Gahram Kang CHao, Esq.
Gahram is no stranger to the ups and downs that business owners may experience. She understands overcoming fears, success and rejection, resiliency in disappointments, and the challenges of navigating changing economies. Her story is not one of making all the right choices, but a story of God’s grace and orchestration and ultimately, His ability to make something beautiful out of her mistakes and failures. When Gahram was young, she wanted to be a pediatrician, so she could help her patients grow from infants to adulthood. She majored in Biology/Public Policy Analysis at Pomona College, but ultimately ended up being rejected from medical schools, which derailed her childhood dream. So during her senior year, Gahram scrambled to find another career and took other standardized tests (out of desperation) including the GREs, CBEST and eventually, the LSAT. Her father wisely demanded that she start working at his small business after graduation, and later suggested to her, “maybe you should think about law school…it seems like you have the personality for it: you’re stubborn, logical and analytical.”
During Gahram’s two years at the start-up engineering firm, she wore many hats and watched the company grow to almost 40 employees at its peak. She served as the purchasing agent, administrative support and eventually became the Assistant Manager of International Sales, procuring 13 international sales representatives for the company in Europe, Asia and Israel before she left to attend law school at USC. Gahram was delighted to discover that her studies, friendships and experiences at law school could be both enjoyable and fulfilling, including “externing” for an appellate judge (Presiding Justice of the CA Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Division Three) and interning for a mid-sized full-service firm in Irvine. Silicon Valley was making its mark in history, and everyone was optimistic as the economy was booming.
But in 2001, people’s hopes were dashed as the “dot com bubble” burst, and the infamous recession arrived. Gahram found herself unemployed for a full year after graduation, even after earning her license to practice law from the State Bar of California within months of graduating. It marked one of the toughest seasons of her life, as her father’s company also experienced its own decline and ultimately closure. The company started being sued by equipment lenders and other creditors on defaulted leases and unpaid business loans. But during those difficult times, God sustained her family through the kindness of others, such as litigators who took on some of the cases for a flat fee, Gahram’s supervisor (at her first associate attorney position) who graciously coached her through some of the cases, and even family friends who gave generously to help meet the family’s needs.
In the midst of those crazy times, Gahram felt dissatisfied in her current job as a construction defect litigator at a mid-sized firm, because she couldn’t really help those who needed her legal expertise. A family friend encouraged her to start her own law practice, so that she could finally enjoy serving as general counsel for small to mid-sized businesses and their owners. That was October 2004 when Gahram decided to take the leap, quit her stable job and start her own law practice. It was only after she “hung her own shingle” that Gahram felt fulfilled and understood why this field was for her – now she finally had the freedom to help others in practical ways with her legal knowledge whenever the opportunity arose.
Since January 2005, Gahram has had the opportunity to help businesses of many shapes and sizes, in industries such as construction, food services, import/export, IT, fintech, e-commerce, entertainment and retail. Her new dream now is to support businesses as they grow from their stages of infancy: to expand into new product/ service lines, own other businesses, purchase real estate, or until the owners exit and pursue something else. At whatever stage the business might be when the owner meets her, Gahram’s goal is to become a valuable resource that brings the best out of that business and its owner(s).
For more information on Gahram’s professional experience, please connect with her on LinkedIn or view her profile on Avvo.
Practice Areas: Business Transactions, Business Counseling, Business Formations, Mergers & Acquisitions, International Business, Basic Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts
Admitted: 2001, California; U.S. District Court, Central District of California, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education: USC Gould School of Law, J.D., 2001; Pomona College, B.A. in Biology/ Public Policy Analysis, 1996
Member: Orange County Bar Association (Trusts & Estates, Business & Corporate, International Law, Solo & Small Firm Practitioner sections), 2002-present, State Bar of California (Business Law and International Law sections), 2001-present
Founder/Director: Orange County Korean American Bar Association (OC KABA), Executive Director and Secretary, 2005-2006, 2006-2007; Executive Director and VP of Professional Development and Mentoring, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, Executive Director and Secretary, 2009-2010, Board Member, 2010-2016; The OCKABA Foundation, Founding Director and Board Member, 2010 – present, President-Elect, 2021-2022, President, 2022-2023
Biography: California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three (Santa Ana, CA) Extern for Presiding Justice David Sills, 1999; Interdisciplinary Law Journal Notes Editor, USC Law School, 2000-2001; Anaheim Achieves Mentoring Program After-school Mentor, Maxwell Elementary School, 2001-2002; Alumni Ambassador, USC Gould School of Law, 2018 – present
Awards: Top Lawyers in Orange County for Corporate/ Incorporation category (OC Metro Magazine) in 2010, Top Contributor Award (Avvo) in 2012, Top Women Attorneys in Southern California Rising Star (Los Angeles Magazine/ Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters) in 2013, Top Orange County Lawyer in Business/ Corporate Category (Orange County Register/ OC Metro Magazine) in 2013, Southern California Rising Star in Business/ Corporate Law (SuperLawyers Magazine) in 2013, Southern California Rising Star (SuperLawyers by Thomson Reuters) in 2014, Top Attorney – Business Category (Orange County Coast Magazine) in 2015, Clients’ Choice Award (Avvo) in 2018, Clients’ Choice Award (Avvo) in 2019, Top Attorney – Estate Planning category (COAST Magazine – OC Register) in 2019, Client’s Choice Award (Avvo) in 2020, Clients’ Choice Award (Avvo) in 2021, Clients’ Choice Award (Avvo) in 2022, Clients’ Choice Award (Avvo) in 2023.
Other Memberships: FUSION Leaders (Anaheim Branch), 2015-2022; FUSION+ (business advisory group), 2022 – present
Born: Phoenix, Arizona
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