AABANY Member Profile: Karen Lin Runs for Queens Civil Court Judge

Karen Lin, an AABANY member since 2019, is a candidate for Judge of the Civil Court in Queens. A dedicated public servant, Karen currently serves as court attorney-referee in Kings County Surrogate’s Court. A former Committee Co-Chair for AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, she led the creation of the Queens Pro Bono Clinic in 2020 and subsequently the Remote Legal Clinic. Now, she hopes to serve her community in a new capacity by becoming the first East Asian female judge elected in Queens. 

A Lifelong New Yorker 

Karen was raised in Flushing and northeast Queens by immigrant parents and continues to call Queens home today. A student of the New York City public school system, she attended the selective Hunter College High School and later the Bronx High School of Science. She attended college at the State University of New York at Buffalo before returning to New York City to pursue her law degree at Brooklyn Law School. 

Motivated to be an advocate for everyday people, Karen began her career as a civil rights and family law attorney at a small firm. She represented families in New York City Family Court and State Supreme Court. She subsequently left for an opportunity to work in the legislative office of New York State Senator Catherine Abate of the 27th District, covering lower and midtown Manhattan. There, as District Counsel and later Chief of Staff, she advocated for constituents in neighborhoods that included Chinatown and the Garment District. The experience gave Karen new insight into the needs of New Yorkers on issues such as affordable housing, fair wages, and labor rights. 

Making the Courts Accessible to Everyone

When Senator Abate gave up her seat to run for Attorney General, Karen returned to the courtroom, this time as a court attorney. Working as a neutral arbiter refined her ability to resolve disputes, facilitate dialogue, and practice empathy. Her commitment to justice was well-recognized by her colleagues, as she was subsequently appointed judge of the New York City Housing Court. “Housing court is the last stop before you’re homeless,” Karen reflects, “[yet] the playing field is so unlevel.” She was humbled by this opportunity. Having advocated for underserved communities for decades, Karen was committed to resolving the disputes before her with full understanding from both parties. 

The bench was Karen’s dream position as a public servant. As a judge, she worked hard to ensure that each person who appeared before her had a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But with a growing family, she decided to step off the bench to care for her three young children. She returned to the courtroom in 2013 as a court attorney-referee in Surrogate’s Court, the position she continues to hold today. She assists grieving families who face difficult conversations following the loss of a loved one. Care and compassion are pillars to Karen’s work: “If you care about people, you’ll care about their problems and see people as people instead of cases to go through,” she explains.  

Changing the Air in the Room

Now that her children are older, Karen hopes to deliver justice again through the bench. She believes that “a good judge knows the law, understands and applies it. A great judge does that and cares about people.” As the daughter of immigrants, a working mother and a lifelong public servant to disadvantaged communities, Karen stresses the need for diverse judges who are attuned to their constituents’ backgrounds. In Queens, where Karen is running, Asians are among the most underrepresented groups in the judiciary. According to the Special Advisor Report on New York State Courts, around 9 percent of Queens judges are Asian although the most recent Queens census reports that Asians constitute 27 percent of the population. 

“The air in the room changes depending on who is in it,” Karen says. She hopes that her campaign will inspire other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to run for the bench. “As lawyers, [running for the judiciary] is not on our radar…yet invisibility changes when we call it out, when there are more of us who are not silent.” As judge, she is committed to continue serving everyday families and to ensure they are treated with dignity throughout the process. 


For more information about Karen Lin’s campaign, including how you can volunteer or support her candidacy, please visit https://www.karenlin2022.com/.

AABANY Marches in Inaugural AAPI Cultural and Heritage Parade in New York City

On Sunday, May 15, 2022  New York City held its first ever AAPI Cultural and Heritage Parade.

As soon as AABANY Co-VP of Programs and Operations Beatrice Leong learned about this inaugural event, she leaped into action to make sure that AABANY members and friends can march up Sixth Ave to represent our bar association. Several email blasts and social media posts went out inviting people to join us at the parade line-up on Sunday morning.

The day started with foggy conditions, and AABANY was among the first groups on West 44th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. We found a good spot to gather on the street, right between the Iroquois Hotel and the New York City Bar Association building. Over the next two hours, the block filled with numerous groups and associations representing a wide array of AAPI organizations and cultures. On our left were brightly colored floats, and on our right were fancy buggies that transported VIPs. Everyone was growing impatient to start marching. Shortly after 12 noon, we started to see floats moving forward onto Sixth Avenue, followed by the community groups and organizations. When AABANY turned down the Avenue of Americas, the sun came out and shined brightly. 

