NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 5, 2022

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Confirmed in record time, Judge Desai is the first South Asian American judge to serve on the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Desai on her confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” said A. B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA.” Judge Desai is a trusted legal expert with a broad coalition of bipartisan support. Her experience, legal acumen and background brings much needed representation and legal diversity to the Ninth Circuit.”

Previously Judge Desai served as partner at Coppersmith Brockelman. She served as a law clerk for The Honorable Mary Schroeder, Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is a graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the University of Arizona.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Desai and Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for recommending and supporting her nomination.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.

Congratulations to AABANY Student Outreach Committee Co-Chair William Lee on Being Honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates William Lee on being honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year on July 12, 2022. Mayer Brown is an international law firm specializing in the global financial services industry with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centers: New York, London and Hong Kong. William was the sole “Pro Bono Associate of the Year” of the Americas out of three international recipients.

William has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. His experience includes volunteering for AABANY’s pro bono clinic, overseeing Columbia Law School’s Pro Bono Caravan, and supervising a postering campaign to provide AAPI neighborhoods in New York with COVID relief information. He is also Co-Chair of the AABANY Student Outreach Committee.

William, an associate in Banking & Finance, emphasized the importance of pro bono work during these trying times. To William, pro bono work means urgency. He noted how right now is the most important time to engage in pro bono, and if we do not fight, nothing will ever change.

William spoke about his experience with AABANY: “Before COVID, I wasn’t really involved with AABANY. I got involved by raising my hand to help the pro bono clinic as a translator. I’m not smarter or more qualified than anyone else in any other way. All I did was raise my hand, continue to say yes, and always try to do the right thing. A lot of law firm associates think they have no time to do pro bono, but I am a walking example that you can do both.”

How does he make time for Pro Bono work as a BigLaw associate? William highlighted the importance of time management: “Sometimes, you have to sacrifice an hour with family or while on vacation for a meeting, but it is worth it in the end.”

William said that while this award was completely unexpected, he is extremely grateful for this honor. He also emphasized that this award is a big win for AABANY.

Please join AABANY in congratulating William Lee on being honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year!

NAPABA Announcement: NAPABA Community Service Corps Makes History at Unity March

NAPABA is proud to have been an organizational partner for the Unity March this past Saturday [June 25], the first large mobilization of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) on the National Mall that brought people of all backgrounds together who care about advancing socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. Executive Director Priya Purandare was quoted in the Washingtonian for this historic event. We thank our members who attended and volunteered in the summer heat. Your presence contributed to a larger movement, and we are grateful for all you do! If you missed the event or any remarks, a full livestream of the Unity March is available for viewing here.

Community Service Corps | #NAPABAinAction

The mobilization came at the 40th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s murder, a critical turning point for the AAPI community. Chin’s murder, and the fact that his killers faced no jail time, highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for AAPIs within this country’s legal system. The case galvanized the community to action and this led to NAPABA’S founding in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for AAPIs. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

We now stand at another turning point in history with the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities. To take action and harness the power of our membership, we launched the NAPABA Community Service Corps to provide opportunities for NAPABA members to act for impact at the local and national levels. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities include hate crimes assistance and election protection efforts to fill the needs of the community.

NAPABA needs your help to form a national infrastructure of members committed to strengthening our communities. Will you join #NAPABAinAction? Learn more here and sign up on the Volunteer Now tab!

CUNY AAARI Presents Talk on AABANY’s Endless Tide Report, Featuring Chris Kwok, Megan Gao, and David Kim

On June 10, 2022, CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) hosted a discussion to address the Endless Tide report published by AABANY on May 31. The discussion was co-led by AABANY’s Board Director and Issues Committee Chair, Chris Kwok, and Megan Gao, Vice Chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. Chris is also a Co-Executive Editor of the report and Megan is an Associate Editor. As the report continues to gain media attention and publicity, various AAPI community groups have referred to Endless Tide and AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) to bring their issues and concerns to government officials in New York City. 

In publishing the Endless Tide report, Megan mentioned that lawyers can make a unique contribution by using the criminal justice system as a way to analyze how anti-Asian hate crimes have been prosecuted in New York City. By tracking the number of complaints and arrests that the New York Police Department made, the authors of Endless Tide were able to offer a legal analysis that details how the system has affected and impacted our AAPI neighborhoods and communities. In their research, they found that publicly available data does not track a hate incident from initial report to final resolution. In fact, the AAVTF learned about the disposition of outstanding cases by meeting directly with various District Attorney’s offices. 

At the event, they invited David Kim, a survivor of an anti-Asian attack featured in the report. David’s case was an example of the indifference he encountered in getting a District Attorney’s Office to pursue a hate crimes prosecution. David and his friends were harassed and physically threatened after a vehicle collision at the intersection of 149th Street and 34th Avenue on June 4, 2020. They were taunted by the alleged perpetrators and called racist epithets, forcing them to stay in their car until a 911 call was made – to which the police took time to respond to. With the incident happening at the peak of the pandemic, the victims were also yelled at and blamed for causing COVID-19. After the incident, Kim wanted to file a report to the precinct and pursue a case against his perpetrators. However, after meeting with the District Attorney’s office, with the assistance of counsel, they were told that the District Attorney’s office decided that no charges, including hate crime charges, would be brought. To date, no explanation has been given for this decision.

