REBECCA ARAGON is a Shareholder with Littler in Los Angeles. Her practice focuses on wage and hour claims, contract disputes, arbitration agreement enforcement, trade secret claims, sovereign immunity, and claims of wrongful termination, whistleblowing and discrimination. Rebecca also represents companies employing Spanish-speaking workforces in the U.S. and Mexico providing Spanish language legal services. Rebecca is a widely published author and frequent lecturer on labor and employment issues affecting national, state and foreign sovereign employers. Before joining Littler, Rebecca was a partner and chair of an AmLaw 100 national law firm’s labor and employment practice in Los Angeles, and a member of a prior law firm’s board of directors. She served for two years as a law clerk to the Hon. Terry J. Hatter, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In law school, she was the editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Immigration Law Reporter. She is the Vice President (and former two-term President) of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mexican American Bar Foundation, a member of the Steering Committee at Just The Beginning Foundation in Los Angeles, and a member of Labor and Employment Law and Litigation sections of the California Lawyer’s Association. She was named in The Best Lawyers in America© each year from 2015-2019, and named Super Lawyer for Southern California by Super Lawyers every year 2013-2018.
MARK KAGAN is an attorney focused on commercial real estate transactions. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Kagan was a commercial real estate broker for 34 years and focused on leasing and selling commercial, industrial, office, flex buildings and land. He has extensive experience as a broker selling investment and owner/user properties. Mr. Kagan’s extensive background includes the consummation of leases, purchase agreements, license agreements, easements, and notes & deeds, and construction contracts. He has additionally worked on behalf of facilities based Telecom companies negotiating leases, license agreements and easements for the installation of switch sites, colocation facilities, and wireless transmission sites. His background also includes significant experience acquiring entitlements and other property rights for development and environmental mitigation. Mr. Kagan is an alumni of San Diego State University, where he graduated with distinction honors in Econometrics, and earned his law degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In law school, he served as a Certified Intern with the Office of the Attorney General and the San Diego District Attorney.
CHRISTINE KOPITZKE is an attorney focusing on trademark and copyright strategy, registration, licensing, and dispute resolution; domain name disputes; trade secret protection; and right of publicity with SoCal IP Law Group LLP. Ms. Kopitzke has practiced in and headed the trademark and copyright departments in large and mid-size law firms in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Santa Barbara. Her professional experience includes complex international trademark licensing for a multinational corporation; copyright dispute resolution with federal agencies on behalf of a prominent national design firm; consultation concerning enterprise-wide branding strategy; author-publisher contract negotiations; trademark enforcement involving infringing products on eBay; and preparation of copyright licenses and assignments for contributors to web sites and online courses. Ms. Kopitzke has been active in a number of professional organizations, including the International Trademark Association and the Copyright Society of the USA. She is currently an advisor to the Executive Committee of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of California, and has served as editor of New Matter, the Section’s quarterly journal. Ms. Kopitzke also serves as Chair of the Intellectual Property/Technology Business Section of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and on the board of the county’s Bar Foundation, and is a member of Santa Barbara Women Lawyers. She was an editorial consultant for the 2008 CEB treatise Intellectual Property in Business Transactions, and regularly speaks on trademark and copyright topics to professional organizations at the local and state levels.
JEFF MAKOFF is a Partner at Valle Makoff LLP in San Francisco, where his practice primarily involves disputes about business ownership, management and control, buyouts and contractual disputes. Mr. Makoff is admitted to practice in all California federal and state courts, in Washington, D.C. and Ohio. He arbitrates before AAA, JAMS and other panels and has been co-lead counsel in Delaware and Texas cases. Mr. Makoff is the author of a chapter in CEB’s 2016 Practice Guide on “Understanding Fiduciary Duties in Business Entities” on the subject of “Fiduciary Duties in Family Businesses and Transactions.” He is a past Co-Chair of the Committee on Business Litigation of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar. Mr. Makoff was trained at the leading international law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom under nationally-renowned trial lawyers Frank Rothman, Bill Masterson, Michael Diamond and James Lyons. Mr. Makoff received his J.D. in 1985 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Mr. Makoff received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1981, cum laude, from UCLA.
CLARA RUYAN MARTIN
CLARA RUYAN MARTIN is a corporate and business lawyer who helps companies, large and small, grow in an intelligent way, with an eye towards maximizing their value and facilitating their exit strategy. She is a recognized expert in technology and Internet law working with both vendors and customers in complex technology transactions. She graduated from University of Michigan Law School and from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Economy and French Literature. Clara has served as a Lecturer in Law at USC Law School since 2004, teaching a course she developed titled “Contract Drafting and Negotiation.” She is the author of a treatise for the California Continuing Education of the Bar titled “Internet Law and Practice in California,” winner of the Association for Continuing Legal Education’s Award for Professional Excellence in the Best Publication category. In 2014 Clara was awarded the “Spirit of CEB Award” honoring excellence in her authorship and support of their mission. A founding board member of the Women’s Leadership Council, Clara is invested in helping the next generation of women leaders.
