AABANY Membership Committee Leads Group Outing to See NY Liberty at Barclays Center

On July 16, 2024, through a collaboration between AABANY, the LGBT Bar NY (LeGal), the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of New York, we had over 40 collective members and friends who signed up to watch the NY Liberty vs. CT Sun game at the Barclays Center. The crowd was ecstatic and vibrant! We congratulate our home team for winning the game (82-74) and wish them great success at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. We were fortunate to see them in action, since they won’t be playing another organized WNBA matchup until Aug. 15. 

We hope to convene at another joint collaborative bar association event to support minority bar associations and their causes, such as hosting pro bono legal clinics, awarding scholarships, and providing mentorship and training programs to attorneys and judges. 

If you would like to learn more about the participating bar associations, please visit them at: 

Please come and support AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic Rooftop Summer Fundraiser on July 24. More details 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

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.

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

AABANY Marches in the Third Annual AAPI Cultural and Heritage Month Parade in Midtown Manhattan

Photo credit: AABANY

On Sunday, May 19th, 2024, AABANY members and friends marched together in the Third Annual AAPI Cultural and Heritage Parade in Midtown Manhattan.

Around noon, our group gathered on West 44th Street and Sixth Ave at a designated meeting spot to line up for the parade. As everyone was arriving, the street filled with people anticipating the start of the procession, many practicing their dances, taking pictures with their groups, and enjoying conversation with the organizations around them.

Photo credit: Nandar Win Kerr

As we did in last year’s parade, we wore matching red t-shirts, the front showcasing the AABANY logo and the back printed with a large QR-code that directs onlookers to the AABANY Pro Bono website. To attract more attention, AABANY President Joseph Eng, along with his son Max and friend Alfred Kurtz, brought a Chinese lion head and a drum to perform a traditional Chinese Lion Dance during the parade. While waiting for the parade to begin, other marchers took pictures with the lion and enjoyed the music and dance as Joe, Max, and Alfred practiced for their performance. They also taught any willing members of our group how to do a lion dance and play the drums.

Photo credit: AABANY

Around 1:00 pm, we saw the floats in the front begin to move, excitement rising as our time to take the street drew near. Once we reached the entry point on Sixth Avenue, the drum was beating and the sun was shining, making it the perfect time to walk along the avenue with pride. Those who were shown how to perform the lion dance took turns with Joe and Alfred to operate the lion costume. Others helped Max keep the drum beat as our group marched. Everyone was enjoying the 10-block march, especially as we got to see the performances of other groups and the costumes they dressed up in, including an eye-catching panda suit.

After the parade, several of the participants enjoyed a family-style lunch at Tang Pavilion. The wait for the parade to start, followed by the march, especially for the lion dancers, took more energy out of us than expected, and the delicious meal at Tang Pavilion hit the spot.

Photo credit: AABANY

Thank you to the AABANY members and friends who celebrated AAPI Heritage Month by marching with us in this parade! For more photos and videos of our  group at the event, check out the album here.

Labor & Employment Law Committee Co-Sponsors AAPI Heritage Month Program on Asian Entrepreneurs Sharing Their Roots to Success

On May 14, 2024, AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law, Intellectual Property, and In-House Counsel Committees co-hosted a panel discussion entitled “Roots to Success: Navigating Commercial and Legal Terrain in Asian Small Business Ventures.”  The event was an opportunity for AABANY members to gather in celebration of May’s AANHPI/APIDA Heritage Month.

The event featured panelists Rachna Shah, Founder and General Counsel of External General Counsel LLC, Ayan Sanyal, Co-Founder of Kolkata Chai, and Lingfei (Teddy) Wu, Founder and CEO of Anytime AI. The event was moderated by Anushree Bagrodia, Vice President of Legal Americas of Mastercard and Co-Chair of AABANY’s In-House Counsel Committee.

The panelists shared their unique personal journeys that led them to start their businesses. They discussed the challenges that they faced when starting and growing their businesses and how they overcame these challenges, including how they navigate the legal issues that their businesses encounter. To tie the event back to AANHPI/APIDA Heritage Month, the panelists also shared the importance of embracing and celebrating their Asian heritage and supporting other Asian entrepreneurs and Asian owned businesses. We thank our distinguished panelists and moderator for sharing their time, perspectives, and insights. We also thank Littler Mendelson. P.C. for hosting the event at their New York City office.