Hearing David’s story, Chris and Megan highlighted how the title Endless Tide reflects the ongoing racial discrimination towards Asians and Asian Americans. In an effort to address and assist the members of the community that have experienced bias incidents or hate crimes, AABANY created the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART). David and his attorneys came to HEART after their requests to the District Attorney’s Office to pursue hate crimes prosecutions proved futile. Ultimately, the Endless Tide report and the AAVTF seek to encourage discussion with government officials and other organizations to take a closer look at how we can address the hate, violence, and discrimination faced by the AAPI community in New York City. 

To watch the recording of the event, please click here or on the image above. To contact AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, send an email to aavtf@aabany.org.

In the News: Elaine Chiu Interviewed on Korean Radio about Hate Crimes against Asian Americans in the U.S.

Elaine Chiu, Professor of Law at St. John’s School of Law, Academic Committee Co-Chair, and member of the Anti-Asian Violence Task Force at AABANY, detailed how hate crimes have affected Asian Americans in the United States in a special interview on a Korean Radio Show, Morning Wave In Busan, on June 6th, 2022. 

Prof. Chiu provided an overview of the situation by referring to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The Center reported that anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 339% from 2020 to 2021. This alarming percentage is exemplified by the growing number of news reports and stories of Asian hate crimes experienced by Asian Americans across the country. 

Focusing specifically on New York City, Prof. Chiu, along with other members of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, looked at the number of hate incidents against Asians reported to the New York City Police Department. In 2020, Prof. Chiu mentioned 28 hate crimes reported, in contrast to 2021, when a total of 131 hate crimes were accounted for in their report. This unprecedented increase of 361% traces back to the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. AABANY reported this in greater detail in its Endless Tide report, which followed the Rising Tide report published in 2021, to raise awareness about the hate crimes and violence that the AAPI community has experienced over the last two years. 

Prof. Chiu also states that AAPI Americans have long been victims of racial violence, discrimination, and exclusion. One of the most well-known victims of hate crimes is Vincent Chin. Chin, who was brutally murdered after being beaten by two white men in Detroit, caused an uproar Asian American community after his assailants received a mere $3000 fine and probation upon sentencing. Forty years after Chin’s brutal murder, Prof. Chiu states that it is clear that the pandemic did not create hate crimes against Asians but instead led to them. 

She also states that the explosion of hate crimes against AAPI persons can be attributed to the divisiveness pervasive in the United States, as demonstrated during Trump’s presidency when he enabled xenophobia against Asians by calling COVID-19 the “Kung Flu.” Moreover, with the rise of China as a global superpower, the racial lines are further exacerbated and felt by many Chinese Americans residing in the United States today. Prof. Chiu also states that the steady demise of mental health resources and Americans’ ready access to guns and deadly assault weapons can be contributing factors to this issue. 

Prof. Chiu ended the interview by affirming President Biden’s meeting with BTS (방탄소년단), a world famous K-pop group. BTS was invited to the White House to talk about Asian representation and  address the amount of misinformation regarding the rise in Anti Asian hate crimes. Prof. Chiu further highlighted the importance of how President Biden and BTS’s efforts extend a sense of hope and positivity for many. With the continued rise in hate crimes and attacks against Asians, Prof. Chiu called on everyone on social media, especially those who have influence and following like BTS, to continue to visibly oppose and actively resist hate crimes against the AAPI community.

Listen to Prof. Chiu’s full interview with Morning Wave In Busan here.

AABANY President Will Ng and Immediate Past President Terry Shen Interviewed for the New York City Bar Association Podcast: A Conversation Discussing AAPI Professional Career Trajectories

AABANY President, William Ng, and AABANY Immediate Past President, Terry Shen, spoke with, Ashley Wong, an Associate at Sidley Austin LLP, for the New York City Bar Association podcast posted on May 26, 2022, to comment on AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Professional Career Trajectories.

Associate Ashley Wong began the conversation by examining the present landscape for AAPI advancement in their careers. She notes that while the US AAPI population is the “fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the country,” growing by 88% in the past two decades, “many AAPI employees are still portrayed as ineffective or weak managers, resulting in AAPIs leaving companies at higher rates and not reaching senior positions.” 

Commenting on his career path and success in reaching leadership positions,  AABANY President Will Ng spoke to the support he had received from colleagues and members of the AAPI community as integral factors to his success. Similarly, Immediate Past President Terry Shen also detailed the effective alliances that had helped him progress dynamically from the field of STEM to Corporate Law and even to Investment Banking. Common to their responses, both AABANY leaders spoke to the importance of having strong role models that formed their support network and the foundation for their success. 

In recognizing the work that AABANY does to ensure that future leaders in the field of law have access to more diverse role models, Will and Terry spoke about both the local and systemic changes that AABANY has put forth. From organizing pro bono clinics for LEP communities to facilitating legislative change toward the protection and promotion of AAPI communities, AABANY has advocated for meaningful participation and leadership of and for AAPI communities. Within AABANY, Terry spoke to AABANY’s Leadership Development Program, which seeks to “address the continued under-representation of [AAPI] attorneys in leadership positions in the legal field.”

