On February 19, 2021, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly virtual Membership Mixer, with 19 participants in attendance. AABANY met members through Remo.
The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we have moved online to offer members a weekly outlet to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections. Mixers start at 6:30pm on Friday and the main event ends at 7:30pm but many often stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.
Membership Committee will continue to host weekly virtual mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person.
The report has also made the news on WNYC-FM and MSNBC. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at email@example.com.
AABANY is proud to launch its official podcast series, The Whole Lawyer Project, hosted by Jane Jeong, which showcases Asian American attorneys and leaders throughout the nation and the human stories behind their success.
Most recently, Jane shared her story with Law360, in an article entitled The Pursuit Of Wellness In BigLaw: Lessons From My Journey (subscription required). In a heartfelt account, Jane opened up about mental health and wellness issues in Big Law — including her personal experiences with the pressures of the industry, the costs of perfectionism, reaching an emotional breaking point and, as a potential blueprint for others, how she has set boundaries and made changes to her daily routine to take care of herself. “I conflated sacrifice with success and exhaustion with excellence. I just continued to reach and reach — demanding that I become the perfect attorney I knew I was not, waiting for the day I could finally stop acting and just be,” she writes.
Together with Jane, AABANY is proud to further explore the human side of lawyering in The Whole Lawyer Project. The inaugural episodes of the podcast, which feature immediate past AABANY President Brian Song and AboveTheLaw Founder, David Lat, can be found under the tab for The Whole Lawyer Project on the AABANY blog. It can also be found on Spotify and iTunes. For anyone hoping to gain further insight into the human stories behind our external success, it is well worth a listen.
AABANY’s Academic Committee hosted a reception on February 17 to welcome Professor Carol Izumi, Clinical Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of Law, and Professor of Clinical Law, Emerita, George Washington University Law School, and President Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY) to New York City. Attendees included law professors calling in from the midwest, northeast, New York, southwest, and west coast. Professor Izumi joined in from San Francisco.
President Wu kicked off the reception by asking two icebreaker questions: 1) Where are you from (literally, figuratively, or however the attendee wanted to interpret the question)? and 2) What new skill or activity did you take up during the pandemic? Special guests, Frank Wu and Carol Izumi, indicated they came from the midwest originally, but have both traveled around the country due to their academic careers. President Wu’s new activity he started was cooking with a donabe, a Japanese clay pot, and Professor Izumi started a virtual mediation clinic during quarantine. Attendees continued taking turns sharing their responses to the icebreakers.
Elaine Chiu, Academic Committee Co-Chair and Professor of Law at St. John’s University, concluded the reception by remarking that “Carol and Frank together have accomplished so much and are also very accomplished as individual giants. They were shining lights inspiring many to join as clinicians and as doctrinal professors and eventually to become deans too.”
Thank you to the Academic Committee co-chairs Elaine Chiu, James Cho, Suzanne Kim, and Donna Lee who were all in attendance, for organizing this reception. AABANY is pleased to welcome President Frank H. Wu and Professor Carol Izumi to New York.
The Student Outreach and Bankruptcy Committees co-hosted a panel titled “What Do Bankruptcy Lawyers Do?” on February 11, 2021 as part of the SOC’s Students Meet Mentors series. William Lee, Associate at Alston & Bird, moderated the panel and speakers included William Hao, Counsel at Alston & Bird; Jessica Liou, Partner at Weil; Charlie Liu, Associate at Morgan Lewis; and Geoffrey Williams, Associate at Alston & Bird. The panel provided law student attendees an opportunity to learn about the bankruptcy and restructuring practice area and what being a bankruptcy attorney entails.
William Lee began the event by asking panelists to give an introduction of what bankruptcy and restructuring is. Panelists described bankruptcy as a tool companies are given to reorganize themselves and remove liability pre-bankruptcy. Restructuring encompasses a wide spectrum of processes available to companies, such as filing for court protection, financial restructuring, and operational restructuring. William Hao summarized chapters 7, 11, and 13, the three most common processes used by bankruptcy lawyers.
Next, panelists were asked to describe their experiences working as a bankruptcy and/or restructuring lawyer. Jessica Liou stated that bankruptcy and restructuring is flexible and described it as a hybrid between litigation and transactional work. Some lawyers work in the bankruptcy-litigation niche, while others take the transactional route. When asked what type of student would fit the mold of a bankruptcy lawyer, panelists answered that it would be someone who is interested in a variety of things. Not only can a bankruptcy case be quick-paced, but a bankruptcy lawyer also gets to work with different groups in the firm, such as the tax group, executive compensation group, or litigation group. No two bankruptcy cases are the same, so a bankruptcy lawyer must be willing to do and understand many different things. Jessica Liou also shared how it is extremely rewarding to be a restructuring lawyer as she helps save jobs and helps companies get a second chance.
