Thank You to our Nov. 19 Queens Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

On November 19, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Services Committee and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) joined forces to hold a pro bono legal clinic at AAFE’s One Flushing Community Center in Queens. 

We met with 25 clients who had questions about family, housing, immigration law. Since early August, Spanish-speaking asylum seekers have been sent by state governments in Texas and Florida to New York, precipitating a migrant. Unfortunately, many not-for-profit organizations in the city remain overwhelmed by this crisis, due to limited resources available from federal and state governments. AABANY and AAFE received numerous requests for assistance from New York City’s vast community of immigrants at Saturday’s clinic. 

This Saturday’s clinic used a multitude of digital and analog resources to provide top-notch services. We creatively used a hybrid Zoom call setup to bring in immigration attorneys (Jackson Chin and Judy Lee) and maintain a non-stop stream of consultations. One group of attorneys helped a client find actionable steps forward from his complex legal status, providing him with additional resources and referrals. AAFE generously made its printer and xerox machines available, which were critical in handling the larger-than-usual volume of Spanish-speaking clients we saw on Saturday. We were able to print out Spanish-language brochures about asylum, immigration eligibility for public benefits in New York State, and pro bono referrals.  

AABANY Legal Intern Daniel Kang reflected on the work he witnessed at the Clinic: “Every attorney who volunteered their time on Saturday was deeply and professionally invested in the problems facing clients. I had the opportunity to shadow and complete intake forms for consultations held by Jackson Chin and Judy Lee. It was incredible seeing Jackson and Judy drill to the legal substance of each client’s case by asking the right questions and bringing their own legal expertise to the fore. I was also heartened by the presence of Spanish-speaking volunteer interpreters who successfully broke through the language barrier between volunteer attorneys and locally based clients.” 

Not many of the attorneys who attended Saturday’s clinic practice immigration law or speak Spanish. Immigration law is a complicated practice area which changes with each Presidential administration. A 30-minute legal consultation may not help those in dire need of immigration legal services, but clinics like AABANY’s may be a client’s best hope. Immigrant clients come to AABANY consultations in their attempts at acquiring information about the legal process, updates in immigration policy, how to survive in New York, and legal referrals. As usual, AABANY welcomes any and all practicing attorneys across the city to sign up for future clinics—as well as non-attorney volunteers who can speak Spanish or Chinese. Free lunch is provided to all volunteers at our clinics. 

AABANY thanks everyone again for coming to volunteer at Saturday’s clinic! Please join us at our upcoming clinics:

Saturday, December 3 – please register by 12pm, 11/30 

Manhattan Location – VNS Health, Community Center, 7 Mott Street, New York, NY 10002

Saturday, December 10 – please register by 12pm, 12/7 

Brooklyn Location – United Chinese Association of Brooklyn (UCA), 1787 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11223

AttorneysInterpreters & ObserversAAFE Staff
Beatrice LeongDaniel KangDaphne Mei 
Eugene KimJeremy Chih Cheng ChangGabriel Hisugan
Jackson ChinSiobhan FengConstance Lee
Johnny ThachSue YuElton Ye
Judy (Ming Chu) LeeVincce ChanCarmen Cruz
May LiWillow LiuMaria Bergeron
May WongYuichi Hayashi 
Richard InYuwen Long 
Rina Gurung  
Shawn Lin  
Shengyang (John) Wu  
Shirley Luong  

Thank You to Our 7/23 Queens and 7/30 Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Just in the month of July, we met with 50 clients!!! There were so many positive and a few negative feedbacks from the clients.

Based on the feedback, many clients were grateful for our services and noted that “this is a much needed service in the Asian community.” Many clients cannot afford to speak with an attorney, do not understand the legal system, and are limited English proficient. A few clients complained that the time was too short or that the attorney couldn’t answer their questions.

Many clients asked questions about immigration, housing, contracts and fraud, wills, trusts, and estates. We also met with pro se litigants who have questions about liens, wage garnishment, judgment proof, and the New York State Exempt Income Protection Act.

Thank you AABANY, our volunteers, the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY). In fact, we were amazed to have dedicated law students joining us on July 30 even though they just finished their NYS Bar exam that week. 

So…if anyone’s interested in the next round of mini-bar exams, please come join us at our next Pro Bono Clinics! To volunteer or to learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Services Committee, please visit probono.aabany.org.

From Flushing, Queens (7/23): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 19 clients. These cases covered various areas including immigration, housing, contract, and fraud. Of the 19 clients, 5 spoke Spanish, 11 spoke mandarin, 2 spoke Cantonese, and 1 spoke English.

