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KEVIN K. NGUYEN

EDUCATION

KEVIN K. NGUYEN completed his undergraduate education at University of California, Irvine and graduated with Bachelor Degree in Political Science in 2003. Mr. Nguyen then received his Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in 2007 and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2008.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Nguyen began his legal career in 2008 and has since been exclusively practicing workers’ compensation law. As a result, he has gained a vast knowledge and experience defending insurance companies, self-insured employers, and third party administrators. Prior to joining Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, Mr. Nguyen was a Managing Attorney at a large workers’ compensation firm handling all aspects of workers’ compensation cases, including complex claims. He has represented clients from a wide variety of industries from retail, hotels, hospitality, schools, hospitals, restaurants, heath care, nursing homes, and public entities. Throughout his legal career he has obtained numerous favorable Court decisions for his clients and has successfully settled hundreds of cases.

Mr. Nguyen is an attorney in the Newport Beach office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown since June 2019.

MITRA KARIMI

EDUCATION

MITRA KARIMI completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California Irvine (UCI) where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology. After receiving her Juris Doctorate Degree in 2005, she was admitted to the California State Bar immediately following.

BACKGROUND

Ms. Karimi began her law career by completing an internship at the District Attorney’s office in Ventura County and continued on to several renowned Civil Litigation Defense firms in Los Angeles. She was solely responsible for handling and litigating complex Labor and Employment disputes including wrongful termination, defense of employment contracts, claims of harassment, and dispute resolution.

Ms. Karimi has been practicing Workers’ Compensation and Labor and Employment Defense for the past 13 years representing employers, insurance companies, self-insured entities, and uninsured employers in all litigation matters. Her dedication and perseverance results in resolution of claim in an efficient and timely manner.

SARAH O’CONNOR

EDUCATION

SARAH O’CONNOR obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Pacific Coast University, School of Law in Long Beach and was the valedictorian of her class. Sarah was admitted to the State Bar of California the same year she graduated.

BACKGROUND

Sarah began her career in the workers’ compensation defense field in 1996. She comes from a workers’ compensation defense family. Her father was a workers’ compensation defense attorney for over 35 years and her mother is a nurse case manager. Sarah started as a file clerk in her father’s law firm and eventually worked her way up to paralegal. Once her father became a sole practitioner, Sarah continued in her paralegal duties, which included extensive legal research, and also maintained client relationships.

After her father’s passing, Sarah continued her career as a workers’ compensation defense paralegal. She began working at Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP with 16 years of experience. Her extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation, with an emphasis on the defense side, made Sarah an asset to our firm. She was eager to further her career and began attending law school at night while working full time.

While attending law school, Sarah transitioned from paralegal to hearing representative. She specialized in pro per settlements and focused on obtaining settlement approvals on an expedited basis. During this time, she gained further knowledge of the workers’ compensation laws of California.

Sarah’s vast experience in the workers’ compensation defense industry allows her to provide an aggressive defense of claims. She strives for early resolution of claims to avoid further litigation costs, yet carefully analyzes each claim to obtain the most favorable outcome for the client.

Sarah is an associate in our Newport Beach office.

ANEETA MISHRA

EDUCATION

ANEETA MISHRA received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Biology degrees from University of California, Irvine. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, where she graduated cum laude; served as Editor of the Law Review; recognized for outstanding academic achievement, earning a spot on the Dean’s Honor Roll for four out of six semesters; and received a Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Negotiations. Ms. Mishra was admitted to practice in California in 2006.

BACKGROUND

Ms. Mishra is a Partner at Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown. She represents insurance carriers, self-insured employers and public entities in all aspects of workers’ compensation defense. She currently works out of the firm’s Newport Beach office.

Before joining the firm as a Partner, Ms. Mishra worked as a Counsel at another defense firm in Fullerton; Managing Partner at Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown in its Encino office, and Associate at the firm’s Newport Beach office; Staff Counsel at a private equity consulting firm in Los Angeles; and In-House Counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in San Bernardino.

PUBLICATIONS

The Rate of Terminal Nucleotide Loss from a Telomere of the Mosquito Anopheles Gambiae, Insect Molecular Biology Journal (2001), M. F. Walter, L. Bozorgnia, Aneeta Mishra and H. Biessmann.

KEVIN KOTTKE

EDUCATION

KEVIN J. KOTTKE obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2012. He received his Juris Doctorate from Pacific Coast University School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar that same year.

BACKGROUND

Kevin Kottke started his legal career as a part-time file clerk with the law offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, in 2009, while attending the University of Colorado, Boulder. He later transitioned to the lien department negotiating complex liens while resolving them in an expeditious and cost-efficient manner. After graduation from the University of Colorado, Boulder, he became a hearing representative with the firm, specializing in the area of in pro per settlements. Mr. Kottke continued to work full-time at the law offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, while attending Pacific Coast University School of Law part-time. After graduating from law school, he was admitted to the California Bar that same year.

Kevin Kottke’s extensive experience from being with Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, has enabled him to be successful in the outcome of intricate cases while addressing the needs of clients.

MARTIN J. HERRERA

EDUCATION

Mr. Herrera received his Juris Doctor Magna Cum Laude from Whittier Law School. During his time at Whittier, Mr. Herrera served on the school’s law review, earned a CALI Award in Modern Real Estate Transactions and was a Dean’s List scholar. While attending Law School, Mr. Herrera worked as a Kindergarten -12th Grade Substitute Teacher at multiple school sites within the Santa Ana Unified School District.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Herrera has exclusively practiced Workers’ Compensation defense in the Orange County area since 2006. He has been recognized in the industry as an aggressive and methodical, yet courteous, adversary. Mr. Herrera has appeared at WCAB court proceedings all over the state, and Judges throughout California hold Mr. Herrera in high esteem. Mr. Herrera’s fluency in Spanish is a highly valued and sought after asset that has enabled him to establish excellent rapport with pro per applicants and employer representatives.

