On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, AABANY celebrated its 30th birthday at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, just around the corner from the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, at which the NAPABA Convention was taking place. AABANY members who were attending the Convention came out in force and brought friends from various affiliates from around the country. Over 60 attendees filled a section of one of the event rooms on the second floor. Among the attendees were members who were there at the start of AABANY, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go, Hon. Denny Chin (who served as President from 1992-93) and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin. Past Presidents Vincent Chang, James Chou, and Dwight Yoo also attended, as did current President Brian Song. Membership Director Beatrice Leong organized the celebration; she secured the venue and placed the food order, and she also ordered the cake. The authentic Texas barbecue fare was a big hit, and the cake came out with sparklers.
Thanks to all our members and friends for coming out to celebrate with us in Austin!
Congratulations to NAPABA on a successful National Convention in Austin, Texas. Affiliates from around the country gathered to celebrate with NAPABA at its 31st Anniverary Gala Dinner held on Saturday night, Nov. 9, in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott in Austin. Comedian Sheng Wang hosted the evening, and the Keynote Speaker was Chef Kristen Kish, owner of Arlo Grey, in conversation with restaurant critic Soleil Ho. Congratulations also to all the honorees who were presented with awards at the Gala:
Military and Veteran Service Award – Capt Lia Mitoko Reynolds
APA Owned Law Firm Award – Willenken LLP
Law Firm Diversity Award – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Pro Bono Award – Karen King
Women’s Leadership Award – Debbie Shon
Presidents Award – Dale Ho
AABANY was honored to be presented with the Affiliate of the Year Award. Read more about that here.
AABANY members could be found filling a few tables at the Gala Dinner … but where was Executive Director Yang Chen? He was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. That did not stop Membership Director Beatrice Leong from creating a cardboard version of our ED to attend the Gala and then join the AABANY group photo at the NAPABA Convention. Thank you, Beatrice!
On Friday, Nov. 8, during the Plenary Lunch Session at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed “Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice,” reenacting Korematsu v. United States. AABANY had performed an earlier version of this reenactment at the NAPABA Convention in Washington, DC, in 2017, to mark the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which sent some 120,000 Japanese American citizens to internment camps without any due process. This year, to mark Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed an updated script which took into account the developments that occurred since 2017. The Korematsu case was nominally overruled in a footnote by Chief Justice Roberts in Trump v. Hawaii (2018), which upheld the Muslim Travel Ban in part. This reenactment included modifications that featured text from the majority and dissenting opinions in that case, and concluded with words from an Op-Ed written by Fred’s daughter Karen, lamenting that the United States Supreme Court had replaced one bad precedent with another.
This updated Korematsu reenactment was made special by the participation of new cast members, including Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Peggy Nagae, and Hon. Edward Chen, members of the legal team that brought the coram nobis proceeding which overturned the wrongful conviction of Fred Korematsu. Dale, Don, Peggy, and Judge Chen played themselves. Also playing herself was Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the United States District Court Judge who presided over the case. Karen Korematsu played herself and closed the show with moving and inspiring words from her June 28, 2018 New York Times Op-Ed article.
The 2019 Korematsu reenactment played to an audience of 900 at the NAPABA Convention Friday Plenary Lunch session, and it is easily the largest single audience for any AABANY Trial Reenactment. Judge Chin moderated a panel discussion about this case and its continuing relevance immediately after the lunch session, featuring a panel that included Don Tamaki, Dale Minami, Karen Narasaki, Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, Hon. Edward Chen and Karen Korematsu.
Thanks to everyone who took part in performing in this historic reenactment, especially those who were part of Fred Korematsu’s Fight for Justice. We are grateful for the leadership of Kathy Hirata Chin and Hon. Denny Chin for leading AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team. To learn more about AABANY’s Trial Reenactments, visit the reenactments website at reenactments.aabany.org.
On October 29, 2019, AABANY’s Government Service & Public Interest Committee, Career Placement Committee, Student Outreach Committee, and New York Law School’s APALSA teamed up to present Pathways to Government Service and Public Interest Career Panel.
Mihea Kim, Staff Attorney, Homicide Defense Task Force, The Legal Aid Society; Hon. Donald Leo, New York City Criminal Court Judge, New York Supreme Court; Nelson Mar, Senior Staff Attorney, Education Law Unit, Bronx Legal Services Kin Ng, Bureau Chief of the Red Zone Trial Bureau, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office; Won Shin, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York
Moderator: Hon. Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge, New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
The panelists shared what experiences led them to their current position in the public interest/government sector. Fun tidbits were also revealed — two of the panelists litigated cases against each other, while two other panelists went to high school together. Attendees and panelists enjoyed friendly banter and discussion after the panel.
We thank the Government Service & Public Interest , Career Placement, and Student Outreach Committee Committees for hosting this panel. To learn more about the GSPI Committee, go here. To learn more about the Career Placement Committee, go here. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, go here.
AABANY ended October with our Monthly Membership Mixer at Atwood. We were excited to see a lot of new faces as recent law school graduates and practicing attorneys met with some of our members and learned more about our organization. Thank you to all those who made it out and check out our calendar at aabany.org for a full schedule of our exciting upcoming events.
On October 24, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee and Career Placement Committee co-sponsored a resume review/interview skills workshop at Fordham Law School. Students had the opportunity to have their resumes reviewed and practice interview questions with attorneys from a variety of different fields including, but not limited to, IP, Antitrust, Corporate, Litigation and Criminal Law. There were about 25 students and 10 reviewers in attendance. Attendees also enjoyed dinner from Panda Express.
