NAPABA Congratulates Its Former Communications Manager Nisha Ramachandran on Her Appointment as Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

For Immediate Release:

Date: July 22, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Nisha Ramachandran who was named as the new Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Ms. Ramachandran will be the first South Asian American to serve in this role. Ms. Ramachandran has extensive experience both on Capitol Hill and with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocacy community, including serving as Policy Director for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, as a Legislative Fellow in the office of Congressman Ami Bera, and previously as interim Communications Manager for NAPABA. “Nisha Ramachandran brings over a decade of legislative, advocacy, and policy experience dedicated to advancing the interests of AAPIs, and has been an invaluable resource for NAPABA,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “More importantly, Nisha has earned the trust, confidence, gratitude, and friendship of so many who are working to improve the lives of AAPI communities in this country. NAPABA applauds CAPAC Chair Representative Judy Chu for making this historic appointment at a critical moment for the AAPI population.”

CAPAC is a non-partisan, bi-cameral congressional caucus comprised of Members of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who are committed to promoting the well-being of the AAPI population. NAPABA has worked closely with CAPAC to strategically reach key AAPI stakeholders in Congress on issues of legislative and policy importance to the AAPI community. Ms. Ramachandran holds both a B.A. and a Masters in Public Policy from the George Washington University. To view the announcement by CAPAC, click here.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.

Congresswoman Grace Meng Secures Millions to Help Implement Her Hate Crimes Act Recently Signed into Law by President Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that she secured $30 million in a key spending bill to expand provisions in her COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which President Biden signed into law on May 20th to help combat the ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans and other impacted communities.

Meng attached the funding to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. The measure now heads to the House floor where it is expected to pass later this month. The money would be provided directly to community-based organizations to implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act’s goal of community engagement, empowerment, and education. One of the major provisions in the new hate crimes law directs federal agencies to work with community-based organizations to raise awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Community-based organizations are the heartbeat of our communities,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been on the front lines standing against the rise in bigotry and attacks. They’ve worked tirelessly to help victims and stop this spike in discrimination and intolerance; and they have done all this under-resourced. As my COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addresses the problem, we must be certain that community groups have the resources they need to carry out parts of the new law. I am so proud of the new $30 million grant program that would advance community-based approaches to addressing hate crimes. This vital funding would reinforce and expand the critical ground work that these community groups have been doing; it would help them scale up and expand out. I look forward to this funding being approved by the full House and passed by the Senate  – so that our neighbors can live free from hate and violence.”

Community-based organizations and civil rights groups can use the funds for:

  • Implementing and facilitating educational classes and community services for defendants convicted of hate crimes (directly related to the community harmed by the offensive).
  • Culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns on the collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes.
  • Safety ambassadors to escort vulnerable community members in public places.
  • In-language support for victims and/or surviving families of hate crimes including mental health support.
  • Providing bystander, de-escalation trainings in multiple languages.
  • Other community-based strategies deemed appropriate for communities of color and other vulnerable and historically disadvantaged communities.

The Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill funds the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, and science-related initiatives. Meng is a senior member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies which determines the funding levels for the measure. The $30 million is allocated under a new grant program called “Community-Based Approaches to Advancing Justice.”

Other provisions of Meng’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act include, among other things, creating a position at the Department of Justice to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes, encouraging more reporting of incidents in multiple languages, and expanding public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and reaching victims.

Meng reintroduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in March with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). It was passed in Congress with overwhelming and bipartisan support; 364 to 62 in the House and of 94 to 1 in the Senate.

“The Community-based Approaches to Advancing Justice grant, championed by Congresswoman Grace Meng, recognizes that our communities are in crisis,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “Victims and their families continue to struggle to overcome the terrible physical, mental, and economic toll of hate violence: our seniors are terrified to step outside their doors, and parents are afraid to send their children to school even after months of isolation at home. While the nation’s attention may have shifted from the wave of violence that continues to batter our communities, we are still being called on every day to do the urgent work needed to protect them from further attacks. The Congresswoman clearly understands. This grant is an ambitious and necessary step to enhance and expand community engagement, empowerment, and education against hate. The Asian American Federation is hugely inspired by Congresswoman Grace Meng’s efforts. We thank her for her commitment to support and protect the millions of hard-working Asian Americans that continue to help our nation confront a global pandemic despite the bias they face.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Rep. Meng’s leadership  has been tireless and inspiring,” said Gregg Orton, National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). “Her relentless pursuit of justice and greater opportunities for the Asian American community has resulted in meaningful progress in the fight against anti-Asian hate; and we are deeply appreciative of her willingness to work with us towards these solutions. The inclusion of a new grant program at DOJ that will support the work of community-based organizations responding to hate crimes comes at a critical time. So many of our community organizations, who were already under-resourced, have been pushed even further beyond their limits to respond to hate. This provision must be preserved by the Senate.”

