PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK IS RECEIVING THE AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR AWARD FROM THE NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AT ITS NATIONAL CONVENTION IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

NEW YORK – November 5, 2019 – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected  the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) as its Affiliate of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the greater Asian Pacific American (APA) community. AABANY will be presented the Affiliate of the Year Award during the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, taking place November 7-10, 2019. AABANY President Brian Song will accept the award on behalf of the association at NAPABA’s Gala Dinner to be held on Saturday, November 9.

AABANY was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants, paralegals and law students. The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

Over the past three decades AABANY has worked tirelessly to accomplish its mission. For example, we have regularly conducted student outreach and held workshops throughout the year on resume writing, interviewing and networking skills to help law students succeed. We are also into the ninth year of our Mentorship Program that provides individual professional development specifically tailored to the needs of mentees, many of whom are law students. In addition, now in its second year, the AABANY Leadership Development Program assists and guides senior APA law firm associates and in-house counsel through an interactive leadership training program designed to develop and promote qualified APA attorneys for partnership at law firms and leadership positions at companies.

AABANY also plays an integral part in creating diversity on the bench through our Judiciary Committee’s initiatives. AABANY’s Judiciary Committee assisted dozens of judges of Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander heritage in ascending to the bench.

In addition, we collaborate with the South Asian Bar Association of New York, the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York and Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York to further the interests of APAs in the legal profession by offering CLE accreditation, co-sponsoring networking events, and supporting each other’s programs and activities.

Furthermore, we serve the APA community by holding a monthly Pro Bono Clinic in partnership with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of NY. We mobilize the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s diverse membership to provide high quality and accessible legal assistance to the Asian community on the second Wednesday of every month, at Confucius Plaza in Chinatown. In 2018-19, the Clinic served between 21-51 clients with the help of 11-21 volunteer attorneys and 5-12 interpreters each month.

Moreover, in addition to providing free legal assistance to the Asian community, we promote APA history and awareness through our historic trial reenactments. The Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin have spearheaded this project for twelve years. The most recent reenactment, “Alice in Chinatown: Chol Soo Lee and His Fight for Freedom” retold 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 in the 1970s. AABANY has made these reenactment scripts available to schools, community groups, other bar associations and anyone who wishes to perform them. AABANY’s reenactments project has become a template for other groups to encourage civic education and engagement in our communities.

Each new historic trial reenactment premieres at the annual NAPABA Convention, but this year, the AABANY Trial Reenactment Team will be reprising “Korematsu v. United States: Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice” in celebration of Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday. The cast will include luminaries such as Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel (Ret.), the judge who decided the coram nobis proceeding that overturned Korematsu’s wrongful conviction, and Dale Minami, the iconic attorney who led the team that brought about this historic outcome. Judge Patel and Dale Minami will be playing themselves, as will Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, in the reenactment, which will be performed on November 8, at Friday’s Plenary Lunch Session during the NAPABA Convention.

Because of these significant contributions and achievements over the decades, AABANY has become one of the most prominent bar associations in New York and has been selected to receive the Affiliate of the Year Award from NAPABA for a second time. AABANY first received this prestigious honor in 2008 under the leadership of then-President and now Executive Director Yang Chen.

“AABANY thanks NAPABA for this important award and its recognition of our innovative efforts to engage our membership and the community,” states AABANY President Brian Song, a Partner at BakerHostetler in New York. “We are grateful for the leadership and dedication of our current and past Board Directors and Officers for bringing AABANY to this point. We especially thank and acknowledge our sponsors and our members for their support of our mission to promote the interests of APA lawyers and legal professionals and the larger community they serve. AABANY could not be NAPABA’s Affiliate of the Year without the involvement and participation of everyone in the legal profession and community who have been integral to our growth and success over the last thirty years.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

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AABANY CLE: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On October 2, 2019, the AABANY Real Estate Committee presented the CLE entitled: “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE was co sponsored by Flushing Bank, Big Apple Abstract Corp, KALAGNY, and Littler. It took place at Flushing Bank in New Hyde Park, New York and was attended by 40 attorneys. The panelists were AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler; Samitha Lukose-Khan of Flushing Bank; and Sanjay Nair, Associate at Littler. The CLE was moderated by Margaret Ling, Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee. The presentation invoked some powerful and informative discussion specifically on diversity, inclusion and bias in the legal profession.

Pictured above from left to right: Riyaad Khan of Allstate Insurance; Maria Silva of Flushing Bank; Margaret Ling of Big Apple Abstract and AABANY; Thomas Kane of Flushing Bank; Mohammad Yusuf of Flushing Bank; William Ng of Littler; Sanjay Nair of Littler. 

