Make an Impact – Mentor with Legal Outreach

About Legal Outreach:

Legal Outreach prepares youth from underserved communities in New York City to compete at high academic levels by using intensive legal and educational programs as tools for fostering vision, developing skills, enhancing confidence, and facilitating the pursuit of higher education. We use law to attract rising high school students to academic programs that inspire and motivate them to strive for academic success.

About the Mentoring Program:

Legal Outreach’s Mentoring Program allows attorneys and law school graduates to directly impact high school students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds by guiding them through high school and modeling what it means to be an attorney and to engage with the law – and allows attorneys to consider these questions, too!

Attorneys meet with their students once a month to hang out and talk about the issues and obstacles students are facing. Mentors, with materials provided by Legal Outreach, also help students through the Constitutional Law Debate Program. In Debate, students learn and apply Supreme Court precedent to issues directly affecting the country, such as qualified immunity, which weapons are protected under the Second Amendment, education rights for undocumented students, gerrymandering and voting rights, discrimination in housing developments, and more. 

Legal Outreach’s Mentoring Program is an integral tool for helping our students achieve academic success, and is a low cost, high reward volunteer activity. Mentoring a Legal Outreach student only takes around 4-6 hours per month and is a 3 year commitment (mentors work with students from their Sophomore year through Senior year). Mentors help students with their Constitutional Law Debates, guide them academically, and inspire them by providing one-on-one support throughout their high school careers and even after mentees matriculate to college. JD is required. Mentors can also receive 3 CLE Credits per reporting cycle.

“My mentor is very supportive of my accomplishments and hard work. He’s always willing to talk about any problems and to teach me anything new.” Legal Outreach Student

“I have recommended the program to numerous friends, I think Legal Outreach is a fantastic program and I am happy to be involved.” Legal Outreach Mentor

Apply Now at www.legaloutreach.org/mentor

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the Mentoring Program will be implemented virtually during the 2020-21 academic year.

Mentor/Mentee Events Hosted by Legal Outreach

Sept. 29, 2020 6pm-8pm New Mentor Orientation
Oct. 8, 2020 6pm-8pm Meet mentees at Octoberfeast!
Nov. 13, 2020 6pm-9pm Debate 1
March 12, 2021 6pm-9pm Debate 2
End of March/early April 2021 Debate 3 (qualifying students)

Questions? Contact Marla Trinidad, Law-Related Education Coordinator, at [email protected]

2020 NAPABA Virtual Experience November 4-7, 2020 NAPABA Scholarship Program

We recognize that our members may be facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Prudential, NAPABA will offer scholarships to waive the registration fee for the 2020 NAPABA Virtual Experience for our members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Assistance: Scholarships will be awarded in the form of a discount code equal to the amount of your NAPABA Virtual Experience registration fee at the early bird rate.

Eligibility: You must be a NAPABA member and demonstrate financial need due to COVID-19 to receive an award. Become a member today to apply for the scholarship!

Scholarship Deadline: Submit an application by 5 pm ET, Monday, October 12.

For more information and to apply, click the button below:

APPLY NOW

The NAPABA Scholarship Program is generously supported by:

Prudential

NAPABA Statement on the Yale Affirmative Action Case

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Email: [email protected]

WASHINGTON—Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice asserted that Yale University had violated federal civil rights law against Asian American and white applicants by using race as a determinative factor in its undergraduate admissions process. NAPABA strongly disapproves of any form of racial discrimination, including in college admissions. The organization understands the importance of diversity in education, and that race is one of the many factors in a holistic admissions process as established by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“While we continue to review information on the Department of Justice’s findings to fully evaluate the Yale University case, diversity remains a critical and compelling interest for universities to achieve,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of NAPABA. “NAPABA is in support of race-conscious standards as a part of a holistic admissions process. We also support continuing efforts by colleges and universities to improve their admissions processes, including their work to recognize and address implicit bias. Our support of these principles has included filing of amicus briefs in the seminal cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Fisher v. University of Texas in support of the universities and the importance of diversity. NAPABA will closely monitor the alleged claims against Yale University.”

Two years ago, NAPABA supported the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ ruling that upheld the use of race conscious admissions in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard. In 2015, NAPABA issued an organizational statement in support of Affirmative Action and that the policy is necessary to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in education.