A special thank you to Fordham APALSA, who helped organized the event, and to the reviewers who took time out of their busy schedules to review resumes and practice interview skills, including Aakruti Vakharia, Jonathan Li, Yang Chen, Christopher Bae, William Hao, Darley Maw, Jeffrey Mok, Kevin Yim, Jayashree Mitra, and Quentin Wong. Also, thank you to the students who attended and made the event a big success.
Last week, AABANY received an invitation to participate in a gold open screening of the critically acclaimed new Korean film, “Parasite.” After a few quick exchanges of emails, we settled on the Sunday, Oct. 27, 1:30 pm showing taking place at AMC25 in Times Square. A block of tickets was announced on Friday morning, October 25. In less than 10 minutes that entire block was snapped up. Chris Kwok, who was handling the screening for AABANY, asked for more tickets and got them. Ultimately, 60 people showed up on a rainy Sunday to catch the show.
Whether or not you made the screening, here are some interesting facts about “Parasite”:
Parasite explores greed and class discrimination, portraying a newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan. Director Bong Joon-ho, 49, best known for daring arthouse hits including Okja and Snowpiercer, was awarded the top honor at the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d’Or, the first time a Korean director has won the award in its 72-year history. It has been incredible to witness our community rallying together for this film across the country; besides completely selling out New York’s opening weekend screenings, the #GoldOpen movement has already helped Parasite garner the following accolades
Highest foreign language per-screen average of all time
Highest per-screen average of 2019
Highest per-screen average since the opening of LA LA LAND in December of 2016
Top 18 per-screen average of all time
We thank Gold House, the non-profit collective that organizes #GoldOpen screenings, for inviting AABANY to take part in the effort to generate excitement and buzz for films featuring Asians and Asian Americans. AABANY recently participated in a screening of “The Farewell,” starring Awkwafina, and last year, in the screening of “Crazy Rich Asians.” We hope there are more opportunities in the near future for us to support and celebrate films with, by, and about Asians and Asian Americans. Thanks to Chris Kwok for organizing the “Parasite” screening and for all the AABANY members and friends who came out to see it.
On October 21, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen and Board Director Chris Kwok visited the High School of American Studies on the campus of Lehman College of the City University of New York, in the Bronx. The trip was arranged through Jonathan Halabi, a teacher at the school, and was done as part of the New York State Bar Association’s request to bar leaders to visit local high schools to speak about the Constitution and Citizenship as part of this year’s Constitution Day, which was marked on September 17.
Mr. Halabi gave Chris and Yang a tour of the school, which has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number 6 high school in New York. He also introduced Chris and Yang to a number of the school’s faculty. Chris and Yang spoke to two classes of seniors about Korematsu v. United States to teach about the Constitution and Citizenship. Both classes had heard the name Korematsu and knew the basic facts and context of the case. Chris and Yang provided additional details about how Fred Korematsu fought for justice and ultimately had his wrongful conviction overturned. The students engaged Chris and Yang in thoughtful and well-informed discussion about Korematsu’s case and how it relates to the Constitution, citizenship and current issues facing immigrants and the nation.
The visit concluded with Chris and Yang being called into the principal’s office to meet with the school’s principal, Alessandro Weiss. Principal Weiss thanked Chris and Yang for coming in and speaking with the students. They talked about the possibility of returning to the High School of American Studies for future visits on other topics of interest to the students. AABANY looks forward to meeting again with teachers and students at the High School of Asian Studies, and we thank the school for its warm hospitality on the occasion of this first visit. (Thanks to Mr. Halabi for the photos.)
As a member of Amex’s legal team, I was happy to welcome AABANY members for an information session held on October 22, 2019. The event started with a panel that included General Counsel Laureen Seeger and other Amex managing counsel discussing their experiences working as in-house counsel. Afterwards, AABANY attendees networked with members of various practice groups on Amex’s legal team. The event was very well-attended and offered a unique opportunity to learn what it’s like to work as in-house counsel at Amex. I certainly appreciate the impact of the information session because I attended the same event last year as an AABANY member. It gave me first-hand insight into working on Amex’s legal team and I had a great experience meeting everyone at Amex. So when an opportunity opened up afterwards to join the legal team, I already knew that I wanted to apply. And a few months later, I joined the Amex legal team! We hope everyone enjoyed the event this year, and we look forward to hosting this event again in the future.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, at the 40th anniversary gala for Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Brooklyn Community Services, held at Affable Eatery in Brooklyn, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau was honored for her work in support of the community. Many AABANY members and leaders came out to celebrate with Karen, including Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Pauline Yeung-Ha and Asako Aiba, Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair Kevin Hsi, AABANY Director of Technology and Professional Development Committee Co-Chair Francis Chin and Executive Director Yang Chen. Karen’s family, including her parents, were also in attendance.
AABANY also congratulates the other honorees at the gala dinner:
Dr. Gabriel Rincon, DDS Board of Trustees Chairman, The Family Health Centers at NYU Langone
Elizabeth Culkin, Principal, PS 176K
Hewett Chiu, Executive Director, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene President and CEO, Academy of Medical and Public Health Services
Karen, in her acceptance speech, accepted the award on behalf of the Pro Bono Clinic, which has grown in number of clients served and number of volunteers participating, and which started serving clients in Brooklyn last month, in September. The next Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic will take place on November 21. Please help us spread the word. More details here: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1291193 If you are able to volunteer there, contact Asako Aiba at firstname.lastname@example.org.