A 2003 graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, Quyen Ta is a partner at Keker & Van Nest, litigating complex commercial cases. The former diversity director on the board of the Barristers Club, Ta now cochairs BASF’s Equality Committee. A San Jose native, Ta has two-and-a-halfyear- old twin boys with her husband Demian Pay, senior counsel of Chevron Corporation.
What’s unique about you?
I have a pretty optimistic outlook. That was passed on from my parents. They were boat people who fled Vietnam in their twenties with two kids. They had an immense sense of possibility and tenacity and I carry that in my DNA. It definitely helps me in terms of my work. I know it’s important to be invested and work hard to seek positive change.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
In 2008, I second-chaired a trial with Jon Streeter, one of my mentors. We represented the plaintiff, a widow suing her late husband’s employer for breach of contract. The trial was very much about her life with him. I learned that law is about real people. It made me see what my role could be. Not many women of color are law firm partners, which can be isolating. But Jon told me that it also makes me more sensitive about how people feel and that could influence how I relate to jurors. There were eight Asian Americans on that panel. I learned that juries do want to see diverse lawyers. It confirmed to me that I’m in the right profession and I’m at the right firm because we do more trials than most.
Describe the work you’ve done with BASF.
I’d been involved in minority bars, including the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California where I mentored and was mentored. I felt it was really important early in my career to work on issues of diversity and access. There aren’t many people in the law with my background and I wanted to be sure not to close the doors behind me. I also feel very strongly it’s important for diverse lawyers to get involved in the mainstream bar. So I joined the Barristers Club and worked on the diversity committee, an active, robust group. I’m now cochairing the Equality Committee, working on the goals and timetables report.
To read the complete profile, please open the attached pdf.
About Quyen Ta
Ms. Ta litigates complex commercial matters. She focuses her practice on intellectual property, securities, and other complex business disputes. She has tried numerous criminal and civil cases in state and federal courts, including five as first-chair. Ms. Ta was a member of a trial team that secured a trial victory and settlement publicly valued at more than $300 million for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
Ms. Ta has represented individual and institutional clients in various industries, including financial services, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, internet, and communications.
She serves in numerous leadership positions in minority bar organizations and speaks frequently on diversity in the legal profession.