Thank You to our May Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

May’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, May 8 at 33 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 14 lawyers and 6 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 15 clients.

We are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the May Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

Christopher Chin
Francis Chin
Thomas Hou
Mayumi Cindy Iijima
Satoshi Kurita
Chris M. Kwok
Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
Beatrice Leong
Nelson Mar
Samantha Sumilang
Annie Tsao
Anna Jinhua Wang
Shengyang (John) Wu
Jiayun Zhang

Interpreters:

Carteneil Cheung
Tianlin Liu
Ruth Poon
Serene Su
Laura Tsang
Hao Zhang

Special thanks to Kwok Kei Ng and Zhixian Liu for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Judy Lee and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at future Pro Bono Clinics, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

NAPABA’s 2019 Survey of Asian Pacific American Attorney/Law Student Bar Association: Become Eligible for NAPABA’s Raffle and Win!

Last Day to Complete the Survey is May 13, 2019 | Take the Survey Now!

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is conducting a survey to assess Asian Pacific American attorney and law student engagement with bar associations and in particular affinity bar associations. The results of the survey will aid NAPABA in measuring our reach and effectiveness and assessing our priorities.

We need a few minutes of your time to complete a survey. Your feedback will help guide us as we strive to further NAPABA’s mission to:

  • Be the national voice for the Asian Pacific American legal profession;
  • Promote justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans; and
  • Foster professional development, legal scholarship, advocacy, and community involvement.

The survey should take approximately 10-18 minutes to complete. Responses to the survey will be kept strictly confidential. The last day to complete this survey is May 13, 2019.

To show our appreciation to those that complete the survey, we will enter you into a drawing for one of the following prizes:

  • Complimentary registration for the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas from November 7-10, 2019;
  • Complimentary room upgrade to a Junior Suite at the Convention hotel, JW Marriott Austin; or
  •  One of three $100 Amazon gift cards.

We would greatly appreciate your candid, thoughtful, and detailed responses. 

Should you have any questions about the survey or need help completing it, please contact membership@napaba.org

COMPLETE SURVEY HERE 

Join Social Security For a Call on Mental Illness in the AAPI Community – Thursday, May 23, 2019

From Everett Lo, Project Manager, Social Security Administration:

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States.  May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, when we shine a light on mental health.  No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, Social Security is there for you and your family, providing financial protection and vital services for all Americans, including AAPIs.

The 2019 APAHM theme, Unite Our Mission by Engaging Each Other, affords a unique opportunity to work together to ensure access to Social Security’s programs and benefits for AAPIs experiencing mental illness.  Please join us for an informative call as we discuss Mental Illness in the AAPI Community, and How Social Security Can Help, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT. You must register by Monday, May 20, 2019 by 5:00 p.m. EDT to participate in this call. Registrants will receive conference call dial-in information in a separate email on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Leading advocates in AAPI mental health will share personal insights, and representatives from Social Security will explain how we evaluate mental illness for Social Security Disability benefits, including resources available to help you.

We hope you can participate in this important call.  You may learn more about how Social Security is with AAPIs through life’s journey on our Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders page. For more information, contact Everett Lo, Project Manager, Social Security Administration, Everett.Lo@ssa.gov

Accepting Nominations for Officer Candidates and Applications for At-Large Board Members for NAPABA’s 2019-20 Bar Year

NAPABA election season has kicked off!  Below is information about nominating Officer candidates and applying for At-Large Board Member positions. Please share with your networks! 

Remember, you must be a NAPABA direct member OR activate your affiliate membership online by July 1 to be eligible to vote in this year’s elections. Click here to join/renew today.

The NAPABA Board of Governors consists of nine Officers who are elected by the membership, ten Regional Governors who are chosen by the NAPABA Regions, and four At-Large Board Members who are appointed by the Board of Governors. Now through July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT, the NAPABA Nominating & Elections Committee will be accepting nominations for members who want to stand for election as Officers and applications from members who want to be considered for At-Large Board Member positions.

