With over 750 in attendance, last week’s Annual Dinner, held again at Cipriani Wall Street, shattered previous records. We thank everyone who attended, especially all the sponsors who came out to celebrate with us and to support AABANY’s mission. Thanks also to all the volunteers who helped to keep everything running smoothly. We thank Richard Lui of MSNBC for doing a great job as MC of the event. Congratulations to President Mike Huang and the entire Dinner Planning Committee for a job well done. What a way to kick off the Year of the Snake. To read the press release go to http://blog.aabany.org/post/44552241384/aabanys-annual-dinner-attracts-more-than-750-guests

Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Judicial Summer 2013 Internship

From Stephanie Cirkovich, Esq., Public Information Officer U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York:

Loretta A. Preska, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, is pleased to announce that the court is accepting applications for the Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Judicial Internship for the summer of 2013. Applications are due on April 1, 2013. Please click HERE for information on how to apply; this information is also available at www.nysd.uscourts.gov.&nbsp

Open to 1L and 2L students with a $5000 tuition credit paid directly to your law school.

From the TwitterVerse: Marriage Proposal at AABANY Annual Dinner

The Newark mayor plays cupid. “You know, I’m a romantic guy and I love to help with surprises,” Booker tells BuzzFeed.posted on February 27, 2013 at 7:50pm EST

Israel Burns proposed to his girlfriend, Misha Wright, in New York City Wednesday evening after some surprise help from Newark mayor Cory Booker. Image by Israel Burns

Israel Burns proposed Wednesday evening to his girlfriend of one year, Misha Wright, with a surprise assist from Cory Booker. Burns asked the Newark mayor on Twitter to “lend a hand with a marriage proposal idea,” and less than 24 hours later, Booker helped pop the question.

Known for engaging directly with constituents and admirers over the social media platform — he rescued a dog left out in the cold last month after a local television reporter tweeted at him for help — Booker saw Burns’ tweet late Tuesday night and responded in the affirmative: “I am a romantic,” he said. “Please DM me. Sounds fun.”

I am a romantic. Please DM me. Sounds fun RT @israelburns Is it possible for you to lend a hand with a marriage proposal idea?

Burns, 26, lives and works in New York City at the law firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, but says he became a fan of the mayor when he went to law school in Newark from 2009 to 2011.

“I was trying to think of the most creative way to do the proposal,” Burns told BuzzFeed. “Misha is also a huge supporter and fan of Cory Booker’s, and so I wanted to incorporate him somehow.”

“Ten minutes after I posted it on Twitter, he responded. I was like, ‘Wait is he serious about this? Is it actually possible?’” Burns said.

Burns was planning on taking Wright, 35, and also a lawyer, to the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s annual dinner at Cipriani Wall — where the couple met this time last year — and he wanted the proposal to take place at the event.

He asked Booker over Twitter if he’d be in New York Wednesday night. No, said Booker, but he still wanted to help.

After connecting by phone — “his vibe was excited to help out,” Burns said of the call — he and the mayor came up with a game plan. Booker wouldn’t appear in person at the event, but would make a cameo, by phone.

“At the event, I’m going to tell her I’m going to the bathroom and have her hold my cell phone,” said Burns. “At 6:50 p.m., Cory is gonna call and tell her that he found me at the event and that she should come upstairs to the second floor, at the VIP section.”

Speaking to BuzzFeed before the proposal, Burns said, “She is gonna freak out, and sprint upstairs,” he said. “We personally admire the work that he’s done in Newark in terms of revitalizing the political youth, so we are big fans.”

But instead of Booker waiting upstairs, it would be Burns, with two glasses of champagne, a ring, and a poem he wrote for the occasion, he said.

Wright, it turned out, said yes.

Booker told BuzzFeed after the proposal that “it seemed to go really well,” he said. “She was excited and almost dubious at the beginning that I was there.”

Asked why he decided to respond to Burns, Booker said, “You know, I’m a romantic guy and I love to help with surprises. It’s the first time I’ve conspired with somebody on a marriage proposal,” he said.