The panel concluded with tips and recommendations to students who may be interested in getting involved in the bankruptcy and restructuring practice area. Panelists suggested that students should look for opportunities to get exposure to bankruptcy. These include trying an internship or bankruptcy judicial clerkship, taking a bankruptcy course, talking to bankruptcy lawyers, or participating in the Duberstein Moot Court competition.
Thank you to the Student Outreach Committee and the Commercial Bankruptcy and Restructuring Committee for organizing this informative panel. And thank you to William Lee for moderating and to William Hao, Jessica Liou, Charlie Liu, and Geoffrey Williams for volunteering their time and sharing their experiences. To learn more about the Commercial Bankruptcy and Restructuring Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/353. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/121.
New York State Senators John Liu (11th District, Queens), Andrew Gounardes (22nd District, Brooklyn), Brian Kavanagh (26th District, Manhattan) and Toby Stavisky (16th District, Queens) hosted a Lunar New Year virtual celebration Tuesday evening, February 16, featuring performances from AAPI youth and community honorees. The event was well-attended by city, state and federal elected officials, as well as community leaders and their organizations.
Senator Kavanagh presented May Wong, Esq., and Olympia Moy with a certificate of commendation to recognize the work of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee in providing invaluable legal assistance to the AAPI community during the pandemic. May Wong and Olympia Moy were proud to accept the certificate on behalf of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. In their acceptance speech, they detailed the committee’s success in creating a one-day “in-person” clinic in July 2020 to assist tenants with paper applications for the COVID Rent Relief Program. When the COVID Rent Relief Program was extended to February 2021, law students volunteered again to establish a two-week remote hotline service to assist non-English speaking tenants apply via telephone. They were able to assist callers in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish with the help of the committee’s community partners, Chinatown CLT and GOLES. May Wong and Olympia Moy concluded their speech by expressing gratitude towards the State for its effort in addressing the State’s housing and poverty crisis and strongly encouraged the State to “direct emergency financial relief to tenants and property owners in meaningful programs that can provide permanent rental assistance and increased access to rental subsidies.”
Thank you to all the attorney volunteers and law students who helped AABANY and the community, especially May Wong, William Lee, Karen Lin, Nicholas Loh, Xinyi Shen, and Olympia Moy.
Congratulations to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee on this well-deserved recognition! To learn more about the Committee and all its wonderful work, go to probono.aabany.org. They are always looking for more volunteers so email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members on Remo. President Sapna Palla called the meeting to order and established quorum. Elections were held for the 2021 Board of Directors and Officers.
President Sapna Palla presented the Year in Review and Executive Director, Yang Chen, presented the report of the Committees. Following the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occurring, Immediate Past President Brian Song and President-Elect Terrence Shen tallied the votes.
The following officers were elected and will begin their term on April 1, 2021:
William Ng President-Elect
Cynthia Lam Vice President, Programs and Operations
Joe Eng Vice President, Programs and Operations
Margaret Ling Development Director
William Hao Treasurer
Christopher Bae Secretary
Beatrice Leong Membership Director
The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2021:
Jasmine Ball Jeff Ikejiri Suzanne Kim Chris Kwok David Sohn Bart Wu Karen Yau Andy Yoo
Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board.
The following awards were presented:
Committees of the Year: The Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and the Student Outreach Committee
For the numerous initiatives they organized to support the community during COVID-19, including Know Your Rights webinars, COVID Rent Relief Program application drives, and postering and social media campaigns to promote the Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic and other community programs.
Program of the Year: Weekly Membership Mixers
For hosting more than 30 weekly mixers on Zoom and Remo since April 1, 2020 to provide an open space for members and non-members to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections.
Member of the Year: Bart Wu
For his outstanding work with the Legal Referral and Information Service, which he helped launch, and his work reviving the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee.
Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2021 fiscal year.
Congratulations to the Officers and Directors elected to the Board to serve during fiscal year 2022 which commences on April 1, 2021.
We would also like to thank our members for attending and participating in the annual meeting.
An eight-fold increase in reported hate crimes against Asians, racist rhetoric such as “the Chinese virus,” and insufficient media coverage of anti-Asian violence — these were among the timely issues discussed at a press conference hosted by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) on February 11. The press conference centered around AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ co-authored report: A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions. Speakers of note included:
Chris Kwok, Board Director, Issues Committee Chair
Karen King, Vice Chair, Pro Bono & Community Service Committee; Counsel, Paul, Weiss
U.S. Rep., Grace Meng (D-NY)
Prof. Russell Jeung, Stop AAPI Hate
President Frank Wu, Queens College, CUNY
The report’s primary finding is that anti-Asian hate and violence surged in 2020. Between March and September of that year, the number of reported anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 exceeded 2,500.
