AABANY Hosts “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action” on April 9

On April 9, 2021, AABANY and a coalition of bar associations from across the country presented a CLE program titled, “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action.” About 500 attendees from all across the United States joined an esteemed panel of corporate in-house leaders in a discussion on how corporate employers can address the surge in anti-Asian violence and support their Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees. The panel included:

  • Sara Yang Bosco, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, Emerson
  • Sam Khichi, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Becton, Dickinson and Company
  • Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Allen Lo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Products, IP, and Legal Operations, Facebook
  • Susan Moon, Principal Counsel, The Walt Disney Company
  • Caroline Tsai, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, Western Union
  • Michael C. Wu (Moderator), GAPABA Board Member

Moderator Michael Wu began the panel discussion by describing how the coronavirus pandemic has become a virus of hate, with the increase of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans. To add to this, Sara Bosco emphasized the importance of reporting and providing visibility to these incidents and stated, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Asian Americans comprise 6% of the United States population, yet have been historically overlooked despite being part of U.S. history since the 1800s. Due to Asian Americans being viewed as perpetual foreigners and the model minority, coupled with the inaccurate information disseminated about the origins of the pandemic in 2020, Asian Americans have been perceived as an easier target to perpetrators of anti-Asian violence.

When asked how Corporate America should address anti-Asian violence, many of the panelists shared initiatives their workplaces started and gave suggestions on what companies can do. A main focus of the panelists was discussing how Asian employees can be supported in the workplace. To create a supportive environment, companies should reach out to AAPI employees and create an AAPI employee resource group in the workplace if there is not one already. Even if the organization does not have many AAPI employees, it is important for AAPI employees to meet others to increase their circle and build a larger voice. In addition, mental health resources and allyship training should be offered to employees within the workplace’s HR department. Panelists also agreed that not only should the diversity officers in the company address anti-Asian violence, but even CEOs need to speak up and make statements to show support for the AAPI community.

As individuals in the AAPI legal community, Sandra Leung said, “We are in a crisis situation right now with the rise of anti-AAPI hate, but it’s also an opportunity for us to band together to do our part individually or collectively in groups. We have to turn the emotion and anger that we have into action.” She further emphasized that we need to take leadership roles, speak loud, and educate people on anti-AAPI hate. In discussing leadership roles, Sandra Leung remarked, “I feel so compelled right now and so moved by everything we are facing in our community that I would love to run for President-Elect of NAPABA…” AABANY applauds Sandra Leung’s intent to run during these critical times and agrees that we have to continue working collectively to address anti-Asian violence.

Thank you to Sara Yang Bosco, Sam Khichi, Sandra Leung, Allen Lo, Susan Moon, Caroline Tsai, and Michael Wu for this important discussion on anti-Asian violence and corporate social responsibility. Non-transitional New York attorneys were eligible to receive a maximum of 1.5 CLE credit hours applied toward the Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirement. CLE credits were also approved in California and Colorado, and CPE credits were approved in British Columbia and Ontario. CLE credits have been applied for in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, and are pending approval. To view a recording of the program, click here or on the image above.

Board Officer Margaret Ling Speaks at New York Law School Community Day Symposium on April 20

On April 20th, 2021, AABANY Board Officer Margaret Ling was a speaker at the New York Law School Community Day Symposium entitled “The Pandemic and Structures of Inequality and Racism.” Margaret was invited by New York Law School faculty members, Professors Ann Thomas and Penelope Andrews. Margaret focused on Racism and the Law and specifically how Asian lawyers are stereotyped by the Model Minority Myth. She highlighted and discussed the recent findings and recommendations from the AABANY/Paul, Weiss report: A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence Against Asian Americans in New York During Covid-19. The discussion was engaging and informative for all of the New York Law School faculty and law students. Margaret is a New York Law School alumna (Class of 1983) and a Board Director of the New York Law School Alumni Association.

