Hon. Robert Kwan
Judge Robert Kwan serves on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, the largest bankruptcy court in the country, with 20 judges. Judge Kwan’s case docket in the court’s Los Angeles Division includes both consumer and business bankruptcy cases. Before his appointment in 2007, Judge Kwan spent most of his legal career with the U.S. Department of Justice, first as a civil rights attorney, enforcing the Voting Rights Act, and then as a civil tax attorney, with “Main Justice” in Washington, D.C. After a short stint in private practice, Judge Kwan was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, litigating civil and bankruptcy tax cases and prosecuting criminal tax cases. Judge Kwan regularly speaks at bar programs on bankruptcy and tax topics and has been active in the bar, particularly LACBA, serving on various committees, including several stints as a LACBA trustee, and was one of the organizers of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the James T. King Southern California Bankruptcy Inn of Court. According to his cousin, Judge Michael Kwan, of the Taylorsville, Utah, Municipal Justice Court and president of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad this year, their great great grandfather was one of the some 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who largely built the Central Pacific Railroad portion of the transcontinental railroad from Sacramento to Salt Lake up through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a remarkable engineering feat requiring arduous work in difficult and dangerous conditions. Judge Kwan thinks it has been an incredible journey for his family starting with an immigrant from a farm village in Hoiping (Kaiping) District, Kwangtung Province, China, passing through the Golden Gate, working as a coolie railroad laborer to five generations later, in all walks of life in America, including members of the judiciary. Judge Kwan is the first federal bankruptcy judge of Chinese ancestry.