Nominate Yourself or Another Member for an Officer Position

Click here for more information or to submit a nomination by July 8 for the following Officer positions:

  • President-Elect 
  • Vice President for Finance and Development
  • Vice President for Membership
  • Vice President for Programs and Operations
  • Vice President for Communications
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary  

Apply to be an At-Large Board Member

Review the complete guidelines and apply here by July 8 to be considered for an At-Large Board Member position.

AABANY Co-sponsors: An Evening With Preet Bharara at Cleary Gottlieb

On April 30, AABANY and Cleary Gottlieb co-hosted An Evening with Preet Bharara, at which former Acting US Attorney and current Cleary Partner Joon Kim engaged Preet in conversation about his new book Doing Justice. The event took place at Cleary and the room was filled to capacity, with those attendees who were not able to find seats standing along the sides.

After welcome remarks from Cleary by Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang, AABANY President Brian Song offered some introductory remarks on behalf of AABANY and kicked off Joon Kim’s conversation with Preet Bharara. Preet spoke about his departure from the US Attorney’s office and the befuddling manner in which the President-Elect initially asked him to stay on as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, followed a few months later by his perplexing request, as President, for Preet to resign. Preet was confused by this request because he had been asked to stay on shortly after the 2016 election. When Preet received confirmation from the White House that the President indeed wanted him to resign, Preet refused, which led to his firing.

Despite starting the talk with President Trump’s firing of Preet, Preet pointed out that his book was not about President Trump. Preet stated that, in fact, the name Joon Kim shows up far more often in the index than Donald Trump. Preet spoke about his reasons for writing the book. He stated that for many years, he had wanted to write a sort “how to” manual for prosecutors who were at the start of their careers. He quickly realized that such a book would not make the bestseller list. Preet broadened his horizons and wanted to write a book that tackled questions like “What is justice? What is fairness? What is truth?” He realized that issues of truth and bias occur everywhere and affect everyone, not just in the law, but in society as a whole. He thus came up with Doing Justice, which is subtitled A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law.

The conversation covered numerous subjects and stories from Preet’s storied career as US Attorney in the Southern District, one of the nation’s leading prosecutor’s offices. During the Q&A that followed, Preet was asked what his inspiration was for becoming a lawyer. Preet responded that when he was in high school, he entered a public speaking contest and had to memorize and present a speech by legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow. This speech was Darrow’s summation in the case of People v. Henry Sweet, in which Darrow defended a black man accused of murder during an attack by white neighbors who did not want black people living in their neighborhood. Preet committed the following passage from Darrow to memory:

After all, every human being’s life in this world is inevitably mixed with every other life and, no matter what laws we pass, no matter what precautions we take, unless people we meet are kindly and decent and human and liberty-loving, then there is no liberty. Freedom comes from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions.

Preet admits that he might not have fully appreciated the meaning of those words as a teenager but understood it better every day as US Attorney.

We thank everyone who came out for An Evening with Preet Bharara, and we especially thank Cleary for providing the space, food, refreshments, drinks and copies of Doing Justice. It was a wonderful event, filled with inspiring ideas and stories. For the many young lawyers and lawyers-to-be in the room, there was ample reason given to devote at least some part of their legal careers to serve the public interest, and we thank Preet and Joon for providing us that inspiration.

AABANY Congratulates Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt

Congratulations to the Honorable Dorothy Chin Brandt, former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, who was honored at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on May 2, 2019.

Justice Chin Brandt made history as the first Asian American female judge and the first elected Asian American public official in New York. She began her legal career as an Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and then as an associate at Shearman & Sterling. She joined the firm Dilworth & Paxson in Washington, D.C. and worked in private practice until her election to Civil Court in 1987. After 30 years of public service on the bench, Justice Chin Brandt retired in 2016.

As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Chin Brandt on being honored at the Queens County DA’s Office’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “During the month of May, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, it is most fitting that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of trailblazers like Justice Chin Brandt who has paved the way for generations of lawyers and judges that have entered the profession and achieved success by following her example.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt.

AABANY Congratulates Hon. Randall T. Eng

Congratulations to Hon. Randall T. Eng, retired Presiding Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from Queens County Bar Association at its Annual Dinner held on May 2 at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This award celebrates Justice Eng’s achievements as a legal professional and honors his contributions to the Queens County Bar Association.

