AABANY Congratulates Libin Zhang on Getting Published in the New York Law Journal

Libin Zhang, Partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, & Jacobson in New York

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Tax Committee Co-Chair Libin Zhang on his recent law review article about the proposed Pied-à-Terre tax impact on Real Estate in the New York Law Journal.

The article begins as follows:

It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has reduced New York City’s government revenues: sales taxes are down due to a decline in retail sales, there is less use of public transportation, and some individuals have moved out of the city. But as the late 20th century American proverb goes, in every crisis there is opportunity. A revised “pied-à-terre tax” has been introduced in both chambers of the New York State Legislature, which would create an annual property tax of up to 13.5% on certain residential properties with assessed values of $300,000 or more.

Although the latest pied-à-terre tax proposal is an improvement on prior versions, for example by no longer imposing the tax on most rental properties, some issues and questions remain.  The tax, if enacted, may affect New York City real estate.

To read the full article, click here (subscription required).

Congratulations to 2020 NAPABA Award Winners

On September 3, 2020, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) announced its 2020 award winners.

AABANY congratulates the following:

Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients:

Glenn D. Magpantay, Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

Mari Matsuda, Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii

The Honorable Rosa Peng Mroz, Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court in the State of Arizona

L. Song Richardson, Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California

Eric Yamato, Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice at the University of Hawaii

Affiliate of the Year Award Recipient:

Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC)

APA-Owned Law Firm Award Recipient:

Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho

Law Firm Diversity Award Recipient:

Littler Mendelson P.C.

Best Under 40 Award Recipients:

Jasmeet Kaur Ahuja, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP 

Kristin Asai, Partner at Holland & Knight LLP

Thy B. Bui, Partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP 

Vicki Chou, Of Counsel at Hueston Hennigan LLP 

Pankit Doshi, Partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP 

Benjamin H. Huh, Legal Counsel at Apple Inc. 

Sofia Jeong, Associate General Counsel of IP Legal at Facebook, Inc. 

Robin Jung, Senior Attorney of Litigation at Dykema Gossett LLP 

Naephil “Naf” Kwun, Partner at Lee Anav Chung White Kim Ruger & Richter LLP 

Erica Lai, Antitrust & Commercial Litigation Counsel at Cohen & Gresser LLP 

Bonnie Lau, Litigation Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP

Rotsen “Chinny” Law, Attorney at The Ramos Law Firm 

Mark L. Legaspi, Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Strategy, M&A, Investments and Emerging Technologies at Intel Corporation 

Abigail Rivamonte Mesa, Chief of Staff at Office of Supervisor Matt Haney, District 6

Lisa Kim Anh Nguyen, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP

Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta 

Philip Nulud, Senior Counsel at Buchalter

Judge Rizza O’Connor, Chief Magistrate Judge at Magistrate Court, Toombs County, Lyons, Georgia 

Candice Wong, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General & Chief of Staff of U.S. Department of Justice – Criminal Division 

Maya Yamazaki, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP 

Women’s Leadership Award Recipient:

Sandra Yamate, Chief Executive Officer at Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Military and Veteran Service Award Recipient:

Colonel Kay K. Wakatake, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Pro Bono Award Recipient:

Alice Hsu, Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Karen Kithan Yau, Of Counsel at Kakalec Law LLP

AABANY congratulates its members who were honored by NAPABA:

Glenn Magpantay, Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

Naf Kwun, Best Under 40 Award

Alice Hsu, Pro Bono Award

Karen Yau, Pro Bono Award

AABANY also congratulates Littler, an AABANY Silver Sponsor, on receiving the Law Firm Diversity Award.

All these award winners will be recognized during the month of October on NAPABA social media channels. Follow NAPABA’s Facebook and LinkedIn to hear the winners give their acceptance speeches and more!

Congratulations to 2020-21 Elected NAPABA Officers and Directors

On September 10, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) announced its newly elected Officers and Directors for the 2020-21 NAPABA board of governors. Board members will be sworn into office on November 7 during the NAPABA Virtual Experience.

AABANY would like to extend congratulations to the following individuals:

Sid Kanazawa, President-Elect

Hogene Choi, Treasurer

Judy M. Lam, Secretary

Jim Goh, Director

Marty Lorenzo, Director,

Philip Nulud, Director

Brendan Wong, Director

To register for the NAPABA Virtual Experience where these individuals will be sworn in, see here.

Thank You to Our AABANY Student Leaders

AABANY recognizes and thanks its Student Leaders for all their assistance this summer in fighting COVID-19 and giving back to the Asian American community in New York. Our AABANY student leaders are:

Taiyee Chien, UChicago Law

Long Dang, Columbia Law

Alex Hwang, Cardozo Law

Dianna Lam, Fordham Law

Connie J. Lee, Columbia Law

H. Anthony Park, Ottawa Law

Jenny Park, Columbia Law

Xinyi Shen, Cardozo Law

Sejal Waghray, Emory University

Meng Zhang, Fordham Law

The flyer above contains short descriptions about why each AABANY Student Leader wants to give back and how they have been doing it, such as by volunteering at AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic or participating in various COVID-19 relief activities and programs over the summer.