Young Lawyers Committee Hosts “Attorney Well-Being During COVID-19” Event

On April 15, AABANY’s Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) hosted a fireside chat titled “Attorney Well-Being During COVID-19.” In the face of isolating social distancing protocols and prolonged remote working arrangements, Committee Co-Chair Janet Jun organized and moderated the event in hopes of spurring more dialogue on the subject of wellness in the legal profession. Janet was joined by former AABANY President Glenn Lau-Kee and YLC Co-Chair Jane Jeong, who also hosts and produces The Whole Lawyer Podcast. At the intersection of law and wellness, Glenn serves as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being, and Jane is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Wellness Committee. Together, the speakers led a candid discussion about the current state of mental health awareness, challenges in the legal profession, and tips for achieving attorney wellness during COVID-19 and beyond.

Janet kickstarted the discussion by asking about the promises and pitfalls of current efforts to improve wellness in the legal profession. Glenn spoke optimistically about NYSBA’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being, which consists of nine working groups, each dedicated to a specific wellness issue. As the head of the working group on bar associations, Glenn described the end goal of the Task Force as a wholesale culture change in the legal profession. Glenn observed that attorneys tend to experience higher levels of stress than other professionals, with young lawyers bearing the brunt of this pressure. While larger law firms have established more initiatives to promote lawyer well-being, small firms and solo practitioners are disadvantaged by limited resources. In this context, Glenn identified bar associations as a possible avenue for equalizing wellness resources. 

Diverging from Glenn’s opinion, Jane insisted that personal connections — not institutional initiatives — are the proper foundation for a more comprehensive culture of wellness. Invoking the fireside chat as an example, Jane stated that change starts at the individual level, with the creation of safe spaces for authentic conversations about personal mental health struggles.

Janet continued the discussion by asking about the source of rampant anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in the legal profession. Glenn broke the problem down into three factors: (1) a lack of boundaries for down time, (2) client expectations and demands, and (3) financial pressures. Jane connected the first and third factors, explaining that the billable hour gives lawyers a systematic incentive to work ceaselessly. Deeming many lawyers to be perfectionists who are conditioned to tie their self-worth to external accomplishments, Jane also said that self-selection bias contributes to a workaholic legal culture.

AABANY Board Member Andy Yoo joined the discussion by asking about ways in which clients can help drive change. Glenn and Jane both responded by stating that leadership buy-in is an essential catalyst for change. As Jane explained, how CEOs and CLOs treat their employees trickles down to how employees treat external counsel.

Cynthia Lam, AABANY’s Co-Vice President of Programs and Operations, then asked the speakers to share their personal strategies for maintaining well-being. Glenn emphasized the community aspect of any individual effort to promote self-care. He urged lawyers to look beyond their own team members, who are all fixated on the same work, and reach out to family members, friends, and colleagues outside of their firms. Moving forward, Glenn hopes that bar associations will also play a greater role in providing lawyers with a sense of community. 

In enhancing her own mental health, Jane underscored the importance of setting and communicating boundaries with colleagues. She encouraged attendees not to cancel social plans for work except in the rare case of an emergency. Drawing on experience from her early career, Jane explained that by always saying yes to external requests, she had taught others that it was okay to overwork her. The lesson Jane derived from this experience was to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. 

Ultimately, Glenn and Jane urged attendees to carve out time for themselves to participate in communities and activities that are wholly unrelated to the law. While Jane personally benefits from working out, writing fiction, and doing yoga, she encouraged lawyers to access their own creative and reflective sides in whatever way works for them. Janet concluded the fireside chat by appealing to the desire of all attendees to be good lawyers. Only by striking a proper work-life balance can attorneys be fully enthusiastic about their careers and clients. To this extent, valuing well-being in one’s own life can help us all become more present in the lives of those around us.

AABANY thanks Janet, Glenn, and Jane for sharing their insights and leading this dialogue on the ever-relevant topic of attorney well-being. To learn more about the Young Lawyers Committee and its work, click here.

