2018-2019 Board of Governors
ERIC C. DE LOS SANTOS
Eric C. de los Santos is Associate General Counsel and Senior Director of Employment Law for TrueBlue, Inc., a leading provider of specialized workforce solutions. TrueBlue connects as many as 800,000 people to work each year. He leads a team that responds to all employment law issues domestically and internationally. He is also the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. He chairs TrueBlue’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and works directly with the CEO to advance the company’s D&I strategy to achieve goals focused on improved employee retention, increased client engagement and innovation.
He is a frequent speaker on employment and labor, and diversity and inclusion issues at the national and local levels. Last year, the Washington Diversity Council presented Eric with the Leadership Excellence Award. In 2015, the Association of Corporate Counsel presented him with the Matthew J. Whitehead, II Diversity Award, which is the highest award given to an in-house attorney for improving the employment, retention, advancement and career path opportunities for lawyers of diverse constituencies.
He is a co-founder and Past President of the Filipino Lawyers of Washington (FLOW). He is also a founding member of NFALA and previously served as VP of Programs and Operations.
Eric was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and received his degree in Public Policy from Brown University and his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.
Phil Nulud is an attorney at Buchalter and an expert in intellectual property law. He is a member of the intellectual property and corporate practice groups. His practice focuses on counseling clients in all aspects of intellectual property including: domestic and international trademark prosecution, strategy, enforcement, management, licensing, and policy; patent prosecution, clearance, and infringement; domain name arbitration; and related litigation concerning such. Because of his expertise, he is frequently requested to consult in connection with complex and high-stakes litigation matters regarding intellectual property.
Phil has successfully represented many clients in high-stakes intellectual property litigation in both federal and California courts, and has also assisted clients with complex infringement and counterfeiting matters domestically and worldwide. He is considered an expert in advising American clients on trademark law in China and has run the gauntlet of Chinese administrative procedures and court hearings. He also regularly represents clients in connection with ICANN domain name arbitration proceedings, and has acquired/reclaimed hundreds of domain names for his clients that are critical to their business success.
He has published articles on these topics in various publications (legal and non-legal) and intellectual property blogs. He regularly lectures in undergraduate and law school classes regarding intellectual property, and hosts roundtables for the International Trademark Association (INTA).
His clients include multinational corporations, couture fashion houses, retail chains in excess of 500 stores, global beauty product manufacturers, celebrities, media companies, global architecture firms, and much more.
Phil has served on the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) Board of Governors for almost a decade. He was President of PABA from 2017 – 2018. Phil also serves on the Board of Governors for the Loyola Law School Alumni Association. He is currently the secretary.
Phil earned his J.D. at Loyola Law School and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, with a minor in Political Science (concentrating in Law and Public Policy) from the University of Southern California. Phil also previously clerked for the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.
Vice-President for Programs & Operations
KRISTY M. GONOWON
Kristy Michelle Gonowon is in-house counsel at Allstate Insurance Company. Kristy performs a dual role within Allstate’s Law & Regulation department, both as the sole ERISA/employee benefits counsel and as part of a team of claim litigation management counsel. On the employment side, her practice focuses on providing advice and counsel on health and welfare plans and wellbeing programs in compliance with ERISA, PPACA, EEOC, and the Internal Revenue Code. On the claim litigation side, she oversees and approves legal strategies within six states on claims involving bad faith, excess verdict, and coverage issues. She also provides legal opinions on pending legislation for the Southern region (Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana) and for the New York region. She is also the department’s subject matter expert on the topics of diminished value claims and Medicare issues.
Prior to becoming in-house counsel at Allstate’s corporate offices, Kristy was a litigator handling both insurance defense and the recovery aspect of subrogation matters on behalf of Allstate in the Chicago staff counsel office for two years. Prior to that, she was a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney for 10 years with a boutique law firm in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
Kristy recently served as NFALA’s Central Regional Governor under President Jhanice Domingo and is presently co-chair of NFALA’s In-House Counsel affinity network. Alongside her current role as NFALA's VP for Programs & Operations, Kristy is also serving a second term as secretary for the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago.
Vice-President for Membership
Since graduating from college, Ray has served in the public sector in Chicago. He has been responsible for the award and management of multi-million dollar construction, architectural and engineering, professional service, commodity, and revenue generating contracts. He has also served as an advisor to senior decision makers on departmental initiatives, contract administration, specification design, grant agreements, and budgetary analysis. Ray has served on committees with other agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Department of Transportation, and Illinois Tollway to develop strategies to increase minority business participation. Ray earned his B.S. in Accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his J.D. from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law evening program, where he served as treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. Food is one of Ray's favorite topics and pastimes. 90’s R&B and hip-hop are his favorites, but a little-known fact is that he also loves Polynesian reggae and country music.
Vice-President for Communications
MARK J. CALAGUAS
Mark J. Calaguas is a staff attorney at the Chicago office of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where he is a member of the Discovery practice group, which focuses on using technology to improve legal services in litigation, investigations, due diligence, compliance audits, government second requests, and other projects involving the preservation, review, and production of electronic data. He has also advised entrepreneurs on privacy law matters and coordinated data breach investigations for corporate clients in the healthcare and financial services industries.
