Makai's practice focuses primarily on products liability litigation, conducting all aspects of management and coordination in defense of major corporations against individual lawsuits in both federal and state courts. Makai has extensive experience in all aspects of complex products liability defense, including strategy development, fact investigation, taking and defending depositions, discovery and motion practice, and preparing and developing expert witnesses. Makai also advises clients with respect to corporate records management and e-discovery issues. Makai also has notable trial experience, and has been an integral part of many trial teams. Most recently, Makai second chaired a nearly three-month-long crashworthiness case brought against Ford Motor Company, resulting in a favorable outcome. In 2004, she sat third chair at trial in another case brought against Ford Motor Company, this time alleging defective airbags, where the jury reached a unanimous defense verdict after less than an hour of deliberation. She has also defended Ford Motor Company at arbitration, and obtained a complete defense award.
A creative thinker and team player, Makai lends her talents to the more interactive work in her legal practice. She enjoys working with experts and company witnesses in trial preparation and uses her practical yet innovative approach to successfully resolve complex legal matters for her clients. Her dedication to her work and her ability to effectively build client relationships has resulted in clients specifically selecting Makai to work on their matters.
In addition to her regular practice, Makai is dedicated to providing pro bono services in the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on cases involving landlord-tenant issues and homelessness. She has helped develop an ongoing public service program for Shook's San Francisco office to work in conjunction with local organizations to help feed the hungry and homeless in the community.
Prior to Makai's legal career, she worked in the public health field with the Peace Corps. During her more than two years in the Peace Corps, Makai lived in West Africa where she developed and conducted maternal and child health educational programs for local women and midwives. Additionally, Makai has been involved with developing and implementing public health projects in Ecuador.
Lazar v. Ford Motor Co. - Representing Ford Motor Company, Makai sat third chair trial attorney with Shook’s defense team, and the team was awarded a unanimous defense verdict from the jury after less than one hour of deliberation.
Belen v. Ford Motor Co. - Representing Ford Motor Company, Makai sat second chair trial attorney with Shook's defense team. The case settled on the last day of testimony and did not go to verdict.
California Contract Ruling Should Concern Cannabis Cos, Law360, June 16, 2020 (with Matt Williams).