NAPABA election season has kicked off! Below is information about nominating Officer candidates and applying for At-Large Board Member positions. Please share with your networks!
Remember, you must be a NAPABA direct member OR activate your affiliate membership online by July 1 to be eligible to vote in this year’s elections. Click here to join/renew today.
The NAPABA Board of Governors consists of nine Officers who are elected by the membership, ten Regional Governors who are chosen by the NAPABA Regions, and four At-Large Board Members who are appointed by the Board of Governors. Now through July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT, the NAPABA Nominating & Elections Committee will be accepting nominations for members who want to stand for election as Officers and applications from members who want to be considered for At-Large Board Member positions.
On April 30, AABANY and Cleary Gottlieb co-hosted An Evening with Preet Bharara, at which former Acting US Attorney and current Cleary Partner Joon Kim engaged Preet in conversation about his new book Doing Justice. The event took place at Cleary and the room was filled to capacity, with those attendees who were not able to find seats standing along the sides.
After welcome remarks from Cleary by Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang, AABANY President Brian Song offered some introductory remarks on behalf of AABANY and kicked off Joon Kim’s conversation with Preet Bharara. Preet spoke about his departure from the US Attorney’s office and the befuddling manner in which the President-Elect initially asked him to stay on as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, followed a few months later by his perplexing request, as President, for Preet to resign. Preet was confused by this request because he had been asked to stay on shortly after the 2016 election. When Preet received confirmation from the White House that the President indeed wanted him to resign, Preet refused, which led to his firing.
Despite starting the talk with President Trump’s firing of Preet, Preet pointed out that his book was not about President Trump. Preet stated that, in fact, the name Joon Kim shows up far more often in the index than Donald Trump. Preet spoke about his reasons for writing the book. He stated that for many years, he had wanted to write a sort “how to” manual for prosecutors who were at the start of their careers. He quickly realized that such a book would not make the bestseller list. Preet broadened his horizons and wanted to write a book that tackled questions like “What is justice? What is fairness? What is truth?” He realized that issues of truth and bias occur everywhere and affect everyone, not just in the law, but in society as a whole. He thus came up with Doing Justice, which is subtitled A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law.
The conversation covered numerous subjects and stories from Preet’s storied career as US Attorney in the Southern District, one of the nation’s leading prosecutor’s offices. During the Q&A that followed, Preet was asked what his inspiration was for becoming a lawyer. Preet responded that when he was in high school, he entered a public speaking contest and had to memorize and present a speech by legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow. This speech was Darrow’s summation in the case of People v. Henry Sweet, in which Darrow defended a black man accused of murder during an attack by white neighbors who did not want black people living in their neighborhood. Preet committed the following passage from Darrow to memory:
After all, every human being’s life in this world is inevitably mixed with every other life and, no matter what laws we pass, no matter what precautions we take, unless people we meet are kindly and decent and human and liberty-loving, then there is no liberty. Freedom comes from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions.
Preet admits that he might not have fully appreciated the meaning of those words as a teenager but understood it better every day as US Attorney.
We thank everyone who came out for An Evening with Preet Bharara, and we especially thank Cleary for providing the space, food, refreshments, drinks and copies of Doing Justice. It was a wonderful event, filled with inspiring ideas and stories. For the many young lawyers and lawyers-to-be in the room, there was ample reason given to devote at least some part of their legal careers to serve the public interest, and we thank Preet and Joon for providing us that inspiration.
Congratulations to the Honorable Dorothy Chin Brandt, former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, who was honored at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on May 2, 2019.
Justice Chin Brandt made history as the first Asian American female judge and the first elected Asian American public official in New York. She began her legal career as an Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and then as an associate at Shearman & Sterling. She joined the firm Dilworth & Paxson in Washington, D.C. and worked in private practice until her election to Civil Court in 1987. After 30 years of public service on the bench, Justice Chin Brandt retired in 2016.
As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Chin Brandt on being honored at the Queens County DA’s Office’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “During the month of May, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, it is most fitting that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of trailblazers like Justice Chin Brandt who has paved the way for generations of lawyers and judges that have entered the profession and achieved success by following her example.”
Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt.
Congratulations to Hon. Randall T. Eng, retired Presiding Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from Queens County Bar Association at its Annual Dinner held on May 2 at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This award celebrates Justice Eng’s achievements as a legal professional and honors his contributions to the Queens County Bar Association.