“ADL applauds Congresswoman Meng and the Appropriations Committee in their continued efforts to fight against hate,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “We welcome the creation of the Community-Based Approaches to Advancing Justice grant program and similar initiatives. Congress and the Administration must continue to prioritize – and fully fund – community-driven, whole-of-society approaches to address all forms of hate.”

“Congresswoman Meng is to be congratulated for her commitment to non-carceral approaches to conflict resolution,” said Laura M. Esquivel, Vice President for Federal Policy and Advocacy at Hispanic Federation. “We urge support for the ‘Community-Based Approaches to Advancing Justice’ grant program which will directly fund trusted community-based groups to build stronger, safer communities through community empowerment and education.”

“It is a long time coming for dollars to assist in the work we struggle to accomplish,” said Ken Cohen, Regional Director of the NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council. “The NAACP embraces the concept and hopes the funding will find its way to the Branches of New York City, New York State and the many other organizations that do this work with little or no funding.”

“The fight for justice must be community-led and organized. By securing a $30 million grant program for community-based organizations, Representative Grace Meng is taking the appropriate steps necessary to ensure that every city in America is safer tomorrow than it was yesterday,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Vulnerable communities across the country, including trans and non-binary people of color, will be better equipped to prevent and respond to hate crimes because of funding for community-based strategies. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to support this provision in the Commerce, Justice, and Science FY2022 appropriations bill and urges Congress to swiftly enact it into law.”

“SALDEF applauds U.S. Representative Grace Meng’s successful effort in securing $30 million in funding to expand provisions in the COVID 19 Hate Crimes Act, which will support community- based organizations’ engagement, empowerment and education initiatives in regard to hate crimes,” said Kiran Kaur Gill, Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF). “This will directly help communities impacted by hate crimes and provide critical resources to support these efforts. As a community that has been disproportionately targeted by hate crimes, Sikh Americans understand the importance of addressing these issues head on and the consequences if they are gone unchecked. These resources are critical to curbing the discrimination and violence and, by allocating them to community-based organizations, they will go where they are most needed – on the front lines. We sincerely appreciate Representative Meng’s action on this issue. “

“AABANY is immensely appreciative of Congresswoman Meng’s leadership in combating anti-Asian hate,” said Terrence Shen, President of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY). “Providing these resources to AAPI community groups is critical because they have generally been underfunded, but nonetheless deeply connected to the AAPI community. These organizations have been doing critical work since early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased funding will meaningfully amplify their efforts.” 

“This grant program demonstrates a commitment for community-based responses to anti-Asian hate and racism, and builds upon the historic COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed in May,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We are pleased that Congress will be funding community organizations that have the cultural competency to reach, serve, and support our diverse Asian American communities through mental health services, public education campaigns, training on how to respond to anti-Asian hate and harassment, and more. We thank Rep. Grace Meng for her strong and steadfast advocacy to ensure that Congress follows through on its promises to meet the needs of our communities. We also extend our appreciation to the organizations that have long been working, and have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect and support those who are the most vulnerable.”

Statement of Asian American Judges Association of New York on AAPI Underrepresentation in the New York State Judiciary

July 20, 2021 

As Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) jurists in the New York State court  system we celebrated AAPI Heritage month in May for the first time in our Courts by  participating in panels, co-hosting events, and acknowledging the many jurists that blazed the  trail for us. We also recognized the work that remains for the Courts to be inclusive of the AAPI  experience.  

Our fairly young history in the New York State Judiciary began only 38 years ago with  the appointment of the Hon. Randall Eng to the New York City Criminal Court bench in 1983. It  continued with the historic elections of the Hon. Peter Tom and the Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt to  the New York County Civil Court in 1987. Judges Eng and Tom were the first Asian Americans  appointed to the Appellate Division and even served simultaneously as Presiding Justice and  Acting Presiding Justice in 2016. Equally historic was the election of the Hon. Anil Singh in  2002, the first elected South Asian judge, and his subsequent appointment to the Appellate  Division in 2017. The Hon. Raja Rajeswari became the first South Asian judge appointed in  New York in 2015.  

