Stand With Us and Support the Pro Bono Clinic on GivingTuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

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.

Thank you to our April Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

April’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, April 10 at 33 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 20 lawyers and 8 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 32 clients.

At this month’s clinic, we also presented videos created in partnership with AARP to prevent immigration fraud. In the videos, former Immigration Law Committee co-chairs Susan Akina and Amanda Bernardo provided tips and advice on how to avoid being a victim of immigration scams. Scammers pretend to provide quality legal advice, help with paperwork, or other tasks involved in the immigration process. The scammer usually asks for an upfront fee, takes the money, and disappears immediately. Or worse, they provide ineffective or even harmful representation by filing the wrong paperwork, using fraudulent measures, or misrepresenting facts. Susan and Amanda stressed how important it is to only work with qualified immigration lawyers.

To see Susan’s and Amanda’s videos, click on the following links:

https://blog.aabany.org/2019/02/22/preventing-immigration-fraud-in-the-chinese-community/

https://blog.aabany.org/2019/02/22/preventing-immigration-fraud-in-the-filipino-community/

We are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the April Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

Kathy Yung
Beatrice Leong
Angela Wu
Gloria Tsui-Yip
Mayumi Cindy Iijima
Zhixian Liu
Anna Jinhua Wang
Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
Xianxiao Li (Emily)
Amanda Bernardo
Samantha Sumilang
Kevin Hsi
Barbara Hayes
Christopher Chin
Sae-Eun Ahn
Kwok Kei Ng
Pauline Yeung-Ha
Ming Chu Lee
Karen Kithan Yau
Asako Aiba

Interpreters:

Alva Lin
Justina Chen
Emily Arakawa
Derek Ting-Che Tai
Weiling Huang
Jessica Wang
Satoshi Kurita
Ruth Poon

Special thanks to Johnny Thach and Kwan Shun Jason Cheung for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Pauline Yeung-Ha, Judy Lee and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on May 8, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Thank you to our March Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

March’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, March 13 at 33 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 21 lawyers and 11 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 31 clients.

We are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the March Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

  • Samantha Sumilang
  • Kathy Yung
  • Beatrice Leong
  • Mayumi Cindy Iijima
  • Anna Jinhua Wang
  • Grace Pyun
  • Jonathan Hernandez
  • Ami Shah
  • Ricky He
  • Shengyang (John) Wu
  • Kevin Hsi
  • Kwok Kei Ng
  • Kelly Diep
  • Christopher Chin
  • Wei Li
  • Annie Tsao
  • Rina Gurung
  • Zhixian Liu
  • Pauline Yeung-Ha
  • Karen Kithan Yau
  • Asako Aiba

Interpreters:

  • Teresa Wai Yee Yeung
  • Eric W. Dang
  • Anna Chuen
  • Weiling Huang
  • Derek Ting-Che Tai
  • Satoshi Kurita
  • Bingzhen Song
  • Laura Tsang
  • Jessica Wang
  • Lindsay Hao
  • Justina Chen

Special thanks to Johnny Thach and Roger Chen for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Pauline Yeung-Ha, Judy Lee and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on April 10, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Thank you to our February Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

February’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, February 13 at 33 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 14 lawyers and 6 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 27 clients.

We are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the February Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

  • Gaye L. Chun
  • Zhixian Liu
  • Yan Sin
  • Xianxiao Li (Emily)
  • Wei Li
  • Soichiro Ishita
  • Kwok Kei Ng
  • Jonathan Hernandez
  • David Lu
  • Gloria Tsui-Yip
  • Pauline Yeung-Ha
  • Ming Chu Lee
  • Karen Kithan Yau
  • Asako Aiba

Interpreters:

  • JoJo Hwang
  • Frankie Lam
  • Satoshi Kurita
  • Hao Zhang
  • Derek Ting-Che Tai
  • Henry Man

Special thanks to Johnny Thach for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu Lee, and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on March 13, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Thank you to our December Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

December’s Monthly Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic, held on Wednesday, December 12 at Asian Mutual Aid Group in lower Manhattan, brought out 16 lawyers, 7 interpreters, 2 logistics assistants, and 1 social worker. Together the volunteers helped 31 clients.

