Makai is an experienced litigator with more than 20 years of experience defending corporations in high-stakes litigation in state and federal courts across the nation. Makai’s practice runs the spectrum from strategy development, to pretrial litigation and discovery, trial, and beyond. In her career, Makai has been involved in more than 20 jury trials in a variety of roles, including trial counsel.  

In addition to Makai’s practical, yet innovative, approach to successfully solving legal matters for her clients, she also has advised clients on litigation prevention strategies, legislative projects and corporate records management. This has included advice and counsel on proposed legislation on class action and product liability laws in Latin America and Europe. 

Makai was seconded to a Fortune 500 company, where she managed all types of litigation throughout Latin America and Asia. She also gained additional experience with regulatory issues and other challenges that come with the commercialization of new products. This experience has given Makai keen insight into the client’s point of view.  

Makai is also dedicated to improving her community and her profession through leadership roles in a number of bar and civic organizations. Makai serves as vice chair of the ABA Tort, Trial, and Insurance Practice Section’s Product Liability Committee. She also spent three years on the board of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice and Diversity Center, where she helped implement programs providing pro bono legal services, and education programs that foster diversity in the legal profession.  

Before her legal career, Makai worked more than two years in the public health field with the Peace Corps. She lived in West Africa where she developed and conducted maternal and child health educational programs for local women and midwives. Makai has also been involved with developing and implementing public health projects in Ecuador.

Representative Matters

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 in a three-month-long trial. The case settled on the last day of testimony.

Publications and Presentations

California Contract Ruling Should Concern Cannabis Cos, Law360, June 16, 2020 (with Matt Williams).

Panelist: Civility in the Courtroom, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2014.

Moderator: Telematics and Privacy Concerns, ABA Automotive Conference, 2014.

Moderator: Women in the Law, ABA Annual Conference, 2013.

Speaker: Update on Punitive Damages, Update of the Law, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, 2008 (with Walt Cofer).

Keeping Up With the Joneses: Are Your Records and Information Management Programs Up-To-Date? Daily Journal, August 13, 2008.  

Is There a Spin-Doctor in the House? Public Relations Consultants and Potential Waiver of Confidentiality (Ethical and Practical Considerations of Involving Public Relations Consultants), The Sedona Conference Journal, 2008.

Managing Risk and Minimizing Liability in Human Clinical Trials, Article for Clinical Trials Conference, February 20, 2008 (with Amor Esteban and Lee Farrow).