On March 31, 2023, the Student Outreach and Corporate Law Committees presented the panel: “What Do Corporate Lawyers Do?” at Orrick’s New York office. Moderators Long Dang (litigation associate at Cleary) and Jay Hawlader (law student at Brooklyn Law School) spoke to corporate attorneys Alice Hsu (Capital Markets partner at Orrick), Chris Min (Finance partner at Orrick), Cherry Liu (M&A/PE associate at Paul, Weiss), and Ashley Wong (M&A/PE and Capital Markets associate at Sidley).
In a relaxed setting with pizza and soft drinks, students listened to Alice and Chris speak about building relationships with clients, managing associates, and how they succeeded in becoming partner at their firm. Cherry and Ashley gave advice on how law students should judiciously select practical law classes, how they can ace the law firm interview process, and how to be resourceful, self-starting junior associates.
The panelists also shared what drew them into their respective fields. Ashley, for example, was inspired by purchasing Teavana tea from a Starbucks menu and was then intrigued by high-level transactions that affected consumers. Chris was drawn into her group because she enjoyed the personalities and the work combination.
Students on Zoom and in person listened closely as Alice described her day in a life as a partner and when Cherry gave advice on interviewing with law firms. The event concluded with Q&A and light mingling among the panelists and students.
AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee would like to thank all in-person and remote volunteers at the Flushing Clinic on February 26, 2022. PBCS is especially grateful to the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for hosting this clinic at their Community Center, for providing the coffee and snacks to keep participants alert and energized, and for the staff to interpret for the Spanish-speaking clients.
The clinic began at 11:00 AM with attorneys quickly being split up into three rooms to prep for the arrival of clients, with other volunteers preparing documents that needed to be handed out and information that needed to be collected. The clinic assisted 17 clients facing a variety of issues from tenant disputes, domestic violence, marriage and divorce, and loans and contracts.
With the help of AAFE and AABANY translators, clients with limited English proficiency were able to find the aid they needed from volunteer attorneys who were able to understand the nuances and emotions of their situations. For example, one client who only spoke Mandarin, had a temporary order of protection made against her by a family member, but the order was limited. Under the order, the client was permitted to return to the apartment, but the family member refused to let her back in. Many factors go into the enforcement of orders of protection, and it would be difficult in the limited time available for consultations at the clinic to fully analyze a given situation. However, the two volunteer attorneys assigned to help this client assisted her to the extent they could, pointing her towards other resources, and alerting her about specific laws that could apply to her situation.
This clinic could not have been possible without the gracious help of many AABANY members and committees. A special thank you to May Wong, a current Vice-Chair of PBCS, for organizing these Pro Bono Clinics, Eugene Kim, another Vice-Chair of PBCS, for serving as an attorney volunteer, and Committee Chair Judy Lee, for helping to prep the paperwork, attending the Prep Meeting the night before (2/25), and appearing virtually to advise clients. Additionally, thank you to Beatrice Leong, AABANY’s Membership Director and long time Pro Bono Clinic participant, for guiding newer volunteers, consoling a domestic violence victim, and assisting as a volunteer; Meng Zhang, for helping to translate and helping with the organization of the clinic; Evelyn Gong, Co-Chair of the Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee, for serving as an attorney volunteer, and Kevin Hsi, also a Co-Chair of GSPI, for serving as a volunteer.
PBCS greatly appreciates the law students from Columbia University who were able to attend and observe the clinics as part of their Caravan, a program in which law students spend their spring break working on pro bono projects.
On February 1st, 2022, CNBC introduced three families’ experiences handling the weighty emotional and physical fatigue of pandemic parenting, in an interview titled Parents struggle to survive pandemic angst.
Liz Mo, an AABANY Member, a former Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee, and a practitioner of federal and state litigation and appeal, was one of the individuals interviewed.
She describes her experience during the pandemic as “lots of juggling,” working as a full-time attorney, with a 2nd Circuit Appeal oral argument next month and two federal trials scheduled this year, and taking care of her two sons. And although the release of the COVID-19 vaccine in December of 2020 offered many individuals hope of a return to normalcy, Mo stated she continued to stay at home and her level of cautiousness remained the same, since her children, only being two years old and four months old, are unable to get vaccinated.
Like many parents born from the age of “Pandemic Parenting,” Mo exactly embodies this newly carved parental identity, comprised of a conflated sense of the departmentalization of work life and home life. And as schools close, sociopolitical tensions strain, and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 continues, it is no wonder parents feel such an acute sense of stress.
Despite this, Mo still offers everyone a piece of important advice, especially during an age of masks and separation:
“Everyone is strained, but to the extent we can help each other out, we can partner with each other, and all let out one great big scream together.”
