Esther A. Nguonly



Esther A. Nguonly is an attorney, journalist, and business entrepreneur from Orange County, California. Esther’s business expertise has helped her to provide critical legal strategy and advice to many different individuals and businesses.

Esther has advised clients on matters in and out of the courtroom and has extensive appellate litigation experience.  She began her legal career as a criminal defense attorney, representing clients in an extensive range of matters in both state and federal courts, in all types of criminal cases, such as forgery, wire fraud, asset forfeiture, tax fraud, white collar fraud, and larceny.She successfully defended clients at all stages of the criminal justice process from pre-trial negotiation, trial and discovery, sentencing, appeals, and post-conviction appeals.  Esther’s negotiation skills have helped her win many favorable plea agreements, and in several cases, outright dismissals on behalf of her clients.  Esther has also worked on impact litigation for national organizations such as the Innocence Project and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and advocated for reform in the criminal justice system through work on DNA evidence, fingerprint evidence, and eye-witness identification issues.

As a lawyer, Esther has also provided valuable legal and professional counsel to businesses.  She has served as outside counsel to several businesses in a variety of corporate matters including employment, insurance, workers’ compensation, contract drafting and negotiation, debt collection, regulatory compliance, formation, and commercial real estate litigation.  She has experience working with domestic and international regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Administration.   As a businesswoman herself, Esther understands the needs and demands of a growing business.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Esther worked briefly as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and published state and local public affairs news stories for various Maryland and D.C.-based publications while attaining her Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.  She  also worked in the jewelry industry and holds a certificate in diamond grading from the Gemological Institute of America.  Esther holds B.A. degrees in Comparative Literature and International Studies from the University of California, Irvine, and focused her undergraduate study in critical theory and issues relating to memory, trauma, and genocide in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.

Esther is admitted to practice in the states of California and New York, and in the following U.S.District Courts: the Southern, Eastern, & Western Districts of New York, and the Central District of California. She is a member of the Orange County and Riverside County Bar Associations. She has been involved with the New York County Lawyers’ Association Solo & Small Practice Committee, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

J.D., Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

M.J., Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park

B.A., University of California, Irvine


California & New York

United States District Court, Central District of California

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

United States District Court, Western District of New York


Orange County Bar Association

Riverside County Bar Association