NAPABA Organizational Statement: Coalition of Bar Associations of Color Urges State Bars to Enact Alternative Licensing Measures Amid COVID-19

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 19, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON, DC — The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) issued the following statement in response to several proposals calling for alternatives to the traditional in-person bar examination used to license new attorneys as a direct response to the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic:

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges to just about every aspect of how we conduct our lives. As lawyers, it is our duty to meet these extraordinary circumstances with grace and swiftness, and to adapt as necessary to ensure continued access to justice and protection of the rule of law. In this spirit, the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color supports ABA Resolution 10G strongly urging all state bars to cancel in-person or potentially vulnerable online administrations of the bar exam and consider adopting alternative methods of licensing new attorneys until a safe and secure method of administering a bar exam is available. This will protect the future of the legal profession and ultimately, our society.

Protection of the public in the administration of justice should remain the top priority of state bars. However, during the ongoing pandemic, traditional methods of testing, like large in-person exams, pose tremendous health risks to test takers and those around them and in many instances would violate government-issued restrictions to large gatherings.

Although we commend the states that opted to cancel in-person examinations in favor of online proctored exams, this method has met significant challenges in its administration. These challenges have included fairness, privacy, and technology concerns with the most recent example being the Florida bar. In Florida, bar examinees were informed of the cancellation of the online exam two days before its scheduled date due to numerous issues with the online proctoring system. No official new date or method of testing has been offered. The Michigan online bar exam system crashed during the examination. The State of Indiana encountered similar technology issues when the program was being tested, and they changed to an open book exam allowing answers to be emailed. The current infrastructure for online testing, which presents significant security concerns and glitches, is simply not workable for an exam of this magnitude and import.

As leaders of the Bar Associations of Color we are particularly concerned with the disparate impact that COVID-19 has had on communities of color and more specifically bar examinees of color. As noted in the report accompanying ABA Resolution 10G on this issue, a recent survey showed “a majority of bar applicants do not believe they have reliable internet access, and that white applicants are about 71 percent more likely to have such access when compared to black applicants.” The same survey noted that the majority of bar examinees “do not have access to a quiet space to take a remote bar examination, with white applicants again being substantially more likely to have access to a quiet place than an applicant of color.” People of color and non-traditional students, who have already faced and conquered institutional challenges to complete their legal education, will face additional barriers in the event of additional delays.

Further delays in licensing attorneys are unfair, placing the careers of thousands of attorneys in limbo. Instead, flexibility from state bars is of paramount importance. Adopting alternatives like open book examinations, extended CLE, a diploma privilege, or a Certified Legal Intern program that leads to a provisional license and then to full licensing within 3-6 months, is the most efficient way to adequately safeguard the futures of all bar examinees and the legal profession as a whole.

Additionally, the delays in testing have further exacerbated the stressful circumstances experienced by bar examinees. Graduates have been preparing since May for one of the most important examinations of their careers. To do so, they have sacrificed their income and time for an extended period. Many are facing severe financial difficulties, have no health insurance, and they are competing for jobs in one of toughest job markets in years. Further delays in licensing will disrupt employment plans and leave thousands of graduates with no way of supporting themselves or their families in a moment of global crisis.

Bar examinees have demonstrated their ardent commitment to the legal profession through their resiliency in the last months. The protection of the public in the administration of justice should be extended to bar examinees by decisive action from the state bars that they will serve in their long and successful careers. We call on state bars to consider the options set forth in ABA Resolution 10G that are most protective of bar examinees, their careers, their families, and the legal profession. Options include but are not limited to allowing diploma privileges, administration of remote open book examinations, and creation or expansion of certified legal intern programs leading directly to licensure, a form of diploma privilege.

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The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA).

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 Congratulates Chris Kwok on Getting Published in the Berkeley Law Asian American Law Journal

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) congratulates Issues Committee Chair, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair and Board Director Chris Kwok on his recent law review article about the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (“SHSAT”) in the Berkeley Law Asian American Law Journal. The article, “The Inscrutable SHSAT,” can be found in Volume 27, at page 32. Click here to read the full text.