Please join us in thanking all our AABANY Student Leaders. We also recognize and thank Will Lee, Vice Chair of the Student Outreach Committee, for his leadership in bringing together our Student Leaders and helping AABANY channel their talents and energy to benefit the New York Asian American community.

AABANY Hosts Weekly Membership Mixer on August 28

On August 28, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly Zoom Membership Mixer, with 19 participants in attendance. The icebreaker question this week asked participants “What were your favorite moments as a Member of AABANY?” Members mentioned attending Fall Conference, Annual Dinner, and AABANY after parties. 
On Friday we said thank you to our Student Leader volunteers for their work during the pandemic. We were all impressed with these talented law students who found time to give back to New York’s Asian American community with COVID-19 relief assistance and rent relief applications, along with many other activities, led by Will Lee, Vice Chair of the Student Outreach Committee.

Congratulations to Long Dang, one of our illustrious Student Leaders, for winning a $50 VISA gift card!

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 people have stayed on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.

Membership Committee will continue to host weekly Zoom mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person. 

We are giving away door prizes in some weeks. In order to win, you must be a member and must RSVP on the aabany.org calendar entry to get a raffle number. Non-members can join the Zoom mixer but won’t be eligible to win a prize. 

Mixers are not recorded, and are LIVE, so don’t miss out.

AABANY Presents a Book Talk: Stuck – Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder

On August 4, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted a book talk on CUNY Professor Margaret Chin’s new book, Stuck – Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder. Moderated by Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director and Chair of AABANY’s Issues Committee, the virtual webinar received over 300 registrations from legal and non-legal professionals. Conversation centered around the book’s subject — invisible challenges Asian Americans face when it comes to upward corporate mobility.

Professor Margaret Chin began the panel by articulating the difficulty that Asian American professionals face in moving from mid-level management to the C-suites. Chin has discovered two critical factors that explain why. The first is that Asian Americans are hidden from the research. Only in the past five years has research been done on the corporate mobility challenges facing the Asian American professionals, demonstrating not only the invisibility of Asian Americans in racial discussions but a lack of awareness of the “bamboo ceiling.” The second is trust. Through her interviews with corporate executives, Chin discerned trust as a leading factor in who is and who isn’t promoted. Trust, however, also opens the door for implicit bias. Oftentimes, those who are seen as part of the “in-group” or white are seen as more trustworthy, leaving racial minorities at a disadvantage. 

A Q&A session followed the talk, during which Chris, as moderator, posed questions sent via chat to Professor Chin. One audience member asked Professor Chin what inspired her to write this book. Her answer recounted a class reunion where she realized that while many Asian Americans are admitted to Ivy League and top tier universities, there was no research on their career paths post-education. This reveals the false assumption that once an Asian American achieves an elite education, their career is set. Another question asked Professor Chin for solutions to the lack of upward mobility faced by Asian professionals. To this, she discussed how through her interviews with Asian executives, she discovered the importance of early career resources such as college career offices, formal corporate programs, and other similar programs. These have proven to be particularly helpful to non-white professionals who often do not have strong networks or resources at their disposal. Nonetheless, these are not the only solutions, leading Professor Chin to reiterate the need for more research on the “bamboo ceiling” in order to drive change.

Thank you to Professor Margaret Chin for her time and insight and Chris Kwok for moderating. Congratulations to Professor Chin on her book, which was released on August 11. We encourage anyone interested in this hot topic to purchase the book, which is available here. For those looking to continue this important discussion, please email Chris Kwok at chrismkwok@gmail.com to participate in his book club which will gather together readers of the book for further conversations about the book’s findings and conclusions.

AABANY Presents: Real Estate Closing in the New Norm: The New Rules & Practices

On July 23, AABANY’s Real Estate Committee presented a CLE Program on real estate closings in the COVID-19 era. The panel focused on how the real estate market is adapting to COVID-19 through new rules and practices and detailed the current state of property transactions. Speakers included Jason Wang, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at COMPASS, Wendy Yu, Counsel at Yu Law, and Jane Chen, Associate at Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP. The program was moderated by Margaret Ling, co-chair of the committee and Senior Counsel at Big Apple Abstract Corporation.

Margaret Ling began the panel with an update on the current New York state real estate legal landscape. This included the 202 executive order mandate by Governor Andrew Cuomo, declaring a state of emergency to permit only essential businesses. As a result, most real estate showings are now virtual and transactions are digital. Open houses are permitted only if social distancing measures are maintained.

Jason Wang spoke on his experience as a real estate salesperson at the inception of the pandemic and shared market observations. Because of at-home quarantine, buyers have begun to realize what they want in a home property and so there is a continued demand for property. Additionally, residents who fled New York City during the pandemic on-set may return in the near future and strengthen the real estate market.

Wendy Yu then outlined client protection concerns during virtual transactions. This includes taking into account that many buyers are now making offers without ever seeing property in person, emphasizing the need to place buyer protection clauses in contracts. Other considerations involve death clauses, in case that one party is no longer capable of continuing the transaction, as well as maintaining a flexible approach, so that either seller or buyer may be granted extra transaction time in case of pandemic-related challenges.

