AABANY and KALAGNY have once again teamed up to take a table at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Festival. This year is the 33rd annual, and it takes place at DUMBO in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 12, from 11 am to 5 pm. Come out and join us to celebrate APA Heritage Month with performances, food, and cultural and community groups. It’s family friendly so bring the kids, invite your friends – the more, the merrier. Click on the link in the title for more details.
On Tuesday, April 24, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), through its Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, presented Smooth Moves 2012: Career Strategies for Attorneys of Color. The CLE portion of the event was entitled: “Views from the Corner Office: Diverse GCs Discuss How to Get There and How to Win Their Business.”
The moderator was Hon. Stephen C. Robinson, Partner at Skadden Arps and former judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
When Judge Robinson turned to the question of how to get the business of the prominent GCs who were on the panel, he asked how important diversity was in getting hired.
Don Liu, Senior Vice President, Secretary and GC at Xerox Corporation replied that with Xerox’s strong leadership on issues of diversity, Xerox placed a high premium on diversity in deciding which outside counsel to retain.
At that point, Sandra Leung, GC and Corporate Secretary at Bristol-Myers Squibb, turned to Don and said, “Let me challenge you a bit on that. Do you mean to tell me that if you had a bet-the-company case and the only lawyer who can win the case for you and who is the proven expert on that type of case and has a winning track record, but he and his firm have a poor showing on diversity, you would not hire that attorney?”
Don answered, “I’ve never been faced with that situation,” which drew appreciative laughter from the audience, “but do you mean to tell me that in this wide world, he would be the only lawyer who can handle that case? I doubt it. We would certainly consider his qualifications and track record, but we would still place a high premium on diversity.”
Sandra continued to press and was joined by Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President and GC at Universal Music Group, who shared Sandra’s viewpoint and did not think that diversity would take precedence over other factors, especially if the case was not just “bet-the-company” but was “bet-the-industry.” In such a case, diversity or not, the company would go with the best lawyer for the job.
Don, seeming somewhat piqued but contained, replied: “There seems to be a suggestion that picking the diverse candidate somehow implies getting inferior services. I don’t buy that.” The audience applauded loudly for that statement.
The back-and-forth continued and Don seemed to relent slightly in his position but did not retreat from his stance that the hypothetical was unrealistic. Col. Maritza Ryan, Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, the fourth panelist, noted for the record (yes, transcription was being taken) that she was “the peaceful one.” The audience laughed appreciatively in response.
The debate was certainly lively and enhanced what was already an engaging discussion. At the end, Don and Sandra, who are long-time friends, gave hearty hugs to each other, making clear that there were no hard feelings.
I didn’t have the benefit of the transcript in recounting the exchanges described above but of all the Smooth Moves programs I have had the pleasure to enjoy these last few years, this is the one for which I would request a copy of the transcript. If you know how we can get a hold of one, please let me know.
What do you think? If your company was faced with a bet-the-company or bet-the-industry case, does diversity go out the window in deciding which outside counsel to hire?
On Sunday, April 22, Tsui Yee, co-chair of AABANY’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee, spoke at a community seminar aimed at helping members of the Chinese-American community learn about immigration service fraud and how to prevent it. The event was co-sponsored by AABANY with the New York County District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Program, co-directed by ADA Rosemary Yu, also an AABANY member who helped to found the Prosecutors Committee. To learn more about the event, click on the link in the title.
The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) welcomes and applauds the news that President Barack Obama has nominated Lorna G. Schofield to serve as a federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York. “AABANY is delighted to learn that President Obama has nominated Lorna Schofield to serve on the Southern District of New York bench” said Jean Lee, President of AABANY. “If confirmed, Ms. Schofield would be the first Filipino-American to serve as an Article III federal judge in the history of this country, which would be a legacy of both the Second Circuit and New York State.” Click here to read the full press release.
In his latest blog, immigration attorney Rio Guerrero (who also co-chairs AABANY’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee) points to an increase in H1B visa applications as a sign that the economy is improving. Read more by clicking the link in the title.
Last week, St. John’s law students came together to engage with and learn from alumni at a panel program on Life After Law School: The Paths Ahead of You. Hosted by the Law School’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) in collaboration with the Career Development Office, the event offered insight into a range of practice areas and work environments.
AABANY is happy to mention that the panelists included its members:
William Ng, Assistant Corporation Counsel, New York City Law Department (Board member and Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers and Communications Committees)
John Rogers, Partner, Herrick, Feinstein LLP (Co-Chair of the Corporate Law Committee)
Read the full article from the St. John’s Law website here.
On April 25th the New York County DA’s Office issued the following press release. AABANY member and a co-founder of the Prosecutors Committee, Rosemary Yu, was part of the prosecution team:
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the arrest and indictment of HIT SHRESTHA, 44, a Nepalese national, for systematically defrauding other Nepalese nationals of thousands of dollars. SHRESTHA is charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree for falsely promising her victims that she would arrange for their family members from Nepal to immigrate to the United States, and for charging her victims large fees for the promised service.