Steve joined Walzer Melcher LLP after serving as a corporate litigator for over 10 years in California’s most prestigious law firms, where he handled complex civil and white-collar criminal matters. He has represented corporate and individual clients, in both state and federal court, in a wide array of cases relating to business torts, insurance recovery, intellectual property, securities, professional malpractice, employment law, and real estate. He now brings this vast experience to benefit clients in complex family law matters. Steve is actively engaged in the legal community. He has served as President of the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), a Trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), and a Board Member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA). Steve is a graduate of Stanford University, where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, and the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law. From 2004 to 2005, Steve served as a federal law clerk to the Honorable James Ware, United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. He has been named a “Best Lawyer Under 40” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and a “Rising Star” by the Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine since 2013. In 2016, he received the “10 Best Client Satisfaction Award” from the American Institute of Family Law.
- Defended and successfully settled a $6.5 million Marvin claim in federal court.
- Served as regional coordinating counsel for a multinational chemical corporation, overseeing all asbestos litigation filed in the Pacific Northwest; helped obtain a total defense verdict after a two-week jury trial in Portland, Oregon.
- Co-chaired a two-week bench trial on behalf of a former warehouse employee; obtained a total defense verdict against a $1.5 million claim of fraud, conversion, and tortious business interference and successfully prosecuted counterclaim for unpaid overtime wages.
- Second-chaired a bench trial on behalf of a group of private real estate investors against a real estate developer and his agents for misappropriation of investment funds; case settled on second day of trial after calling first witness.
- Represented hedge funds and other investors in life settlements against life insurance companies for failing to pay policy benefits after deaths of the insureds.
- Prosecuted, on behalf of a major general contractor, multimillion dollar claims of bad faith against its primary and excess insurers for failing to indemnify against alleged construction defects.
- Defended a major international law firm against allegations of professional malpractice arising out of transactional work on a $126 million acquisition of a hedge fund of funds.
- Represented a major international law firm against a former client in a $54 million fee dispute.
- Represented a Japanese business executive in a federal criminal antitrust investigation alleging price-fixing in the liquid crystal display (LCD) industry.
- Defended former chief operating officer of a major healthcare corporation against an SEC enforcement action claiming securities fraud arising from alleged abuses of the Medicare reimbursement system.
- Defended a Canadian movie sub-distributor against claims for unpaid royalties brought by movie distributor; obtained dismissal on demurrer.
- Defended an elephant ranch against claims of unfair business practices brought by animal rights activists in connection with the use of an elephant in a major motion picture; obtained dismissal on a motion to dismiss.
- Defended a major luxury clothing company against claims of breach of contract and tortious business interference brought by a denim manufacturer.
- Prosecuted a civil action, on behalf of a handbag designer, for trademark infringement and theft of trade secrets against a competitor.
- Prosecuted and settled numerous civil claims, on behalf of a California enterprise zone tax credit service provider, for unpaid fees.
- Defended and settled claim brought against a real estate investor by second mortgage holder for alleged unpaid sums due on the mortgage.
- Prosecuted and settled claim for unpaid rents, on behalf of landlord, against guarantor of a lease to Malibu beachfront property.
- Defended alcohol vendor in multiple criminal and regulatory actions brought by the District Attorney and Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the alleged sale of alcohol to underage customers.
- Defended a major Internet search engine provider in a class action lawsuit alleging unjust enrichment due to “click fraud.”
- Defended a major telecommunications corporation in multiple lawsuits alleging patent infringement relating to various Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and cable modem technologies.
AWARDS & HONORS
- “10 Best Client Satisfaction Award,” American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2016.
- “Rising Star,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine, 2013-2016.
- “Public Citizen of the Year,” National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter, Region H, 2013.
- “Best Lawyer Under 40,” National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 2009.
- “Mentor of the Year,” Asian Professional Exchange, 2009.
- Board Member, Japanese American Bar Association, 2008 – present; President, 2014 – 2015.
- Member, Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2010 – present.
- Trustee, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2012 – 2013.
- Board Member, Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 2010 – 2013.
- R. v. A.F. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 974
- In re Marriage of Chapman (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 719
SELECTED PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Everybody’s Talkin’: A Primer on Communicating Effectively with Your Attorney (2017) 40 Family Advocate.
- “Divorce and Death: Crossover Issues in Estate Planning and Family Law,” Speaker, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, 2016.
- “Korematsu to Hamdan: Executive Threats to Civil Liberty,” Moderator, Twenty-First Annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention, Los Angeles, California, 2010.
- “Fifth Annual Federal Court Boot Camp Conference: How to Practice in Federal Court,” Moderator, Pincus Communications, Los Angeles, California, 2009.
- “It’s Time to Get E-lated About E-Discovery,” Moderator, Nineteenth Annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007.
- “How to Practice in Federal Court,” Instructor, Law Clerk Seminars, University of California Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, California, 2005.
- Japanese and Spanish.