“Taking a few minutes out of my hectic day to be a small part of that was a gift to me,” said the mayor.

The couple is headed to the Dominican Republic early Thursday morning for a vacation together.

Israel! Congrats on ur engagement. Thanks 4letting me play a small part in the proposal. May ur love 4 each other ever increase @israelburns


NEW YORK – February 28, 2013 – On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) held its 24th annual dinner at Cipriani Wall Street.  The annual dinner has consistently attracted more than 500 attendees from the New York legal community and guests have included prominent federal and state judges, elected officials and dignitaries, and attorneys from large and small law firms, corporate law departments, prosecutors’ offices and government agencies. This year’s annual dinner was the largest in AABANY’s history, attracting more than 750 attendees and sponsorships from more than 60 law firms and corporations to celebrate the occasion.

This year AABANY was pleased to honor: Gary Lynch, Global General Counsel and Head of Compliance and Regulatory Relations of Bank of America, who received the 2013 Diversity Leadership Award and delivered the keynote speech; Stuart Alderoty, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., who received the 2013 Corporate Counsel Leadership Award; and Pamela Chen, Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of New York, Chief of the Civil Rights Section of the Criminal Division, who received the 2013 Women’s Leadership Award. Richard Lui, of MSNBC, was the Master of Ceremonies.  AABANY’s event featured a premium silent auction and a festive post-party in the venue’s mezzanine.

For more information about AABANY, or this event, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].

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.

Tsui Yee receives the 2013 Dena Coye Outstanding Woman Entrepreneurship Award

Congratulations Tsui! 

February 27, 2013 (NEW YORK) – The National Minority Business Council (www.nmbc.org) is marking the start of its fifth decade by further expanding its annual awards program, now in its 33rd year, by presenting its first award ever for Outstanding Green Initiative, February 28th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York City.

C.W. Brown, a Westchester County-based general contracting and construction management services firm serving commercial clients in the Tri-State area, will receive NMBC’s first-ever Outstanding Green Initiative Award at the organization’s annual luncheon, beginning at 11:00 AM. Employee-owned and certified as a Woman-owned Business Enterprise, the company’s headquarters building in Armonk, NY was the first green construction in Westchester County to have met the standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, the highest certification standard in the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system. It was the first building in New York State, outside of New York City, and one of only 86 in the United States to achieve this distinction.

NMBC is also reinforcing its strong working relationship with government agencies by featuring as this year’s keynote speaker Craig Collins, vice president of administration, New York City School Construction Authority (SCA). Collins is responsible for Contractor Qualification, Administrative Services, Human Resources, Business Development Division (BDD) and Policy Development, all of vital interest to any business eager to become qualified as government contractor.

“Last year, reaching our 40th Anniversary was a significant milestone for NMBC. But clearly, our work is not complete,” said John F. Robinson, President and CEO of the national organization that is headquartered in New York City. “Over the years, our advocacy work for minority-owned businesses has expanded as the definition of ‘minority-owned’ has grown. "Minority-owned businesses, whether their principals are people of color, women, veterans, members of the LGBT community, immigrants to our great country, or people with disabilities, have proven time and again that they not only have what it takes to survive but thrive. The men and women being honored at our 33rd Annual Awards Ceremony are testimony to that and are an inspiration for future generations of business owners of all backgrounds and from all walks of life, regardless of color, gender, or national origin.”

Several of the awardees noted that this achievement is recognition of their personal and professional commitment to the same goals and ideals of NMBC. “Working with diverse firms is a priority at Skanska, and we’re honored to accept the 2013 Outstanding Corporate Supplier Diversity Award from the NMBC,” said Tom Webb, executive vice president and general manager for Skanska USA Building’s Metro New York region. “We’re committed to collaborating with and creating opportunities for minority businesses which help fuel the local economies where we all work together.”

