Umberg/Zipser Named CRF-OC’s 2021 Law Firm of the Year

Umberg/Zipser LLP is proud to be honored as the 2021 “Law Firm of the Year” by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Orange County (CRF-OC). CRF-OC recognized the firm’s contributions to the organization’s mission of empowering Orange County youth to be active, responsible citizens through participation in interactive civic and law-related education programs that connect students directly with professionals and community leaders.

U/Z has a long history of involvement with and leadership in CRF-OC. Adina Stowell served as CRF-OC’s 2014/2015 President and has been a Board Member since 2006. Dean Zipser served as the organization’s 2017/2018 President, was a Board Member from 2007 to 2020, and now serves as a President Emeritus. Halim Dhanidina, Vikki Vander Woude, and Ethan Feng have served as high school mock trial coaches for several years. Halim has also served as a judicial advisor for the program. Vikki also serves on the CRF Mock Trial Committee and received the “Attorney Coach of the Year” Award in 2012.

Both Dean and Adina commented that, “We are honored to be recognized as Law Firm of the Year by CRF-OC. Giving back is part of our firm’s DNA, and our attorneys take pride in devoting time to professional, community, and charitable service.”

Umberg/Zipser Again Included in the Civic OC List for 2021

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is proud to again be named an honoree of The Civic 50 Orange County by OneOC and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The award recognizes U/Z as one of the most community minded companies in Orange County. The Civic 50 OC initiative provides a standard for superior corporate citizenship, and showcases how companies can use their time, skills, and resources to drive social impact in their company and communities.

The firm has received this recognition for each of the four years it has been awarded. U/Z is involved with over 40 professional, pro bono, and charitable organizations, in which U/Z attorneys hold over 22 leadership positions as well as governmental positions.

“We are honored to be recognized again in the Civic 50 OC as one of the most community minded organizations in Orange County. Our attorneys are leaders in our community, and giving back is part our firm’s DNA,” said Dean Zipser, co-founding partner.

OneOC commented, “We are honored to work in partnership with Points of Light to celebrate the most community-minded companies in Orange County. Our mission is to accelerate nonprofit success and we strongly believe that our corporate community is key to accomplishing this. Our collaboration strengthens not only our mission but enhances the longevity and sustainability of our community.”

Partner Mei Tsang Elected as Secretary of the OCBA

Mei Tsang

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is proud to announce partner Mei Tsang has been elected Secretary of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA.) Mei has served on the Board of Directors of both the OCBA and the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund (OCBACF), the charitable wing of the OCBA for several years. Mei also co-chairs OCBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and as former chair of the Intellectual Property and Technology Section.

“I am honored to be elected as the 2022 OCBA Secretary, and I look forward to continuing to serve this great organization with the mission of enhancing the system of justice and promoting equal justice for all,” says Mei.

The firm continues to play a major role with the OCBA. Partner Scott B. Garner is the Immediate Past President of OCBA, and currently serves as the 2021 President of the OCBACF.

U/Z’s co-founding partner Dean J. Zipser has also previously served as OCBA President, and received the Franklin G. West Award in 2017, an honor given annually to an attorney or judge in recognition of lifetime achievements that have advanced justice and the law.

Scott, Mei, and Dean are part of a long history of service by the firm’s lawyers to the OCBA, as well a host of other professional and community organizations.

Umberg/Zipser Attorneys Once Again Recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2022

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is proud to announce that attorneys Mark Finkelstein, Scott Garner, Carole Reagan, Adina Stowell, Mei Tsang, Thomas Umberg and Dean Zipser have been selected for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, and that Brent Colasurdo has been recognized as a Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch.”

In addition, Scott Garner and Dean Zipser have each been recognized as a 2022 Orange County “Lawyer of the Year,” for Intellectual Property Litigation and Bet-the-Company Litigation, respectively. The Lawyer of the Year is awarded to individual lawyers with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region. Only one lawyer is given this recognition per each specialty and location.

The firm’s attorneys ranked in the following practice areas:

