Umberg/Zipser Proud to Sponsor Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) 2024 Celebration

Umberg/ZipserLLP (U/Z) was proud to once again be a sponsor for the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) Celebration which was held on Friday, May 17th at the Pendry Newport Beach. U/Z partner, Todd Smith, has been a member of the CASA Board of Directors for many years and currently serves as its Secretary. Prior to his Board service, Todd was a CASA mentor/advocate for two years. Founded 1985, CASA OC serves over 1,000 children each year who move through the Orange County welfare system as a result of abuse and neglect. For more information on CASA, please visit

Ethan Feng Honored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County as “Coach of the Year”

Umberg/Zipser is proud to announce that Ethan Feng has been honored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County (CRF) as “Coach of the Year,” along with Orange County School of the Arts’ Mock Trial Team coach attorneys Melissa Brandman and Hon. Halim Dhanidina (Ret.).

Ethan and his fellow coach attorneys took this relatively young team to the CRF Mock Trial California Finals in 2023 where they finished in third place and helped advance them to the semifinals, county-wide, in 2024.

The firm is a long-standing supporter of CRF.  Both Adina Stowell and Dean Zipser have served as past presidents of CRF, and a number of the firm’s attorneys have volunteered for the organization. We look forward to continuing to offer our experience and support to the high school students participating in the program.



Umberg/Zipser Again Sponsors OCBA Charitable Fund’s Raise Your Glass Fundraiser

The OCBA Charitable Fund’s recent annual “Raise Your Glass” event was once again a special experience.  Umberg/Zipser (U/Z) continued to be a sponsor and our attorneys play a prominent role in the organization. Scott Garner is the Charitable Fund’s current president, Dean Zipser is a past president, and Mei Tsang has been a long-time board member. The OCBA’s mission is “To Enhance the System of Justice, To Support the Lawyers Who Serve It, and To Assist the Community Served by It.” The Charitable Fund supports programs and organizations who “assist the community served by it” through its grants. If you would like to learn more about the event, click here.

Umberg/Zipser Continues Key Roles at ABTL Annual Seminar

ABTL U/Z 2021

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) once again had a meaningful role in the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ (ABTL) 47th Annual Seminar, “Evolution of Business Litigation: Adapting and Overcoming” on October 20-24, 2021. Vikki Vander Woude is an ABTL board member and served on the planning committee for the event. Hon. Halim Dhanidina (Ret.) participated on the panel and delivered one of two closing arguments at the mock trial component of the program.

U/Z attorneys are long-time supporters of the ABTL and all of the firm’s litigators are members. Dean Zipser, Scott Garner and Mark Finkelstein are former ABTL Orange County Chapter Presidents.  Adina Stowell has served on the board, and Carole Reagan is a former member of the newsletter’s editorial board. Dean, Mark, Vikki, Halim, and Adina all attended the seminar on the firm’s behalf.

Umberg/Zipser Named to Orange County Best Law Firms List for 2022

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that the firm again has been ranked Tier One in the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® for the Orange County metropolitan area.  The ranking showcases top law firms recognized by clients and peers for delivering professional excellence and for high-quality ratings and indicate a unique combination of quality in practice and legal expertise.  The firm has received this recognition every year since its inception in 2014.

In 2022, the firm received five Tier One rankings in Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Banking & Finance Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation. The firm also received recognition in the areas of Copyright Law, Trademark Law, and Patent Litigation.

“It is an honor to work with the U/Z team of accomplished professionals who are consistently recognized as the best in their practice areas by their clients and their peers. The firm’s dedication to client service and effective strategies are what allow us to be named year after year as a top tier firm in Orange County,” said U/Z partner Dean Zipser.

In addition to the 2022 Best Law Firms ranking, attorneys Mark Finkelstein, Scott Garner, Carole Reagan, Adina Stowell, Mei Tsang, Thomas Umberg, and Dean Zipser have been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2022, and Brent Colasurdo has been recognized as a Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch.”

Attorneys Scott Garner and Dean Zipser have 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 specialty and location.

Priti Phukan Selected as a 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is proud to announce that Priti Phukan, Ph.D. has been recognized as a 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star for Intellectual Property. The Rising Stars list recognizes no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in each state.