NAPABA Statement on the Senate Confirmation of Vanita Gupta

For Immediate Release: Date: April 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Vanita Gupta on her historic bipartisan confirmation by the Senate, to serve as Associate Attorney General in the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the third highest ranking position at the Department. She now becomes the most senior Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leader at DOJ ever, and the first woman of color to serve as Associate Attorney General.

“NAPABA is thrilled that the Senate has confirmed Vanita Gupta to lead the DOJ’s efforts in the critical areas of civil rights, the environment, justice-oriented grant making, community policing, community relations, violence against women, tax enforcement, antitrust, and ensuring the rights of service members and veterans, among other responsibilities” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “Her tenure could not have come at a more pivotal time for so many populations of color and vulnerable people, especially as we face an onslaught of anti-Asian hate crimes and bias-motivated attacks against our communities.” 

NAPABA applauds President Biden for nominating Ms. Gupta to the position and the Senate for confirming her at this crucial time.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

Statement On S. 937 COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release: Date: April 22, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Today, the United States Senate, in an overwhelmingly 94-1 bipartisan vote, passed S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).  This legislation requires that the U.S. Department of Justice designate a point person whose sole responsibility is to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the legislation recognizes a “COVID-19 hate crime” as an act of violence motivated by the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person based on their race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. The Senate-passed legislation also incorporates the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act which increases resources for hate crimes reporting and assistance for victims of hate crimes.

“NAPABA congratulates the Senate for passing this important legislation, and Senator Hirono for her leadership on this issue,” said NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III. “This bill squarely addresses one of the root causes of the increase in hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents being committed against the Asian American community – the dangerous rhetoric and falsehood that somehow Asian Americans are responsible for the COVID-pandemic. NAPABA is committed to ensuring justice for hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents committed against the Asian American community, and looks forward to swift passage in the House and enactment into the law.”

NAPABA believes this bill will help state and local law enforcement to better investigate and record hate crimes and hate incidents and prosecute them where appropriate. The legislation also requires the Department of Justice to issue guidance on establishing online hate crimes and hate incident reporting in multiple languages, and to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on best practices to mitigate discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.  In response to the surge in attacks against Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic, NAPABA in partnership with the APIA Health Forum have produced a hate crimes reporting toolkit – translated into 25 languages and English – the single largest collection of different AAPI-language materials assembled, that provides basic and critical information for victims, community based organizations, and community leaders. 

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

AABANY Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) expressed solidarity with the Black community. On April 20, 2021, a jury in Minneapolis convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts in the killing of George Floyd. AABANY recognizes this guilty verdict as only a first step towards fighting for a future where justice prevails. AABANY acknowledges the longstanding history of systemic injustice faced by the Black community, and we realize how far we all need to go to build a better, more equitable society. This trial should stand as a significant marker of a pivotal point in our history in which police accountability and racial justice emerge as important measures of how our democracy has made progress.

AABANY’s theme this year is “Uniting for Justice and Equity.” As we work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and continue our struggle against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and hate crimes, AABANY stands steadfast in its solidarity with the Black community. When the justice system fails to protect the civil liberties and human rights of the Black community, everyone suffers. Together, we must raise our voices against injustice and call for overdue reform in the criminal justice system.

Former AABANY Member Daniel M. Chung Writes Op-Ed Emphasizing Need for New Santa Clara County District Attorney

On April 19, 2021, San Jose Inside published an op-ed titled “Santa Clara County Deserves a New District Attorney” by Daniel M. Chung, formerly with the Bronx DA’s office and was an AABANY member. Daniel currently works as a Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney and in the op-ed, he voices the need for a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County who will celebrate the diversity of the community and speak out against injustice.