  • Mark Finkelstein was again selected in the fields of “Commercial Litigation,” “Litigation – Intellectual Property,” “Litigation – Patent” and “Trademark Law” and has been on the Best Lawyers list since 2016. Finkelstein was recognized as Lawyer of the Year in Orange County for “Trademark Law” in 2021.
  • Scott Garner has been selected for “Commercial Litigation” and “Litigation – Intellectual Property” since 2020. Garner has also been recognized by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year in Orange County for “Litigation – Intellectual ” in 2022.
  • Carole Reagan was again selected for “Litigation – Intellectual Property” and “Commercial Litigation,” and has been on the Best Lawyers list since 2013.
  • Adina Stowell was again selected for “Litigation – Intellectual Property” and “Litigation – Real Estate,” and has been listed since 2019.
  • Mei Tsang was again selected for “Copyright ,” her second consecutive listing.
  • Tom Umberg was again selected for “Commercial Litigation” and “Litigation – Real Estate,” and has been on the list since 2008.
  • Dean Zipser was again selected for “Bet-the-Company Litigation,” “Commercial Litigation,” “Litigation – Banking and Finance,” “Litigation – Intellectual Property” and “Litigation – Real Estate,” and has been on the Best Lawyers list since 2008. In addition to his recognition as the 2022 Lawyer of the Year for “Bet-the-Company Litigation” Zipser was also recognized by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year in Orange County for that category in 2014, and as Lawyer of the Year for  “Litigation – Intellectual Property” in 2017.
  • Brent Colasurdo was again selected to the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” list for Intellectual Property Law. These awards recognize extraordinary lawyers who have been in private practice for less than 10 years in the United States.

In addition to the recognition of its individual lawyers, U/Z has been named as one of the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers each year since the firm’s inception. In 2021, the firm received four Tier One rankings, in Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation. The firm also received recognition in the areas of Banking & Finance Litigation, Patent Litigation and Trademark Law. Read more here.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. 105,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and they have received 11+ million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, millions of votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 65,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”







Umberg/Zipser Sponsors OCBA Charitable Fund’s Annual Golf Tournament

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) was proud to again sponsor the 2021 Annual Judge Kenneth Lae Charity Golf Scramble hosted by the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund (OCBACF) at the Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast. The Charitable Fund is the philanthropic arm of the OCBA and provides funding and resources to organizations and programs that enhance the system of justice and promote equal justice for all.

U/Z attorneys are proud to have dedicated decades of service to the OCBA and its Charitable Fund. For example, Scott Garner currently serves as President of the OCBACF. He is immediate Past-President of the OCBA, and has served on the Board of Directors for the OCBACF and as co-chair of the OCBA Professionalism and Ethics Committee; Mei Tsang currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the OCBA and the Charitable Fund, and as co-chair of OCBA’s Diversity Committee. Mei has also served as co-chair for past Charitable Fund Annual Raise Your Glass events; and Dean Zipser is a former President of the OCBA and the OCBACF,  and the 2017 recipient of the OCBA’s Franklin G. West Award – the OCBA’s lifetime achievement award and highest honor.

Halim Dhanidina Addresses Prospective Students at UCLA School of Law Admitted Student Day

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) partner Halim Dhanidina and other distinguished alumni and faculty addressed prospective students during the UCLA School of Law Admitted Student Day on April 11, 2021. Halim is alumni of UCLA School of Law (’97), and in 2013, received the UCLA Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association Alumnus of the Year award.

Halim says, “I was honored to be asked to address the next generation of lawyers. When I started at UCLA Law many years ago, I never would have predicted that my career would take me through the trial court, judicial branch, and now with a premier litigation firm. The education I received at UCLA has played a significant role in all that I have done in the legal profession.”

Since college, Halim has been of great service to the community of Los Angeles. Before joining U/Z, Halim served as an appellate court justice with Division Three of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, in Los Angeles. Halim was the first South Asian American to serve as an appellate justice in the State of California and the first Muslim appellate-level judge in the United States. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Halim served for six years on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, making him the first Muslim judge ever appointed in California history. Prior to his judicial career, Halim had extensive trial experience as a Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles County, where he prosecuted 68 jury trials in 14 years, primarily while assigned to the Hardcore Gang and Major Crimes Divisions.

Umberg/Zipser Welcomes Jason Tejani to Further Strengthen IP Practice

Jason Tejani

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that attorney Jason Tejani has joined the firm.

Jason Tejani concentrates his practice on patent prosecution and intellectual property (IP) transactional matters. In addition to his law degree, Tejani holds a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Oakland University, and a Bachelor’s Degree (dual degree) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University, giving him an in-depth understanding of the sciences.

Tejani prepares and prosecutes patent applications, manages domestic and global patent portfolios, structures license and royalty agreements, and advises clients strategically, helping them to achieve their unique business goals. He has vast experience across various industries, including chemical, life sciences, material, semiconductor, healthcare, automotive and aerospace, and guides organizations to responsibly utilize resources in the pursuit of meaningful IP protection. He also has experience in managing disputes relating to joint development relationships, IP ownership, and inventorship.

Jason is recognized as a thought leader in the IP space and is regularly invited to speak for leading entities such as Harvard Medical School. He is a creative problem solver who believes that understanding the client and the nature of their business is the foundation of any lasting relationship.

