Beginning this month, CITATIONS hopes to share stories about families of lawyers among VCBA’s membership. To begin this series, we learn a bit about the lives of Michael and Tomiyo Stoner.
A job at Anderson, Kill, Wood & Bender brought Mike Stoner to Ventura from the nation’s capital in 2010. Nearly a year later, Tomiyo Stoner joined her husband after finishing law school in Washington, D.C.
As most great loves do, Mike and Tomiyo’s romance began in an international trade law class at American University’s Washington College of Law. Mike was pursuing an LL.M. in international law and focusing on free trade agreements and regional integration. Tomiyo was doing her best to avoid having classes on Wednesday nights.
Both pinballed around the country before they moved to D.C. Mike’s early years were spent in Eastern Pennsylvania and Chicago’s suburbs. Then his family moved to Cary, North Carolina next came Northfield, Minnesota, and an undergraduate degree from Carleton College. After college, Mike lived briefly in Madison, Wisconsin, then earned his J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law in Malibu.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Tomiyo ended up graduating from James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, after her family moved across the country. After a childhood in the Bay Area, the shift induced what Tomiyo described as “culture shock.” She then attended the University of Michigan, where “real Michigan winters” inspired her to earn her bachelor’s degree a year ahead of schedule. With a warmer climate a priority and an academic scholarship in her name, Tomiyo attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Her first summer in law school led her to a government affairs internship at the Electronic Retailing Association.
So enamored by the job was she that she transferred to American University to work at the ERA full-time. While earning her law degree, Tomiyo also worked as the association’s legislative manager for three years.
Now at home in Ventura, Mike’s practice largely focuses on representing the interests of corporate policyholders and public entities in insurance disputes involving a broad line of insurance products and risk pooling agreements. He also has experience representing plaintiffs in complex commercial litigation, and large-scale environmental contamination litigation.
Tomiyo remains interested in government affairs and regulatory law. She is particularly experienced in advertising review, consumer protection, and intellectual property. Currently working at the Oxnard-based DK Law Group, she is learning about all types of business litigation. As a volunteer for the Ventura County Public Defender, she also enjoyed learning about criminal trial preparation and appeals.
When not practicing law, the couple avidly watches Jeopardy. Mike likes to bowl, play disc golf and watch a wide variety of sports. Tomiyo reads and likes to run and ride her bike in the warmer months.
As a couple, Mike and Tomiyo have also been known to take spontaneous road trips to Las Vegas.