Tsui Yee, a founding partner of Guerrero Yee LLP, shares this year’s Dena Coye Outstanding Woman Entrepreneurship Award with Data Blue, a customized storage, backup and server virtualization and consolidation firm with offices in New York and Atlanta. “I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Yee, who practices immigration and nationality law in New York. “I deeply respect NMBC which provides tremendous support to minority entrepreneurs such as me. Being a member of NMBC has enriched my professional life and business in innumerable ways.” Yee is Co-Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee at the New York County Lawyers Association.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the NMBC as the recipient of its 2013 Outstanding Media Award,” added Robert Levin, Chief Executive Officer and publisher. “Our Manhattan-based publication is relied upon by more than 100,000 business owners and executives in the tri-state area. Along with NMBC, we are there for those business owners that are seeking better ways to grow their companies." Mistress of Ceremonies at this year’s Awards Luncheon is Suzanne Veira, Senior Director Business Development, NYC School Construction Authority. The complete list of NMBC 2013 award recipients follows:

  • Outstanding Green Initiative: C.W. Brown
  • Outstanding Corporate Supplier Diversity Award: Citnalta Construction Corporation, Skanska USA Building, Inc., and Plaza Construction Corporation
  • Outstanding Minority Business: Padilla Construction Services, Inc., First Choice Mechanical, Inc., and Velez Organization.
  • Dena Coye Outstanding Woman Entrepreneurship Award: Data Blue and Guerrero Yee, LLC. The award is named in honor of a long-time and deceased employee of NMBC.
  • Outstanding Educational Institution:Medgar Evers College
  • Outstanding Veteran Owned Business Award: RCL Burco, LLC
  • Charles T. Haffey Community Service Award: Cause Effective. The award is named in honor of a former vice president of corporate purchasing at Pfizer, Inc., an early associate and strong supporter of NMBC.
  • Outstanding Global Business Award: Target International Shipping
  • Outstanding Media Award: The New York Enterprise Report.

About NMBC:

The National Minority Business Council, Inc. (NMBC), a not-for-profit 501 ©(3) corporation, was founded in December 1972. The primary purpose of the organization is to enhance the success and profitability of the small business community through the provision of high-quality services, programs, advocacy and networking support. The secondary purpose is to act as an information clearinghouse for the women- and minority-owned business enterprise (MWBE) community.

National Movement to Push for Real Immigration Reform

Asian-led Community Organizations Call on Asian Pacific American New Yorkers to Join the National Movement to Push for Real Immigration Reform in 2013!

New York, NY – Today, February 28, Asian-led organizations citywide came together torally the Asian Pacific American community to join the national movement for immigration reform. The groups endorsed the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign, coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition and supported by over 150 labor, faith, grassroots and immigrant organizations across the state.

The groups announced their campaign plans, including postcards calling for“real” immigration reform, an Asian Pacific American community-led town hall forum on March 28th at LaGuardia Community College, and a large mobilization on April 10th to Washington, D.C.

“2013 represents our best chance in decades to win immigration reform. The Asian Pacific American community must capitalize on the political power we demonstrated during last November’s election,” said May Chen, President of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund.  “It is critical to have the Asian Pacific American community push Congress and President Obama to pass real reform that keeps families together, protects workers and safeguards our civil rights.

David Chen, Executive Director of the Chinese-American Planning Council, emphasized, “The Asian Pacific American community must be ready to join the fight for immigration reform. The last package was passed over twenty years ago and we cannot wait another moment to fix this outdated system. Immigration reform is the most important legislation of our time and we must act now!

Steve Choi, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action outlined three simple ways community members can join the campaign and urged them to “take a minute to sign the postcard, a few hours to participate in a community townhall or a day to travel down to Washington, D.C on April 10 to join thousands of others in a national march.

“Not only should individual community members act, but our sister organizations serving Asian Pacific American New Yorkers must also mobilize and reach out to their Congressional representatives,“ said Vanessa Leung, Deputy Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. “There is too much at stake for us and this nation, and as Asian Pacific Americans we need our voices heard.”

