Tried and True.

Winning Trial Advocate. Canny Adviser. Smooth Operator.


UCLA School of Law

Juris Doctor (2014)
Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law

Northwestern University

Bachelor of Arts, cum laude (2011)
Philosophy, Religious Studies, Legal Studies


State Bar of California

United States District Court - Central District of California


"Rising Star" - Southern California

Super Lawyers Magazine (2017-21)

Top Attorney

Pasadena Magazine (2016-18)

I didn't believe a ******* thing [the witness you cross-examined] said.
- Juror, post-trial

Notable Recent Cases

In re: Volkswagen Diesel Emissions

Mr. Kawabata was a member of the team that represented owners of VW vehicles marketed as “clean diesel” but secretly equipped by Volkswagen with illegal software designed to cover up a massive conspiracy to deceive the EPA and the American public.

In re: Gold King Mine

Mr. Kawabata was a member of the team that represented the EPA’s environmental remediation contractor involved in federal multi-district litigation arising from the Gold King Mine spill.

Publications and Other Media

Additional Background

While in law school, Mr. Kawabata was enrolled in the entertainment, media and intellectual property concentration and worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment and NBCUniversal.

He also served as the co-chairman for the Public Interest Law Fund, an editor for the flagship UCLA Law Review, a competitor on the moot court and trial advocacy competition teams and the 1L class president.  During and after law school, Mr. Kawabata coached college and law school mock trial for the national award-winning UCLA trial advocacy teams.

His’s first college job was at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. He spent most of his time in college as a captain of the trial advocacy team, general manager of NU Channel 1 (the university TV station), and showrunner of a mockumentary sitcom about zombies.

In the summer of 2020, he began to practice alongside his law school friend, Elliot Rosenberger.  Makoa and Elliot are independent attorneys and often co-counsel renters’ rights and public investors’ cases together.