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Speak Softly and Carry a Big Dream

Nothing in Nobumasa Hiroi’s placid demeanor betrays that he is an intensely enterprising individual. Don’t be fooled.

Born in Japan, the ’12 alumnus speaks three languages and has lived in Europe and South America as well as Asia and North America. He’s been engaged in legal work in the U.S., Japan and China. His interests range from literature (he earned a master’s degree in English and creative writing) to nuclear nonproliferation (he interned one summer for the Project for Nuclear Awareness).

As a law student, Hiroi clerked with a law firm in Beijing one summer, completed one co-op placement with Exelon Business Services Corporation and another at the Tokyo office of Baker & McKenzie, which he arranged himself after cold-calling partners at the global legal juggernaut. He was president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students’ Association.

For the last five years, he’s been an associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in Silicon Valley, focusing on patent litigation.

Living on the West Coast appeals to him, because it puts him closer to the Pacific Rim countries where so much economic activity and growth are percolating.

Working on more than 10 cases at any given moment, Hiroi has easily met Biglaw’s 2000+ billable hour requirement. And Hiroi has previously had a hand in a $40 million patent infringement case against Blue Coat Systems in 2015 that California’s Daily Journal called a “Top Verdict of 2015” and a $15 million cybersecurity IP case against Sophos in 2016.

The litigator’s career has taken him far from the path he first envisioned as an aspiring law student who planned to work in the nonprofit environmental sector and later as a 2L who practicing transactional law.

“I learned that the environment benefited when big companies thought it was more beneficial for them to follow the law,” he said. “I realized that if I want to make contributions to society through my legal work, it might be worthwhile to focus on the big corporations.”

Even after making that shift in thinking, Hiroi had envisioned a career seeking “win-win” solutions on the transactional side.

“IP and litigation are two things I avoided. I didn’t take any litigation classes or IP,” he said.

As a member of Kramer Levin’s small West Coast team, Hiroi feels that he’s thriving in a tremendously collegial environment, despite the long days.

“I like litigation. It’s pretty exciting, sometimes pretty intense,” said Hiroi, the husband of an artist from New Zealand who is expecting the couple’s second child. 

Hiroi believes the experience he’s gaining in litigation helps him understand more clearly what it takes to make both sides in a transaction feel whole.

Armed with skills and experience, Hiroi said, “I aspire to gain a voice in making important decisions for the people.”