Justice Eng was born in Guangzhou, China, and was raised in New York City. He received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1972. Upon graduating from law school, Justice Eng served as an assistant district attorney in Queens. In 1983, Justice Eng was appointed to the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor Edward I. Koch. In 1988, Justice Eng was appointed to serve as an Acting Justice of New York State Supreme Court. In 1990, Justice Eng was elected to stay in the position and was re-elected in 2004. Between 2007 and 2008, Justice Eng was appointed to serve a short term as Administrative Judge of the Criminal Term of Queens County Supreme Court, and he served in this role until he was elevated to the Appellate Division in 2008. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Justice Eng to lead the Second Department as the presiding justice, where he oversaw one of the busiest judicial departments in the country. This appointment made Justice Eng the first Asian American to serve as a presiding justice in New York State. Justice Eng retired from the bench and joined Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. as Of Counsel in January 2018.
Over his long and prolific legal career, Justice Eng has received numerous honors, including AABANY’s Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award in 2017, OCA-NY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, and the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award in 2016, the highest honor bestowed by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, of which AABANY is an affiliate.
As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Eng on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from the Queens County Bar Association,” states AABANY President Brian Song, “It is yet another well-deserved recognition of Justice Eng’s achievements as a prominent jurist who has led the way for generations of attorneys and judges to follow his example. During May, when we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is a most fitting tribute that we recognize and honor the milestones and achievements of role models like Justice Randall Eng. None of us would be here today were it not for Justice Eng and other APA judges and lawyers who led the way.”
Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Randall T. Eng .
Congratulations to Glenn Lau-Kee, Partner at Lau-Kee Law Group PLLC and former AABANY President (1997-99), on receiving the American Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Lau-Kee began his legal career as an associate in the Hong Kong and New York offices of Coudert Brothers LLP where he worked on bank financing, leasing, and corporate acquisition transactions. In 1977, he became a partner at Kee and Lau-Kee PLLC where he has developed a thriving real estate and bank financing practice. Mr. Lau-Kee made history as the first Asian American President of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) for the 2014-15 term. He continues his involvement with NYSBA as a member of the Business Law, Health Law and Real Property Law sections. Mr. Lau-Kee has also been an active member of New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until 2004 and serving on various task forces and committees until 2010. He also served on the Board of Directors for the NYCLA Foundation and the New York Bar Foundation, which function as the charitable and philanthropic arms of their respective organizations.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn Lau-Kee.
On Tuesday April 30, 2019, Asia Society and the Asian American Bar Association of New York co-hosted a lively discussion on the lawsuit Students for Fair Admission vs. Harvard University. Currently winding its way through the Federal courts, Asian Americans and affirmative action have become a point of focus in contemporary political debate.
Within the Asian American community itself, a grassroots Asian American conservative movement has emerged in the last decade, in an attempt to end affirmative action. This conservative movement alleges that admissions discrimination in the name of diversity is wrong. That view was represented by Jack Ouyang, from the Asian American Coalition for Education.
Asian American liberals believe that conservative Asian Americans are being used as cover to abolish affirmative action, and fear a defeat of affirmative action means a loss for diversity in all of higher education. Nicole Gon Ochi from Asian American Advancing Justice -LA represented the view.
Dr. Van Tran, Columbia University sociologist, presented new research on what Asian Americans thought of affirmative action.
Audience members were treated to a deep dive into the issue, with views from both sides represented on the podium. A reception followed, at which attendees got to continue their conversations around this important topic.
Thanks to everyone who came out for this event. Thanks especially to all the speakers for their insights and views. See below for short bios of all the speakers. (Thanks to Elsa Ruiz for the event photos.)
Chris M. Kwok, Esq. (moderator) serves as the Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He received his B.A from Cornell University with a major in Government and minor in Asian American studies, and his J.D from UCLA Law School, where he served on the staff of the Asian American Pacific Islander Law Journal. Formerly, he was the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission in the New York District office. He is a mediator with JAMS.
Dr. Van C. Tran is a professor of Sociology at Columbia University whose research and writing broadly focuses on the incorporation of Asian immigrants and their children into American culture, politics and society. He has served in many positions at both the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. He is a frequent commentator in the media and was selected as an NPR Source of the Week in July of 2015.
Nicole Gon Ochi, Esq. is the Supervising Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice—LA’s Impact Litigation unit. She joined Advancing Justice as a Skadden Fellow in 2010 and has taken a lead role in litigating and providing advocacy on matters involving employment discrimination, education, workers’ rights, affordable housing preservation, language access, and civil rights.
Dr. Jack Ouyang is the Vice President of Operations at the Asian American Coalition for Education. Mr. Ouyang has been an outspoken Chinese American civil rights activist and was a key organizer of the Chinese American for Equality. He was a board chair at the Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association and the Millburn Institute of Talent. He is currently an IT Professional based in New Jersey.