Member Directory

We encourage all our Members to submit their photos to include with their Biography on this page.  Please email your photo to ABAPA Tampa Bay.  Thanks.

Stephen Lee
Lee Law Group, PLLC
3804 W. North B St.
Tampa, FL 33609
Practice Areas: Civil Practice Law, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation
Languages: Korean
(813) 606-4533
Professional Bio

Summary: Haksoo Stephen Lee is a Korean American lawyer and practices in the areas of creditors’ rights, workouts, business litigation and criminal law. Haksoo graduated from Fordham University in 2003 with a bachelor of arts in philosophy. At Fordham University, he was inducted into the National Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society, was listed on the Dean’s List, and received the Loyola Scholarship for academic performance and leadership ability. During his time at Fordham, Haksoo worked as a deputy clerk for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Before attending law school, Haksoo studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and worked as an associate youth pastor and a hospital chaplain, where he earned American CPE Chaplaincy Certification.  Haksoo received his Juris Doctor degree in 2009 from the University of Notre Dame Law School. During his time at Notre Dame, Haksoo participated in the Intensive Trial Advocacy program developed and taught by the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. In addition, Haksoo served as a student-attorney licensed by the Indiana State Bar at the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic. As a student-attorney, Haksoo represented indigent clients in the areas of trusts/estates and religious/non-profit law. Haksoo also served as a student Public Defender in the Juvenile Justice Center. Haksoo interned for Judge Dees in the Northern District of Indiana Bankruptcy Court, Judge Weissbrodt in the Northern District of California Bankruptcy Court and the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee Debra L. Miller. Haksoo was a summer associate at Hwang Mok Park and at electronics maker LG Corporation in Seoul, South Korea. After law school, Haksoo worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis M. Killian, Jr., United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Florida.  After clerking, Haksoo worked for a large national law firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, in Tampa, Florida before starting his own law firm in 2014.

ZARRA ELIAS – President-Elect
Akerman, LLP
401 East Jackson Street
Suite 1700
Tampa, FL 33602
Practice Areas: 
Employee Handbooks, Policies & Forms,
Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention
Employment Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation
Employment Investigations & Audits Employment Litigation
Labor & Employment,Training in the Workplace
Non-Competes & Trade Secrets, Wage & Hour Issues,
Whistleblower & Retaliation Claims
Languages: Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Tagalog
Attorney Profile

BEEJAL P. THAKORE – Vice President
Thakore Law, PLLC
3030 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Suite 150
Tampa, FL 33607
Practice Areas:
Real Estate and Commercial Litigation, Real Estate Transactions, Condo and HOA Law
Languages: Gujarati
Tel: (813) 598-1303

Summary: Beejal Thakore practices in the areas of real estate, contracts and business transactions and litigation.  After nearly a decade of practicing at other law firms, Beejal started Thakore Law, PLLC to assist individual and corporate clients throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.   Thakore Law’s mission statement is to provide every client with precise, practical and personalized legal representation.  Beejal has lived in Florida for over 30 years and is a proud triple graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in Criminology and Psychology and her Juris Doctorate degree in 2007.  She is also fluent in Gujarati.

American Express Global Business Travel

5404 Cypress Center Dr

Tampa, FL 33609

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property
Languages: Korean
Tel:  480-909-1992
Professional Bio

LINDA J.Z. YOUNG – Treasurer
Raymond James Financial, Inc.

880 Carillon Pkwy
St Petersburg, FL 33716
Tel: 727 567 6156
Fax: 866 205 4639
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, Business Disputes, Contract Disputes, Real Estate Litigation, Banking Litigation
Languages: Mandarin
Linda Young’s practice consists of a variety of commercial litigation matters, including bankruptcy, business disputes, contract disputes, real estate litigation and banking litigation.

