NEW YORK, June 24, 2024 – On Monday, June 24, 2024, at 6 PM, the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY) will be presenting the recipients of its 2024 Public Interest Scholarships at the AALFNY-AABANY Summer Reception at FTI Consulting, held at their offices at 1166 Avenue of the Americas.

Jessica Chan (New York Law School, Class of 2025) will be interning with the Legal Aid Society in its Criminal Defense Practice. She is looking forward to using her experience in criminal defense work to build bridges between communities of color.

Ranjana Venkatesh (City University of New York School of Law, Class of 2025) will be interning with The Bronx Defenders’ Criminal Defense Practice under the Adolescent Defense Project. She hopes her experience in the juvenile criminal defense arena will highlight the importance of holistic lawyering.

AALFNY awards Public Interest Scholarships each year to law students with a demonstrated commitment to the Asian American community. The purpose of the award is to assist law students with their tuition while encouraging them to use their legal knowledge and training to benefit the Asian American community in New York and to foster commitment by law students to public service in New York. Since 1997, AALFNY has funded more than 60 public interest scholarships to law students.

AALFNY was established in 1993 by the Asian American Bar Association of New York to create and support non-profit and charitable efforts to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and to defend human and civil rights.

Donations to AALFNY may be made at A copy of our latest annual report may be obtained from AALFNY at P.O. Box 161, 41 Purdy Ave., Rye NY 10580 or from the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website Information may also be obtained from AALFNY at [email protected] or the NYS Attorney General at 212-416-8686.

AABANYs Judiciary Committee Honors Eighteen Trailblazing AAPI Judges at the 2024 Annual Judges’ Reception

On Tuesday, June 18th, 2024, at the 2024 Annual Judges’ Reception, AABANYs Judiciary Committee honored eighteen newly elected, elevated, or retired AAPI judges, each of whom are incredible trailblazers and represent continuing progress in the ongoing effort to increase AAPI representation in our courts.

The Judiciary Committee’s flagship event was hosted in the main hall of New York City’s Surrogate’s Court. Between sky-reaching pillars, and under the vaulted arch-ceiling the following eighteen judges were recognized and celebrated for their work, effort, and example: 

  • Hon. Deepa Ambekar (Kings Co. Sup. Ct.)
  • Hon. Sanket J. Bulsara (United States District Court, EDNY)
  • Hon. Nusrat J. Choudhury (United States District Court, EDNY)
  • Hon. Kenneth W. Chu (ret. ALJ, NLRB)
  • Hon. Christopher J. Exias (Rockland Co. Fam. Ct.)
  • Hon. Evelyn Gong (Queens Co. Civ. Ct.)
  • Hon. Dale E. Ho (United States District Court, SDNY)
  • Hon. Phillip Hom (App. Term, 2d Dept)
  • Hon. Gilbert C. Hong (ret. NY Co. Sup. Ct.)
  • Hon. Biju J. Koshy (Supervising Judge, Richmond Co. Crim. Ct.)
  • Hon. Karen Lin (Queens Co. Sup. Ct.)
  • Hon. Rena Malik (Kings Co. Civ. Ct.)
  • Hon. Kim Parker (Court of Claims)
  • Hon. Kris Singh (Admin. Judge, 4th Jud. Dist.)
  • Hon. Rantideva Singh (NYC Fam. Ct.)
  • Hon. Richard Tsai (NY Co. Sup. Ct.)
  • Hon. Vikram S. Vilkhu (Brighton Town Justice)
  • Hon. John Zhuo Wang (NY Co. Sup. Ct.).

The night began with introductory remarks by Committee Co-Chair Mark Son, who thanked elevated and retired judges for their service and congratulated new judges for their work which allowed them to advance to their new positions. He first praised several judges whose work has had a long-term effect and was substantially significant in making the AAPI voice in the justice system grow and prosper. He then acknowledged all other judges in attendance and expressed regret for being unable to share the breadth of their contributions in the short time allotted.