Everyone was happy to be part of this historic parade, which we hope will grow as big as the Thanksgiving Day parade in the future. 

After the parade, members enjoyed a sumptuous meal at Tang Pavilion. 

We thank member Lord Chester So for helping us obtain a banner on short notice!

We thank the following AABANY Members for joining and marching with us!

Founder, Rocky Chin
Hon. Vidya Pappachan
Executer Director Yang Chen
Co- Vice President of Programming and Operations, Beatrice Leong
Board Director Chris Kwok
Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs: Eugene Kim and May Wong
Pro Bono Committee Vice Chair: Johnny Thach
GSPI Committee Chair: Kevin Hsi
Women’s Committee Co-Chair: Wen Zhang
Susan Shin, past AABANY President (2016) and her husband Rob
Lord Chester So
Priya Vanessa Outar
Jennifer Park
Grace Vee
Gary Yeung
Amelia Rusli
Xuanyou Chen
Marjorie Tsang

We were pleased to be joined by our friends at SABANY including SABANY President Austin D’Souza.
Thanks to everyone who helped make history with AABANY at this first Annual AAPI Heritage and Culture Parade!

AABANY Restaurant Series Dines at Cafe China

On May 12, 2022 the Membership and Bankruptcy Committees hosted a dinner at Cafe China. The acclaimed restaurant is known for its classic Sichuan favorites such as cumin lamb and tea-smoked duck. Membership Vice Chair Ashley Shan planned the family style menu, and the group had a great time discussing food, tv and career goals.

We thank Will Hao, Bankruptcy Chair, for co-hosting!

AABANY is trying to support small Asian owned businesses and restaurants through our Restaurant Series, which will be held twice a month. Our next event is at Louie’s Pizza, whose owner and his father stood up for the victim of an anti-AAPI attack. Louie and Cazim courageously came to the help of an elderly Korean woman who was being robbed and attacked in front of their store and were themselves stabbed in the process. We hope you will join us in supporting the restaurant on May 28, 1pm at Louie’s Pizza (8134 Baxter Ave, Queens). For more information and to register, please visit https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1638502. For more information, please email Membership Director Christopher Bae at main@aabany.org.

Thank you to our Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan!

AABANY hosted for the second time the Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan. This year, Caravan representative Angel Li (CLS ’23) reached out to the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) and Student Outreach Committee (SOC) to supervise six students during the week of March 14, 2022. During this program, students shadowed volunteer attorneys at the Queens pro bono clinics held on Saturdays, researched and drafted legal training materials for the pro bono clinics, attended a legal community presentation about bankruptcy, and met with various mentors from law firms and SOC graduates.    

On behalf of PBCS, we want to thank these law students for creating much-needed training materials to help volunteer attorneys in recognizing common issues in housing, family, wills and estates, and immigration law with flowcharts and outlines. These pro bono clinics act like triages in which attorneys spot issues for the individuals and provide legal information and referrals within a 30-minute session. We’ve been quite fortunate to have the support of our volunteer attorneys who are willing to teach each other and to open the eyes of these young law students about the problems many indigent and limited English proficient clients face daily.

On behalf of SOC, we are grateful for the not-for profit and biglaw corporate attorneys coming together to mentor these law students. Despite their different backgrounds and areas of practice, members of AABANY are always generously contributing their time, resources, and efforts to aid the AAPI community and leading these law students to a career of their own choosing.

Rather than picking just one essay from the Caravan, we believe it’s best to share with you all a snippet of these law students’ thoughts about the Caravan. We wish them the best in completing their studies and continue the AABANY’s spirit of giving back to the community.  

Regards,

Eugene Kim, PBCS

William Lee, SOC

May Wong, PBCS

Supervisors of the Caravan

“In the first instance, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the texts that were assigned preparatory to the start of the Caravan. The excerpt from How Do You Live? was especially memorable as a means of getting me into the right mindset before the program even formally began. It goes without saying that behind every law student and lawyer lies a sizable aggregation of resources: years of schooling, various internship opportunities, and votes of confidence from a network of supportive people. Law students and lawyers are the products of considerable societal investment; as such, it is incumbent upon them to give back and to give generously.”

-Andrew Chang –

“While I knew that our society had those problems, I realized that knowing problems is different from helping people facing the problems. I also understood that volunteer attorneys need to deal with various issues in different legal areas in a limited time in the clinic. Therefore, clients’ problems are not entirely solved there, but clients are given helpful advice on the following steps to solve the problems.”

