Puneet V. Kakkar

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen W. Hawking

Puneet V. Kakkar joined Caldwell Leslie & Proctor in 2011 after clerking for the Honorable Valerie Baker Fairbank at the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to joining Caldwell Leslie, he served as a volunteer lawyer for the International Bridges to Justice in New Delhi, India, working on criminal justice reform. Before clerking, Mr. Kakkar was an associate with O’Melveny & Myers LLP, in the Business and Trial Litigation Group, working on intellectual property, antitrust, and energy-related matters.

At Caldwell Leslie, Mr. Kakkar has been involved in a wide range of civil and white-collar criminal defense matters. Mr. Kakkar has experience in writing and arguing motions, taking and defending depositions, class-action litigation, trial preparation, appellate proceedings at the state and federal levels, and internal investigations.

Mr. Kakkar has also successfully litigated cases for his pro bono clients. Along with Albert Giang and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Mr. Kakkar obtained a favorable settlement for a Bangladeshi cook who was terminated from her job after reporting claims of sexual harassment. In 2012, Mr. Kakkar’s work on this case was honored as part of Caldwell Leslie’s “Pro Bono Service Award” awarded by APALC.

Mr. Kakkar is active in the community. He is the former President of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA), serves on the Board of Governors of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and is a founding member of the Council of Advisors for the South Asian Network (SAN). For three years, he led SABA’s Public Interest Foundation, the non-profit arm of the bar association that is focused on serving the South Asian-American community. He was awarded the “Community Solidarity Award” by SAN in 2012 for his advocacy for and service to the community. He also returns to his alma mater, Gretchen Whitney High School, to teach basic principles of Constitutional Law and coach the school’s mock trial team.

Mr. Kakkar is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), Order of the Coif, where he served as an editor of the California Law Review, a Senior Annual Review Editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and on the Jessup International Law Moot Court team. Mr. Kakkar also received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in International Political Economy and was the department’s valedictorian. During college and law school, he interned for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, the U.S. Department of State Afghanistan Office, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Representative Cases

 Serving on the trial team led by Robyn Crowther and Jeanne Fugate for Obey Clothing in copyright litigation relating to Shepard Fairey’s 2008 campaign poster of Barack Obama, which resulted in a successful resolution.

 Serving on the trial team led by Michael Leslie and Jeanne Fugate on behalf of a group of investors who were defrauded by the registered financial representative of a large independent brokerage, which was ultimately settled for a majority of their investment losses on the eve of trial.

 Currently representing studio clients in defending against copyright and trade-secret misappropriation claims.

 Representing clients involved in SEC and DOJ investigations.

 With Michael Proctor, representing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbi in civil contempt and related criminal proceedings for his refusal to testify in light of First Amendment concerns of violating sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Education and Honors

J.D., University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), 2008
Order of the Coif
Editor, California Law Review
Senior Annual Review Editor, Berkeley Technology Law Journal
American Jurisprudence Awards in Federal Income Taxation, Investment Treaties,
Energy Law, Ethics and the Legal Profession, Disaster Law
Prosser Prize (Second in Class) in Criminal Law
Research Assistant to Thomas J. Campbell, Ph.D., Former Dean,
Haas School of Business
Director, Board of Advocates (Moot Court Board)
Fellow, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2005
Highest Distinction (Summa Cum Laude)
Phi Beta Kappa
Department Citation
Regents’ Scholar

Languages: French, Hindi


Law clerk to the Honorable Valerie Baker Fairbank, United States District Court for the Central District of California

Professional Achievements

Author, Still Tied Up: Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink, 22 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 47 (2007)

Member, California State Bar; United States District Court, Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of California; United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Member, 2013 California Minority Counsel Program (Conference Committee)

Former Member, Executive Advisory Council for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

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