Next to take the podium was AABANY’s current President, Joseph Eng, Jr. He began by  reiterating Mark’s congratulatory sentiments, then introduced the eighteen honorees. Each in turn stood up and received warm applause from the audience. President Eng stressed the significance of hosting a Judges’ Reception as far more than an isolated single annual moment, but a day of celebration culminating from decades of work, a day to remind everyone of the great strides that have been made, and all the work that lays ahead in the continued struggle for diversity, equity, and inclusion. President Eng lauded the growth of AAPI representation, while also focusing on the milestones yet to be reached for true representation, drawing attention to the lack of any AAPI judges in the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and in the United States Supreme Court. 

Once all the judges present came up to the front of the room to receive their awards, they gathered for a group photo with President Eng and the Judiciary Committee leadership.  The deserving honorees were regaled with cheers and applause from everyone.

Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally, President of the Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY), then stepped up to the podium to present final remarks. He reiterated the main points of the evening, and celebrated the effort involved in organizing this event. He congratulated the judges being honored and praised the growth of AAPI representation, even as he considered the work that remains ahead and the necessity of diligence and focus to achieve progress. He verbalized the goal of reaching 100 AAPI judges in New York State in the near future as an aspirational challenge.  Finally, Committee Vice-Chair Vanessa Kong thanked everyone for attending and invited everyone to partake in the complimentary food and drink catered by Nom Wah. Laughter and stories filled the room, reflecting the camaraderie and mutual respect among the attendees.

As the evening drew to a close, it was evident that this reception was more than just an event; it was a celebration of progress, diversity, and the indomitable spirit of the AAPI community within the judiciary. The honorees left with not only memories of a joyous evening but also with the knowledge that their contributions are making a lasting impact.

We thank the Judiciary Committee for their tireless effort in making this annual event happen, as well as all the guests who attended. We thank AAJANY and Judge Ally for their participation. Once again, congratulations to all the honorees. To learn more about the Judiciary Committee please click here. To see more photos from the event, go to the album here.

Thank You to Our Volunteers at the June Pro Bono Clinics!

Thank you AABANY, PBCS, AAFE, and our volunteers who helped out at the June 5th (Queens) and June 19th (Manhattan) pro bono legal clinics!

At the Queens clinic, our volunteers met with 20 clients and discussed issues involving housing, immigration, criminal, and consumer debt matters.  At the Manhattan clinic, our volunteers met with 10 clients and discussed issues involving housing, immigration, and personal injury claims. Volunteer attorneys and interpreters patiently addressed client concerns, answered questions and connected them to lawyers through AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS). 

Thank you to all our volunteers for dedicating your valuable time to our pro bono clinics, especially during the Juneteenth holiday.  Your compassion and dedication are deeply valued and truly make a positive impact on the community we serve.  By offering services in both Mandarin and Cantonese, we aim to continue to provide support for those who may face linguistic or cultural barriers when seeking access to legal services. 

Please join us in our upcoming clinics:

July 13, 2024 [Brooklyn link here], from 12:00 – 3:30pm, CPC Brooklyn Community Services, 4101 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232

July 17, 2024 [Manhattan link here], from 6:00 – 8:30pm, AAFE Community Center, 111 Norfolk Street, NY, NY 10002

August 7, 2024 [Queens link here], from 6:00 – 8:30pm, One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355

NAPABA Releases Statement in Support of the Biden Administration’s Immigration Action Promoting Family Unity and Protecting Dreamers, Criticizes Congressional Inaction

For Immediate Release:
Date: June 18, 2024
Rahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA applauds President Biden’s executive action on June 17, 2024 to keep American families together. It creates critical protections for undocumented spouses of United States citizens who have resided in this country for over 10 years and streamlines work visa access for Dreamers. Over half of the Asian American population is composed of immigrants, and NAPABA has for years advocated for the government to treat the immigrant community with fairness, dignity, and humanity. The new policy will grant formal work authorization to persons who are already contributing to this country in the shadows. NAPABA has long viewed family unity as the cornerstone of commonsense immigration reform, and we commend President Biden for focusing on keeping families together.