Mark is a founding board member of both NFALA and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago, where he currently serves as Communications Officer. Mark is board vice president of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) and sits on the associate board of HealthConnect One, a nationally renowned nonprofit that promotes maternal and early childhood health. He is also an active member of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and served as a Young Professionals Network Ambassador for several years. Additionally, Mark is the Community Relations Manager for Kultura, a contemporary Filipino American food and arts festival organized by the culinary media and events company, Filipino Kitchen.
Mark is a 2016 alumnus of the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), which connects outstanding Filipino Americans to government officials, business executives, cultural experts, social entrepreneurs, and other innovators in the Philippines via an annual immersion trip sponsored by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Ayala Foundation, Inc.
Mark received a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan and a J.D. with Certificate in International Law and Practice from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he was president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. While in law school, he was publications editor of the Annals of Health Law and associate editor of the Loyola University Chicago International Law Review. Additionally, he was a member of the Thomas Tang National Moot Court and Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot teams.
Lorna Garcia serves as a senior trial attorney for Farmers Insurance Group, helping to lead the Workers Compensation team in Northern California. While at Farmers, Lorna has taken on the joint initiative of promoting inclusion and diversity throughout the company, providing training to the western region. She was previously named co-head of diversity and inclusion for claims litigation, overseeing 52 legal offices nationwide. She truly believes that hard work, team effort, and positive reinforcement are the key to a successful and inclusive work environment. Prior to joining the Farmers team, Lorna worked as an associate attorney specializing in workers compensation for Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi.
Lorna was awarded with a full presidential academic scholarship to attend college at Notre Dame University, where she graduated magna cum laude, earning multiple bachelor degrees in Political Science and Business Management, with triple concentrations in Finance, Economics, and Management. Lorna was a past president for both the Filipino and International Clubs, and was also chosen as a lifetime member for Delta Epsilon Sigma.
Lorna obtained another academic presidential scholarship to attend Golden Gate Law School, where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree while raising her newborn son.
Lorna has served eight years on the board of directors for the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC), and is the immediate past president. She is an alumna of the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy. Lorna also serves on the board of directors for North Valley Little League and St. Victor School.
CHRISTINE J. GONONG
Christine Gonong practices complex litigation focusing on catastrophic injury at Nguyen Lawyers, ALC. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law.
Prior to joining Nguyen Lawyers and USC, she clerked for Justice Mario R. Ramil of the Hawaii Supreme Court and Circuit Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Christine also clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for Judges S. James Otero, Dale S. Fischer, Otis D. Wright II, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen. Christine was also a litigation associate at the Los Angeles office of Jones Day, an international law firm.
Christine earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2002. She was a notes and managing editor for the Hastings Law Journal and was awarded with the Raymond L. Ocampo, Jr. Scholarship by the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC). Christine received her B.A. in Political Science magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was awarded with College Honors and the Morgan Harris Scholarship Award.
Christine was the 2015-2016 president of the Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) and is currently a member of its board of governors. She has been an active PABA governor for more than a decade and was PABA’s secretary during the 2008-2009 term.
Christine enjoys dancing, photography, traveling, Broadway musicals, and hiking.
Immediate Past President
David Mesa is an associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He is an experienced litigator defending major drug and medical device manufacturers in complex product liability litigation in multiple-state jurisdictions. He represents Fortune 1000 companies and manages cases as lead associate in all phases of the litigation, including developing case strategy, deposing witnesses, arguing motions, working with experts, handling mediation, and preparing cases for trial. He also defends clients in consumer class actions.
From brick-and-mortar retailers to online merchants, luxury retailers to big-box stores, start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and fashion retailers to hotels and restaurants, David also represents many of the largest retailers in the world in a wide range of legal matters. He advises clients in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and agency mandates, including weights & measures, ADA website accessibility, pricing, gift cards, and packaging laws and requirements.
David is a founding member of NFALA and has previously served as VP for Communications and VP for Programs and Operations. He also served four years on the board of governors for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) as regional governor for the Northern California region. Regionally, David is a past president of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC) and currently serves on its advisory board and Judiciary Committee.
In 2017, NAPABA selected David to receive its Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, awarded to eighteen APA lawyers under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields and demonstrated a strong commitment to APA community. In 2014, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) named David a “Rising Star” and featured him in Diversity and the Bar magazine. Only 12 “Rising Stars” were selected from across the country. In 2013, David received the Unity Award from the Minority Bar Coalition. For the past three years, Super Lawyers Magazine selected David to its “Rising Stars” list. In 2012, he won the Wife Lottery when San Francisco Deputy Public Defender, Abigail Rivamonte married him. David and Abigail are the proud parents of their 4-year-old son, Wolfgang, and sixteen-month-old daughter, Charlotte.
Northeast Region | NOEL VALES
Northwest Region | PETER SABIDO
Southeast Region | DENNIS PANGINDIAN
Southwest Region | CAMILLE KILMARTIN
Central Region | MELANIE BACHLEDA MATIAS
Northern California Region | VANESSA CANDELARIA
Central California Region | ERNIE OCAMPO
Southern California Region | RONDINE MACADAEG
Eastern California Region | GINO BARRICA
JERI GONZALES ABRAMS | ALLISON ALCASABAS | PHIL BAUTISTA | BILLY CHAN | JANICE JABIDO | GAGE JAVIER
RUTHE CATOLICO ASHLEY | MIMI CASTILLO | JOSEPH CENTENO | MICHAEL CHU | A.B. CRUZ III | RUDY FIGUEROA | MARTY LORENZO | CONNIE MONTOYA