Bernales Law Firm | Wana Bernales | Top Rated Attorney in San Diego

Bernales Law Firm

About Us



Wana Lee Bernales

Ms. Bernales was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in San Diego, California for most of her life. She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Biology, where she was on the Dean’s List. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Ms. Bernales began to realize that her interests aligned more with real estate and business. In 2007, she obtained her California Real Estate Salesperson License and began to delve into real estate. She represented buyers and sellers, worked with real estate investors and worked as a property manager.

Ms. Bernales obtained her Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law, where she received an Academic Excellence Award and was Finalist for the First Year Oral Argument Competition. As a law student, she also served as a marketing director and 2L representative. Ms. Bernales was sworn into the California State Bar in 2013.

During law school, Ms. Bernales externed for the Honorable Michael Villani, Eighth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also gained trial court experience during her internship with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office as a certified legal intern.

As a practicing business and real estate transactional and litigation attorney, Ms. Bernales has worked on a wide range of cases related to business, including business formation, business dispute, and business contracts. She has also worked on cases related to real estate, including real estate contracts, landlord/tenant.



Juris Doctorate, 2012

Bachelors of Arts, 2005

Activities & Affiliations

• Past Vice President, Korean American Bar Association of San Diego
• Past Board Member, California Western School of Law Alumni Association
• Member, San Diego County Bar Association
• Member, Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego
• Member, American Bar Association

Bar Admissions

• California
• United Stated District Court for the Southern District California
• United State Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California


• 2019 “Rising Star” Recipient - Super Lawyers
• 2018 “San Diego’s Most Inspiring Stories” - SD Voyager
• 2017 “Best of the Bar” - The San Diego Business Journal
• Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition - Scott Peters, Member of Congress, 52nd District, CA
• 2014 “Top Young Attorney” - The San Diego Daily Transcript
• Rated 9.3 on Avvo’s rating system



J.D. Houvener, Of Counsel Patent Attorney

As the Of Counsel Patent Attorney of Bernales Law Firm, Attorney J.D. Houvener has been serving inventor clients in the Greater San Diego area and Nationwide for over 7 years. His practice is concentrated on Federal Patent Prosecution (acquisition of patent rights). Specific patent prosecution work involved includes patentability opinions, design, utility, and continuation patent applications, office action responses, examiner interviews, petitions, and appeals.  J.D. is the owner and founder of Bold Patents Law Firm, headquartered in Seattle and his firm assists inventors and businesses alike.

J.D. assists leading small to large emerging and high-growth companies in a variety of industries including those in the aerospace, computer hardware manufacturing, software creation and development, healthcare technology and medical device/pharmaceutical development.  J.D. has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial/Systems Engineering from the University of Washington.

He began his career as a design engineer at Boeing working on the 787 airplane’s development. In addition to his law degree, J.D. received an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Seattle University. His unique combination of education in the sciences, business, and law allows him to offer superior legal counsel to his inventor clients with an eye toward strategy and eventual monetization.

A family man and sports lover. J.D. is a proud father of 3 beautiful children, Stella, Emma, and Hamilton. Married to his wife, Mai Houvener, they spend free time enjoying the great pacific northwest outdoors and hanging out with family. J.D. loves playing flag football, full- court basketball, and bowling.


Juris Doctorate, 2014

M.B.A., 2010

B.S. Industrial Engineering, 2008

Associations and Memberships

• Washington State Bar Association
• King County Bar Association
• Washington Patent Law Association

Speaking Engagements

• King County Bar Association, CLE on Patents/IP
• Washington State Bar Association, CLE on Patents/IP
• Economic Development of Snohomish County
• Seattle SURF Incubator Startup Education Series
• Washington STEM Highschool


• “Clients Choice” Award, and a 9.3 on Avvo’s rating system