As you might know from a recent email to the AABANY membership, we are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the December Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

• Gaye L. Chun
• Wendy Li
• Soichiro Ishita
• Beatrice Leong
• Chris M. Kwok
• Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
• Zhixian (Jessie) Liu
• Francis Chin
• Wei Li
• Christopher Chin
• Sylvia Chin
• Lord Chester So
• Kwok Kei Ng
• Asako Aiba
• Judy Lee
• Pauline Yeung
• Karen Kithan Yau

Interpreters:

• Weiling Huang
• Emma Li
• Alva Lin
• Wai King
• Teresa Wai Yee Yeung
• Derek Ting-Che Tai
• Satoshi Kurita

Social Worker:

• Ann Hsu

Logistics Assistants:

• Johnny Thach
• Roger Chen

Special thanks to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu (Judy) Lee, Asako Aiba, and Pauline Yeung for their leadership, and Executive Director Yang Chen and President James Cho for their support.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on January 9, 2019, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs at 3 Bowery Street, New York, NY 10002 every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Please Support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic

Dear AABANY Members,

Happy holidays!

In this season of giving, we count among our blessings being part of the great community that is the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY).  Our strongest asset is you, our members, and we are writing now to appeal to you for support of AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic.

From its beginning, AABANY has sought to serve the community and to advocate for it. In that spirit, AABANY started the Monthly Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic. By leveraging expertise and language skills of AABANY’s active and diverse membership, the Clinic effectively expands access to justice and provides the Asian American community a way to receive high-quality legal services that are also culturally sensitive and linguistically competent.

Working with community organizations, the Clinic in the last few years has provided hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice.  These clients hail from all five boroughs, with some coming from as far as Yonkers, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Most of these clients are monolingual Chinese and Japanese speakers. This fall the Clinic began to systematically incorporate Know-Your-Rights training on topics such as employment and housing law.

The dry facts do not adequately convey the Clinic’s importance to the Asian American community, especially in these trying times. Let us share with you some recent cases that exemplify typical clients and the routine problems they face:

  • An elderly woman and her son were being harassed and evicted by their landlord. The mother and her deceased spouse had raised her entire family in her apartment, and her son had spent his entire life there. The basis for the eviction was that they declined to sign leases that their landlord suddenly demanded after allowing this practice for nearly 40 years. We provided them with an understanding of the holdover process and referrals to pro bono counsel and lawyers who charge on a sliding scale.
  • A woman recently was seeking a divorce from her husband who held all of their assets and frequently threatened to kill her and himself, if she ever left him. A light bulb went off in her head during the consultation when she first recognized the signs of domestic violence and abuse in her situation. Because of this community member’s cultural upbringing, she would have never termed her marriage abusive. At the Clinic, we referred her to a legal services office that specializes in representing survivors of domestic violence.
  • Just last month, we counseled an employee whose employer broke its written promise of a specified salary. This employee began to suffer from anxiety and depression due to this work-related stress and sought treatment. The same employer not only declined to move her assignment closer to her home to accommodate her disability but it also publicly disclosed her mental health status to her colleagues in violation of the law.  

At these monthly sessions, we are often outraged by the reports of flagrant violations of the law. We are gratified that numerous AABANY members volunteer as pro bono lawyers for two hours once a month to bring access to justice to many community members who otherwise would have continued to bear the brunt of these injustices and illegalities, without recourse or effective assistance.

The Clinic can only operate with the generosity of donors and volunteers. During this holiday season, please consider supporting this vital project that is close to our hearts by donating to the Clinic. The Clinic has grown in the last year to the point that we are sometimes seeing nearly 50 clients in a short two-hour span. Your donations will help to pay for much needed administrative support and supplies that currently come out of the limited budget allocated to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee that is charged with running the Clinic.

AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), is accepting charitable donations and can issue a tax receipt to you for your generous support. Any amount, large or small, would help, but if you can spare $25, $50, $100 or more, it would go a long way. The community members coming to the Clinic will greatly appreciate it!

When you go to the AALFNY website to make your donation, please be sure to indicate in the memo field that you are donating to the Pro Bono Clinic. Please take a moment today to visit this link and make a donation:

https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/

Best wishes to you and yours,

Yang Chen
Executive Director

Karen Kithan Yau
Pauline Yeung-Ha
Judy Ming Chu Lee
Asako Aiba

Co-Chairs, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee

Asian American Law Fund of New York Summer Fellows Reception

Media release from the Asian American Law Fund of New York: 

New York, NY – The Asian American Law Fund of New York will hold its 2018 Summer
Reception on June 28, 2018 hosted by a leading international law firm, Paul Hastings,
LLP at its offices at 200 Park Avenue. Featured speaker will be the Honorable Toko
Serita
, who presides over the unique & innovative Queens Human Trafficking
Intervention Courtroom, the oldest and largest court in New York dedicated to serving
trafficking victims and survivors. Justice Serita and this impactful court are subjects of a
new documentary entitled “Blowin’ Up”. 

Justice Serita, a graduate of Vassar College & the City University of New York School
of Law, has been a longtime advocate for a coordinated judicial response to human
trafficking. She is the chair of New York’s Human Trafficking Working Group and is a
former co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). A
respected member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, Justice Serita
recently helped found the Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY).
She is also a member of the statewide Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, the NYS
Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts and the National Association of Women
Judges (NAWJ). Justice Serita was selected as one of ten Japanese-American leaders
from the U.S. to be part of the 2014 Japanese-American Leadership Delegation (JALD),
sponsored by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. 

The Summer Reception will also recognize three outstanding law student recipients of
the Fund’s scholarship program: Henna Kaushal, Corinne Merdegia & Nishat Bella
Tabassum
. Over 50 law students have received stipends from the Fund since the
program was initiated in 1997. 

Henna Kaushal, whose immigrant father came to America from India seeking political
asylum from religious persecution, states in her essay: “my Sikh faith instilled in me a
deep commitment to community (sangat) and service (seva) and relentless optimism in
the face of adversity (chardi kala). Henna is interning at New York Civil Liberties Union.
After she graduates from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, she
intends to pursue her goals “as a public interest lawyer”. 

Corinne Merdegia shares her Filipino parents’ commitment to enable “Asian immigrant
families seeking to fulfill their American dreams”. Corinne is interning at the Legal Aid
Society’s Immigration Law Court. After she graduates from the Sandra Day O’Connor
College of Law at Arizona State University, she intends to return to New York City and
use her experience in immigration practice “to serve the needs of New York’s diverse
immigrant community and protect the interests of Asian American families that call new
York City their home.” 

Nishat Bella Tabassum is the 2018 AALFNY-SABANY (South Asian Bar Association
of New York) Public Interest Fellowship. She interning at the Kings County District
Attorney’s Office. After graduating from the City University of New York School of Law,
she looks forward to finding work in a law enforcement office. 

About the Asian American Law Fund of New York

The Fund (originally the “AABANY Foundation”) was founded in 1993 by leading
members of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY). One of the
early projects funded by the Fund was the Asian Crime Victims Project. The Fund
promotes projects and programs to inform the public on issues of concern to Asian
Americans, to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and promote understanding among
and between different ethnic groups, and to encourage better community understanding
of government and legal processes. The Fund is currently working with the Asian
American Bar Association of New York to support the AABANY Pro Bono Legal Advice
Clinic. It has also funded outreach & other legal service-related programs for the New
York Asian Women’s Center, Advocates for Children of New York, Coalition for Asian
American Children & Families and the MinKwon Center for Community Action.