graduated as a valedictorian from North Carolina State University and graduated from Wake Forest University Law School in 2012. Since licensed in New York in January, 2013 he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Ulster County in Kingston, NY. His legal career has been dedicated to public service and serving the community. Through this, he has prosecuted cases including violent felonies, driving while intoxicated, and animal cruelty. His efforts in the area of holding defendants accountable who harm animals led to him receiving an award from the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in June 2018 for his tireless dedication to the protection of animals. His first trial was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2019 documentary For the Birds. In 2007 he traveled to Armenia to participate in the Armenia Service Program. He is a third-generation Armenian attorney and remains actively involved with the Armenian community in his hometown of Albany, NY.
Vicky Ourfalian, Los Angeles
Vicky Ourfalian is a first-generation immigrant from Beirut, Lebanon. She attended college at the University of California, Irvine, and obtained her Juris Doctorate degree at California Western School of Law. During her third year of law school she soon discovered that becoming a public servant was her calling. Upon obtaining her license to practice law, she worked as a Dependency Lawyer representing indigent parents in their fight to regain custody of their children from social services. After two years of representing parents and conducting bench trials at the Children’s Court, she wanted to advance her career and gain experience in conducting jury trials. As a result, she accepted a position with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in 2008, and thereafter, the Alternate Public Defender’s Office in 2011 where she works to this day.
Ms. Ourfalian has dedicated the last eleven years of her career to helping the less fortunate members of our community, representing the indigent population in the criminal justice system. As an Alternate Public Defender, she strives to protect and defend constitutional rights, ensure due process, advocate for just dispositions, and conduct jury trials. She has conducted over a hundred trials, as a Misdemeanor, Juvenile, and Felony attorney, ranging from petty theft to murder. Ms. Ourfalian strongly believes in second chances, the inherent goodness in people, and rehabilitation, while fiercely advocating for her clients’ rights.
Tigran Palyan, Los Angeles
Prior to founding Palyan Law, APC, Tigran was an associate at one of the larges family law firms in the country. He has represented a wide variety of high profile clients in family law in Los Angeles, and practices exclusively family law. Additionally, Tigran is also an adjunct professor of law at Southwestern Law School, where he currently teaches Family Law Practice and Procedure, having previously taught Civil Pre-Trail Practice, International Law Journal Seminar, and the Judicial Externship Orientation at Southwestern Law School. During his time at Southwestern, Tigran spent his time on Law Review, Moot Court, and judicial externships, including with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After graduating cum laude from law school, Tigran served as a judicial law clerk for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with a substantial portion of his judicial clerkship focusing on family law.
Tigran has received a variety of awards throughout his career highlighting his community contributions and skills as a lawyer. He has been published and cited in multiple articles and journals surrounding his work and expertise in family law, and privacy tort liability. He is also one of the youngest attorneys to be appointed as a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section. He has served a Co-Chair of the Student Affairs Committee for the Armenian Bar Association. Tigran has also served as Legislative Liaison for the executive committee of the California State Bar Family Law Section.
Harout Samra, Miami
Harout J. Samra is an attorney with DLA Piper LLP and Board Certified Specialist in International Law, who concentrates his practice on international dispute resolution and arbitration matters. Harout has represented clients from both the public and private sectors, including foreign governments and clients from a variety of sectors. He has experience in international arbitrations seated around the world and administered under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), JAMS, China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), Bogota Chamber of Commerce (CCB), and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration rules. Harout is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. He also received B.A. (cum laude) and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Miami. Harout frequently writes and lectures on arbitration and litigation topics.
Vartges Saroyan, New York
Vartges Saroyan is an Assistant Chief Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in in New York City. In this role, which he has held since 2014, he advises law enforcement officers in the course of their investigations and represents DHS in administrative hearings. He has led more than 50 trainings for DHS attorneys, agents and support staff in diverse practice areas. Vartges is a certified instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), the largest training center of its kind nationwide.
Prior to joining DHS, Vartges served as an attorney law clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). At the EDNY he supported asset forfeiture investigations and prosecutions of crimes involving ill-gotten gains. Vartges was also a fellow at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Before pursuing a legal career, he was a business consultant who advised clients in Europe, the Middle East, and across America.
Vartges pursues leadership roles in his community, represents indigent clients in his personal capacity on a pro bono basis, and has received accolades for his contributions to the profession. He received DHS’s Innovation Award in 2016 and the American Bar Association’s Top 40 Young Lawyer Award in 2017. Vartges earned his J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and his B.S. magna cum laude from the NYU-Stern School of Business. He is barred in New York and New Jersey.
Karen Tonoyan, New York
Karén Tonoyan is a registered patent attorney with a passion for technology and innovation. He has worked in the IT field as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office where he specialized in semiconductors and electronic devices. In areas ranging from clothing designs and toys to musical instruments and computer software, Mr. Tonoyan has helped clients protect their intellectual property and overcome their business hurdles. He has drafted and prosecuted patents in a wide variety of electrical, electro-mechanical and computer-related technologies, including electronic devices and systems, semiconductor manufacturing, cloud computing, sensor network systems, video games, 3D rendering, software, and business methods. Karén also advises clients in patent, trademark and copyright infringement matters, including by providing patentability and infringement analyses, rendering written opinions, and handling cease and desist demands. He has obtained licensing agreements for his clients and has drafted and successfully negotiated hundreds of transactional business contracts.
Kristapor Vartanian, Los Angeles
Kris Vartanian is a litigation attorney with Kabat Chapman & Ozmer LLP (“KCO”), a boutique labor & employment and business litigation law firm with offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Kris represents Fortune 500 companies in class actions, PAGA cases, and single plaintiff cases in a broad range of litigation matters across the country. His litigation practice includes representing companies in disputes related to wage and hour, unfair competition, discrimination, employment agreements, commercial contracts, consumer protection issues, and business torts, within industries including entertainment, fashion, telecommunications, hospitality services, and food & beverage.