While we are proud to celebrate our “firsts,” many of us remain the “only,” and the AAPI  community remains underrepresented in the judiciary. Secretary Jeh Johnson highlighted this  fact in his October 1, 2020 report on equal justice in the New York State Courts, where he noted that AAPIs comprise 8.5% of New Yorkers and only 2.6% of the judiciary. Currently, there are  only 39 AAPI judges in all of New York State, and that is out of 1,227 jurists. Secretary Johnson  also reported that in New York City, AAPI people comprise 14.1% of the population and only  6.3% of the judiciary, and that the AAPI community remains underrepresented among judges  chosen by election. 37 of the 39 AAPI judges preside in New York City, and there are only two elected AAPI judges north of New York City. There has never been an AAPI judge elected in  Brooklyn, Staten Island or the Bronx. Only two out of the 86 Court of Claims judges are AAPI, and there are no South Asian jurists. No AAPI jurists currently sit on our intermediate appellate  courts in the Second, Third, and Fourth Departments. No AAPI has ever been appointed to the Court of Appeals.  

Of the 63 supervisory or administrative judicial positions in New York State, there are  only two AAPI jurists. None of the 12 Administrative Judges in New York City, 10  Administrative Judges outside New York City and 21 Supervising Judges outside of New York  City are AAPI jurists. These statistics show that Asian American and Pacific Islanders lack a full voice in the administration of justice in New York State.  

We call upon public officials, the Office of Court Administration, bar associations and  judicial screening committees to place a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion that  recognizes and includes the AAPI community across all levels of the New York State Courts.  We also call upon our own AAPI community to be more proactive in all of the different stages of  the judicial appointment and electoral processes so that we can ensure that there is a multitude of  qualified candidates available for consideration. We hope to look back in the near future at the  progress we expect to achieve.

Public Notice: One Full-Time Federal Magistrate Judge Vacancy

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

July 7, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

There is one (1) upcoming full-time United States Magistrate Judge position vacancy at the Central Islip Courthouse of the Eastern District of New York at 1100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York, effective February 24, 2022. The duties of the position are demanding and wide ranging, and will include: (1) conduct of preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; (2) trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases; (3) conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from the judges of the district court; (4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants; and (5) assignment of additional duties not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The basic jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge is specified in 28 U.S.C., section 636. To be qualified for appointment, an applicant must: (a) be a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands for at least five years; (b) have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years (with some substitutions authorized); (c) be competent to perform all the duties of the office, of good moral character, emotionally stable and mature, committed to equal justice under the law, in good health, patient and courteous, and capable of deliberation and decisiveness; (d) be less than 70 years old; and (e) not be related to a judge of the district court. An applicant should have federal court experience and be knowledgeable in federal civil and criminal practices and procedures.

A Merit Selection Panel (appointed by Administrative Order 2021-16) composed of attorneys and residents of the district will review all applications and recommend in confidence to the judges of the district court the five persons whom it considers best qualified for each vacancy. The Court will make the appointments following FBI and IRS investigations of the appointees. An affirmative effort will be made to give due consideration to all qualified candidates, including women and members of minority groups. The salary of the position is, as of this notice, $201,112 per annum. The term of office is eight years.

Please note that the application form can be accessed on-line at the district’s website: www.nyed.uscourts.gov. Application forms also may be obtained from the Clerk of Court at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York 11201. Applications must be personally prepared by potential nominees and must be received no later than August 8, 2021. A submission can be made by email in PDF format sent to NYED-APPLICATIONS@nyed.uscourts.gov or submitted online at this linked address. Instructions are available on the court website.

Historical Society of the New York Courts and the Asian American Judges Association of New York Sponsor a Panel about AAPIs in the Judiciary, May 20

On May 20, the Historical Society of the New York Courts, the Asian American Judges Association of New York, and Meyer Suozzi English & Klein P.C. co-sponsored a panel discussion on the role of Asian Americans in the federal and state judiciary. The panelists of the event were Hon. Pamela K. Chen, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York and AABANY member; Hon. Toko Serita, New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice, Presiding Judge of the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court, and AABANY member; and Hon. Anil C. Singh, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. Hon. Lillian Wan, New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice and AABANY member, moderated the panel.

New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore opened the event with a few remarks, thanking the panelists and acknowledging their trailblazing careers as Asian-Americans. Chief Judge DiFiore also emphasized the importance of remembering AAPI history and the United States’ legacy of racial exclusion against Asians. She then turned the program over to Judge Randall T. Eng. Judge Eng, Of Counsel at Meyer Suozzi and former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, welcomed the attendees and shared his experiences as the first Asian American appointed to the bench in New York.

