In the April 26 article “Columbia Law Students Participate in 2021 Virtual Spring Break Caravans,” Columbia Law School highlighted a few of the remote spring break pro bono caravans students participated in this year. One of the virtual caravans featured was the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Remote Clinic. During the spring break caravan, Columbia Law students helped update AABANY’s COVID-19 webpages, participated in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and did research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. AABANY Student Leader Jenny Park (CLS’21) organized the caravan with AABANY “because it allowed students to become directly involved with COVID-19 relief efforts and address a specific need in a short period of time.”
To read more about participants’ experiences with the AABANY Spring Break Caravan and to read about other virtual caravans, click here. Thanks to Jenny Park for bringing AABANY and the Columbia Law School community together for this opportunity to provide pro bono resources for the community.
On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, AABANY hosted its 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity.
The event kicked off at 6 pm with a Pre-Gala Virtual Cocktail Reception on Remo attended by sponsors and special guests, including prominent General Counsels and judges. At 6:30 pm, all Virtual Gala attendees were invited to enjoy a piano concert featuring AABANY Member Renee Yao.
The Virtual Gala started at 7 pm and Kate Siahaan-Riggs, NYC-based actor, stand up comic, and writer, served as emcee. Throughout the gala, AABANY held a text-to-donate fundraiser to support Portrait Project 2.0, the second phase of the Portrait Project study which is researching why Asian Americans are underrepresented in top leadership positions across all sectors of the legal profession and how it can be addressed.
This year AABANY was proud to honor:
Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, the City University of New York, with the AABANY Impact Award
Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel Litigation of BASF Corporation, with the AABANY Women’s Leadership Award
Kirkland & Ellis LLP with the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award
Ed Lee, AABANY Board Director and Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Honoree Sneha Desai delivered an acceptance speech, stressing the importance of individuals in leadership and influential positions to make positive change in diversity and inclusion. The Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, hosted a fireside chat with honoree Frank H,. Wu to discuss his career and the work he has accomplished.
In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2021 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Narissa Ganpat, Minji Kim, and Minh Eric Le.
The Gala concluded with a tribute to Asian American photojournalist and historian Corky Lee who passed away in January due to COVID-19. Corky had taken photos of our past Annual Dinners from its earliest days until 2020.
We thank all of the AABANY Virtual Gala Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success.
We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.
Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2021 Virtual Gala and celebrated with us. Our Virtual Gala was streamed on Vimeo which reports that the gala drew 1,400 views. To watch the gala on You Tube, click here or on the image at the top of this blog. To view the Virtual Gala program book, click here.
President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC and NAPABA Past President John C. Yang is among the five honorees of the American Bar Association’s 2021 Spirit of Excellence Award. NAPABA proudly congratulates John for his illustrious accomplishments in every facet of the legal profession and for championing the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.
The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. The awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the law.
John has achieved professional excellence in his wide-ranging career that has spanned four different practice settings. He has served as partner at a law firm practice in Washington, DC; led as a Director of Legal affairs at a Fortune 200 company in Shanghai, China; served as a Senior Advisor within the Obama Administration; and most recently, directs the organizational efforts to fight for civil rights and empowering Asian Americans to create a more just America at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.
At each stage of John’s career, he has served as a leader, role model, and mentor to countless racially and ethnically diverse individuals, helping to guide many promising lawyers’ careers. John has tirelessly promoted and supported attorneys who were interested in pursuing a federal judgeship, resulting in the nomination and confirmation of more than 25 Asian American Article III judges. His work has also opened doors for attorneys interested in serving in presidential administrations.
John’s advocacy has reached far beyond the Asian American & Pacific Islander community. In addition to his leadership roles within NAPABA, John has served as Chair of the Minority Caucus of the ABA House of Delegates where he worked closely with bars of color to advance distinct and unifying agenda items and resolutions and he has served on the ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity. Present day, John serves on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC where he collaborates closely in coalition with other organizations representing the interests of minority groups.
John used his parents’ experiences as well as the injustices that he personally encountered as an immigrant to the United States from Taiwan to navigate his own path while blazing a trail for others to follow. NAPABA is proud to have supported John’s nomination as a Spirit of Excellence honoree.
Spirit of Excellence Ceremony
NAPABA invites you to join in celebration as John is recognized and honored at the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award Virtual Ceremony on February 18 at 5 PM ET. In addition to John, honorees include Barbara L. Creel, Román D. Hernández, Sherrilyn Ifill, and Lori E. Lightfoot. To register for the awards ceremony during the ABA Midyear Meeting, please click here.