Justice Eng was born in Guangzhou, China, and was raised in New York City. He received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1972. Upon graduating from law school, Justice Eng served as an assistant district attorney in Queens. In 1983, Justice Eng was appointed to the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor Edward I. Koch. In 1988, Justice Eng was appointed to serve as an Acting Justice of New York State Supreme Court. In 1990, Justice Eng was elected to stay in the position and was re-elected in 2004. Between 2007 and 2008, Justice Eng was appointed to serve a short term as Administrative Judge of the Criminal Term of Queens County Supreme Court, and he served in this role until he was elevated to the Appellate Division in 2008. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Justice Eng to lead the Second Department as the presiding justice, where he oversaw one of the busiest judicial departments in the country. This appointment made Justice Eng the first Asian American to serve as a presiding justice in New York State. Justice Eng retired from the bench and joined Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. as Of Counsel in January 2018.

Over his long and prolific legal career, Justice Eng has received numerous honors, including AABANY’s Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award in 2017, OCA-NY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, and the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award in 2016, the highest honor bestowed by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, of which AABANY is an affiliate.

As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Eng on receiving the Charles W. Froessel Award from the Queens County Bar Association,” states AABANY President Brian Song, “It is yet another well-deserved recognition of Justice Eng’s achievements as a prominent jurist who has led the way for generations of attorneys and judges to follow his example. During May, when we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is a most fitting tribute that we recognize and honor the milestones and achievements of role models like Justice Randall Eng. None of us would be here today were it not for Justice Eng and other APA judges and lawyers who led the way.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Randall T. Eng .

AABANY Congratulates Glenn Lau-Kee

Congratulations to Glenn Lau-Kee, Partner at Lau-Kee Law Group PLLC and former AABANY President (1997-99), on receiving the American Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Lau-Kee began his legal career as an associate in the Hong Kong and New York offices of Coudert Brothers LLP where he worked on bank financing, leasing, and corporate acquisition transactions. In 1977, he became a partner at Kee and Lau-Kee PLLC where he has developed a thriving real estate and bank financing practice. Mr. Lau-Kee made history as the first Asian American President of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) for the 2014-15 term. He continues his involvement with NYSBA as a member of the Business Law, Health Law and Real Property Law sections. Mr. Lau-Kee has also been an active member of New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until 2004 and serving on various task forces and committees until 2010. He also served on the Board of Directors for the NYCLA Foundation and the New York Bar Foundation, which function as the charitable and philanthropic arms of their respective organizations.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn Lau-Kee.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Asian Americans and Higher Education: An End to Affirmative Action?

On Tuesday April 30, 2019, Asia Society and the Asian American Bar Association of New York co-hosted a lively discussion on the lawsuit Students for Fair Admission vs. Harvard University.  Currently winding its way through the Federal courts, Asian Americans and affirmative action have become a point of focus in contemporary political debate.

Within the Asian American community itself, a grassroots Asian American conservative movement has emerged in the last decade, in an attempt to end affirmative action.  This conservative movement alleges that admissions discrimination in the name of diversity is wrong. That view was represented by Jack Ouyang, from the Asian American Coalition for Education.  

Asian American liberals believe that conservative Asian Americans are being used as cover to abolish affirmative action, and fear a defeat of affirmative action means a loss for diversity in all of higher education.  Nicole Gon Ochi from Asian American Advancing Justice -LA represented the view.

Dr. Van Tran, Columbia University sociologist, presented new research on what Asian Americans thought of affirmative action.

Audience members were treated to a deep dive into the issue, with views from both sides represented on the podium.  A reception followed, at which attendees got to continue their conversations around this important topic.

Thanks to everyone who came out for this event. Thanks especially to all the speakers for their insights and views. See below for short bios of all the speakers. (Thanks to Elsa Ruiz for the event photos.)

Chris M. Kwok, Esq. (moderator) serves as the Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He received his B.A from Cornell University with a major in Government and minor in Asian American studies, and his J.D from UCLA Law School, where he served on the staff of the Asian American Pacific Islander Law Journal.  Formerly, he was the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission in the New York District office. He is a mediator with JAMS.