“We are pleased to continue the growth of our firm with the addition of Jason. His intellectual property law experience combined with a strong biology and chemical background make him a perfect complement to our IP team,” said co-founding partner, Dean Zipser.

Umberg/Zipser LLP Announces Former Appellate Justice Halim Dhanidina has Joined the Firm

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that the Honorable Halim Dhanidina (Ret.) has joined the firm to help lead the expansion of the firm’s complex litigation practice, including trials and appeals.

Justice Dhanidina (Ret.) joins U/Z upon his retirement as an associate justice with Division Three of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District in Los Angeles. Appointed in 2018, Dhanidina was the first South Asian American to serve as an appellate justice in the State of California and the first Muslim appellate-level judge in the United States.  As an associate justice, he wrote over 300 opinions and heard over 800 appeals. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Dhanidina served for six years on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, making him the first Muslim judge ever appointed in California history. He went on to preside over 70 jury trials in this position.

Prior to his judicial career, Dhanidina had extensive trial experience as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney for over 14 years, conducting 68 jury trials while assigned predominately to the Hardcore Gang and Major Crimes Divisions.

His passion for trial work led Dhanidina to train new trial court judges and appellate justices across California, giving him a statewide presence and network in the process. His extensive exposure and experience, both as a lawyer and judicial officer, in every legal discipline and with cases involving the highest stakes, coupled with his reputation for excellence, make him a unique asset for litigation clients.

Dhanidina commented, “I am excited to join U/Z to help grow the firm’s trial practice.  Once I made the difficult decision to leave the bench, the choice of where I would practice in this next phase of my career was easy. U/Z’s reputation for excellence and community involvement represents the legal profession at its best and directly aligns with how I view the practice of law – from the bench and the private sector. I am grateful to have the opportunity to become part of this incredible team and excited about the future.”

Dhanidina shares U/Z’s commitment to community service. As a son of educators, he has enthusiastically shared his knowledge and experience with the next generation of practitioners over the past 12 years, teaching criminal trial advocacy, civil trial advocacy, criminal procedure, professional responsibility, and criminal law at the UCI School of Law, Chapman University Fowler School of Law, Western State Law School, Whittier Law School and the Glendale University College of Law. He is a founding member of the Association of South Asian Prosecutors, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles, and Muslim Students Association at the Claremont Colleges, and has served as a judge for the Los Angeles County teen court program and volunteer coach for the Constitutional Rights Foundation Orange County’s Mock Trial competition (together with U/Z attorneys Vikki Vander Woude and Ethan Feng).

In addition, Dhanidina is a member of the Community Advisory Council for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-OC and the advisory boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, and Muslim-Jewish NewGround. He was also appointed by the Chief Justice to serve on the steering committee for the Power of Democracy initiative to promote civic education in California public schools. Dhanidina has been recognized for his service and achievements by the California State Assembly, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, UCLA School of Law, South Asian Network, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

“We are incredibly proud to welcome Halim as a partner in our firm. His extensive trial and appellate experience will greatly enhance our ability to serve our clients, and his commitment to public service and giving back to the community is a natural fit with our core values. Our team is honored Halim has chosen U/Z following his remarkable career as a judicial officer,” stated Managing Partner Dean Zipser.

Partner Mei Tsang Becomes Secretary of Community Legal Aid SoCal

Mei Tsang

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that partner Mei Tsang has been appointed Secretary of Community Legal Aid SoCal for the 2021/2022 term.

Mei stated, “I am honored serve as Secretary for Community Legal Aid SoCal, and I look forward to furthering the organization’s mission of promoting equal access to the justice system through advocacy, self-help services, community education, legal counseling and representation.”

U/Z has an unmatched commitment to the Southern California legal community and the profession. Mei’s dedication reflects the firm’s core value of giving back.

Community Legal Aid SoCal provides support and services to help people who are struggling with civil legal issues. Representatives address a wide variety of legal challenges, and the organization provides free, high-quality civil legal services to society’s most vulnerable members, whose human rights and basic needs are jeopardized and for whom significant barriers to justice exist. Workshops and clinics have helped thousands of residents with difficult situations.

Click here to read more about Community Legal Aid SoCal.

Tom Umberg Sworn into California’s Judicial Council

Umberg/Zipser LLP co-founding partner, California State Senator and Chair of the California Senate Judiciary Committee Thomas J. Umberg was sworn into the Judicial Council by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye during a virtual ceremony on Friday, January 22, 2021.

The Judicial Council is the policymaking body of the California courts, the largest court system in the nation. Under the leadership of the Chief Justice and in accordance with the California Constitution, the council is responsible for ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice.

Umberg stated, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside other members of the Judicial Council to advance the consistent, impartial, independent, and accessible administration of justice. ”

Click here to read more about the Judicial Council.