Judge Wan then introduced the panelists for the event, opening the discussion with a brief presentation on AAPI history from Hong Yen Chang and the Chinese Exclusion Act to the present day. After the presentation, each of the panelists introduced themselves and shared their backgrounds and paths to becoming judges. Judge Wan began the panel discussion, asking the panelists about their experiences as Asian Americans at the times of their confirmations. Many of the panelists recounted how there were very few, if not any, Asian American judges when they were appointed. Judge Chen recalled how her appointment was facilitated by Obama’s attempts to diversify the federal bench, while Judge Serita recounted her experiences as the first Japanese American appointed to her court.

Judge Wan moved on to the reasons behind the underrepresentation of AAPIs in the state and federal judiciary. All of the panelists cited lack of political engagement, the lack of a pipeline, and the general tendency of Asian lawyers to seek employment at corporate law firms. Judge Chen also brought up cultural barriers, touching on how Asians tend not to promote themselves and do not seek help even when needed.

Judge Wan shifted the topic to Asian stereotypes and its effects on day-to-day legal practice. The judges all expressed how Asians are frequently lumped together, being viewed as a monolithic group. Judge Serita pointed out that the term “Asian” itself perpetuates invisibility, as it smothers the diverse experiences that individuals of different Asian cultures experience. Judge Chen also mentioned how women of color tend to face more microaggressions than men of color.

Judge Wan then asked the panelists if they had experienced any incidents of anti-Asian assault during the COVID pandemic. Judge Serita shared that during the height of the pandemic, she would wear a hat and sunglasses on the subway in order to hide her Asian identity. She also mentioned how women make up 70% of bias incident victims due to being stereotyped as meek and docile. Judge Serita also emphasized the importance of continuing the conversations about Asians and race in light of the rise in anti-Asian incidents. Judge Chen also shared a story, where an Asian female jury member had to be excused from jury duty because she feared being assaulted on the subway commute to the courthouse.

Judge Wan then directed the conversation towards the role of diversity in the judiciary. All the judges emphasized the importance of having a judiciary that reflects the diversity of the people it serves. Judge Chen also cited Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion in the Schuette v. Coalition case, pointing out how race does matter in the judiciary due to the long history of minorities being excluded in the United States.

Judge Wan then asked the panelists their thoughts on building a pipeline for Asians to enter the judiciary. All the judges expressed how important it was to reach out to the community to inspire young people to consider a public service career. Judge Chen identified a number of internships and programs for students aspiring to become judges while also noting how increasing Asian political representation in federal and state positions would afford aspiring AAPI lawyers the support needed to get through the confirmation process. Judge Chen also mentioned the role of bar associations like AABANY and the South Asian Bar Association of New York in sponsoring candidates for the bench. Judge Serita finished by encouraging young lawyers to be more proactive and to overcome Asian cultural humility.

Judge Wan moved to the topic of judicial screening panels, asking the judges their thoughts on the role of diversity on the panels. All the judges agreed on the vital role of diversity on screening panels. Judge Serita recounted one instance where an Asian woman being reviewed by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys was given a low qualification score, due, in part, to the fact that only one out of the 30 committee members was Asian.

To close the panel, Judge Wan asked the judges if they had any advice to give to young attorneys aspiring to the bench. Judge Chen and Judge Serita both encouraged the attendees to enjoy their work, be passionate about it, but also, to not plan their careers rigidly around becoming a judge. All the judges also expressed the importance of flexibility and of keeping options open.

At the end of the event, Judge Eng shared photographs and a newspaper clipping documenting his long and distinguished career in the judiciary. Judge Wan then thanked the panelists for their time and the attendees for coming to the event.

To watch the full event, click here.

AABANY Congratulates Grace Jamgochian on Her Election as a Partner at Shearman & Sterling

Grace Jamgochian was elected to Partner at Shearman & Sterling on June 16th, 2021. She currently practices in Shearman’s New York office and, as stated in the Shearman & Sterling announcement, she “represents all aspects of mergers, acquisitions and investments for corporates and private capital investors. Her experience includes domestic and cross-border public company mergers, complex private transactions, and activism/defense, particularly in the TMT, infrastructure, and consumer products sectors.” Grace has also been a member of AABANY since 2019 and she currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Women’s Committee.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Grace Jamgochian and wishing her much success in all her future endeavors.

