FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Yang Chen, Executive Director, (718) 228-7206
NEW YORK – December 14, 2012 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) welcomes and applauds the historic confirmation of Lorna G. Schofield to the Southern District of New York. On December 13, the United States Senate confirmed Lorna Schofield by a 91-0 vote to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is the first person of Filipino descent to serve as an Article III judge in American history.
“AABANY congratulates Ms. Schofield on her historic confirmation as a federal judge for the Southern District of New York and is proud to have supported her candidacy,” said Jean Lee, President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. “We applaud President Obama and Senator Schumer for nominating such a highly-qualified jurist and continuing their commitment to a well-qualified and diverse federal bench.” Ms. Schofield’s life story is the epitome of the “American Dream.” Growing up in New Haven, Indiana, she was the only child of a Filipina war bride who married an American service man. She was raised by her mother, who came to the United States and became a pharmacist, stressing hard work, achievement, independence and self-sufficiency. Ms. Schofield lived in a predominantly Caucasian and blue collar community, where there was little ethnic diversity. Despite the odds against her, Ms. Schofield went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Indiana University. Thereafter, she graduated from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review and a Pomeroy Scholar. Ms. Schofield’s achievements clearly did not stop there.
Prior to joining the bench, Judge Schofield practiced at the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton for over 20 years. In 1991, she became the firm’s first partner of color, and, for the past year, has served as Of Counsel to the firm. Before joining Debevoise, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years. Ms. Schofield was also the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, and she previously served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. In 2008, the National Law Journal named Ms. Schofield one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers.
“With her confirmation, Ms. Schofield joins the growing number of distinguished Asian Pacific Americans who have been recognized for service on our federal courts,” said Theodore K. Cheng, Co-chair of AABANY’s Judiciary Committee. “Although Asian Pacific Americans remain significantly under-represented at all levels in the Federal Judiciary, President Barack Obama should be commended for his tireless dedication to increasing diversity on the federal bench, and we thank Senator Charles E. Schumer for recommending her to the President.”
Judge Schofield is only the second Asian Pacific American to serve on the Southern District bench, and she will join Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York as the only Article III judges of Asian descent serving anywhere in the federal district courts of New York. While Asian Pacific Americans make up approximately 14 percent of New York City’s population, only two of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York are Asian Pacific Americans. The nomination of another well-qualified Asian Pacific American, Pamela K. Chen, awaits a vote on the floor of the United States Senate. Senator Schumer recommended Ms. Chen for a seat on the Eastern District of New York, and President Obama nominated her in August 2012.
The Asian American Bar Association of New York was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian-American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, paralegals and law students. The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.