On October 28, 2021, AABANY’s Membership Committee, together with the Career Placement Committee and IP Committee, hosted the first annual Founders’ Day at Broadridge’s New York office in midtown Manhattan. Surrounded by dramatic views of the New York skyline, the event celebrated AABANY’s thirty-second year as an association serving AAPI legal professionals and the AAPI community. This celebration honors the founders who helped form AABANY in 1989. Hon. Doris Ling Cohan, Hon. Marilyn Go, Sylvia Chin and Rocky Chin joined the party as honorees. Approximately 50 members and friends gathered together to connect and re-connect over food and drinks. President Terry Shen was joined by many Board members and Committee Chairs for the occasion. Towards the end of the party, the Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, made a special appearance and gave remarks commending the achievements of AABANY over the past three decades, including fighting Asian hate and serving the AAPI community. As the first female Governor of New York state, she encouraged more women to enter public service.
We hope to establish Founders’ Day as an annual event. Thanks to Governor Hochul, the Founders, and the AABANY leadership for attending and making this first Founders’ Day a memorable one. Thanks also to AABANY’s Diamond Sponsor, Broadridge, for making this event possible at their beautiful space. To see more photos of the event, go to: https://photos.app.goo.gl/CmBvkiEJTY7TeSLYA
On August 24, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the Asian American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) and Cooley LLP co-sponsored “The Rise in Anti-AAPI Violence and a Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law 2.0,” a discussion held on Zoom with Associate Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court. The conversation was moderated by United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York Pamela Chen, who made history as the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian American judge to serve in federal court. Both speakers were introduced by Matt Nguyen, a Litigation and Investigations Associate at Cooley LLP and a former law clerk of Justice Liu’s. This discussion was prompted by two trends: The dramatic rise in anti-Asian violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of AAPI representation in senior leadership roles in the legal profession.
Justice Liu opened the discussion by giving attendees an overview of A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law (“The Portrait Project”), an analysis of trends related to Asian Americans in the legal profession that was published by Yale Law School and NAPABA in 2017. Notably, the Portrait Project found that there has been a persistent lack of Asian American representation in senior leadership, managerial, and governmental positions, roles with decision-making capabilities, and other prestigious positions in the legal profession, such as clerkships, despite a dramatic increase of Asian Americans pursuing the law in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Respondents in the Portrait Project’s study also reported that they faced many barriers in their professional life, most notably inadequate access to mentors and contacts and a lack of formal leadership training programs. When asked how their colleagues thought of them, respondents said they were frequently perceived as hard-working, responsible, logical, careful, introverted, and awkward, but not as empathetic, creative, or assertive. Justice Liu pointed out that these descriptors could indicate implicit bias towards Asian Americans in the legal profession, as many of them align with stereotypes of Asian Americans as passive, hard-workers who lack social capital. Justice Liu also noted that lawyers and judges should conduct outreach to Asian American students in high school or earlier in college, as AAPIs have the largest declining percentage change in law school enrollment of any ethnic group, and AAPI undergraduates considering an advanced degree are less likely than those of other ethnic groups to think of pursuing a JD.
When asked by audience members why fewer Asian American students are pursuing careers in the law, Justice Liu answered that while the authors of the Portrait Project did not have a definite answer, he believed that negative perceptions about the legal profession during the Great Recession could have dampened interest in the law among AAPI students. In addition, Justice Liu also said that Asian Americans in the law suffer from a continued lack of visibility, as there are few Asian judges, prosecutors, district attorneys, and there have never been any Asian American justices on the United States Supreme Court. According to Justice Liu, increased representation of Asian Americans in government positions, elected office, and in the federal and state judiciaries would bring more attention to issues facing the AAPI community.
AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen also discussed AABANY’s Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART), which AABANY launched early in the COVID-19 pandemic to help Asian American community members report potential hate crimes. HEART assists community members who may have difficulty reporting anti-Asian violence due to cultural and linguistic barriers to bring reports to the police or to their local prosecutor’s office. If you would like to learn more about the HEART program or get involved, please follow the link here. Chen also mentioned generally that the AAPI community has come forward to report bias incidents and hate crimes but have not been taken seriously by law enforcement, and the anecdotal evidence for this trend is disconcerting and disappointing.
Justice Liu described this trend as illustrative of the dual challenge faced by Asian American lawyers; while they are responsible for advocating for the AAPI community, they are also victims of anti-AAPI violence and casual racism themselves. He also described such challenges as intersectional, as he discussed how female Asian American lawyers are frequently mistaken for paralegals, defendants, support staff, or almost every other position aside from a lawyer when they are in the courtroom, as the idea of a female Asian American lawyer is seemingly unimaginable. Justice Liu also said that representation is important in ensuring that the public understand the obstacles facing the AAPI community and the severity of the recent increase in hate crimes. In addition, Liu advocated for the increased use of data, as data can illustrate the widespread nature of such violence and can add credibility, while anecdotes can be dismissed as statistically insignificant. Liu also said that it may be wise to recruit those with law enforcement or prosecutorial experience in helping community members make reports, as these individuals would have a strong understanding of reporting procedure and how to work with law enforcement.
When asked about how courts should protect victims of anti-AAPI violence, while also ensuring that courts and the criminal justice system are not contributing to systemic racism targeting Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), both Justice Liu and Judge Chen said that they did not view these as zero-sum issues. They encouraged Asian, Black, and Brown communities to engage in conversations about these issues, while also saying that anti-Blackness and racism towards Brown and Asian people are all indicative of a larger trend of othering people.