2019 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, AABANY held its 10th annual Fall Conference together with NAPABA for the 2019 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference, “United in Action and Vision: Towards 2020 Together.” For the third year in a row, the conference took place in Fordham University School of Law. This year marked our biggest yet, with about 450 attendees throughout the day. On Friday evening, September 20, we held a Welcome Reception at Supernova, a rooftop bar in the Novotel Hotel on West 52nd Street, to kick off the Conference, open to all attendees from New York and the Northeast region.

This year, many programs throughout the morning and afternoon offered CLE credits to attending attorneys. Twenty CLE programs were available, covering many different topics ranging from Asian American Voter Protection to Pro Bono Clinics. Also available were non-CLE programs such as the In-House Counsel Forum and “Asian American Women Corporate Counsel in Television.” In addition to all the programs offered at the Fall Conference, we had Pitch Sessions, Trial Advocacy Program (TAP), Professional Development Coaching sessions, and a Diversity Career Fair and Expo. Numerous employers from all over New York City and State set up informational tables at the Diversity Career Fair to speak with prospective candidates. This was a great way for law students, recent graduates, and practicing attorneys to learn more about the employers and their different areas of practice. Some of the employers set up onsite interviews to speak with Fall Conference attendees who submitted resumes in advance.

In one of our morning programs, the Pro Bono Committee hosted “The Art and Science of Interviewing Pro Bono Clients.” The program addressed how to communicate with and educate the clients, collect information, and manage clients’ frustrations. This included a necessary discussion regarding proper translation issues that would arise as well as establishing a reliable relationship with an interpreter. Beatrice Leong and Jonathan D. Hernandez simulated an effective and ineffective client intake meeting to demonstrate the important takeaways of this program.

Another program that took place was “State and Federal Clerkships: A Primer on Seeking, Landing, and Succeeding in the Right Clerkship for You,” organized by AABANY’s Judiciary Committee, which discussed the benefits of a clerkship, steps to landing a clerkship, and some tips on how to be successful at a clerkship. The panelists highlighted how a clerkship can help with professional development, legal writing and research skills, and building a network. The panelists were also able to give some insight into the differences between state and federal court clerkships, the application process, and how to approach interviews.

The Plenary Lunch Session featured a Special Screening of the award-winning documentary “And Then They Came for Us.” This documentary reflects on the story of Executive Order 9066 and the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. It also highlighted the landmark Korematsu v. United States case and its relation to the civil rights issues people of color and under-represented communities face today. The screening was followed by a discussion with NAPABA Trailblazer Dale Minami, who was Fred Korematsu’s lawyer, and the filmmaker, Abby Ginzberg.

More programs continued in the afternoon including the Connecticut Asian Pacific Bar Association’s “Opioids and the Courts” program. This program discussed the national opioid epidemic created by certain pharmaceutical companies and how states and individuals are bringing lawsuits against those companies. We heard directly from William Tong, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, and his approach to the multi-district litigation in Ohio that is scheduled for trial in October 2019.

Our afternoon included additional insightful programs such as “Cybersecurity: 20/20 Hindsight Not Good Enough in 2020,” organized by AABANY’s Commercial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Committee, which discussed the cybersecurity industry today, and how lawyers can help prevent data breaches and safeguard against bad actors. The panelists gave advice on how attorneys can stay ahead of data breaches and protect their clients – mainly through diligent pre-breach planning, training staff on signs of a breach, and preparing a response plan in case of a breach. The panelists also offered some advice on the ethical concerns that arise when a breach occurs, and how to best handle them. 

After the programs concluded, a Cocktail Reception was held in the Bateman Room and the terrace outside the Soden Lounge. Attorneys and participants connected and reconnected with peers, friends and colleagues from AABANY and NAPABA. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong offered opening remarks to all in attendance, followed by President Brian Song presenting AABANY’s Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award to Parkin Lee, Chief Legal Officer of the Rockefeller Group. Parkin Lee is a pillar of the Asian American legal community who has paved the way for generations of Asian American attorneys in New York and across the country.

The night didn’t stop there as we continued the festivities in the heart of New York City at the Ascent Lounge to enjoy a Post-Conference Dinner. Located in Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, the lounge was the celebratory finale to the Conference, and participants got to mix and mingle over a dinner buffet, drinks and dessert, with views of Central Park at night.

Many thanks to all the participants including the speakers, moderators, program coordinators, and volunteers. Thanks to our sponsors for their support which made this successful Conference possible. We also thank Fordham Law School for hosting us at their exquisite facility.