As an Asian-American prosecutor in Santa Clara County, Daniel felt that he needed to speak out against anti-Asian violence at a time when many local community leaders stayed silent. He published an op-ed in the Mercury News on February 14, 2021, about the recent surge of anti-Asian violence and the need for balanced criminal justice reforms to protect victims and communities. In response to the publication, Daniel’s boss, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, had Daniel appear at a hearing to answer allegations that he had used his official title without authorization, and reassigned him twice in two days with no customary notice or explanation. Daniel attributes DA Rosen’s actions to his boss’ political aspirations and explains that rather than demonstrating commitment to racial justice and the Asian community in Santa Clara County, DA Rosen chose to stay silent. Daniel stresses the importance of a new District Attorney in Santa Clara County:

Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will be a leader—not a bandwagoner—in speaking out against injustice to Asian Americans and others. A DA who will demand unwavering loyalty to the law and justice and not to himself. A DA who will prioritize public safety and not promote a culture of fear and retaliation. A DA who will respect free speech, say what he means, and mean what he says. Santa Clara County deserves a DA who will celebrate the rich diversity of our community and protect us—not for personal or political gain, but because it is the right thing to do.

To read the full op-ed, click here.

MNAPABA and NAPABA Statement on the Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

For Immediate Release: Date: April 20, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Over the past year, in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, amongst others, MNAPABA and NAPABA expressed their support of and solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation.  Today, a jury in Minneapolis has convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts charged in the killing of George Floyd. MNAPABA and NAPABA acknowledge the pain and anguish of the Floyd family and the Black community, and we recognize this is but one chapter in the ongoing endeavor to improve accountability, training, integrity, transparency, and improvement of this country’s criminal justice system as we have called for in NAPABA’s Resolution in Support of the Black Community.

At this critical inflection point in race relations in the United States, and as our own communities face a surge in reported hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents, MNAPABA and NAPABA reiterate their commitment to stand in solidarity with the Black community in Minnesota and across the nation in our shared goal of combating racism, discrimination, hate crimes, and other forms of bigotry. NAPABA recognizes the long history of systemic inequality faced by the Black community in this country and reaffirms its resolution calling for accountability and improving standards of professionalism and conduct in law enforcement. NAPABA has called for building trust between law enforcement and communities of color including by promoting diversity, inclusion, and better training for law enforcement. Community and government leaders must work together to create that trust and fairness in the legal system by combatting bias and safeguarding civil rights, civil liberties, and access to justice for all. While there remains much more work to be done, we hope this outcome helps the country heal and put greater faith in the rule of law.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Partners with New Initiative to Combat Anti-Asian Violence

For Immediate Release: Date: April 15, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

NAPABA is proud to join the newly established Alliance for Asian American Justice (“The Alliance”) as part of a coalition of leading AAPI advocacy organizations, Fortune 1000 General Counsel, and over 40 law firms in a national initiative designed to ensure that victims of anti-Asian crime, hatred, and bigotry are able to access pro bono legal services. The work of The Alliance leverages NAPABA’s existing intake efforts on hate crimes and hate incident reporting, and bolsters NAPABA’s leadership in providing victims, community based organizations, and community leaders with the information they need, in the language they understand, through its groundbreaking collection of hate crimes reporting toolkits, which were developed in partnership with the APIA Health Forum and translated into 24 different AAPI languages, the largest collection of its kind. For more on The Alliance, please click here.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

Federal Judicial Clerkship Opportunity with Hon. Dora L. Irizarry

The Honorable Dora L. Irizarry, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, is currently accepting applications for a Clerkship, starting in October 2021.

Qualifications:

  • At least two years of practice as an attorney prior to start date of clerkship.
  • Excellent grades.
  • Excellent research, writing, and analytical skills, although participation in Law Review or a Journal is not a prerequisite.
  • Military and/or other life/career experience is a plus.
  • Excellent organizational, administrative, and time management skills.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the delay in delivery and processing of U.S. mail, interested applicants must forward their application package in PDF format via email to irizarry_chambers@nyed.uscourts.gov.

Application package must include:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in a clerkship with Judge Irizarry and career goals.
  • Resume.
  • Official law school transcript.
  • One writing sample of recent vintage, no longer than 15 pages. Journal or research articles will NOT be accepted.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a recent employer.

The deadline for receipt of materials is May 17, 2021.

If you have further questions, please contact chambers at: 718-613-2150.