Volunteer AttorneysInterpreters & Observers
Beatrice LeongAlexandra Lao^
Eugene KimJoy Fan^
Evelyn Gong*Nicole Morikawa^
Hooney HeohReni Axelrod^
Jackson Chin*Sharmie Azurel^
Johnny ThachYvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Kyoung JungWeiqiao Lin^
Shirley Luong 
Duane Morikawa 
Yaoyu Liu 
Yvette Wang 
Zhaohua (Josh) Huang 
John Hwang (licensed out-of-state) 
May Wong 
Theresa Yuan 
^ = non-attorney volunteers
* = remote

From Chinatown, Manhattan (7/30): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 31 clients. Majority of these cases were related to housing, contracts and fraud, and wills, trusts, and estates. Of the 31 clients, 16 spoke mandarin, 7 spoke Cantonese, 7 spoke English, and 1 n/a.

Volunteer AttorneysInterpreters & Observers
Ailsa ChauAlex Hwang^
Beatrice LeongAlexandra Lao^
Chao-Yung (Kloe) ChiuJoy Fan^
Eugene KimKirin Moy^
Eun Hye (Grace) LeeMeng Zhang^
Francis ChinNandar Win Kerr^
Jackson ChinReni Axelrod^
Kwok Kei NgTeresa Wai Yee Yeung^
Lindsay HaoYvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Lulu Jing 
May Wong 
Meghan Liu 
Min Jung Esther Choi 
Theresa Yuan 

Please feel free to join us at our upcoming Pro Bono Clinics in August –

Manhattan – August 20 – Cutoff time to register by 12pm, 8/17 to recruit volunteers

Location – 33 Bowery, Community Room at Confucius Plaza, New York, NY 10002

Please sign up here – https://airtable.com/shr1fbjStq7JLSaWY

Brooklyn – August 27 – Cutoff time to register by 12pm, 08/24, to recruit volunteers

Location – United Chinese Association of Brooklyn (UCA), 1787 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Please sign up here – https://airtable.com/shreNdk1DNGzCiHp2

Thank You to Our June Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

On Saturday, June 25, 2022, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee in collaboration with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) organized a Pro Bono Clinic in Flushing, Queens. Thank you to all our volunteers for participating! 

AABANYAAFE
Beatrice LeongGabriel Hisugan (AAFE)
Bei YangKeshari Tuisyan (AAFE intern)^
Evelyn Gong*Lilian Cheung (AAFE intern)^
Kyoung JungMaria del Carmen Cruz (AAFE)^
May WongYichun Liu (AAFE intern)
Shengyang WuZulma Vazquez (AAFE) (Spanish)^
Xue Huang
Yaoyu Liu
John Hwang
Lyubing Teng^
Meg Annamaneni^
Meng Zhang
Nicole Morikawa^
Sharmie Azurel^
Yvette Adiguzel^
^ = non-attorney volunteer

At the clinic, we met a total of 13 clients: 8 Spanish-speaking, 2 Mandarin-speaking, and 3 English speaking folks who had questions related to immigration (6 cases); housing (4 cases – 1 case with criminal context involved); unemployment insurance benefits (1 case); matrimonial (1 case); and wills/trusts/estates (1 case). 

Our volunteers were able to learn from each other and employ useful resources online to help clients look for information. This includes researching how to apply for IDNYC, a municipal identification card for all New Yorkers regardless of their immigration status, compiling information tool kits for a client’s ongoing immigration case, or referring them to other legal service providers. Volunteering attorneys and law students worked closely with AAFE’s interpreters to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. 

Volunteer Yvette Adiguzel stated, “Some clients had issues relating to a case that had already been initiated in court. When advising a client involved with a case, a useful resource to obtain New York case-related information online is eCourts NY. Anyone can use the e-courts information service for free and can search with information such as the party name, case number, type of court. eCourts NY can also be used to look up future date appearances regarding criminal and family cases, and can provide information relating to the active and disposed cases in civil courts and the Supreme Court. A tracking service called eTrack is an option available free of charge on the eCourts NY website so that you can monitor and set reminders relating to cases in civil local, supreme and family courts as well as criminal cases.” Many of the clients were grateful to the attorneys and volunteers, like Yvette, who were able to provide their expertise and provide informed legal advice. 

Thank you again to all our volunteers! 

If you would like to volunteer, our next clinic dates:

7/23/2022, 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Deadline to register 7/20/2022, 12pm.

We hope to see you at our next clinic on July 23! Please sign up!
To learn more about the Pro Bono Committee and what they do visit probono.aabany.org

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee’s Pro Bono Clinic Serves Numerous Flushing Community Members on February 26, 2022

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. 

For more information about future clinics, go to https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1615120.

For up-to-date details about the clinic and other events, please check PBCS’s event calendar.

