CKA National Summit & Gala 2015 | Council of Korean Americans

CKA National Summit & Gala 2015 | Council of Korean Americans

Thomas J. Byrne Joins The Korea Society as President

(New York, NY) The Korea Society is pleased to announce that Thomas J. Byrne has accepted the Board of Directors’ nomination as President of The Korea Society, and began his term on August 17, 2015. With his long financial market experience and proactive leadership, President Byrne aims to guide the Society as the premier forum in the United States for issues concerning Korea.

“Many of us know Tom primarily for his perceptive political and economic analysis.  Deep down, Tom is a true Korean at heart, who became deeply committed to Korea and its culture as a Peace Corp volunteer,” said The Korea Society Chairman Thomas Hubbard in welcoming President Byrne. “We will benefit greatly from his expertise and dedication to our mission.”

Under his leadership, the Korea Society will highlight U.S.-Korea economic and policy priorities and bolster the Society’s corporate programs. This will help to nurture further the close alliance through The Korea Society’s well-established cultural, educational, and policy programs.

President Byrne has longstanding connections with Korea, dating back to his three-year service as a US Peace Corps volunteer. Prior to joining the Society, he was a Senior Vice President at Moody’s Investors Service, serving as its spokesperson, director of analysis, and manager of the Sovereign Risk teams in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. Before moving to Moody’s in 1996, he was the Senior Economist in the Asia Department of The Institute of International Finance in Washington, DC. President Byrne holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations with an emphasis on economics from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The Korea Society is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501©(3) organization with individual and corporate members that is dedicated solely to the promotion of greater awareness, understanding, and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea. In pursuit of its mission, the Society arranges programs that facilitate discussion, exchanges, and research on topics of vital interest to both countries in the areas of public policy, business, education, intercultural relations, and the arts.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Names McManis Faulkner as its 2015 Pro Bono Award Winner

For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to present the 2015 Pro Bono Award to James McManis, Elizabeth Pipkin, Christine Peek, Ruby Kazi, and Jennifer Murakami of McManis Faulkner. This award recognizes a team of attorneys for outstanding achievements in pro bono service that: (1) involved impact litigation to advance or protect civil rights, (2) provided direct legal services to individuals in the furtherance of the administration of justice. The McManis Faulkner team’s historic victory in Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security is exemplary.

The 2015 Pro Bono Award will be presented at the 2015 NAPABA Convention on Nov. 7, 2015, in New Orleans, La.

James McManis, Elizabeth Pipkin, Christine Peek, Ruby Kazi, and Jennifer Murakami served as trial counsel in the first successful challenge to the U.S. government’s post-9/11 terrorist watch list system. The client, Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim, was a Malaysian scholar who lived in the U.S. for many years while studying for her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Dr. Ibrahim challenged the constitutionality of the Government’s terrorist watch lists after she was arrested at San Francisco International Airport and informed she was on the No-Fly List. More than eight years later, the McManis Faulkner trial team would make the Government admit that Dr. Ibrahim was erroneously placed on terrorist watch lists due to a bureaucratic error.

The five-member McManis trial team, opposing 12 U.S. government lawyers, ultimately forced the Government to concede at trial that Dr. Ibrahim never posed a threat to national security and that she does not meet the reasonable suspicion standard for inclusion in the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The McManis Faulkner team’s historic victory in Ibrahim laid the foundation for erroneously watch-listed individuals to clear their names by revealing: (1) the Executive Branch had created at least one secret exception to the “reasonable suspicion” standard, (2) the Government asserts absolute and unreviewable discretion in its watch list decisions, and (3) the Government’s redress system deprives individuals of due process of law.

Regrettably however, to date, the Executive Branch has still not allowed Dr. Ibrahim to obtain a visa to return to the U.S.

“NAPABA congratulates the McManis Faulkner team of James McManis, Elizabeth Pipkin, Christine Peek, Ruby Kazi, and Jennifer Murakami on receiving the 2015 NAPABA Pro Bono Award,” said NAPABA President George C. Chen. “Their remarkable effort in the aide of Dr. Ibrahim truly exemplifies the pro bono spirit, and we are delighted to honor their success in this landmark case.”

