Timothy B. Nokham

Timothy B. Nokham
Riverside Office
Education: Hastings School of Law
Undergrad: UCLA, Magna Cum Laude
Member: California State Bar
Joined BM&M in 2020

Tim Nokham's life could have gone a lot of different ways from the day he was born. Today, you could say he's living his destiny as a successful Workers' Compensation Defense attorney at Benthale, McKibbon and McKnight. But it could have been different.

"I learned English on the streets of La Habra and from watching PBS," recalls Tim. "In my ESL (English as a Second Language) class, I had to learn Spanish before I could learn English."

Tim was born in Laos at the end of the Viet Nam War. His first five years of life was spent in refugee camps in Thailand. His first memories are of "staying close to my family." Through American faith-based charities, his immediate family was able to immigrate to the U.S., and at the ripe old age of five, he landed in the middle of Southern California.

"We were the first Laotian family in La Habra and everything was new and different. We had to adapt quickly."

And adapt he did. He breezed through his ESL and went straight to advanced placement classes after learning English. He excelled in academics throughout elementary and middle school. When his family moved to Riverside, CA, he became a member of his high-school Academic Competition Team and graduated with honors.

"I didn't really play sports," he recalls. "I was super nerdie."

Super nerdie was good for academics and he earned his way to UCLA where he majored in political science. While attending college he took a part time job at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and a little light bulb went off.

"I took Poli-Sci because it was interesting and easy. My family, and a lot of people, wanted me to pursue a degree in medicine, and I might have pursed that course until I got interested in law."

After graduating from UCLA Magna Cum Laude, he was accepted to UC Hastings School of Law.

Following graduation, he served a short stint as a clerk with an appellate firm in Oakland learning the ropes and getting acclimated to a career in law. He then accepted a summer associate position in a New York-based law firm and spent a summer in The Big Apple before returning to San Francisco and joining a law firm specializing in high-tech, which was at about the apex of the first dot com boom.

"The dot com bubble burst and I was soon looking for a job."

His search for a job led him back east and he worked in an Anti-Trust law firm in Washington DC. It wasn't long before he felt a calling to return west.

He moved back to California and along with a colleague started a new law firm.

"We were a general practice firm and took anything that came in the door. We were hungry."

After some challenging times on his own, Tim opted to join an established firm and landed a position with a large Workers' Comp Defense firm in the Los Angeles area.

"I found that I enjoyed the challenges in Workers Comp and in working with all the different kinds of people," says Tim. "My experiences early on in my life have provided a unique perspective in negotiation matters and I believe that has helped me succeed in this area of the law."

In late 2019, Tim saw an opportunity to move closer to his family in Riverside and continue his career path. He joined Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight in December of 2019 and now resides at the Riverside office as an associate attorney.

"This position means a lot to me," says Tim. "My mom is getting older and I wanted to be close to family. This firm was a great match for me, and the fact that it is a close family as well makes it all that much better."

Tim now has more than 17 years in the Workers' Compensation Defense field.

Away from the office, Tim enjoys running and hiking and makes it a point to travel abroad at least once a year.

"I like to travel and have traveled extensively in Latin America. I like all the countries, but my favorites are Panama, the Dominican Republic and Colombia. The people and the history are fascinating and always provide a new perspective on life."