We are pleased to have Mr. Herrera as an attorney in our Newport Beach office.

MUAATH E. ALI

EDUCATION

MUAATH E. ALI completed his undergraduate education at California State University, Los Angeles, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Mr. Ali received his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University, College of Law. While in law school, Mr. Ali received his Child and Family Advocacy Certificate and served as the Barbri Student Representative for Michigan State.

BACKGROUND

Muaath Eric Ali is an attorney at the Newport Beach office. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Ali gained a wide range of experience defending insurance companies and representing injured persons. This experience has culminated in his ability to expedite case resolution through the use of aggressive negotiation skills and the development of relationships with applicant’s attorneys. Mr. Ali’s case handling has had a direct impact on his clients, saving costs while effectively bringing claims to resolution.

Mr. Ali has clerked for two judges, worked for the California Department of Justice in the Business & Tax Section, and worked in the Business Administration & Development Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He is the past Director of Operations for The Learning Curve, a non-profit organization devoted to helping underprivileged children achieve their educational goals. He has been an invited speaker at multiple colleges, speaking to students of programs geared towards assisting African American and Hispanic students transfer to four-year universities. He credits his commitment to community and work ethic to his father.

Mr. Ali has experience representing a wide breadth of employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators. He has dedicated his practice to Workers’ Compensation Defense.

ERICA PHAN

EDUCATION

ERICA PHAN completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics with minors in Accounting and African American Studies. She continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. During her time at Pepperdine, Ms. Phan was a recipient of the Kimberly Dawn Ellis and completed a study abroad program in London where she held a Criminal Defense externship and focused her studies on corporations, international commercial arbitration and federal taxation.

BACKGROUND

After being admitted to the State Bar of California, Ms. Phan began her practice in civil litigation specializing in the areas of complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation, products liability and contracts. She gained experience in all phases of litigation including trial preparation, court appearances and settlement negotiations.
In 2012, Ms. Phan transitioned her focus to Workers’ Compensation defense and has practiced exclusively since. She excels in aggressively defending files while expediting closure through trials and settlements. Ms. Phan is well versed in all phases of litigation, including case in chief, lien resolution, and contribution and has received many favorable outcomes including several Take Nothings. Most recently, Ms. Phan successfully passed the State Bar of California Legal Specialization Exam in Workers’ Compensation and has submitted for official certification effective November 1, 2017.

We are pleased to have Ms. Phan as an associate in our Newport Beach office.

PRISCILLA SHIRKHANLOO

EDUCATION

PRISCILLA SHIRKHANLOO graduated Cum Laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Middle East and North African Studies. She continued on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Chapman University Law School in 2012 where she was in the top 16% of her class. Ms. Shirkhanloo was admitted to the California State Bar in 2012.

BACKGROUND

Before joining the Law Offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, Ms. Shirkhanloo was a Supervising Attorney for a large defense firm in Orange, representing clients in all aspects of workers’ compensation defense. While Ms. Shirkhanloo attended law school, she started her career as a Law Clerk for Paris Law Group. There, she drafted legal documents on various issues in civil law, including worker’s compensation and employment discrimination. Ms. Shirkhanloo also conducted legal research and writing projects. During the summer of her second year and throughout her third year of law school, Ms. Shirkhanloo was a Law Clerk for Lanak & Hanna. There, she wrote memoranda and Motions for construction matters; complied reports and graphics of the firm’s findings to be used during expert witness testimony; and drafted and responded to discovery.

RECOGNITIONS

  • Dean’s Honor List, 4 quarters, UCLA
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Property II
  • L.S. Palmos Award, 2012, Chapman Law School
  • OCBA Barbri Law Review Scholarship Recipient, 2012, Chapman Law School
  • Certificate in Environment, Land Use and Real Estate Law, 2012, Chapman Law School

Ms. Shirkhanloo joined the law offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP as a Partner 2017 where she handles Workers’ Compensation Defense in our Newport Beach office.

AARUNI THAKUR

EDUCATION

AARUNI THAKUR received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles. He continued to receive his Juris Doctor in 2006 from the University of San Diego, School of Law. While in school, Mr. Thakur worked for the San Diego Housing Commission/Anaheim Housing Authority as a Housing Assistant, where he tracked and analyzed the financial data of Section 8 participants.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Thakur began his career working as a Staff Attorney for the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, Inc. where he managed over 200 dependency cases representing parents, minors, legal guardians and De Facto Parents. His responsibilities included interviewing clients, drafting legal documents, analyzing reports and attending appearances at all stages of the case. Mr. Thakur began practicing Workers’ Compensation Law exclusively in 2010 and has defended a variety of complex claims. Over the years, Mr. Thakur has successfully represented a wide array of self-insured employers throughout California, ranging from large retail manufacturers to public entities such as cities and school districts. In working with municipalities and public entities, Mr. Thakur is well-versed with LC 4850 and Education Code benefits. Mr. Thakur’s strong negotiation skills and experience in successfully litigating claims make him a valuable asset to our firm.

Mr. Thakur is an associate in the firm’s Newport Beach office.

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