Explaining what is at stake, Elizabeth OuYang, President of OCA-New York, added, “The current Senate “Gang of Eight” framework does not provide a realistic pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. We must tell Senator Schumer that our immigrant community members are the backbone of America and we should not have to wait decades to become fully participating members of our society. The process must be shortened and streamlined.”

“As an organization of undocumented South Asian immigrant workers and youth, we welcome immigration reform that is truly just and humane,” said Monami Maulik, Founder and Executive Director of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) and the Global South Asian Migrant Workers Alliance. “However, we will not sacrifice one community for another. We cannot trade off any more human and civil rights violation, the militarization and deaths of migrants at the borders, the profiling of communities in the name of national security, and the separation of families through arrest, detentions, and deportations. Reform must be rooted in full human rights.“

Highlighting the importance of family reunification, Mae Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, stated, “The back family visa categories are a major problem for our communities. Currently, it can take decades for an Asian Pacific American citizen or green card holder to be reunited with a family member. We must demand our New York Congressional representatives to push for a comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together!”

“Three generations of my family have paid a heavy toll because of the backlogs and outdated quotas in family visa categories,” said Angie Kim, an undocumented Korean American and recent DACA recipient, “Though I am the grandchild of U.S. citizens, I lived over a decade of my life undocumented and in limbo. If we are going to keep families together, family reunification must be the bedrock of a reform package.”

Advocating for the rights of immigrant workers essential to New York’s economy, Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar said, “We strongly oppose the work history requirement in the current proposal. It is going to be very difficult for domestic workers, restaurant workers, nail salon workers, day laborers and other informal sector workers to prove employment history in the U.S., let alone continuous employment. The work history requirement will also make it easier for unscrupulous employers to take advantage of the workers seeking to adjust their status, and will further drive millions of workers into the shadows.”

“Comprehensive immigration reform must try to close the gap between the rights of immigrant Americans and U.S.-born Americans,” said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.  "Recent laws have increasingly promoted racial profiling and resulted in civil rights violations against immigrants. Reform cannot stop short of laws reflecting human rights standards that ensure all workers make a decent living and all families can stay together.“

Rio M. Guerrero, Immigration and Nationality Law Committee Co-Chair of the Asian American Bar Association of New York added, “We support comprehensive legislation that will continue to make the U.S. the destination for world class businesses and the best and brightest workers.”

The APA Table in support of the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign include:

Adhikaar, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, APICHA Community Health Center, Chinese-American Planning Council, Chinese Progressive Association, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Gay Asian & Pac Islander Men of NY, Hamilton-Madison House, Korean American Association of Greater New York, Korean American Family Service Center, Korean American Association of Queens, Korean Americans for Political Advancement, Korean American Business Council of New York, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan NY, MinKwon Center for Community Action, OCA-New York, Q-WAVE, South Asian Council for Social Services, South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association, South Asian Youth Action!, United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, Wonkwang Community Service Center (list in formation)

For more information, contact:
Christina Chang: (718) 460-5600
May Chen: (347) 234-9387
Fahd Ahmed:(718) 205-3036

Past President Vincent Chang Quoted in Law360 Article on Prof. Rivera

Rivera Flap Shows NY High Court Picks Can Expect Scrutiny
By Pete Brush

Law360, New York (February 11, 2013, 8:02 PM ET) – The New York State Senate confirmed law professor Jenny Rivera to the state’s highest court Monday on a voice vote, but a bitter debate over her resume signals to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that upcoming judicial nominees can expect heightened scrutiny, especially if they don’t have bench experience.

Rivera, a law professor at the City University of New York, becomes the first judge ever in the Empire State to leap straight to the New York Court of Appeals from academia.

An expert in Hispanic and women’s civil rights issues, Rivera replaces the court’s first and only Hispanic judge, Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who was forced to retire at the end of 2012 after reaching the age of 70.

“Professor Rivera has dedicated her career to public service,” Cuomo said after the vote. “Her extensive experience in civil rights law and her passion for making our state a fairer and more just place will greatly benefit New York.”