A member of the trial bar for more than 40 years, Mr. McManis is an honorary bencher of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters, American College of Trial Lawyers, Litigation Counsel of America, American Bar Foundation, and International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Pipkin is one of the youngest members of the Board of Trustees of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the largest provider of free legal services for those in need in Silicon Valley. She serves on the litigation committee, which manages all impact litigation brought by the Law Foundation. Elizabeth is also a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA) and the Harvard Law School Alumni Association of Northern California.

Ms. Peek is an active member of SCCBA and is currently a member of the High Technology Section. Previously, she was co-chair of the SCCBA’s Rainbow Committee and was a member of the SCCBA’s Board of Trustees, its Appellate Courts Committee and the Conference of Delegates. She also served as managing editor of the Santa Clara Law Review. Christine is also a member of California Women Lawyers and has moderated proceedings examining women lawyers’ relationship to technology and how that relationship can enhance the practice of law.

Ms. Kazi serves as president of the Asian Law Alliance (ALA), a non-profit organization that provides legal services to Santa Clara County’s low income population, particularly within the Asian/Pacific Islander community. She is also the founder of Lady Lawyers for Lunch, an informal group that meets quarterly to allow women attorneys to exchange ideas, discuss balance, and increase their networks.

Ms. Murakami is a member of SCCBA and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley. She was the editor-in-chief of the Asian American Law Journal of Berkeley School of Law and she also frequently hosts Berkeley Law Alumni events in San Jose.

McManis Faulkner, a San Jose, Calif.-based trial firm, provides a full range of services, representing both corporations and individuals through trial and appeal. The firm handles a wide range of litigation, including business, civil rights, class actions, criminal, employment, family, general civil, intellectual property, personal injury, probate, and professional negligence. With experienced, well-trained trial lawyers and staff, McManis Faulkner prides itself on its diversity – beyond ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, women comprise a majority of the firm’s management and staff.

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 approximately 70 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services 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 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

Mediation Settlement Day Kick-Off Event

Please save the date, Tuesday, October 13, 2015, for the annual Mediation Settlement Day Kick-Off Event, which will be held from 4:30 p.m. -7:00 p.m. at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY.

Who Sponsors MSD?
Mediation Settlement Day is sponsored by the New York State Unified Court System, FINRA Dispute Resolution, and over 100 alternative dispute resolution programs, bar associations, community-based programs, schools, public and non-profit organizations.

What Happens at the Kick-Off Event on Oct. 13?
The Mediation Settlement Day Kick-Off Event begins with informal networking. Mediation organizations, law schools and community groups get together and educate the public about their programs and services. It is also a good opportunity to learn about the mediation profession and career path to become a mediator. Next, a Frontline Champion Award is presented. Finally, a keynote address is given by the Honorary Chairperson. This year’s honorary chair will be announced at a later date.

The event is free and RSVP is not required.

Note: Follow the New York State Unified Court System on Twitter – @NYSCourtsNews and Instagram – @nycourts, for court-related news and event information.


Andrea Garcia 

New York State Unified Court System

Office of Public Affairs

Launch of U-Visa Pro Bono Program a Success

By Christopher Arcitio

This past year, AABANY and Legal Services NYC (LSNYC) launched a pilot pro bono project connecting AABANY member-volunteers with undocumented immigrants who are survivors of domestic violence.  Through this unique initiative, AABANY attorneys work with LSNYC clients to prepare U Nonimmigrant Status Visa (U-Visa) applications, which enable victims of crimes such as domestic violence to be eligible for immigration status. Since its launch, the pro bono initiative has been met with continued success.  

The U Nonimmigrant Status Visa (U-Visa)

Created in 2007 by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, U-Visas protect victims who report crimes and cooperate with law enforcement, even amidst an understandable mistrust of the legal system and fear of possible immigration-related retaliation. On average, the United States approves 10,000 U-Visa applications per year.

To be eligible for a U-Visa, an applicant must meet five requirements. The applicant must:  (1) be a victim of a qualifying crime, such as domestic violence; (2) suffer substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of such crime; (3) possess information concerning the crime; (4) be helpful, or be likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and (5) the crime must take place within the boundaries of the United States or violate the laws of the United States. A U-Visa will ultimately grant the applicant legal status to reside and work in the United States.  In addition, the U-Visa allows the victim to petition on behalf of his or her children who are under 21 years of age.  Although a U-Visa expires in four years, an applicant becomes eligible to apply for adjustment of status in the form of a green card within three years.

