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Winnalynn Nacu Kantaris, President of Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago


By: Ryan Tejero


At the national level, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA) serves as the voice for the Filipino American legal profession. It advocates for justice, civil rights, and equal opportunity for the Filipino American community. It cultivates the high standards of integrity and professionalism among its members and strives for the advancement and success of Filipino Americans within the profession. NFALA members are a family, comprised of members throughout the United States, with the shared goal of increasing its national growth, impact, and visibility while also celebrating its members’ cultural heritage. FALA’s program consists of various conferences aimed to achieve its mission. This program includes: Pinay Powerhouse, Women’s Leadership Institute and FilVetREP.

The Filipino American Lawyers Association (FALA) of Chicago is part of national organibegan zation. This past November 7-11, 2018, FALA Chicago was honored to host their parent organization in one of the organization’s main events this year.

The hosting started on November 7, with three events to kick off the NFALA conference in beautiful Chicago. The in-house/ partner event was held that evening and law-firm partners were paired off with in-house counsel where they could get to know each other over a game of darts at Flight Club. At the same time, the Government Public Sector cocktail hour brought together attorneys currently employed as public servants and those considering transition from the private sector for some friendly rounds of ping pong at Ace Bounce Chicago. Immediately after both parties concluded, over 120 attorneys, judges and law students from across the country descended on Ace Bounce Chicago to kick off the 2018 NFALA Conference.

On November 8, the day organibegan with Women’s and Men’s Luncheons which provided opportunities for attendees to get acquainted with each other in a more intimate setting. The key note speaker for the women’s luncheon was Josie Parry, a pioneering attorney who became the first Asian American (and Filipina) general counsel of a Fortune 500 company. The men’s key note speaker was Marty Lorenzo, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Petco who facilitated an interactive discussion on what it means to be a Filipino American and how identity shapes one’s day-to-day work. Later that week, Ms. Parry was recognized by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) along Raymond L. Ocampo, Jr, the first male Asian American (and Filipino) to be general counsel of a Fortune 500 Company and other Asian Americans currently serving as general counsels of Fortune 500 Companies.

That evening, NFALA held its 4th Annual Installation Gala at The Signature Room at the 95th atop Chicago’s iconic 875 N. Michigan Building, formerly known as the John Hancock Center. In attendance were over 180 attorneys from all over the country, including former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, past and present leaders from the NAPABA, the Chicago Bar Association and the current American Bar Association. The oath of office was administered by the Honorable Janelle Factora Wipper of the Washington County Circuit Court, who holds the distinction of being the first Fil-Am judge in the state of Oregon, and currently serves as president-elect of the Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association. The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Raymond L. Ocampo, Jr., president/CEO of Samurai Surfer LLC and former general counsel of Oracle Corporation. The gala also highlighted the work of fundraising beneficiary, the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE Chicago). NFALA also awarded two scholarships to deserving law students.

On November 9, several of the members were speakers and awardees at the NAPABA Conference at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, and NFALA members gave their all-out support and most importantly learn from all of their experiences.

On November 10, NFALA held its annual general membership meeting where newest members in the family were given a warm welcome, and everyone in the organization congratulated each other for a job well done.

FALA Chicago was proud to host their brothers and sisters from around the country, and is looking forward to another exciting events next year. Please ask for contact information of FALA Chicago at email ryantejero@yahoo.com.


Attorney Winnalynn Kantaris with VIP guest Jose Cadiz, former Solicitor General of the Philippines under President Aquino’s administration, at the NFALA Conference held in Chicago on November 8-11, 2018.

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Photos above taken at the national conference of NFALA held in Chicago on November 7-11, FALA Chicago, headed by its Hall of Famer president Attorney Winnalynn Kantaris, was honored to host their parent organization, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association. The installation of new officers was held at the Signature Room, 875 N. Michigan Ave., on Nov. 8, 2018.

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