• MSc (MBA), London Business School, University of London
  • D., School of Law of the University of California, Davis
  • A., Rhetoric and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Admissions to Practice Law

  • State Bar of California
  • S. Federal Courts (Ninth Circuit, Northern District of California)
  • Roll of Solicitors of England & Wales

Thomas H. Kawaii

Tom Kawaii is Of Counsel at the Law Offices of Ruben P. Ruiz PC, practicing complex business litigation.

Tom brings to the firm and its clients a rare combination of experience both as a trial-oriented litigator at law firms as large as 230 lawyers, and as in-house counsel for businesses ranging from dot-coms to multinationals, including the computer giant Acer. His business acumen, entrepreneurial passion and zeal for difficult challenges have earned him key roles in many high-stakes business litigation cases during his two decades of practice.

Tom has represented clients in fraud, fiduciary breach, business interference, malpractice and statutory actions involving angel/VC funding, M&A, IPO, syndication, franchising and other securities, banking, investment and real estate finance issues, as well as in antitrust, unfair business practices, consumer fraud, civil RICO and corporate/partnership dissolution cases. Tom has also handled intellectual property infringement actions involving trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, as well as cyberlaw cases involving piracy, defamation, privacy, right of publicity, reputation and other cutting-edge issues in the e-commerce, digital media and social networking spaces.

Recently, Tom has developed a focus on legal malpractice cases arising from failed representations in high-stakes business litigation and high-value corporate/transactional matters. In his most recent formal law firm association prior to the Law Offices of Ruben P. Ruiz PC, he worked closely alongside one of the nation’s top plaintiffs’ legal malpractice lawyers. In his first 12 months at that firm, Tom spearheaded and helped achieve victories in three difficult legal malpractice cases that resulted in recoveries totaling over $7.2 million.

Tom graduated from the School of Law of the University of California at Davis in 1991, was admitted to the California Bar that same year, and was licensed as a solicitor (lawyer) in England several years later. He has undergraduate degrees in Rhetoric and in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley, and an MBA from the London Business School (ranked #2 internationally, above Harvard), where he was an Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Fellow pursuing studies in venture capital, entrepreneurship and e-commerce. His published appellate cases include Amalgamated Bank v. Superior Court (Corinthian Homes), 149 Cal.App.4th 1003 (2007), and In re Geothermal Resources International, Inc., 93 F.3d 648 (9th Cir. 1996). Prior to the law, Tom was a professional Mercedes-Benz technician and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with a CAD/CAM engineering software vertical integration start-up.

  • Understanding Motions To DemurJune 28, 2016 - 8:44 pm

    A demurrer is ‘a pleading used to test the legal sufficiency of other pleadings’. A ‘pleading’ is the term used to refer to documents that are presented before court. Documents such as complaints, answers to complaints and cross-complaints are all considered pleadings.

  • Understanding Summary JudgmentJune 28, 2016 - 4:11 pm

    A motion for summary judgment is filed by a party to a case when they believe that there is no dispute as to any material facts and therefore no requirement of hearing evidence and going through the process of trial to determine disputed facts. Alternatively, it could also be explained as follows: if the facts […]

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