AABANY Women’s Committee Hosts Outdoor Ice Cream Networking Event on July 15

On July 15, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s (AABANY’s) Women’s Committee hosted an outdoor networking event on the Madison Square Park lawn, offering a variety of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory ice cream flavors to attendees that ranged from classic vanilla to ginger and black sesame. The AABANY Women’s Committee planned this networking event with two main objectives in mind: to ease everyone back into in-person events in a casual, outdoor setting and to get everyone comfortable with each other so that the Committee can engage in more serious conversations and initiatives in the future. The Women’s Committee was able to secure exciting ice cream flavors thanks to Co-Chair Jennifer Wu’s friendship with Christina Seid, owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and recently admitted law student. Wen Zhang remarked that one highlight of co-chairing for the Women’s Committee was supporting other remarkable women in law, and Christina is a case in point. As a business owner and mother, Christina already has her hands full, yet she is eager to embark on a possible second career through a flex program which entails devoting her entire Sunday to law school, in person, for the next year.

Attendees welcomed meeting new faces over refreshing ice cream in the remarkably warm weather, joining together to applaud and congratulate Vice Chair Grace Jamgochian’s recent election as a partner at Shearman & Sterling. Ashley Shan, an associate at Shearman, noted that she appreciated AABANY’s efforts and events, particularly because she is the Co-Chair of her firm’s Asian affinity group. She expressed a hope to work with and be inspired by AABANY initiatives for implementation at work in the future.

AABANY thanks the Women’s Committee for hosting such a fun, summer-appropriate event and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for providing delicious ice cream. To learn more about AABANY’s Women’s Committee, click here. To learn more about the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory Committee, click here.

AABANY Student Outreach Committee Hosts a Panel Discussion about Being a Virtual Summer Associate on June 3rd

On June 3rd, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Student Outreach Committee (SOC) hosted a panel discussion about the dos and don’ts of being a virtual summer associate. Haynes and Boone summer associate and SOC Student Leader Julie Choe moderated the panel. The panelists were Andrew T. Hahn, Sr., General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer at Hawkins Delafield & Wood and past AABANY President in 2004; Jeeho Lee, hiring partner at O’Melveny & Myers; Taiyee Chien, summer associate at Kirkland & Ellis and SOC Student Leader; and Victor Roh, summer associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell and SOC Marketing Director and Student Leader.

Julie opened the event by introducing the panelists for the evening. The student leaders then shared their experiences as (virtual) summer associates, and discussed a variety of topics with the other panelists including how to gain diverse work experience, how to reach out to partners, the advantages and disadvantages of a remote program, work-life balance, and more. The panelists also discussed the qualities of a good summer associate, which included being attentive to detail, respectful, taking responsibility for mistakes, being responsive to emails, and keeping your camera on during meetings. The panelists also emphasized the importance of building your own unique “brand” at the firm from your particular strengths and character. After the event, the discussion was opened to the attendees for questions.

AABANY thanks SOC for hosting this timely event in the midst of the pandemic and thanks the panelists for sharing their thoughts and experiences about summer associate programs. AABANY SOC will also be hosting several upcoming events, including a mock interview workshop and two panel discussions as part of the Students Meet Firms series. The first panel will feature attorneys from Cleary Gottlieb. The second presentation will discuss the legal recruiting process with recruiters at Shearman & Sterling. To learn more about AABANY’s SOC, click here. To join the SOC slack channel, click here.

NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III Testifies before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property on the Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary

For Immediate Release: 
Date: July 12, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

Click here for Testimony.

WASHINGTON – This morning, NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property at a hearing entitled, “The Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary, Part 2: The Selection and Confirmation Process.” President Cruz’s testimony on behalf of NAPABA highlighted the challenges that Asian Pacific American attorneys often encounter as they attempt to advance in the legal profession. According to the 2017 landmark study “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law” (“Portrait Project”) published jointly by NAPABA and Yale Law School, the most often cited issues are lack of mentorship and role models, lack of leadership training, and work going unrecognized. President Cruz’s testimony also drew on the Portrait Projects finding that the selection process for clerkships or law firm promotion – often a prerequisite for judicial consideration, involves not only measures of objective criteria but also access to mentorship and subjective criteria which are often amorphous factors that decision makers rely on to determine whom they regard as their proteges. President Cruz was joined on the panel by his Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) colleague and Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) President Elia Diaz Yeager.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession..

NAPABA Congratulates Julie Su on her Confirmation to Become Deputy Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Julie Su on her confirmation to become Deputy Secretary of Labor. Ms. Su will be the first Asian American woman to serve as the Department of Labor’s second-in-command.

“Julie Su’s experience leading California’s labor department – the country’s largest in a state that ranks as the fifth largest economy in the world, makes her extraordinarily well-prepared to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA congratulates Julie Su and applauds the Senate on her well-deserved confirmation.”

In 2014, NAPABA honored Ms. Su with its prestigious Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Ms. Su was recognized for her advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable, poor, and disenfranchised workers, including for her efforts to hold garment manufacturers liable for exploiting slave labor.

Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Ms. Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Ms. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.