PBCS Pro Bono Clinic In Collaboration With AAFE – 11/06/2021

AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee would like to thank the remote and in-person volunteers who assisted at the Manhattan Chinatown pro bono clinic.  This was the first pro bono clinic to take place at the 2 Allen Street, Manhattan location of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE).  PBCS and AABANY would like to thank AAFE for their co-sponsorship.  

Fourteen attorneys, non-attorneys, and interpreter volunteers provided 20 clients with legal information and consultation services.  Volunteers performed these services in a wide variety of languages and dialects- including Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Taishanese, and Fujianese- reflecting the ability of the pro bono clinic to meet the unique needs of NYC’s Chinatown community.

A substantial number of consultations pertained to housing issues, which remain relevant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many clients were informed of their legal rights and choices as tenants.  In one instance, a client, who is a tenant in rent-stabilized housing, discovered that landlords of rent-stabilized units could not arbitrarily raise the rent of such units for “maintenance-related issues” without the permission of the Homes and Community Renewal agency of New York.  The client also discovered that they were provided with a rental lease that was not authorized for use in rent-stabilized housing units.    

To learn more about PBCS, please click here.  

We would once again like to thank the pro bono clinic volunteers for their dedication and support, which make the work of the clinic possible.  Everyone is encouraged to sign up to volunteer below:

To volunteer at AAFE’s Clinics (Queens and Manhattan) – https://airtable.com/shrtPeVTibQA9qNgD  
To volunteer at CCBA’s Clinics (Manhattan) – https://airtable.com/shrQFecVpU1u5ltAy

Thank you to ALL of our 11/6 volunteers:

AABANYAAFE
Aaron Fong ^Gabriel Hisugan *
Estelle Lu ^*Ivy Au ^
Eugene KimVicky Qiu ^
Johnny ThachYini Fang ^
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee
Karen Kithan Yau *
Kendall Park ^*
Kensing Ng
Kwok Ng
Megan Gao

^ = non-attorney volunteers
* = remote volunteers

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Press Release: Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Free Legal Clinics Now Moved to Asian Americans for Equality in Chinatown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2016
Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director (212) 332-2478

Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Free Legal Clinics Now Moved to Asian Americans for Equality in Chinatown

NEW YORK – July 21, 2016 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that it is continuing its pro bono legal clinic in partnership with Asian Americans for Equality (“AAFE”) at 111 Division Street. Launched in December 2015, AABANY’s legal clinics have served members of the Chinatown community free of charge on a variety of legal issues, including housing and immigration.

The pro bono legal clinic takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Appointments are currently walk-in only at AAFE’s 111 Division Street location. Those seeking legal assistance should bring all documents pertaining to their legal issues. The next pro bono legal clinic takes place on August 10, 2016.

“AAFE has a four decade history of serving the Asian American community and enriching the lives of those in need. AABANY’s pro bono clinic is relatively new, and we look forward to a productive relationship with AAFE serving the community by providing access to free legal services,” states Yang Chen, Executive Director of AABANY. “We also thank the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association for previously hosting this monthly clinic.”

AAFE’s Director of Programs, Flora Ferng, says, “AAFE is excited about this new partnership with AABANY because it will allow us to continue to serve the communities and its residents in a meaningful way.”

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

A translation of this press release in Traditional Chinese can be found here. A translation of this press release in Simplified Chinese can be found here.


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 the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Asian Americans and all of those who are in need. Founded in 1974 to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of New York’s preeminent housing, social service and community development organizations. AAFE is committed to preserving affordable housing throughout New York and to providing new opportunities for the city’s diverse immigrant communities. Its research, advocacy and grassroots organizing initiatives help to shape government policy and to effect positive change. At its heart, AAFE embodies the hopes and dreams of New York’s many vibrant immigrant communities, and helps turn those dreams into reality.


Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org 
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AAFE Honors Jenny R. Yang, Chair of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for 40th Anniversary Gala

Celebrating 40 years of fighting for equality, AAFE is thrilled to be honoring Jenny R. Yang as a Champion of Equality for her lifelong commitment to advancing fairness and equality in the workplace. 
Our 40th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the progress we have made as a community. In this spirit, AAFE is recognizing 40 leaders and unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly to help achieve our shared dream of equality. Join us on November 18th to toast 40 Agents of Change for their dedication, compassion, and lasting impact on our history. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share their stories. Learn more or RSVP for the event today!

CELEBRATING EQUALITY 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

6pm Cocktail Reception 
7pm Awards Ceremony

Tribeca Three Sixty
10 Desbrosses Street
New York City

Proceeds raised through the event will support the growth of AAFE’s Equality Fund.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities contact
Isabelle Leighton at 212-979-8381 or isabelle_leighton@aafe.org

Copyright © 2014 Asian Americans for Equality, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Asian Americans for Equality

108 Norfolk

New York, NY 10002