The Administration’s action today, however, is no excuse for Congressional inaction. During NAPABA Lobby Day last month, NAPABA members from across the country pressed Congress to protect the right to counsel within the immigration system and prioritize the reunification of families. NAPABA continues to call on Congress to advance commonsense immigration reform that upholds the basic values of the Nation and delivers statutory protections for our Dreamers.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 80,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

AABANY Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee Shares How to Succeed as a First Generation Lawyer

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, AABANY’s Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee held a panel on how to thrive as a first generation lawyer. Moderated by Committee Co-Chair Yen-Yi Anderson, panelists Michelle Yang, Jasper Wong, Karen Eng, and Minyao Wang shared their experiences in choosing law school, preparing for the LSAT and bar exams, as well as detailing the struggles and victories that arose from their individual circumstances. 

Before the panel discussion began, guests enjoyed delicious complimentary Korean food and various beverages.  

When discussing how they first dreamed of becoming attorneys, panelists’ answers varied from as simple as wanting to make their parents––who often held grueling jobs with long hours and little pay––understand that their sacrifice was indeed worth it, to as lighthearted as having really enjoyed Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a law video game. Mr. Wang mentioned the stability he hoped being a lawyer would bring, and both he and Ms. Eng discussed having explored related subjects like history, government, international relations, and social sciences that eventually led them to pursuing law. Despite all of the panelists’ shared identity as first-generation lawyers, the variety of motivations, choices, and experiences that inspired each of them to enter the industry was most striking.

When answering how to succeed in studying for the LSAT and within law school after it, panelists were admirably honest and treated the guests, mostly college students or recent college graduates, to a real picture of what their future could be. The panelists generally agreed that law school had been difficult in a way they had each never experienced, especially during 1L, and how they had to change their habits to succeed. Ms. Yang and Mr. Wang began to study independently without peers and friends, while Mr. Wong altered his time management and developed new skills to focus and study, and Ms. Eng recommended taking classes where students would have a high level of motivation and passion.

The panel then ended with a short Q & A with guests. Asked about the pressure of being part of a family adjusting to a new country, Ms. Eng and Mr. Wong agreed that their parents’ determination and steadfast intent had been integral in instilling a certain grit that helped them persevere through the challenges of law school and the legal profession. During the Q & A, Ms. Yang recommended investing in paid tutoring for LSAT and bar exams, though Mr. Wang shared that it was indeed possible to self-study given enough time and focus. Ms. Yang and Mr. Wong had both attended law school for periods during the Covid pandemic and discussed how it had been incredibly isolating, and Ms. Eng mentioned the feelings of imposter syndrome that developed during times of struggle in law school, each emphasizing to the attendees that these feelings were valid and common.

Thank you to the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee for organizing this event, Ms. Anderson for moderating, and thank you to all the panelists for their wonderful insight and candor. To learn more about AABANY’s Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee please click here.

2024 NAPABA Convention Registration Opens on June 17!

While we can’t reveal everything we have in store for you at the 2024 NAPABA Convention, we can tell you that you won’t want to miss any of our sessions, networking opportunities, receptions, and more! 

To help you get ready for our June 17 registration and housing launch, we’ve created a quick checklist. 

Have questions about your NAPABA membership? Contact us at [email protected].

Have questions about Convention? Contact our Meetings Team at [email protected].

2024 Scholarship Opportunity – NAPABA Law Foundation Invites Eligible Students to Apply for the 2024 SAIL Scholarship (Deadline: July 1st, 2024)

SAIL Scholarship Now Accepting Applications! Deadline: July 1, 2024

NAPABA Law Foundation invites eligible students to apply for the 2024 SAIL Scholarship, made possible due to the generosity of Sharon and Ivan Fong.

The SAIL Scholarship is a scholarship awarded to an individual who will be a 2L student starting in the 2024 Fall Semester (current 1L students should apply) who has outstanding professional promise and leadership potential. Applicants will be evaluated for (a) academic excellence in their undergraduate school years and first year of law school, (b) leadership experience, (c) volunteerism or service in the public interest, (d) knowledge of social and cultural issues of any one or more AANHPI communities or commitment to making a significant impact on issues affecting one or more AANHPI communities, or both, and (e) commitment to “pay it forward.”