That Rivera’s Senate confirmation came on a voice vote suggested Republican opposition wasn’t uniform, experts said. But that didn’t stop several influential Republicans, including Middletown, N.Y., Republican John J. Bonacic from taking to the Senate floor in opposition.

“To put someone who has such narrow legal experience on the highest court of this state for 14 years … and pass over other highly qualified nominees is not something that I can support,” said Bonacic, whose judiciary panel advanced Rivera’s nomination without recommendation after a testy Feb. 4 hearing that was carried over until the next day.

Bonacic was referring to a list of seven candidates, sent to Cuomo by the State of New York’s Commission on Judicial Nomination on Dec. 1, that included three state appellate division judges and two practicing attorneys.

“The nominee has a very limited law practice experience,” said Bonacic, adding that he had “concerns that she will be prone to judicial activism.”

Even though they didn’t have the votes to mount a serious challenge, Republicans are making it clear they will do what they can to make sure Cuomo doesn’t steamroll them at every turn, according to Pace University law professor Randolph M. McLaughlin, who also works as of counsel on civil rights matters at Newman Ferrara LLP.

“The Republicans were trying to send Cuomo a message, that they’re not a rubber stamp,” he said. “My gut instinct tells me, given the range of folks he has in the wings, that Cuomo will pick a sitting judge next.”

Cuomo won’t have to wait long before his next pick. After Rivera is sworn in, she will become the only the sixth sitting member on a court that is supposed to have seven judges.

The court had been operating with a relative skeleton crew of five judges after Ciparick’s retirement and the Nov. 6 death of Judge Theodore T. Jones. A slate of nominees to replace Jones is due to hit Cuomo’s desk in early March.

“If Cuomo doesn’t want to go through this brouhaha again, he’ll pick someone who is a judge,” McLaughlin said.

Cuomo also may find himself under heavy pressure to replace the deceased Jones, the court’s lone black judge, with another African-American, according to Albany Law School professor Vincent M. Bonventre.

“I will be shocked if the next list doesn’t have two or three African-Americans on it,” Bonventre said.

While Republicans attacked Rivera for a lack of experience, McLaughlin noted they also took issue with her academic writings, in which she espouses progressive views on civil rights, racial justice and women’s issues.

“They were trying to knock her down, embarrass her, or get her to say something stupid,” McLaughlin said. “It was pretty embarrassing to see her raked over the coals.”

The charge that Rivera lacks experience is not necessarily fair, according to experts, including Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP<http://www.law360.com/firm/wollmuth-maher> partner Vince Chang, who heads the New York County Lawyers Association’s federal courts committee chair.

“A lot of people say the criticism of her experience was just a pretext,” Chang said, noting that state bar associations went over her record carefully and universally recommended her qualifications. “Many very fine judges were professors.”

Opposition to Rivera’s nomination didn’t come exclusively from Republicans on Monday. One of the state Senate’s mavericks, Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, said Cuomo, in nominating Rivera, seemed keen on pitting Hispanics against the state’s Republicans.

Diaz, an outspoken and often bombastic critic of Cuomo, added that past Hispanic nominees for other high offices in the U.S. didn’t receive the same support from New York’s Latino population when they were nominated by Republicans, including former President George W. Bush.

“Where were you when George Bush nominated Alberto Gonzales and Miguel Estrada?” Diaz asked his Latino counterparts from the Senate floor.

Overall the proceedings were a departure from the state Senate’s typical Court of Appeals approval process, which over the decades has been staid, with one or two minor exceptions, Bonventre said.

A fierce critic of state Senate inaction on high court nominees, Bonventre applauded the Legislature for subjecting Rivera to tough questions.

“They’ve made it clear to the governor that he can’t just nominate anybody and expect them to roll over,” Bonventre said. “They’re obviously going to start taking their constitutional responsibility more seriously than they have in the past. In the past, they have been complete rubber stamps.”

–Editing by John Quinn and Richard McVay.
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