Kris earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, and he resides in Los Angeles, California. In both 2018 and 2019 he was recognized as a “Rising Star” by Southern California Super Lawyers and Los Angeles Magazine. Kris remains active in his local community by volunteering as an attorney with the Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles. He also mentors undergraduate students at UCLA and law students at Georgetown Law through those schools’ mentoring programs. Further, Kris was a long-standing member, athlete, Boy Scout leader, and Cub Master for Homenetmen’s Pasadena Chapter.
Liz Al-Dajani, Chicago
As a partner of Kerkonian Dajani LLC and based in Illinois, Elizabeth Al-Dajani specializes in litigation and works on a range of issues involving civil and criminal appeals and Middle East business transactions. Prior to the formation of Kerkonian Dajani, Ms. Al-Dajani had the honor of serving as a Judicial Law Clerk the same judge for 3 years at the trial court level and 3 years in the appellate court. In total, she has been involved in over 100 appeals as an attorney and a clerk.
Ms. Al-Dajani’s commitment to public interest work is demonstrated most recently in the 2019 filing of Ghazarian v. the Republic of Turkey, involving an elderly California plaintiff’s attempt to exercise cultural and religious rights at sacred pilgrimage sites in Turkey as an Armenian Christian. Additionally, Ms. Al-Dajani serves as an Adjunct Professor at The John Marshall Law School, as the Treasurer of the Armenian Bar Association and on the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.
Ms. Al-Dajani is published on a range of legal issues including intellectual property rights in the Arab Middle East and House of Lords judicial panel decisions interpreting several multinational treaties, English common law and public international law. She obtained her B.A. in Politics and Government at North Park University cum laude and obtained her law degree from The John Marshall School of Law where she served on the Intellectual Property Law Review and advanced to the International Finals of the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition.
Armenian Bar Association Announces Its Second “20 Under 40 Awards”
September 5, 2018
The Armenian Bar Association is pleased to announce its upcoming “20 Under 40 Awards” recognizing 20 Armenian legal professionals who, on the date of this announcement, are less than 40 years old, or have been practicing law less than 10 years, and have distinguished themselves in their area of practice.
“Our membership includes a vast array of people from all walks of life and all levels of education. Our 20 under 40 event celebrates those exemplary individuals who recently began their careers in the legal profession and whom we are proud to have as our members and colleagues.”
-Gerard Kassabian, ArmenBar Chairman
The 20 Armenian legal professionals selected will be recognized at an awards dinner in early 2019. These professionals may include practicing lawyers, law professors, and members of the judiciary. Individuals can nominate themselves or be nominated by a colleague. Nominees should be individuals who have begun to establish themselves in their respective legal practices, whether in the private, non-profit, or government sector, in the judiciary, or in academia. They must have a proven track record of career success, be involved in promoting their profession, and demonstrate that they give back to their communities and advance the mission of the Armenian Bar Association. To substantiate these credentials, a current resume and cover letter (not to exceed 2 pages) must be submitted and two (2) references must be provided. Additionally, letters of support are strongly encouraged as they allow the Armenian Bar Association to consider various elements in making its selection.
The deadline to nominate a colleague is Monday, September 24, 2018 and final application submission deadline is Monday, October 22, 2018. The 20 individuals selected must be members of the Armenian Bar Association.
Nomination forms and application materials must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the subject line should read: “20 Under 40”
The Armenian Bar Association held its inaugural “20 Rising Stars under 40” awards ceremony on July 28, 2011 at the Pandora on Green restaurant in Old Town Pasadena.
The Rising Stars award recognizes 20 Armenian legal professionals under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their professions and who have made a meaningful impact on their respective communities. This year’s honorees span the globe, coming from Toronto, Boston, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, among other locations. Master of Ceremonies Garo Hovannisian introduced each honoree to enthusiastic applause. He noted that “each of the award recipients has a remarkable story. Their accomplishments in their professions and their commitment to community and Armenian interests set them apart.” Hovannisian added that “we’re excited not only for their accomplishments thus far, but for the prospect of what lies ahead for each of them, both professionally and in terms of their contributions to the advancement of the Armenian communities worldwide.”
The 2011 Rising Stars award recipients are Ani E. Ajemian (Sherin & Lodgen, Boston, MA), Armen Akaragian (Mardirossian & Associates, Inc., Los Angeles, CA), Michael R. Amerian (Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles, CA), Henri Arslanian (UBS Investment Bank, Hong Kong), Ara A. Babaian (Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, Beverly Hills, CA), Nareg Gourjian (Gourjian Law Group, Glendale, CA), Annie P. Marandjian-Hovanessian (Vulcan Materials Company, Los Angeles, CA), Ara Jabagchourian (Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Burlingame, CA), Raffi Kassabian (Reed Smith, LLP, Los Angeles, CA), Lara Kayayan (Home Savings of America, Los Angeles, CA), Karnig Kerkonian (The Kerkonian Law Firm, LLP, Evanston, IL), Alex Khachaturian (White & Case LLP, Washington, DC), Hovanes Margarian (The Law Office of Hovanes Margarian, Sherman Oaks, CA), Armen S. Martin (Liner Grode et al., Los Angeles, CA), Mampre Pomakian (LAUSD, Office of General Counsel, Los Angeles, CA), Suzanne J. Prysak (Jenner & Block, LLP, Chicago, IL), Chris K. Safarian (Safarian & Choi, Los Angeles, CA), Nicole J. Simonian (Bryan Cave LLP, Santa Monica, CA), and Fernand Vartanian (ACE INA Insurance, Toronto, ONT, Canada).