The article begins with a detailed discussion regarding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s exclusion of the Asian American community in attempting to eliminate the SHSAT and the ensuing backlash that derailed the proposed plan. The discussion then shifts toward alternative explanations for the racial composition of the specialized high schools and how the rise of Prep for Prep, Charter Schools, and School Choice have contributed to the decline of African American and Latinx students in those schools. Finally, the article concludes with an overall commentary on the current position of Asian Americans within America’s “racial matrix” and stresses the need to shift away from antiquated frameworks of social justice toward a more current and nuanced understanding of Asian Americans in politics today.

Aside from his recent publication, Chris has organized numerous panels and discussions regarding Asian American rights in the corporate sphere and beyond. AABANY applauds Chris for his insights on the shifting nature of race relations today and his commitment toward advancing the rights and interests of the Asian American community. Click here to read AABANY’s previous profile on Chris.

AABANY Comments on Formation of NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) welcomed NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison’s announcement on August 18 of the formation of an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force in the wake of a string of recent anti-Asian attacks and harassment. Incidents include an 89-year-old woman who was set on fire on July 17 and a woman who was the victim of anti-Asian verbal assault. Overall, there have been more than 2,300 separate racist incidents reported throughout the United States with 317 reported in New York alone.

The task force is reported to comprise 25 officers of Asian descent selected from throughout New York. The officers will be proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Korean, and Japanese. The task force will also rely on a team of certified translators if needed. Reports of potential hate crimes will be handled by officers of similar cultural and language background.

In conjunction with announcing the formation of the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, The World Journal and WNBC among others have provided links to AABANY’s Anti-Asian Harassment and Violence guide and other resources to help victims report hate crimes to the prior authorities. With regard to AABANY’s efforts to combat anti-Asian violence, Executive Director Yang Chen was quoted by NBC on AABANY’s commitment “to seek justice, and to educate the broader community about eradicating racism and xenophobia in our society.” 

AABANY welcomes the formation of the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force and will continue to fight against anti-Asian violence and racial prejudice in all its forms. Click here to read more regarding AABANY’s COVID-19 Anti-Asian Harassment and Violence guide in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

AABANY Hosts Weekly Membership Mixer on August 21

On August 21, the Membership Committee hosted its weekly mixer. At the mixer, AABANY spotlighted our legal interns, current and former, to recognize and thank them for all their hard work on behalf of AABANY. Joining us were current interns Annie Tan, Andersen Gu, and Ephany Wang. Also on the call were past interns David Jung, Emily Arakawa, and Mai Fukata. Each intern introduced themselves and shared what they were most concerned about as they head back to school or work during COVID-19. Those going back to school in the fall worried about the challenges of learning remotely or in hybrid settings. Those taking a gap semester or already working expressed concerns about employment opportunities and prospects when the economy is in shambles. Some also voiced concern about what the world would look like once we emerged from COVID-19.

After the interns spoke, we asked each of the attendees what advice they could offer to them. Our attendees covered the spectrum from current law students to attorneys practicing in various settings, both private and public at different stages of their careers, and the most common advice was to stay persistent and optimistic. Many remarked on the talented and intelligent interns AABANY has been fortunate to have and they were all encouraged to rise to the challenges they would face, and we were uniformly confident that they would do so. We reminded them that they are part of the AABANY family and they should all stay in touch with us and feel free to reach out if they need assistance or guidance in the future.

The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we have moved online to offer members an 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 many often stay 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.

Please join us for this week’s mixer on Friday, August 28, and register by Thursday, at https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1366650

NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Senator Kamala Harris

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 19, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) recognizes the historic significance of Sen. Kamala Harris’ nomination as vice president on the Democratic ticket. Harris is the first woman of color to be nominated on a presidential ticket for a major party. If elected, she would become the highest ranking Asian Pacific American ever in line for presidential succession.

“Sen. Harris has defined herself as a leader and legislator in the U.S. Senate,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of NAPABA. “Her nomination is not only historic, but deeply meaningful to the Asian Pacific American community. Sen. Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, and she understands the priorities and concerns of Asian Pacific American and Black communities, which have been underrepresented at all levels of government. Since her tenure in the Senate, Sen. Harris has shown a strong commitment to diversity—including having one of the most diverse staff in the Senate and elevating people of color to leadership positions.”

“As a non-partisan organization, NAPABA works with presidential administrations and members of Congress from both parties to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American community. NAPABA applauds Sen. Harris’ nomination and looks forward to greater representation and diversity of political candidates, executive branch appointees, and judges.”