Jane concluded the panel by providing insight into co-op property transactions. Specifically, co-op boards that typically meet on a regular basis are now meeting less frequently, making it difficult for potential buyers to be interviewed for acceptance. Furthermore, because co-op boards are responsible for serving the interests of all building residents, it is important for interested buyers to keep in mind the visitor restrictions that exist in these communities.

Thank you to speakers Jason Wang, Wendy Yu, and Jane Chen for their time and insight, and Margaret Ling for moderating. Those interested in learning more about AABANY’s Real Estate Committee can do so here

Working Together to Serve Diverse Communities: A Virtual Resource Fair

Nine federal agencies will share information concerning their missions and available programs and resources. This information-packed event offers a roadmap to access federal services, to build stronger relationships, and to explore ways that we can work together to better serve Black, Latino, and other communities of color. 

No registration is required. The resource fair will take place over the course of two days — Wednesday, August 5th from 10:00AM to 4:00PM CT and Thursday, August 6th from 10:00AM to 4:00PM CT. Additional information, including an agenda and speaker biographies, is available from the Federal Trade Commission at this link

Email questions or suggestions to: WorkingTogether@ftc.gov.

AABANY President and Immediate Past President Listed Among City & State’s 100 Most Influential Asian Americans in New York Politics and Policy

Sapna Palla (top) and Brian Song (bottom)
Sapna Palla (top) and Brian Song (bottom)

AABANY is excited to announce that Immediate Past President Brian Song and President Sapna Palla have been included in the 2020 Power List of the 100 Most Influential Asian Americans in New York Politics & Policy, released by City & State. Song and Palla are jointly recognized as 52nd on the list. 

City & State wrote: 

The Asian American Bar Association’s mission is to ensure “the meaningful participation of Asian-Americans in the legal profession.” It has made strides under Sapna Palla, a partner at Wiggin and Dana LLP, who is the president for the 2020-2021 term, and under her immediate predecessor, Brian Song, a partner at the top law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP. The organization recently surpassed 1,400 paid members.  

Congratulations and thanks to Brian and Sapna to bringing AABANY to these new heights.

In addition to Brian and Sapna, several others among the honorees have worked with or been associated with AABANY, as members, community partners, or sponsors, to whom we also wish to extend our congratulations.

Among the top 10, AABANY has worked with Grace Meng, New York’s first Asian American US Congress Member; John Liu, State Senator and first Asian American to serve on the City Council; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition; Ron Kim and Yuh-Line Niou, both state Assembly Members; and Margaret Chin, New York City Council Member.

From the top 11-50, AABANY congratulates:

  • Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, which has partnered with AABANY on the Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic;
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation, one of our community partners;
  • Frank Wu, President of Queens College, who co-authored our most performed trial reenactment, Building Our Legacy: The Murder of Vincent Chin
  • Preet Bharara who, as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was a regular speaker at our annual Prosecutors Reception and an honoree at our Annual Dinner in 2015; 
  • John Park, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, one of our community partners; 
  • Margaret Fung, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, one of our community partners; 
  • Faiza Saeed, a Presiding Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a Gold Sponsor of AABANY for many years;
  • Honorable Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and past AABANY President (1992-93), who currently helps lead our trial reenactments project.

From 51 – 100 on the list, we extend our congratulations to 

  • Jayasri Ganapathy, President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), one of our sister bar associations and past AABANY member; 
  • My Chi To, Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services, and past AABANY member; 
  • Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese America, one of our community partners; 
  • Wendy Cai-Lee, President and CEO of Piermont Bank, a Bronze Sponsor of the 2019 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference; and 
  • Justin Yu, Chair of the New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which has partnered with us for many years for our walk-in Pro Bono Clinic.

AABANY is privileged and honored to have worked closely with so many of New York’s most influential Asian American in politics and policy. Congratulations to everyone who made the list, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration and to partner in the future.

From the Chinese-American Planning Council: Applications for New York COVID-19 Rental Relief Program Now Open Until July 30, 2020

Founded in 1965, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) is the largest Asian American social service organization in the nation. With the aim to promote the social and economic empowerment of Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income communities of New York City, the CPC responds to critical needs of community members during COVID-19. In line with its mission, CPC is providing critical up-to-date information and resources in various languages. CPC now shares news of an emergency Rental Relief Program (RRP) introduced by New York State to provide one-time rental assistance to New Yorkers burdened by rent during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Someone may qualify for the COVID-19 Rental Relief Program if the four specifications below are met: 

  • You are a renter living in NY State. 
  • You have lost income between April 1, 2020 and July 30, 2020.
  • You paid more than 30% of your household income for rent before March 1st. 
  • Your household income (including unemployment benefits) is below 80% of HUD’s area medium income. 

Please note, the deadline to apply for the program is Thursday, July 30, at 6 PM ET. For further program overview and eligibility information, please see here

Below is an information flyer in simplified Chinese answering frequently asked questions about New York State’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. Applications are also available in Traditional Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Spanish, Russian, and Haitian-Creole.