– Nobuko Ikeda –

“Overall, I really valued not only peeking into the issues faced by the community, but also into how Asian American attorneys are helping combat those issues through the clinic. This caravan has inspired me to participate in the pro bono clinic as a future attorney, and I look forward to exploring even more ways to make the sessions efficient and to help the clients legally and emotionally.”

-Angel Li –

“What I found during the research was that massive amounts of materials and resources are already provided by municipal bodies, government officials, and private law firms on the internet. However, people who are not legal professionals would have difficulty utilizing these public resources. The difficulty arises from a language barrier and complexity in understanding and applying legal standards to one’s own situation.”

– Shota Sugiura-

“I appreciated all the genuine and candid advice I received from our Caravan supervisors, and am especially grateful for the wisdom from my AABANY mentor. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from lawyers from a range of backgrounds: those working in public service, those at firms, those who have transitioned to in-house. It was an equally exciting chance to build bonds with other Columbia APALSA members who felt passionate about giving back to our community.”

-Amanda Yang –

AABANY Attends Very Big Very Asian Comedy Festival to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

On Friday, May 13, 2022, AABANY members celebrated AAPI Heritage Month with a night of laughs at the Very Big Very Asian Comedy Festival at the Broadway Comedy Club on West 53rd Street. Over twenty AABANY members and friends enjoyed a hilarious and wildly entertaining lineup of standup comedians of Asian descent. And the verdict was unanimous: the jokes were in fact “Very Big” and “Very Asian.” Big shoutout to the evening’s host, Vince Chang @vincechang21 for keeping things moving along at a lively pace. Vince Chang should not be confused with AABANY President Vince Chang (2007) who is now the President of NYCLA. Not to say that AABANY Vince Chang is not a funny guy … but standup Vince Chang is much funnier.

After Broadway Comedy Club, folks enjoyed a second round of drinks and networking at @iguananyc

Shoutout to @livingwithchriss and her team for putting together a great show AND giving AABANY our own private tables. And great job by the Membership, Student Outreach & Young Lawyers Committees for organizing a great outing for AABANY. Make sure to sign up for upcoming AABANY events at aabany.org/events.

Robin Mangaser Tizon Memorial Law Scholarship Application Available Now

APPLICATIONS DUE 5:00 P.M. (Eastern) MAY 20, 2022

THE ROBIN MANGASER TIZON MEMORIAL LAW SCHOLARSHIP

The Robin Mangaser Tizon Memorial Law Scholarship is sponsored by the NFALA Foundation in collaboration with FALA New York. Robin Mangaser Tizon, Esq., MBA, was a beloved wife, daughter, sister and proud Filipina-American lawyer. Robin was born the third of four daughters, whose immigrant parents instilled in their children the value of education and service to one’s community.  Throughout her life, Robin devoted herself in advocacy of many causes, including Filipino veterans’ rights, adolescents with cancer, and immigrants’ rights.  She also had musical talent and a fine eye for design, enlivening any event with her singing, dancing, and keyboard skills.

After overcoming stage III ovarian cancer at the age of 23, Robin achieved her dream of becoming a lawyer, graduating from Rutgers School of Law-Camden in 2013 with a JD/MBA degree.  Robin focused her practice on intellectual property law.   She served as a valuable leader of NFALA and FALA New York where she found inspiring mentors and lifelong friendships.  Indeed, as one of the first members and original Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee since FALA New York’s inception, Robin was instrumental in establishing the FALA New York brand and lasting communications strategy.  Throughout her long battle with cancer, Robin remained committed to her duties at FALA New York.

OVERVIEW

NFALA Foundation scholarship awards are given to law students who demonstrate exceptional aptitude for the study of law and strong commitment to serve or contribute to the Filipino-American community as future leaders in the legal profession.  The Robin Mangaser Tizon Memorial Law Scholarship was established to honor Robin’s memory and supports talented law students who embody her spirit and commitment to service.  Each scholarship recipient will receive $800 to $1,000, depending on the number of recipients selected in a given year.  

ELIGIBILITY

NFALA Foundation scholarships are made available, on a competitive basis, to students who are enrolled in their Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), or Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) at an accredited U.S. law school (Fall 2022 first time enrollees should submit a statement from your law school certifying that you are a law degree candidate enrolled at least part-time).  

The NFALA Foundation strongly encourages applications from applicants reflecting diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds, people with disabilities and of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, work experiences, national origins, sexual orientations and ages.