DAVID C. MCCUAIG
DAVID C. MCCUAIG is the President and Managing Attorney for SONA LEGAL APC. He was born in Brisbane, Australia, and raised in the Netherlands by an Irish father and Dutch mother. At age 14, his family won the Green Card lottery and moved to Los Angeles, California to live the American Dream. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, San Diego, Mr. McCuaig attended law school in Washington D.C. before returning to sunny Southern California. After fine-tuning his craft for several years with a Los Angeles-based firm, Mr. McCuaig opened his own boutique business law firm representing a diverse range of clients ranging from multi-billion dollar tech companies to local yoga studios. Mr. McCuaig received the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services for his efforts in the community as well as the San Diego Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” Award. He is an active member of the Business & Corporate Law and Estate Planning Sections of the San Diego County Bar Association and is a co-author for the 2018 update to the CEB publication “Selecting and Forming Business Entities.”
ETHNA SINISI PIAZZA
ETHNA SINISI PIAZZA is a partner at CKR LAW LLP where she focuses on technology and brand licensing, mergers and acquisitions, international business, distribution, supply chain, emerging companies, subsidiary formation and governance, joint ventures, brand protection, and privacy. A graduate of University of Texas School of Law, Ms. Piazza started her legal career as an associate for Johnson and Gibbs and then attorney for Exxon. She also served as a partner at Sheppard Mullin, a shareholder for Chaberlain Hrdlicka, a partner at Allen Matkins, and founded Growth Priority Law before joining CKR LAW LLP. Ms. Piazza is a member of the invitation-only ProVisors group, has spoken for groups besides CEB including the International Business Forum and the Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection conference, and received the General Counsel of the Year Award for Middle Sized Companies in 2013.
STEVEN C. SEREBOFF
STEVEN C. SEREBOFF is an attorney focusing on intellectual property strategy, licensing and contracts, litigation, patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets with SoCal IP Law Group LLP. He holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and had seven years of experience in the computer software business before earning his law degree from Boston University. While at Boston University, Mr. Sereboff founded Boston University’s Technology, Science and Law Association, and was employed by MIT to negotiate and manage software licenses. His technical expertise includes many aspects of computers (both software and hardware) and myriad electronic and electrical devices, their operation and manufacture.
WHITNEY SKALA has practiced law since 1983. Mr. Skala runs a small-firm practice in San Diego covering the areas of real estate and business sales, acquisitions, financings, leasings, entity formations, and related matters. Mr. Skala received his B.A. degree (1980) from U.C. Berkeley, and his J.D. degree (1983) from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Skala has authored several articles and book chapters for CEB and the State Bar of California on business law matters, and was honored by the State Bar for his legal writings. Mr. Skala regularly speaks on real property and business law matters for groups in addition to CEB, including National Business Institute, Lorman Educational Services, Sterling Education Services, and Moss Adams, LLP. Mr. Skala has served as Co-Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association's Real Property Section, sits on the editorial board of the San Diego County Bar Association’s magazine, is a member of the CLA’s “Partnerships and LLC Committee,” and recently concluded a four-year effort as Secretary to the State Bar’s Working Group on Legal Opinions/LLC’s and Partnerships, which generated the “Report on Third-Party Closing Opinions for Limited Liability Companies & Partnerships.”
TONY DREXEL SMITH
TONY DREXEL SMITH is the President, CEO, and Chairman of Blue Moon Advisors. Tony specializes in professional-grade business finance documentation and start-ups including business plan development, due-diligence, Private Placement Memoranda (PPM) supporting documentation, validation of claims, assumption worksheets, research and pro forma development. He has written or supervised the production of hundreds of business finance documents including a direct or indirect role in more than 1,000 projects. During the past 20 years, he has heard more than 8,000 elevator pitches. He has specifically completed hundreds of projects relating to business valuations, C-Level consulting-coaching, certified business planning, commercial bank credit applications, confidential business assessments, IB financing (Investment Banking), market planning, demographic research, market penetration modeling, non-complex credit applications, PPM (Private Placement RD 504-6) supporting documents, Title II (Crown fund RD 506(c), Crowd Funding and SBA loan packaging. “The Situation Analysis” is his fourth publication. Previously, Smith co-authored The Essential Handbook for Small Businesses ISBN# 978-0-9840365-0-9 in 2011. Smith published and distributed The Business Development Directory in 2008 with the federally funded Workforce Investment Board. He published a white paper titled “The Capital Readiness Report” in 2017. He is a graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in Business Administration with Cum Laude Honors.
RICHARD A. WEINTRAUB
RICHARD A. WEINTRAUB is the Founder and Managing Partner of Weintraub Law Group PC. Practicing law for almost 40 years, Rick is a Martindale Hubble ’AV’-rated attorney. He has been Lead Counsel in more than 400 public and private offerings and more than 200 mergers and acquisitions. He specializes in venture capital transactions; mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; public and private offerings, and debt financing. An expert on CrowdFunding, Rick co-founded a firm specializing in creating portal platforms for the offer and sale of securities in a cloud based eco-system that has created portals for numerous clients. He also has considerable experience in the representation of hedge funds and private equity funds that have raised funds totaling in excess of $200 million. Rick has taught courses on tax and securities law at UCLA, University California San Diego, and University of San Diego. He frequently writes and speaks on his areas of specialty for CEB and other organizations.