AABANY’s U-Visa Pro Bono Initiative

AABANY’s pro bono program was geared towards serving marginalized, low-income Asian American women and families with limited English proficiency who have suffered domestic violence.  The leadership of the AABANY Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee and the Pro Bono and Community Service (PBSC) Committee developed and coordinated the program with the help of staff from LSNYC’s Queens Legal Services (QLS), which is based in Jamaica and operates the Asian Domestic Violence Law Collaborative, a consortium of shelter and counseling organizations serving hard-to-reach Asian immigrant domestic violence survivors. QLS attorneys mentor and support AABANY’s pro bono legal teams.

Thanks to the pro bono initiative, low-income Asian American immigrant families affected by domestic violence have an additional beacon of hope in their search for immigration relief.  

AABANY’s unique pro bono initiative was officially launched in June 2014 with a Continuing Legal Eduction (CLE) training.  Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP kindly hosted the CLE.  Family law and immigration law attorneys from LSNYC, including PBCS Co-Chair and QLS staff attorney June Lee, trained AABANY volunteers on the intricacies of interviewing survivors of domestic violence, preparing survivors’ narratives for affidavits, and other aspects necessary for a successful application for a U-Visa. LSNYC attorneys also serve as mentors to the AABANY volunteers and offer support through the entire process.  Prospective U-Visa applicants are pre-screened and subsequently matched with the trained pro bono attorneys and law students. The objective is for each team to complete the U-visa application for their client.  

Ten survivors of domestic violence so far have received legal representation through the program. Two dozen AABANY members have provided valuable pro bono representation.

U-Visa Pro Bono Program Success Story

Positive results are already emerging. In one case, GSPI Co-Chair Karen Yau, a solo practitioner and mediator, and Dexin Deng, a rising 3L law student at Brooklyn Law School, represented a Chinese client, who had escaped from her husband after being physically abused and psychologically terrorized. After an incident in which the client called the police, the client cooperated with the District Attorney’s office in the investigation and prosecution of her husband abuser. The client was then referred to the New York Asian Women’s Center, a safe haven for women and children that provides counseling, temporary housing, and a legal referral for a client’s immigration case.

The client’s case was referred to AABANY’s pro bono U-Visa project, where Karen and Dexin completed the client’s U-visa application. The efforts of Karen and Dexin allowed QLS to file a subsequent Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition for the client as well.  Karen and Dexin spent hours and hours conducting interviews and drafting the application.  This hard work and collaboration was rewarded with great success; the client’s VAWA Self-Petition was approved. The client’s green card application is currently pending.

Looking back at the case, Karen expresses a feeling of genuine satisfaction in the work that was done for the client. “For 45 hours of my time, an entire family now has a chance for a new life,” she said. The pro bono representation of these survivors of domestic violence “can have a major human impact [that] is not only great but can be unexpected.”

For Dexin, the project encouraged her to remain active in pro bono work. As an immigrant herself, she connected with the client.  She notes, “It was amazing to see how different entities worked together to establish and support this pro bono project to serve the low-income Asian American immigrant families.”

Impact of U-Visa Pro Bono Program on AABANY

The U-Visa pro bono program has inspired additional pro bono efforts from AABANY.  

For example, the GSPI and PBCS Committees are coordinating to develop day-long quarterly clinics and a one-time large event to help seniors and disabled individuals freeze their rents by applying for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs. AABANY is working with Manhattan Legal Services to implement this event. Council Member Margaret Chin is supporting the effort.

In addition, the GSPI and PBCS Committees are looking for community partners and exploring the idea of providing representation to eligible Chinese to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

Lastly, AABANY is exploring the idea of establishing a monthly Pro Bono Clinic that would provide one-shot legal advice and/or referrals to low-income individuals in the Asian American community. This inaugural effort would be modeled after similar programs at sister bar associations.

Those interested in becoming involved with this pilot pro bono project should contact Karen Kithan Yau, Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair ( or June Lee, Pro Bono and Community Committee Service Co-Chair (  

AABANY applauds the efforts of Karen Yau, June Lee, and Dexin Deng for their time and dedication to the APA community!  

Special thanks to June, Karen and Dexin for their invaluable assistance and cooperation in researching and drafting this article. 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2015, Volume XVI, Issue III of The AABANY Advocate, which can be read in its entirety here. To see all past versions of The AABANY Advocate, click here. To learn more about AABANY’s newsletter, you can email

Chris Arcitio was AABANY’s Summer 2015 Intern. He is currently a student at St. John’s School of Law.