Justice Liu was also asked about ways to reduce partisanship in appointments to higher level positions in government. However, Justice Liu responded by saying that he never believed Asian American representation in judiciaries and district attorneys’ offices to be political, as Asian Americans span the range of the political spectrum in the United States and many Asian community organizations are non-political.
An audience member also asked how Asian American partners and leaders can advocate for themselves and the AAPI community while also ensuring that the law is race-blind and neutral. Justice Liu responded that he viewed advocacy as a way to address implicit bias and negative perceptions that disadvantage people, instead of as a call to give individuals special treatment based on their race. He also called for leaders to re-examine processes and criteria for hiring and promotions, as many of them rely heavily on interviews or other forms of evaluation that could convey implicit biases.
AABANY would like to thank Justice Liu, Judge Chen, and Matt Nguyen for taking the time to lead such a thoughtful, relevant discussion. AABANY would also like to express its gratitude to NAPABA, APABA-SV, and Cooley LLP as co-sponsors for this event, as well as all of the attendees who came to this event. If you are interested in learning more about the Portrait Project 2.0, which is set to be published in 2022, please follow the link here.
AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ report on anti-Asian violence was recently mentioned in a March 1, 2021 article on The Guardian about TurboVax, a bot created by Huge Ma to help New Yorkers across the state locate available COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Over the February 27 weekend, Huge Ma temporarily suspended TurboVax to protest the hate crimes against Asian Americans. In the article, The Guardian cited AABANY’s report on the surge of incidents of anti-Asian hate and violence. To read the full article, click here.
Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director and Co-Executive Editor of the report, was interviewed in a madison.com segment titled “Anti-Asian attacks on the rise” on February 23, 2021. He encouraged Asian Americans who have experienced anti-Asian discrimination or harassment to report and discuss what happened, rather than let it go unreported.
Please also take a look at previous blog posts from February 19, March 1, and March 8 highlighting news stories about our report. If you have come across a news report or article about our report that is not listed above, please let us know at email@example.com.
More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016 and announced his campaign to rid the Philippines of drug addicts and dealers, as many as 20,000 Filipinos have been murdered. ASWANG confronts these executions and their devastating aftermath.
CODED BIAS explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces and women accurately and her push for legislative protection against biased AI.
This year, the festival is entirely online; you can watch from home with an internet connection. Each film or event will have a link to purchase your tickets. After you purchase, you will receive an email with a link to view the film. You may purchase anytime within the dates of our festival (October 1 to October 11, 2020). For more information and FAQs, please visit the “How to Festival” section of their website.
Please click the links above to purchase tickets and learn more about the films. AABANY members will receive a 20% discount code to all festival screenings once they register for the event on the AABANY website.
Click here to register for “Aswang” on the AABANY website. Click here to register for “Coded Bias” on the AABANY website.
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.
GivingTuesday is being held this year on December 3. It is a global movement that began in 2012, and the idea behind it is simple: Do good and help transform your community with your generosity. During this holiday season, we ask that you support our Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic, a project of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY).
The Pro Bono Clinic began in December 2015 and has since served thousands of low-income clients facing various legal hardships. The Clinic has been held in Manhattan’s Chinatown on the second Wednesday of each month since that time. The success of our Clinics in Manhattan has led to an expansion into Brooklyn, which started this fall on a bimonthly basis. We work with local elected officials and community organizations to reach Brooklyn’s Asian American community and draw upon the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s active and diverse membership to serve them. Clients have been coming not only from the five boroughs but from as far as Yonkers, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Our Clinics provide high-quality legal services that are culturally sensitive and linguistically competent. Language and culture pose serious barriers for low-income Asian American community members to receive reliable legal advice. Our Clinics help community members overcome these barriers and seek to widen their access to justice. The Clinics now include mental health professionals and benefits counselors to help community members with their non-legal problems.
Hundreds of volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours for the Pro Bono Clinics. Month after month, they freely donate their time, expertise and legal knowledge to help community members who otherwise would not get the help they need.
Our Pro Bono Clinics can only continue to operate with the generosity of our donors. In September, we announced our goal to raise $25,000 to support the Clinic’s growing operations. We ask that you stand with us and support this vital project. Help us not only to reach our goal of raising $25,000 — through your donations on GivingTuesday – but exceed it! Your donations will support our ongoing expansion efforts and pay for much needed administrative support and supplies.
To make it easier for our members and our community to donate to the Pro Bono Clinic, you can text APAPROBONO to 44321 on your phone. That will send you to our Give Lively page, and you can follow the simple instructions there to make your contribution. You can also donate via the AALFNY website at https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ (make sure to indicate that you are donating to the Clinic). Any amount, large or small, will go a long way towards helping us meet our $25,000 goal.
With our best wishes to you all during this holiday season,
Karen Kithan Yau Pauline Yeung-Ha Judy Ming Chu Lee Asako Aiba Co-Chairs, AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service Committee
A copy of AALFNY’s latest annual report may be obtained from AALFNY at donations@AsianAmericanLawFund.org or from the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website www.charitiesnys.com. Information may also be obtained from the NYS Attorney General at 212-416-8686.