To learn more about the Labor & Employment Law Committee please click here. To learn more about the Intellectual Property Committee please click here. To learn more about the In-House Counsel Committee please click here.

AABANY Members Visit Capitol Hill During NAPABA Lobby Day

AABANY members pose in front of the U.S. Capitol at NAPABA Lobby Day 2024.

On May 22, 2024, AABANY members met with the staff of New York Senate and Congressional representatives in Washinton, D.C. at this year’s NAPABA Lobby Day. Each year, members of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) travel from across the United States to Washington D.C. and advocate on critical issues facing the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.

NAPABA and local bar association members discussed a number of issues with Congressional offices including legislation to address Anti-Asian Hate, Civil Rights, Immigration, and to support the confirmation of AANHPI judicial and executive nominees.

Wen Xue discusses alien land laws with Rebecca Lee, Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Wen Xue, Associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, discussed state bills barring Chinese nationals from owning real property and a federal bill to preempt those laws.  She shared, “Lobby Day is a great opportunity to meet and connect with people. I enjoyed the opportunity to see my fellow NAPABA colleagues in action, hear their words, and be inspired.”

Sandy Chiu, intellectual property attorney at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, stated, “Lobby Day continues to inspire and reengage me in the civic process, reminding me of our power as a collective NAPABA voice in shaping policy.”

Michelle Lee, Counsel for Stand with Asian Americans which advocates against workplace discrimination, discussed legislation to ensure AANHPI history is taught as part of American history. She stated, “As a first-time attendee of Lobby Day, I experienced a sense of empowerment and relevance as we advocated on behalf of our AANHPI community directly with our Senators’ and Representatives’ offices. Every lawyer should take advantage of this privilege especially when NAPABA makes the experience so seamless and collaborative.”

Nandar Win Kerr, Human Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Consultant and Co-Chair of AABANY’s Professional Development Committee, stated, “For the past three years, I have participated in NAPABA Lobby Day, transitioning from grassroots activism to high-level policy advocacy, a journey that seemed intimidating at first…. Engaging in NAPABA Lobby Day has enriched my sense of community and empowered me to contribute to collective advocacy efforts. Together, we strive to foster a peaceful, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable democratic society where everyone feels they belong.”

Rachel Lee discusses civil rights legislation with Bre Sonnier-Thompson, Legislative Correspondent for New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

Rachel Lee, Associate at A&O Shearman, stated, “Lobby Day 2024 was another incredibly rewarding experience. Marching through the hallways of the House and Senate buildings with a team of like-minded AANHPI attorneys was a reminder that our democratic process requires hard work and advocacy and gave me hope that as a team we can serve as a voice on issues important to our often-forgotten community. Whether it’s an important election year or not, with or without prior lobbying experience, I strongly encourage our members to take part in this amazing program.”

NAPABA is the largest AANHPI grassroots membership association, representing the interests of over 80,000 lawyers, judges, law students and other legal professionals around the country. Approximately 90 local bar associations are affiliated with NAPABA.

Anna Mercado Clark, Partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, currently serves as President of NAPABA. She stated, “Lobby Day is the premier advocacy event for NAPABA and one of the most visible ways that we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We are proud to have gathered 150 members for a Congressional reception and 50 meetings with legislators from both sides of the aisle. It is so powerful to see so many AANHPIs roaming the halls of Congress. It sends the message that we are here, we matter, and we will not tire of pursuing issues of importance to our communities. Thank you, AABANY, for joining NAPABA and all you are doing to advocate for our communities and strengthen democracy. This work is more important now than ever.”

NAPABA President Anna Mercado Clark and Nandar Win Kerr attending the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Congressional Reception.
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA), Senator Mazie Hirono (HI), and Director of Domestic Policy Counsel Neera Tanden speak at the AANHPI Congressional Reception.

NAPABA Lobby Day coincides with the annual Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Congressional Reception. Several AANHPI congressional and administration officials spoke including Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA), Senator Mazie Hirono (HI), and White House Director of the Domestic Policy Counsel Neera Tanden.