CRITERIA

The Robin Mangaser Tizon Memorial Law Scholarship is awarded on the basis of:

  1. Essay;
  2. Resume;
  3. Two (2) letters for recommendation (from persons not related to you);
  4. Official or unofficial copies of your law school transcript (or for an incoming first-year law student, proof of enrollment); and
  5. Any further submission showcasing the applicant’s creative talents, particularly in the field of visual arts or music (optional).

IMPORTANT DATES

April 15, 2022                The scholarship application is available

May 20, 2022        The application and supporting materials must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time

June 1, 2022         Scholarship Awardee is notified by this date

TBD         Scholarship presentation at the FALA NY annual dinner to be held in June.

INSTRUCTIONS

You may apply for the Robin Mangaser Tizon Memorial Law Scholarship by emailing a completed application (view here), along with supporting documents listed under Criteria, to RobinMangaserTizonScholarship@gmail.com  by 5:00 P.M. (Eastern) on May 20, 2022.  Applications must be submitted in one PDF file with the title “Robin Mangaser Tizon Scholarship Application – [Applicant Name]” that consists of all application materials.

Your essay should be no longer than 500 words.  Of all the parts of the application, your essay carries the greatest weight.  Please emphasize any experience you have that shows your commitment to serving the Filipino- American community, as well as your need for financial assistance.

Please submit two letters of recommendation (recommendation letters for law school admission or other programs and positions are acceptable).  It is not necessary to submit more than two recommendation letters.  If you submit more than two letters, the committee may only review the first two letters received.  Letters may be sealed or unsealed and sent directly by the recommender or by the applicant.  An application is not excluded from consideration if no letter of recommendation is provided, though it is highly recommended.

Creative submissions are optional only, but provide the applicant an opportunity to showcase creative talents.  Applicants may either a) submit a link to RobinMangaserTizonScholarship@gmail.com with the content showcasing the applicant’s creative talents and provide any necessary permissions to view, or b) request an FTP link via that email for the applicant to upload materials.  All creative works must be the applicant’s original work or composition, with recordings of performances or music compositions being no longer than five minutes and a maximum of 5 images (.jpg, .png, etc.) or original written works (maximum of 500 words).  

Please click here for application form.

Thank You to Our March Queens Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

On March 26, 2022, the Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee held its Pro Bono Clinic in Flushing, Queens at the offices of the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). We couldn’t have run our clinics without the dedicated help from AABANY, the PBCS Committee, AAFE, and volunteers. We are extremely grateful for our volunteers who traveled all the way from Manhattan and Brooklyn during the torrential rain and MTA’s weekend schedule to meet with clients who needed legal assistance.

Thank you to all the following volunteers:

Ashley ShanAshley Han^
Beatrice LeongMeng Zhang
*Karen Lin (on-call)*Phillip Pang*^
Eugene KimXinyi Shen*^
Johnny ThachAndrew Chang*^
May WongVivian Lee*^
Ruihan (Yvette) WangJennifer Park (not admitted)
Shengyang WuZulma Vazquez (AAFE)^
Evelyn Gong*Chen Yo (AAFE)^
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee*Yini Fang (AAFE)^
Thomas RileyMaria del Carmen Cruz (AAFE)^
Tong WuGabriel Hisugan (AAFE)^
Wen-Hsien (Wendy) Cheng 
  
^ = non-attorney volunteers 
* = remote 

On March 26, we met with 14 clients – 3 spoke English and 11 spoke a second language (ie: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, or Korean). While a majority of the cases related to housing, we had a few cases involving torts, trusts and estates, family law, and immigration law. 

One noteworthy case highlighted the point that not all matters need to be resolved through the courts. One of our volunteers was able to direct an individual who had a problem with a store purchase to seek recourse through filing complaints with NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, or maybe even the media: 

This was a great “think-out-of-the-box” approach and allowed the individual to consider other cost-effective options. Great job to everyone!

We hope to see more volunteers at our next clinic on May 14, 2022.  Please sign up by May 11 at: https://airtable.com/shrsLuv7MQN8Gtc0B

Thank you, 

PBCS Team

2022 AABANY APA Heritage Month Events

In celebration of APA Heritage Month, AABANY is presenting or co-sponsoring several events this month. We hope to see you at one or more of them. Follow the links for more details, and please note the registration deadlines.

May 12, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors CLE: Invisible Under the Law: Racial Injustice & Bias Against AAPI Communities

5:30-7:30PM, Virtual

Click here to register and find event details.

