FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2012
NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555
AAJC Contact: Kimberly Goulart (202) 499-7027
NAPABA AND AAJC APPLAUD LORNA SCHOFIELD’S CONFIRMATION TO THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
WASHINGTON – Today the United States Senate confirmed Lorna Schofield by a 91-0 vote to a seat on 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.
“NAPABA congratulates Lorna Schofield on her confirmation as a federal district judge on the Southern District of New York and is proud to have supported her nomination and confirmation,” said Wendy Shiba, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “We applaud President Obama and Senator Schumer for nominating Judge Schofield to this critical court, and continuing their commitment to nominating well-qualified, diverse candidates to the federal bench.”
Prior to joining the bench, Judge Schofield practiced law at the New York law firm 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. Prior to joining Debevoise, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years. Ms. Schofield was 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.
“We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her confirmation and commend President Obama and Senator Schumer for their commitment to diversifying the bench with exceptionally well-qualified judicial nominees,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. “The community is hopeful that our Senate leaders will work to confirm Pamela Chen, President Obama and Senator Schumer’s nominee to the Eastern District of New York this year. Ms. Chen’s confirmation on the heels of the Judge Schofield’s would be celebrated by all in New York City, as well as Asian Americans across the nation.”
With her confirmation today, Judge Schofield will join Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York as the only judges of Asian descent serving on 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 the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York are Asian Pacific Americans. The nomination of another well-qualified Asian Pacific American, Pamela Ki Mai 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 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 64 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of people of color in the legal profession.
The Asian American Justice Center (www.advancingequality.org), a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, works closely with its affiliate organizations – the Asian American Institute in Chicago (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) in Los Angeles – to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.