New York, New York – The Puerto Rican Bar Association has organized a Task Force on the Judiciary to examine the lack of representation of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench. The PRBA Calls For Action to ensure that there is TRUE Diversity and Inclusion in the Judiciary and the Judicial Selection Process in New York State.  

The Puerto Rican Bar Association –  Task Force on the Judiciary – will examine, inspect and evaluate the lack of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench in New York State.  We are outraged that for the past two (2) years there have not been any candidates of Puerto Rican and/or Latino background that have come out of the Judicial Committees from the Manhattan, Kings, Queens and Staten Island.  Puerto Ricans and Latinos are not fairly represented in the New York Judiciary despite the large population of Puerto Rican and Latino communities in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The PRBA will hold public hearings to address the underrepresentation of Puerto Ricans and Hispanics on the bench.  Where necessary the PRBA will have monitors to review the process and request that the appropriate government agencies including the United States Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission review the disparity in the Judicial Selection process to determine if violations of Constitutional rights have resulted. The PRBA has fought difficult battles to ensure that there is diversity on the bench yet it appears that the need for “Diversity and Inclusion” is not being honored.  The process needs to be examined and evaluated due to the disparate impact that has resulted.

The Puerto Rican Bar Association also joins with all of the organizations who expressed their profound outrage to the failure of the New York County Democratic Committee Independent Judicial Screening Panel to approve Judge Doris Ling-Cohan for the New York Supreme Court.  Judge Ling-Cohan, the first Asian American Female Judge in New York and a longtime PRBA member.  The Puerto Rican Bar Association was founded in 1957 and is one of the oldest minority bar associations in New York. We will continue to endeavor to ensure that Puerto Ricans, and all Latinos, are adequately represented in the legal profession so that the Puerto Rican and Latino Communities will continue to have a voice regarding New York State laws and policies.

NAPABA Announces Orange County Asian American Bar Association as Its 2016 Affiliate of the Year

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) as its 2016 Affiliate of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates for their best practices and accomplishments in their respective communities. OCAABA is one of approximately 75 national, state, and local bar associations that are affiliated with NAPABA.

The presentation of the 2016 Affiliate of the Year Award will take place at the NAPABA Anniversary Gala during the 2016 NAPABA Convention in San Diego, California, on Nov. 5, 2016.

“The Orange County Asian American Bar Association has the kind of energy and commitment we want to see in all of our bar associations,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “OCAABA has grown to become a role model for other bar associations, many of which have adopted their sponsorship and programming models. OCAABA also has a large presence within their community and a dedicated commitment to pro bono, partnering with Orange County’s Public Law Center to host monthly pro bono legal clinics for low-income, Asian language speaking residents of Orange County. I am proud of OCAABA’s strong collaboration with local organizations, and happy to name OCAABA as the 2016 NAPABA Affiliate of the Year.”

In 2016, a concerted effort was put forth to highlight OCAABA’s maturation and growth in the formerly homogenous Orange County legal community by increasing their partnerships with other local bar associations, reaching a wider part of the community through service events, and strengthening relationships with prominent bar members of all backgrounds.

OCAABA has organized innovative CLE programs to assist attorneys in the community in obtaining Ethics and Competence credits. For example, OCAABA partnered with the Newport Beach Police Department to educate attorneys on the dangers of drinking and driving through a hands-on, interactive "wet lab” that administered breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. OCAABA’s CLE programs have been so well received that the recently formed Thurgood Marshall Bar Association in Orange County, as well as AAAJ-LA, have reached out to OCAABA to collaborate on joint CLE events in the near future.

NAPABA is pleased to present its 2016 Affiliate of the Year Award to the Orange County Asian American Bar Association and congratulates its leaders on a successful year serving their members and community.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 or [email protected].

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 almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 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.