For some photos from the Conference visit AABANY’s Facebook page. The albums are organized according to the volunteers who took them: Laura Tsang, Guanlan Shen, Katherine Shen and Ziqi Guan.

Thanks to Justin Chan, Tiffany Cheung, Dasheng Lin, Wai Wong, and Lia Kim, our law student volunteers from Cardozo Law School, for their help in drafting this blog post.


Marking the 30th Anniversary of AABANY’s Founding

Please join us in celebrating AABANY’s founding date on July 28, 1989—30 years ago. On this day, Steve T. Min, as Incorporator, filed a Certificate of Incorporation on behalf of AABANY with the State of New York. Then, on October 20, 1989 AABANY’s incorporation was announced, and attorneys interested in learning about AABANY were invited to an inaugural reception at New York University Law School on November 9, 1989.

We acknowledge with respect and gratitude Tony Cheh, Rockwell Chin, Glenn Ikeda, Yat T. Man, Steve Min, Serene K. Nakano, and many others for their visionary actions in establishing AABANY. Thank you to all of our past and present Presidents, Board Members, Committee Chairs, members, and friends for their continual support in improving the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian-Americans in the legal profession. Now one of the most prominent and active minority bar associations in New York, AABANY has well over 1,200 members, including practicing attorneys in the private and public sectors, in-house lawyers, judges, professors, and law students.

We thank everyone who is or has been a member of AABANY over the course of the last 30 years, and we invite to join our association everyone who shares AABANY’s mission of advancing Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, South Asians and all diverse and under-represented groups in the legal profession in New York.

We encourage all non-members to take advantage of our vast network of attorneys and judges, our twenty-seven different committees, as well as the numerous CLE opportunities that we offer to our members. Please click here to either renew or sign up as an AABANY member.

GSPI and Prosecutors Committees Co-Sponsor July Membership Mixer

On Thursday, July 18, 2019, AABANY’s Membership Committee, Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committee, and Prosecutors Committee hosted a Membership Mixer with members, colleagues, and friends at Stout NYC on West 33rd Street. 

Members and non-members alike enjoyed reconnecting with familiar faces and building new relationships. We filled an entire side room in the cellar of Stout. The date of the mixer coincided with the birthday of former Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Helen Ahn, who sadly passed away last November. To read the tribute to her in the Winter 2018 issue of The Advocate, click here. The Prosecutors Committee brought a birthday cake to mark the occasion and to honor Helen’s memory.

The Membership Committee held a special raffle. To be eligible for prizes, attendees had to follow AABANY’s Instagram account and post about the Membership Mixer. A special shout out to Jimei Hon and Melanie Rios for winning free memberships, and Abraham Lee for winning an international whiskey flight courtesy of BARO by Chefs Society.

To learn more about the GSPI Committee, go here. To learn more about the Prosecutors Committee, go here.

Join the Membership Committee and the Prosecutors Committee for an outing to watch a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on August 16. To view the event, click here.

AALFNY/AABANY Summer Reception at Paul Hastings LLP

On July 2nd, at Paul Hastings LLP, AABANY and AALFNY held their annual Summer Reception, featuring Hon. William Tong, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, as the event’s distinguished guest speaker, and the recognition of AALFNY’s fellowship recipients. 

Sylvia Chin, President of AALFNY, delivered the opening remarks, introducing AALFNY’s board members and thanking all attendees for their support and contributions to both organizations. AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen followed up with the introduction of the AABANY board members as well as AABANY’s interns. 

After opening remarks, Sylvia recognized the recipient of AALFNY/SABANY Public Internship Fellowship, Vaishali S. Ramlal (New England Law School ‘20), who is working this summer with the Bronx Public Defenders.

AABANY also congratulates the law students who were selected for the 2019 Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program in the greater New York area. AABANY proudly supports the SCSJIP as a partner bar association. Many of this year’s SCSJIP interns attended the reception.

The event’s guest speaker, Hon. William Tong, is the first Chinese-American appointed attorney general in United States history. He delivered a heartfelt address that discussed his past and the future of immigration in the United States. He discussed his humble beginnings as a cook in his family restaurant. From his own personal experiences to the current state of immigration in the United States, AG Tong invited the audience to reflect on what was happening to immigrants trying to enter the country today. He asked, “What would have happened to my family if my parents came to the U.S. under today’s laws?” The right to claim asylum, he argued, should be given to anyone seeking the aid of the United States. 

The event concluded with attendees mingling over food and drinks provided by Paul Hastings. We thank Paul Hastings for hosting the annual Summer Reception and all the attendees for joining us for a memorable evening.