Priti concentrates her practice on patent and trademark prosecution across various technology industries, including chemistry, life sciences, diagnostics, medical devices, and mechanical engineering. She began her career as a chemist and molecular biologist and then ultimately made the choice to start her career in patent law in 2012.

In addition to Priti’s recognition, the following U/Z attorneys have been recognized in the 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers list:

Super Lawyers’ annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

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.

Halim Dhanidina Serves as Moderator for Webinar “Appointment to the California Superior Court: Nuts & Bolts”

Umberg/Zipser partner Halim Dhanidina served as moderator for the California Asian Pacific American Judges Association webinar “Appointment to the California Superior Court: Nuts & Bolts” on April 7, 2021. The webinar featured Luis Céspedes, Governor Newsom’s new Judicial Appointments Secretary and a distinguished panel of recently appointed Judges to discuss the criteria used by the Governor to select judges and the process used to vet and appoint them.

Vikki Vander Woude and Ethan Feng lead OCSA to CRF-OC’s Mock Trial Semi-Finals

Umberg/Zipser is pleased to continue its long-time support of the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County (CRF-OC), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting civic literacy, youth leadership, and career awareness among Orange County teens.  Most recently, U/Z attorneys Vikki Vander Woude and Ethan Feng, along with Justice Halim Dhanadina of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, and employment attorney Melissa Brandman, coached Orange County School of the Arts’ mock trial team in CRF-OC’s first “virtual only” high school mock trial competition, ending with an impressive 6-1 record and advancing to the semi-finals for the first time since Vikki and OCSA teacher sponsors Whitney Coates and Julie Scheppele formed the team four years ago.  CRF’s mock trial program provides high school students the opportunity to develop impressive trial advocacy and public speaking skills, as well as a deep understanding of the purpose and role of all participants in the criminal justice system.

Vikki is an award-winning CRF mock trial coach who has formed and developed numerous teams in Orange County over the past 12 years and currently serves on the mock trial committee of CRF-OC’s Board of Directors. Attorney Ethan Feng is a graduate of UCLA Law School, where he was the co-president of the UCLA Law Mock Trial Program, and led the program to victory in various national competitions.

Vikki said, “We are very proud of these talented students. They put in a lot of hard work and were able to collaborate as a team and compete at the highest level in this very challenging virtual environment.”

The firm has a long history of leadership in CRF-Orange County. Partner Adina Stowell served as CRF-OC’s 2014/2015 President and has been a Board Member since 2006. Co-founding partner Dean Zipser served as the organization’s 2017/2018 President, and has been a Board Member since 2007.

Read more about CRF-OC here. 

Umberg/Zipser Continues Its Prominence With Orange County Bar Association

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) continues to play a major role with the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA).  On January 21, 2021, OCBA held its annual Judges’ Night and Annual Meeting (for the first time virtually).  At the meeting,  partner Scott B. Garner, the Immediate Past President of OCBA, was sworn in as an officer of the OCBA and as 2021 President of the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund (OCBACF).

After having led the OCBA through unprecedented times, Scott now takes the helm of  OCBACF, which oversees and administers the charitable giving for the OCBA. It is dedicated to bettering the Orange County community and legal profession by facilitating access to justice. OCBACF raises and distributes monetary contributions to carefully selected Orange County law-related organizations.

Garner is immediate Past-President of the OCBA, has served on the Board of Directors for the OCBACF and as co-chair of the OCBA Professionalism and Ethics Committee. As a partner with U/Z, Scott represents clients in complex business litigation matters, with a focus on professional liability disputes and ethics counseling. He also frequently serves as an expert witness on legal ethics and standard of care issues.

“I am honored to serve as 2021 President of the OCBA Charitable Fund. I look forward to working with a dedicated group of professionals with the mission to enhance the system of justice and promote equal justice for all,” says Scott.

In addition to Scott’s leadership role, U/Z partner Mei Tsang was sworn in and will again serve on the Board of Directors of both the OCBA and the OCBACF. Mei also co-chairs OCBA’s Diversity Committee.

The annual meeting also recognized all of the recipients of OCBA’s highest honor, the Franklin G. West Award. Umberg/Zipser co-founding partner Dean J. Zipser, a former OCBA President, received the honor in 2017, 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 organization.