Board of Directors

Monique N. Bhargava

Monique (Nikki) Bhargava is an attorney in Winston & Strawn’s Advertising, Marketing, and Brand Protection group. She advises clients in a broad spectrum of industries with respect to litigation and transactional issues concerning advertising, consumer promotions/marketing, trademark, copyright, data privacy, domain name, and other intellectual property matters. Nikki earned her J.D. from University of Illinois – College of Law and earned a B.A. in both Molecular Cell Biology (Neurobiology) and Political Science from University of California, Berkeley. She is also the VP of Programming for the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago.


Emma Bienias

Emma Bienias is a Director with Stout Risius Ross and has a background in performing valuation of intellectual property assets for various purposes including financial reporting, tax and business reorganizations. She also provides expert litigation support for analyses of economic damages resulting from the infringement or misappropriation of intellectual property rights. Emma co-founded the Chicago Women in IP group, serves on the Board of the Lawyer for Creative Arts and is active in the International Trademark Association (INTA) and a member of INTA’s Enforcement Committee.  She has a Bachelor of Biology and Chemistry from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor and Masters of Economics from the University of Waterloo.


Debjani Dasgupta

Debjani Dasgupta serves as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and Eligibility for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Prior to that, she was an Administrative Law Judge for the same agency, handling medical vendor appeals and fair hearings. Before joining HFS, Debjani served as an Assistant State's Attorney for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the Special Prosecutions Bureau’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit, Juvenile Justice Bureau, and Civil Actions Bureau. She is also the current President-Elect for the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago. Debjani earned her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School and her B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of New Orleans. 

Frank Gao

Frank Gao, has been working on patent-related matters since graduating and getting the 2nd M.S. in organic chemistry from Ohio State University in 2000. After graduating from law school in 2009, Frank has counseled corporate clients in various patent, trademark matters. Currently at McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Frank has filed more than 200 patent applications in pharmaceutical, chemical, material science, electrical, computer, and medical devices and helped in litigating such matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and federal district court (including Hatch-Waxman litigation). 


Kristy Gonowon

Kristy Michelle Gonowon is in-house counsel at Allstate Insurance in the Claim Litigation Department within the Law & Regulation division. Her current practice focuses primarily on providing oversight and approval of legal matters concerning bad faith, extra-contractual liability, excess verdict, and coverage issues. She also provides legal opinions on pending legislation for the Southern region (Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana) and for the New York region. Kristy is also the department’s subject matter expert on the topics of diminished value claims by leasing companies and Medicare issues. Within the Allstate community, Ms. Gonowon is a member of the women’s affinity network and the Asian-American affinity network.

Prior to becoming in-house counsel in Allstate’s corporate offices, Ms. Gonowon was a litigator handling both insurance defense and the recovery aspect of subrogation matters on behalf of Allstate in the Chicago staff counsel office for two years. Prior to that, she was a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney for 10 years with the boutique law firm of Gonsky, Baum & Whittaker, Ltd. in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.

Ms. Gonowon is active with the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA). She currently serves as NFALA’s Central Regional Governor and is an active member of NFALA’s In-House Counsel/Partner affinity group. Alongside her role as Central Regional Governor for NFALA, Ms. Gonowon also serves as Secretary for the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA Chicago), which is an affiliate of NFALA.

Ms. Gonowon graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Political Science and a certificate in Markets & Management. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.


Peter Kim

Peter Kim  is a partner at Litchfield Cavo LLP.  He concentrates his practice in employment matters, commercial litigation and aviation litigation claims. Peter is active in the legal and non-profit communities. He has served on executive committees, and currently serves as secretary of one of the oldest social services non-profit organization in Chicagoland. For several years now, Peter has been serving low income families and individuals through pro bono legal clinics in housing, family law, real estate and similar matters. Peter earned his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jeffrey Koh

Jeffrey Koh is an associate at Ropes & Gray LLP, where he represents clients in capital markets, private equity, and M&A transactions. He also counsels clients on corporate governance and compliance issues. At the firm, Jeff has an active pro bono practice involving asylum, indigent defense, and family law matters. Jeff clerked for the Delaware Court of Chancery, and worked at the Hong Kong Legislative Council. He received his J.D. from the University of Michigan, and his B.A. from Dartmouth College.



Samera Syeda Ludwig

Samera Syeda Ludwig is a partner in the Litigation Department of Nixon Peabody LLP where she focuses on complex commercial disputes, employment discrimination and immigration. Samera also is on the Board of the Chicago High School for the Arts.  Samera received her B.A. with Honors from Wesleyan University (1994) and her J.D. from Columbia Law School (1997).


Ameya Patankar

Ameya is an attorney at the law firm Piccony & Patankar P.C. Prior to his current position, Ameya worked at Ernst & Young LLP and the Northern Trust Corporation. Ameya received his B.S. in Economics and Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and an LLM in Taxation from Northwestern University School of Law.

Hao Tan

Hao Tan is a senior associate in Arch & Lake's intellectual property group.  Hao's practice focuses on patent litigation and patent prosecution in the medical imaging and electrical and computer engineering arts.  He started working on IP law in 2008 and attended Chicago Kent Law School while working at an IP boutique law firm. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from University of Virginia. Hao is a soccer fan and also enjoys running and swimming.


Samantha Woo

Samantha Woo is an associate in the Labor and Employment group at Jones Day, where she represents employers in connection with a wide range of employment litigation matters and labor management relations issues, including collective bargaining and unfair labor practice cases, as well as employment discrimination and wage and hour disputes.  Samantha has an active pro bono practice, and also is involved in the firm's recruiting and diversity committees.

Samantha earned her J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, her Master's in Public Health from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, and her B.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.