AABANY, with the Syracuse University College of Law, hosted a discussion with Justice Doris Ling-Cohan (retired) on March 29. Justice Ling-Cohan is the first Asian woman judge to be elected to the New York Supreme Court and appointed to an appellate court in New York.
AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen introduced Justice Ling-Cohan to start off the program. Justice Ling-Cohan shared with students her groundbreaking path to judgeship. She discussed the many barriers she encountered during her election as a political newcomer and an Asian American woman. “Do not put barriers on yourself,” she advised her audience. “You don’t have to be the best to do [what you want].”
Civic engagement has been a constant theme through Justice Ling-Cohan’s accomplished career. She reminded students that they do not have to work in the public sector to be of service. “Anyone can have a foot in their community. There is so much you can do… compose op-eds, start petitions and campaigns.”
The evening continued with remarks on public service and diversity by Syracuse’s assistant dean for career development, Lily Yan Hughes. Syracuse Law School student leaders then led a Q&A session. The students were interested to know about the challenges of being a justice and navigating a bureaucracy with competing interests.
We thank Justice Ling-Cohan and Dean Hughes for their time and insights. This event was co-sponsored by Syracuse Law School APALSA, KLSA, SALSA, Office of Career Services, and the Asian Americans and the Law Seminar.