At the press conference, Rep. Meng kickstarted the discussion of this grim reality by situating it against a backdrop of long-standing intolerance toward the AAPI community, which motivated the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Meng condemned some of the nation’s top government officials and social institutions for fanning the flames of this deep-rooted racism. As noted in the report, the xenophobic rhetoric of elected officials, paired with misinformation spread by the media, normalizes and fuels disease-based stigma against Asians. The subsequent uptick in violence against Asian communities motivated Meng to propose and help pass House Resolution 908 in 2020 denouncing all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. While Meng described the bill as largely symbolic, it has since been incorporated into President Biden’s presidential memorandum, which includes concrete measures to disseminate COVID-19 resources in different languages and improve the collection of data on hate crimes. Meng’s fight to amplify voices within the AAPI community thus lights the path forward. “We’ve taken a positive step — an initial step — but we must continue to speak out whenever and wherever anti-Asian sentiment rises,” said Meng.
A similar desire to spotlight the plight of AAPIs motivated Chris Kwok to serve as an executive editor for the report on anti-Asian violence. Since the onset of the pandemic, Kwok noted at the conference, there has not been a single prosecution or civil resolution for any incident of anti-Asian bias. A key purpose of the report is thus to show that Asian invisibility in the political and legal space has real-life consequences. Moving forward, Kwok hopes to inspire a constructive dialogue among Asians and other Americans alike. To that end, the report highlights seven initiatives that will help policyholders at all levels keep communities safe and hold perpetrators of violence accountable. These initiatives range from broad prescriptions, such as public education campaigns and collaboration among minority groups, to specific remedies, such as clear reporting mechanisms for victims and the more consistent prosecution of hate crimes.
Professor Russell Jeung continued the discussion of possible solutions to anti-Asian hate incidents while echoing his concern about the divisive effects of COVID-19. Drawing from data he helped collect for Stop AAPI Hate, Jeung said that among United States cities, New York City reported the second-highest number of hate incidents in the past year. Assessing the range of anti-Asian hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate, the report notes a concerning number of incidents involving verbal harassment, physical assault, and being coughed and spat on. Worse still, the youth and the elderly are the most common victims of racist attacks and consequent racial trauma. Among its federal recommendations to address this issue, Stop AAPI Hate proposes to expand civil rights protections for AAPIs experiencing discrimination, end the racial profiling of Chinese researchers, and mobilize a federal interagency response to anti-Asian hate amid the pandemic. As Jeung is quick to emphasize, this fight for the civil rights of Asian Americans is a fight to expand protections for all Americans. “Please stand up, speak out, build bridges, and together we can make good on the promise of a diverse democracy,” said Jeung.
In promoting the proposals of Stop AAPI Hate and the report, for which he wrote the foreword, Queens College President Frank Wu highlighted the importance of building multi-racial coalitions. Wu identified Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented communities as allies to the AAPI community. As emphasized in the report, stronger collaboration among such minority groups is especially critical in communities like New York City, whose diversity heightens the danger that hate incidents exacerbate racial politics. “It would be a mistake of principle and pragmatism to point the finger at another group and suggest that others are guilty by association,” said Wu. Instead, we must look to universal values and American ideals as forces for national unity. As Wu writes in the foreword to the report, “To be Asian American is to be American, to express confidence enough in an experiment of self-governance to participate wholeheartedly.”
Rep. Meng concluded the press conference by calling on all Americans, especially those raised in the United States, to identify and combat racism when it occurs within their own circles. Meng stated that too often, stories of victims from the AAPI community are left out of mainstream media and the public consciousness. Along with implementing the aforementioned policy recommendations, therefore, Meng emphasized the need for racial solidarity. Only then can Americans progress toward the shared goal of dismantling systemic racism in this country and advancing justice for all.
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates NAPABA Trailblazer, California Labor Secretary Julie Su, on her nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Biden-Harris administration.
“California Labor Secretary Julie Su currently oversees the largest state labor department in the country and is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Julie is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights and has spent a large portion of her career advocating for the immigrant community. 2020 has been a difficult year for most Americans, but even in the face of a pandemic and severe economic decline, as California Labor Secretary, Julie led the state through decisive actions and creative solutions to rescue California businesses. With a state economy of over $3.2 trillion that spans diverse industries, NAPABA is confident that her leadership will steer our country toward recovery and opportunity. Our strong support of her underscores the importance of having public servants who are representative of the American people: whether it’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.”
Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate from Harvard Law School and Stanford University.
NAPABA advocated for and strongly supported Julie Su’s nomination. We thank President Biden for nominating Julie Su to Deputy Secretary of Labor.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.