Among her recent representative experience, Linda has:

  • Represented secured and unsecured lenders in both state and federal court collection matters involving residential and commercial foreclosures, garnishments, proceedings supplementary to execution and other post-judgment collections matters.
  • Represented corporate debtors and secured creditors in bankruptcy court cases involving various Chapter 11 bankruptcy issues, including use of cash collateral, assumption and rejection of executory contracts, claims analysis, drafting and negotiating of plan of reorganization and other post-confirmation issues.
  • Appeared for and participated in hearings before state and federal courts for lender and debtor clients.
  • Negotiated and drafted settlement agreements on behalf of secured and unsecured lenders.

During her time in law school, Linda gained experience serving as a judicial intern for the Honorable Alan S. Gold of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She also worked as a legal intern for the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office.

HANNAH CHOI – Social Chair
iQor US, Inc.
One Progress Plaza
200 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Practice Areas: Labor and Employment
Languages: Korean

Debbie Sines Crockett, Esq.
Cheffy Passidomo, P.A.
821 5th Avenue South
Naples, FL 34102
Practice Areas: Insurance Coverage
Languages: Korean
Tel: (239) 261-9300
Fax: (239) 261-9782
Attorney Profile

JIN LIU – Board Member
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
777 S. Harbour Island Blvd., #4
Tampa, FL 33602
Practice Areas:
Real Estate, Finance, Corporate.
Mandarin Chinese
(813) 229-4209
Professional Bio

Summary: Ms. Liu is a Board Member and Founding Member of APABA Tampa Bay.  Jin Liu represents note holders, servicers, and other financial institutions in workouts, loan transactions, loan sales, and disposition of real estate. Ms. Liu also represents resort developers and other developers of large commercial and residential projects in purchase and sale of both improved and unimproved property, business planning and implementation, transaction structuring, partnerships, limited liability companies, joint ventures, and a variety of loan transactions. Ms. Liu has experience advising developers and financial institutions with respect to Florida condominium filings and condominium related due diligence issues.As a bi-cultural and bilingual attorney who received legal education in both the United States and China, Ms. Liu has represented international, in particular, Chinese, clients in a variety of commercial transactions.  Ms. Liu currently chairs the International Investment in Real Estate Committee of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section. She has organized and participated in several presentation and writing projects on cross-border real estate transactions.


STEVE BERLIN – Board Member
Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell

100 North Tampa Street Suite 2000, Tampa, Fl 33602

Practice Areas: Casualty Litigation
Practice Areas: Casualty Litigation
Tel: 813-223-4253
Fax: 813-221-4752

Summary: Steve Berlin is a litigation associate who focuses on casualty litigation with an emphasis on deconstructing complex matters and issues involving technology. He joins Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell after retiring from twenty years of service as an Army Officer.

Steve’s practice areas include the legal impacts of using technology. This includes concepts like data storage and transmission, cybersecurity compliance, cell phone use, social media, and insider threat mitigation. He helps clients develop their internal policy and defends them in litigation. He is also experienced in working with the defense contracting community. He interfaces with defense contracting clients on the wide variety of legal issues within the firm’s practice areas because he understands the client and their customer.

After a tour as a field artillery officer, Steve attended law school and qualified and certified under Article 27(b) and sworn under Article42(a), Uniform Code of Military Justice as an Army JAG officer. He focused his career as a criminal litigator and as in-house counsel. The Army JAG Corps designated him as an Expert Military Justice Practitioner.

Steve has prosecuted over sixty courts-martial with a heavy emphasis on crimes involving sexual and family violence. He began his career prosecuting military cases at Fort Knox, Kentucky where he became the senior prosecutor and also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. He later was a member of the Army’s first cohort of Special Victim Prosecutors. This program returned experienced prosecutors to the courtroom to stem the concerns surrounding sexual and family violence. In this position, he received advanced training in forensics, medical evidence, and advocacy.

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., Fixed Income Finance Desk
3800 Citibank Center
Tampa, FL 33610
Practice Areas: Fixed Income Finance
Ms. Jattansingh is Secretary to APABA Tampa Bay.

Navigant Consulting, Inc.
101 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 2250
Tampa, FL 33602
Practice Areas: Forensic Accounting, Financial Investigations, Litigation Support
Languages: Cantonese
Tel: (813) 277-1913 Fax: (813) 277-1903

Bareboard Group
Practice Areas: Business Transactions & Corporate,
EB-5, Federal and International Tax and Taxation, International Business and Taxation, Immigration.
Languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese

Summary: Mr. Liu is a past president and general counsel to APABA Tampa Bay.

Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP
SunTrust Financial Centre
401 East Jackson Street, Suite 3100
Tampa, FL 33602
Tel: 813.225.2500
Fax: 813.223.7118
Languages Spoken: Malay, Hokkien, Fujanese
Practice Areas: Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation; Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights; Workouts; Banking and Transaction

Summary: Ms. Lim started the practice of law, in New York, in the bankruptcy departments of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in 1993 and subsequently at Dewey Ballantine (now Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP). She clerked with the Honorable Cornelius Blackshear, Bankruptcy Judge (now retired) in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York. In 1998, Ms. Lim moved from New York to Florida. In 2000, she was the first Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael G. Williamson, bankruptcy judge in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. In 2005, she joined the firm of Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP, in the firm’s bankruptcy, creditor’s rights and insolvency related practice group.

At Johnson, Pope, Ms. Lim has successfully represented both corporate and individual debtors (primarily in Chapter 11 reorganization cases), secured creditors, landlords, creditor’s committees, trustees and receivers in state court restructurings.

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Lisa Hu Barquist
Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A.
Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Business Law, Injunction

Tel: 407.578.9696
Professional Bio at Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A.

Summary: Having practiced law in the public and private sectors, national and boutique law firms, on civil and federal criminal matters, and as General Counsel in a manufacturing/logistics company on all transactional matters totaling 29 years, I offer a breadth and wealth of legal, practical, life experiences to my clients and approach to all matters at hand.  For example, I devoted 11 years serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida prosecuting criminal narcotics cases and civil Medicare fraud.

As a Chinese-American female immigrant who has dealt with various forms of prejudice and pre-conceived notions, I have a keen sense of fairness and how lawyers and the justice system can help in leveling the playing field between parties of unequal strength.

I enjoy the practice of law because it allows me the opportunity to do justice through integrity, professionalism and also plain good luck along the way, too.  My greatest strengths as an attorney have been earned through life experiences, helping others and intellectual curiosity.

If I did not pursue my calling as an attorney, I would have been a painter and writer as they require creativity, inspiration and discipline.

I am passionate about the humane treatment of all creatures and environmental sustainability for future generations.  I have five dogs, many of whom are rescue and all deeply loved.


Ying “Laura” Gao
Emma Hemness, P.A.
Practice Areas: Probate, Guardianship, Guardian Advocacy, Elder Exploitation

Tel: 407.578.9696
Professional Bio at Emma Hemness, P.A.

Summary: Ying “Laura” Gao was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2016 and was subsequently admitted to the California Bar, and the US District Court, Middle District of Florida in 2017. She is an associate attorney at the Law Office of Emma Hemness, and her current practice is concentrated in the areas of probate, guardianship, guardian advocacy and elder exploitation.

Laura was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship to attend Stetson University College of Law and graduated cum laude in May 2016. The highlights of her law school journey include:

• Being a finalist in the Phelps Dunbar Appellate Advocacy Competition,
• Receiving a High-Grade Award from the law firm of Banker Lopez Gassler, and
• Working as a research assistant to Honorable Scott Stephens for Florida Family Law (Vol 23, Florida Practice Series).

She is a member of Phi Delta Phi, an international legal honor society and the oldest legal organization in continuous existence in the United States.

Laura was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province of China, a city about an hour’s drive outside of Shanghai. She is fluent in English, Mandarin and Shanghai dialect. Right before coming to the US, she was the marketing manager for Gitanjali, the largest Indian diamond company, and launched its first brand in China.

In her free time, Laura enjoys flying, sailing, scuba diving and hiking. Before law school, she won Air Race Classic 2010, a national women’s 4-day cross-country air race, with her team; and she won the Florida Sunshine Derby 2011, a proficiency race, with her husband Matt. Both Matt and Laura are commercial and instrument rated pilots. As an advocate for general aviation, Laura has been an Airport Support Network volunteer for the Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association (AOPA) since 2012.