Dr. Van C. Tran is a professor of Sociology at Columbia University whose research and writing broadly focuses on the incorporation of Asian immigrants and their children into American culture, politics and society.  He has served in many positions at both the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. He is a frequent commentator in the media and was selected as an NPR Source of the Week in July of 2015.

Nicole Gon Ochi, Esq. is the Supervising Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice—LA’s Impact Litigation unit. She joined Advancing Justice as a Skadden Fellow in 2010 and has taken a lead role in litigating and providing advocacy on matters involving employment discrimination, education, workers’ rights, affordable housing preservation, language access, and civil rights.

Dr. Jack Ouyang is the Vice President of Operations at the Asian American Coalition for Education. Mr. Ouyang has been an outspoken Chinese American civil rights activist and was a key organizer of the Chinese American for Equality. He was a board chair at the Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association and the Millburn Institute of Talent. He is currently an IT Professional based in New Jersey.

Celebrate APA Heritage Month with AABANY

AABANY is a proud co-sponsor of the following events in celebration of APA Heritage Month, and we invite you to join us at one or more of them in May. If you have any questions, contact us at main@aabany.org.

Time/Location

Event

May 13

6:00 pm

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association APAHM Celebration

Location:

123 Remsen Street Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and the Asian American Judges Association of New York are celebrating APA Heritage Month. The Honorable Pamela K. Chen, EDNY, will be the Special Honoree at the celebration. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1229319

May 14

8:30 am – 12:15 pm

AABANY Co-Sponsors: The Fight for Justice: 75th Anniversary of Korematsu v. US

Location: Robert H. Jackson Center 305 E. 4th Street Jamestown, New York

AABANY’s classic trial reenactment is making a return in celebration of APA Heritage Month as well as the 75th anniversary of the Korematsu decision. We are honored to have invited Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu; John Q. Barrett, Professor at St. John’s University School of Law; Hon. Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Thomas Loftus, Justice Jackson’s Grandson. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1231073

May 15

5:30-8:30PM

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Alice in Chinatown: Chol Soo Lee and His Fight for Freedom

Location: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP 200 Liberty Street New York, New York 10281

Led by the Honorable Denny Chin, AABANY’s trial reenactment team will celebrate APA Heritage Month by retelling the story of Chol Soo Lee, a young Korean American who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a gangland murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The effort to free him represented the beginning of Asian American activism in the 1970s. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1229620

May 22

4:30-7:30 pm

AABANY Co-Sponsors “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”

Location:

Four Gateway Center 100 Mulberry Street Newark, New Jersey 07102

AABANY will join APALA-NJ, McCarter & English and KALAGNY for a networking reception and a screening of the documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which tells the story of the Chinese immigrant Sung family’s resilience against injustice when their bank was the only one pursued by prosecutors in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1229311

May 22

5:30-8 pm

“Murder of Vincent Chin” Trial Reenactment

Location:

White & Case LLP 1221 6th Ave New York, New York 10020

White & Case presentes a reenactment of “Building Our Legacy: The Murder of Vincent Chin,” one of AABANY’s best known and most performed reenactments. From AABANY’s Trial Reenactments website: “Vincent Chin was beaten to death in 1982 in Detroit. When the assailants didn’t even receive jail time, the injustice galvanized the Asian American community.” For more information, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1214265

May 29

6:00 pm

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Breaking Through: A Look Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling

Location:

Lowenstein Sandler

1251 Avenue of the Americas

17th Floor

New York, New York

Please join the Diversity and Leadership Network and AABANY in celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month! The DLN will host an informative conversation with guest speakers, including the Honorable Justice Jeffrey K. Oing, Lawson Huynh, Associate at Lowenstein Sandler, Blossom Kan, Assistant General Counsel for MetLife, and Sonia Low, General Counsel of Jacob J. Javits Center, about the challenges and successes of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the legal profession. For more information, go to

https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1238912

May 30

6:00- 8:00 pm

AABANY Presents: Annual Judicial Reception Hosted by Judiciary Committee

Location:

The Surrogate’s Courthouse

Courtroom 503

31 Chambers St

New York, New York

The Judiciary Committee hosts its Annual Judicial Reception to honor newly inducted, currently sitting and retired Asian American, Pacific Islander and South Asian judges. For more information, go to

https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1227878