May 12, 2022

AABANY Membership & Bankruptcy Committees Present: Restaurant Series ft. Cafe China

7:30PM, Cafe China, 59 W 37th St, New York 10018

Click here to register and find event details

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 11

May 13, 2022

AABANY Membership, Student Outreach & Young Lawyers Committees Present: Comedy Night

7:30PM, Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd Street, New York, New York  10019

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 12

Click here to register and find event details

May 14, 2022

AABANY PBCS + AAFE Present: Queens Pro Bono Legal Clinic

12:30PM-3:30PM, One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave, 2nd Floor, New York, New York  11355

Click here to find event details. To volunteer, sign up by noon on May 11 using this form.

May 15, 2022

Join AABANY at the First Annual NYC AAPI Heritage Parade!

10:00AM, 6th Ave & 44th St Midtown Manhattan

Click here to find event details.

May 20, 2022

Photographic Justice: A Tribute to Corky Lee Photo Exhibit

6:00PM – 8:00PM, U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman Plaza E, New York City, New York  11201

Click here to find event details.

May 21, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: COVID Crimes – A Stop Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Play

3:00PM – 5:00PM AAFE – One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave., 2nd Floor, Flushing, New York  

Click here to find event details.

May 21, 2022

AABANY PBCS Presents: Brooklyn Pop Up Legal Clinic

1:00PM-5:00PM, 7516 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11214

Click here to find event details.

May 23, 2022

AABANY Judiciary Committee Presents: The Annual 2022 Judges’ Reception

6:00PM New York State Surrogate’s Court, 31 Chambers Street, New York, New York  10007

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 22

Click here to register and find event details.

May 25, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Trial Reenactment – Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association v. Knights of the KKK

6:00PM – 9:00PM, Allen & Overy New York, 1221 6th Ave

Click here to register and find event details.

May 28, 2022

AABANY’s Membership Committee Presents: #RestaurantSeries ft. Louie’s Pizza in Queens

12:00 PM, 8134 Baxter Avenue, Elmhurst NY

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 26

Click here to register and find event details.

May 31, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Cultivating Leaders to Stand Against Hate

6:00PM – 7:00PM, New York County Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street Rotunda, New York, New York  

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Until filled

Click here to find event details.

AABANY Hosts Orientation and Reception for Committee Co-Chairs

On May 5, 2022, AABANY held a kick-off event for Fiscal Year 2023 at Allen & Overy. The new Fiscal Year began on April 1. Vice President of Programs and Operations Beatrice Leong, together with Executive Director Yang Chen, provided an orientation for new co-chairs and vice-chairs and a refresher for returning chairs on information and resources available to them to facilitate their work organizing programs and events for AABANY members and the broader community. (VPPO Joe Eng was unable to attend due to pressing work obligations.)

The 2023 cohort of Committee leadership learned best practices for being a leader of AABANY and learned how to plan and host events. AABANY’s Committee Chairs are ready to put on exciting events, panels and CLEs that all members look forward to. 

After the orientation, the attendees got to meet each other and mingle at Faces & Names Bar and Lounge, a few blocks north of Allen & Overy’s offices. 

We thank Allen & Overy for donating their beautiful space and for being a strong sponsor of AABANY. We also thank our Committee leaders for their dedication to AABANY. Special thanks to Kevin Hsi, Co-Chair of the Government Service & Public Interest Committee for his photos of the event. 

See https://www.aabany.org/page/CommitteesPage2022 for the list of all current Committee Chairs.

Please check the AABANY Calendar often to see the events being presented by our Committees. https://www.aabany.org/events/event_list.asp

NAPABA Mourns Loss of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

For Immediate Release:
Date: May 3, 2022

Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, a 10-term congressman and the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet, died today at his home in Edgewater, Md., at the age of 90.

“A legend in the Asian American community, Secretary Mineta dedicated his life to public service,” said NAPABA Executive Director Priya Purandare. “Sec. Mineta’s story began during one of the darkest times in American history, Japanese American incarceration. He then went on to become one of the country’s highest profile political leaders, and lived and led with courage, strength, and resilience. Throughout his life and career, he advocated for the civil liberties of Asian Americans, and was a co-founder of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. His lived experience with incarceration informed his fight against the racial profiling of Muslims after the 9/11 attacks because he did not want history to repeat itself. May we and future generations all be inspired by his legacy as we mourn this enormous loss.”

Secretary Mineta served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in President George W. Bush’s cabinet and as Secretary of Commerce in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. He was the first Asian American to become mayor of a major U.S. city, San Jose, California. He was also a military veteran, having served as an Army intelligence officer in Korea and Japan. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2006.

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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.