Laura believes that every interaction is an opportunity to bring love, compassion, and peace to others, whether in her personal or professional life.

Sarah Lahoe - Amine

Sarah Lahlou-Amine
Banker Lopez Gassler, P.A.
Practice Areas: Appellate and Insurance litigation

Tel: 813.384.3994
Professional Bio at Banker Lopez Gassler, P.A.

Summary: Board Certified in Appellate Practice, Sarah Lahlou-Amine practices in all areas of state and federal appellate and insurance litigation, and provides litigation advice and strategy on insurance coverage, defense, and extra-contractual matters.

In her appellate practice, Sarah helps clients and litigators seeking to protect their appellate record or properly prepare a case for appeal. In the event of an appeal, Sarah partners with trial counsel to protect a favorable ruling, seek a reversal, or obtain other appellate relief.
Sarah handles a variety of insurance matters, including advising on coverage issues, bad faith exposure, best practices, and litigation and appellate strategy. She litigates and advises on issues involving commercial liability, commercial property, homeowners, automobile, directors and officers, errors and omissions, professional liability, and excess policies, among others.

Sarah has been consecutively noted as a Florida Rising Star by Florida Super Lawyers magazine since 2010 and has garnered an AV® Preeminent distinction, the highest available mark for professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings.

Laura believes that every interaction is an opportunity to bring love, compassion, and peace to others, whether in her personal or professional life.

Jospeh Hwan-Yul Lee
Lee Law Group, P.A.
Practice Areas: Administrative Law, Business Litigation, Civil and Criminal Appeals, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

Tel: 813.606.4533
Professional Bio at Lee Law Group, P.A.

Summary: Joseph “Hwan-Yul” Lee was born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in Morganton, North Carolina. A cum laude graduate of The Asheville School, Joseph stayed in North Carolina throughout college and law school. Joseph attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving his A.B., With Distinction (Magna Cum Laude) and Honors in Philosophy, in 1988. Most notably, while at U.N.C.: Joseph made the Dean’s List seven times; was a member of Phi Beta Kappa – the oldest academic fraternity in the country, accepting less than 1% of eligible students; was named among other prestigious Outstanding College Students of America; and graduated With Distinction  (Magna Cum Laude), and With Honors in Philosophy. A philosophy buff, Joseph completed his honors thesis, entitled “Building More Lifeboats: A Reevaluation of Hardin”, now a permanent part of U.N.C.’s Library System.

Joseph’s legal career in the Tampa Bay area began in 1994 at the Office of the Attorney General, where Joseph served as an Assistant Attorney General from 1994 – 2001. Joseph started in the Criminal Appeals Bureau, before being assigned to the Civil Trial Unit in 1996. While serving as an Assistant Attorney General, Joseph received five Letters of Commendation and three Letters of Appreciation.

Joseph not only brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to the Lee Law Group’s Litigation Team, but also adds a level of personal passion unequaled in his practice areas. This commitment stems from personal experience with medical negligence when his daughter, Emmy, was born in 2005, with severe and permanent special-needs stemming from human error. Joseph understands – firsthand – the impact of negligence, and the force of law that it takes to effect real, positive change in a person’s life.

Jeanie Kang, Esq.
Law Office of Jeanie Kang
Practice Areas: Family Law, Child Advocacy/Guardianship, Civil and Criminal litigation’s, Wills/Estate Planning/Probate, Immigration Law, and Real Estate Transactions

Tel: 813.474.8588

Summary:  Jeanie Kang received her JD degree from Hofstra University Law School in New York in 2013 and was admitted to the Florida bar in the same year. During her time at Hofstra, she was selected as an associate of Child and Family Advocacy program and worked on several family law and domestic violence cases. Also, she was selected for Clinical Prosecution Practicum during her last year of law school and handled actual criminal cases at Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Since she decided to move to Florida upon graduation, she worked as a legal intern for the United States Attorney’s Office-Middle District of Florida during summer. Before law school, she graduated from State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. At Stony Brook, she was listed on the Dean’s List every semester and received merit scholarship every year.