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Board Officers


Gary Zhao, President

  Gary represents clients in high-stake and complex business litigation matters nationwide. A partner in SmithAmundsen LLC’s commercial litigation group, Gary has secured victories through both trial and arbitration for his client in cases involving breach of contract, intellectual property, false advertising, unfair competition, business fraud and other disputes. Gary currently serves as NAPABA's Treasurer and a member of the the organization's Executive Committee. He had been at-large member of the board of governors of NAPABA from 2016 to 2018. He currently co-chairs NAPABA’s steering committee of the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy, a substantive program resulting from a collaboration of the six sponsoring bar associations and lays the foundation for further collaborative efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  From 2011 to 2016, Gary served as the co-chair of NAPABA national litigation committee, an active committee with over 200 members. Gary was recognized by NAPABA as one of Best Lawyers Under 40 in 2015. He is a past President of the Chinese American Bar Association, a NAPABA affiliate, and is a recipient of the Presidential Leadership Award from the organization. Gary is the current First Vice President of AABA Chicago and received its Member of the Year Award in 2010. Gary also proudly serves on the honorary board of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA). Gary is also fully engaged in his law firm’s diversity activities. He co-chaired SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide Diversity Committee from 2013 to 2015. In this position he led the firm’s diversity initiatives, oversee the use of firm diversity budget and ensure that all members of the firm feel appreciated for their unique perspectives and backgrounds.

Kristy M. Gonowon, First Vice President


Kristy is currently in-house counsel for Allstate Insurance within the Dispute Resolution Services department of the corporation's Law & Regulation division. Kristy is also the incoming Central Regional Governor and a member of the In-House Counsel/Partner Committee for NFALA, and she is an active member of FALA Chicago. Her current practice involves the management and direction of both staff and retained counsel on matters including coverage, excess verdicts, extracontractual liability disputes, and bad faith claims.

Before moving to Dispute Resolution Serivces, Kristy practiced for two years in the downtown Chicago Allstate staff counsel office where she defended insureds at the trial level. While at staff counsel, Kristy switched gears and joined Allstate's then newly formed staff counsel subrogation business line model wherein she recovered business assets through both auto and property subrogation claims. Kristy began her legal career in 2004 as a plaintiff trial attorney with Gonsky, Baum, & Whittaker, Ltd. and represented clients in matters involving personal injury, probate, UM/UIM disputes, real estate, medical malpractice, and some appellate issues.

Kristy received her undergraduate degree in political science and a certificate in Markets & Management from Duke University. She received her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law."

 

Jefferey Koh, Second Vice President

  

Elin I. Park, Secretary

 

Elin Park is a litigator at Jenner & Block LLP.  She represents clients in high-stakes complex commercial matters in a range of areas, including financial services, disputes arising out of acquisitions, class action, contract disputes, environmental liabilities, and bankruptcy proceedings.  A federal court has described Elin’s advocacy in the courtroom as superlative, and she has successfully represented clients at the trial and appellate levels, including before the Illinois Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, and other appellate courts.  Elin has been recognized for her successful representations of pro bono clients with awards from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the Seventh Circuit Bar Association.  In addition to serving as the Secretary of AABA Chicago, Elin also serves on the Board of KABA Chicago.  Elin is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and Duke University.


Yankun Guo, Treasurer

Yankun is Principal Attorney at the Law Office of Yankun Guo, where she advises financial services and technology (FinTech) clients on corporate, securities, and regulatory issues. She also advises businesses involved in distributed ledger technologies and blockchain. Previously, she was Regulatory Counsel at Opportunity Financial, LLC. Yankun also worked at CME Group’s Transactions and Commercial Relations Group and Corporate Compliance team. Yankun received a B.S. in Actuarial Science and a B.A in Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. She is also on the board of the Chinese American Bar Association.

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