Thanks to all the AABANY members who participated in Lobby Day this year, especially Vishal Chander, Issues Committee Co-Chair and Board Director, who submitted this report.

AABANY Members Support CUNY Citizenship Now Pro Bono Naturalization Clinic

Vishal Chander, Co-Chair of the AABANY Issues Committee, and Jaehee Yoo, AABANY member, volunteer at CUNY Citizenship Now naturalization assistance event.

Vishal Chander, AABANY Board Director and Issues Committee Co-Chair, and AABANY member Jaehee Yoo provided pro bono services at the CUNY Citizenship Now naturalization clinic. The event took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on May 18, 2024. The event was covered by Univision New York.

CUNY Citizenship Now! is a project of the City University of New York and is the nation’s largest university-based legal assistance program. The May 18 Spring Drive event is Citizenship Now’s largest. The event provides free application support to New Yorkers who would like to apply to become U.S. citizens.  The May 18 event assisted over 300 people.

Vishal Chander and Jaehee Yoo are members of both AABANY and the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA New York). Vishal Chander, who is co-chair of AABANY’s Issues Committee and co-chair of the AILA New York’s Public Interest Committee, helped to organize AILA involvement. Vishal Chander stated, “Providing pro bono services is a deeply fulfilling part of our role as practicing attorneys.” This is the second year that Vishal Chander has helped to coordinate AILA New York’s involvement with the CUNY Citizenship Now Spring Drive event. Thanks to Vishal and Jaehee for supporting the CUNY Citizenshop Now event.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Dena M. Coggins to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release: 
Date: May 22, 2024 
ContactRahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Dena M. Coggins to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. 

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Dena M. Coggins on her confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California,” said Anna Mercado Clark, President of NAPABA. “We are pleased to have supported Judge Coggins’ nomination, and we are thrilled that she has been confirmed during our annual NAPABA Lobby Day, where our members are in Washington, DC to demonstrate not only the strength of our community but also to advance the critical issues facing the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community with leaders on Capitol Hill.”

Judge Dena Michaela Coggins is the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court of the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, having served in that position since 2023 and as a Superior Court judge since 2021. Judge Coggins was previously an Administrative Law Judge with the State of California’s Office of Administrative Hearings, in the General Jurisdiction Division from 2018 to 2021 and the Special Education Division from 2015 to 2017. Between her positions as an Administrative Law Judge, Judge Coggins served as a supervising attorney and hearing officer at the State of California Victim Compensation Board from 2017 to 2018. From 2013 to 2015, she served as a Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for the Governor of California. Prior to her state government service, Judge Coggins worked as an associate at Downey Brand L.L.P. from 2012 to 2013 and at Morrison & Foerster L.L.P. from 2007 to 2012. Judge Coggins received her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2006, and her B.S. from California State University, Sacramento in 2003.

“This is the second judge from our community to be confirmed during Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “President Biden’s record-breaking 36 AANHPI judges confirmed include 23 AANHPI women, the most women. We thank President Biden for nominating Judge Coggins and Senators Padilla and Butler for supporting her nomination.”

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.

The In-House Counsel Committee Hosts a Dinner at Sagaponack

On April 23, 2024, the AABANY In-House Counsel Committee held its first dinner of the fiscal year at Sagaponack in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood. Committee members gathered to enjoy a family-style seafood dinner while getting to know new and old faces in their field. 

As the appetizers rolled in, Committee Co-Chair Kazuko Wachter began the dinner with introductions, which was followed by a table full of conversations about individual experiences working in-house and their lives outside the office. Aimed at senior in-house counsel attorneys, this dinner featured members with long-term experience in their respective companies, many of whom work in the Fintech industry. With ten people in attendance, the dinner encouraged close and personal discussions among the attendees. From talking about their busy work days to sharing their favorite K-Dramas, the event was a chance for the members to get to know each other and hopefully stay connected. 

The Committee hopes its members will use these dinners to create relationships and expand their network with attorneys who share similar interests and experiences working in-house. For more information about the In-House Counsel Committee, visit their page here.