Award Amount: The NAPABA Law Foundation will award from the SAIL Scholarship Fund at least one $7,500 scholarship each year, half of which would be distributed to the recipient in his or her second year of law school and the remainder of which would be distributed to the recipient in his or her third year of law school, subject to the Scholar’s continued (i) strong academic performance and good character; and (ii) dedication to the concepts set forth in scholarship.

LGBTQ Committee Hosts Pride Reception and Exclusive First Screening of Short Film TAL 탈

On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, AABANY’s LGBTQ Committee, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Goodwin Procter LLP, hosted a Pride Reception where guests were given a unique opportunity to be the first official viewers of the upcoming short film TAL 탈. The Committee gave the audience a chance to view a work from a group of minds diverse in both origin and ideas, in the continued effort of enhancing visibility and representation for Asian and LGBTQ groups.

The film’s writer and lead actor Wesley Han and director Charlie Gillette, as well as a small group that worked on the piece––some actors, cameramen, and producers––presented their vision: TAL 탈 is a short horror film full of emotion and thrills, that grapples with ideas of filial piety and shame. They sought to shed overworked themes and motifs that often permeate the media that represents Asian-American culture, while incorporating Han’s own anecdotal experiences for inspiration. The result is a fright-fest where Gabriel, an ex-actor and young associate at a top litigation firm in New York City, is hunted by a literal inner demon.

After a script-reading of the film, the panel took questions from the audience. In their answers they expressed their hopes that the film would resonate with the quintessential modern Asian experience, and also shared the process of assembling the film. Han expressed that the film had a youthful energy and would hopefully be impactful for a broad audience, but especially with Asian-American second and third-generation immigrants. Gillette discussed how the film was born of friendship and the SAG-AFTRA strike––the core team had known each other from previous works and had not been working at the time of the first screenplay’s inception.

After the panel, everyone was served complementary beverages and delicious desserts from LGBTQ-Asian-owned bakery ANDO. Guests and panelists alike mingled, met new people, made new connections, and exchanged advice and experience with friends and colleagues new and old. All of this was made possible thanks to the support of Goodwin Procter LLP, our hosts for this event and program.

For everyone that attended the event we extend our profound thanks for your support. To learn more about the AABANY LGBTQ Commitee please click here. To learn more and support the upcoming short film TAL please click here. And to learn more about Goodwin Procter, please click here.

AABANY Members: 2024 Pro Bono Opportunity – Help Close Civil Justice Gap through New York State Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP)

AABANY encourages its members to get involved in the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP) this year. The AEP is an initiative by the New York State Unified Court System, enthusiastically supported by Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson, aimed at promoting pro bono civil legal service by senior attorneys.

AABANY recognizes the increasing need for civil legal services post-COVID-19, and the need for pro bono volunteers is more critical than ever. From housing to family law matters, immigration to consumer debt, AEP volunteers play a crucial role in providing access to justice for New Yorkers who are unable to afford counsel.

To volunteer, AEP seeks lawyers aged fifty-five or older, retired or still in practice, in good standing, and with ten years experience. Attorney Emeritus volunteers receive benefits, including up to 15 CLE credits and special recognition from Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina G. Richardson.

For more information please click here.

The AEP team welcomes the opportunity to discuss the Program with individuals interested in learning more; please feel free to contact the AEP Coordinator by email at [email protected].

Join Us in a City Near You

The NAPABA Meet & Greet Series, designed to foster connections within the NAPABA community and nurture meaningful relationships, is an excellent opportunity for our members in cities across the country to network and engage with one another and NAPABA leadership. Visit our events page and mark your calendars for these upcoming dates! 

Philadelphia, PA
July 11 | 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

Toronto, ON, CA
July 11 | 6:30-7:30 pm

Chicago, IL
August 2 | 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Perkins Coie LLP