To conclude the interview, Ashley asked both leaders to share any advice they had for aspiring lawyers and AAPI individuals interested in pursuing the legal profession. Will encapsulated his advice into three key points: “Think strategically, speak to others, and plan ahead.” Terry reiterated the importance of forming solid alliances with mentors and colleagues.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

AABANY Hosts Annual Judges’ Reception in Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

On Monday, May 24, 2022, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee hosted its annual Judges’ Reception to honor newly inducted and elevated and retiring judges in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We are pleased that this year’s event could be held in person, as last year’s event was via Zoom. The event was held at the Surrogate’s Courthouse, 31 Chambers Street, in downtown Manhattan. 

The honorees recognized at the event were individuals who represent the significant strides that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have achieved, in the ongoing effort to increase diversity in our leading institutions. The following judges were honored: 

  • Hon. Giyang An
  • Hon. Margaret Chan
  • Hon. Christopher Chin
  • Hon. Phyllis Chu
  • Hon. Vanessa Fang
  • Hon. Karen Gopee
  • Hon. Simiyon Haniff
  • Hon. Judy Kim
  • Hon. Biju Koshy
  • Hon. Andrea Ogle
  • Hon. Vidya Pappachan
  • Hon. Kim Parker
  • Hon. Raja Rajeswari
  • Hon. Omer Shahid
  • Hon. Soma Syed
  • Hon. Lillian Wan
  • Hon. Frances Wang

We are proud to celebrate these AAPI trailblazers in the judiciary. AAPIs remain significantly under-represented in New York courts. According to Secretary Johnson’s Report on New York Courts, 14% of New York City’s population is Asian but only 6% of judges are Asian. In light of current events and the rise in anti-Asian violence, AAPI representation on the bench is more important than ever. AABANY thanks the honorees for their pioneering example.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this event and the Judiciary Committee for organizing. To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee and its work, click here.

2022 AABANY APA Heritage Month Events

In celebration of APA Heritage Month, AABANY is presenting or co-sponsoring several events this month. We hope to see you at one or more of them. Follow the links for more details, and please note the registration deadlines.

May 12, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors CLE: Invisible Under the Law: Racial Injustice & Bias Against AAPI Communities

5:30-7:30PM, Virtual

Click here to register and find event details.

May 12, 2022

AABANY Membership & Bankruptcy Committees Present: Restaurant Series ft. Cafe China

7:30PM, Cafe China, 59 W 37th St, New York 10018

Click here to register and find event details

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 11

May 13, 2022

AABANY Membership, Student Outreach & Young Lawyers Committees Present: Comedy Night

7:30PM, Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd Street, New York, New York  10019

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 12

Click here to register and find event details

May 14, 2022

AABANY PBCS + AAFE Present: Queens Pro Bono Legal Clinic

12:30PM-3:30PM, One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave, 2nd Floor, New York, New York  11355

Click here to find event details. To volunteer, sign up by noon on May 11 using this form.

May 15, 2022

Join AABANY at the First Annual NYC AAPI Heritage Parade!

10:00AM, 6th Ave & 44th St Midtown Manhattan

Click here to find event details.

May 20, 2022

Photographic Justice: A Tribute to Corky Lee Photo Exhibit

6:00PM – 8:00PM, U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman Plaza E, New York City, New York  11201

Click here to find event details.

May 21, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: COVID Crimes – A Stop Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Play

3:00PM – 5:00PM AAFE – One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave., 2nd Floor, Flushing, New York  

Click here to find event details.

May 23, 2022

AABANY Judiciary Committee Presents: The Annual 2022 Judges’ Reception

6:00PM New York State Surrogate’s Court, 31 Chambers Street, New York, New York  10007

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 22

Click here to register and find event details.

May 25, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Trial Reenactment – Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association v. Knights of the KKK

6:00PM – 9:00PM, Allen & Overy New York, 1221 6th Ave

Click here to register and find event details.

May 28, 2022

AABANY’s Membership Committee Presents: #RestaurantSeries ft. Louie’s Pizza in Queens

12:00 PM, 8134 Baxter Avenue, Elmhurst NY

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 26

Click here to register and find event details.

May 31, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Cultivating Leaders to Stand Against Hate

6:00PM – 7:00PM, New York County Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street Rotunda, New York, New York  

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Until filled

Click here to find event details.

May 31, 2022

AABANY Co-Sponsors: A Virtual Tour of the Japanese American National Museum

6:00 PM-7:20 PM, Virtual

Click here to find Zoom Links and event details.

Don’t forget to register for NAPABA’s Virtual Lobby Day!

NAPABA Logo

Make your voice heard on issues that are important to AAPI communities

This year’s NAPABA Lobby Day will be held on May 18 and 19 in observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! This is our second virtual Lobby Day and 11th annual event. 

Lobby Day is an opportunity for NAPABA members from across the country to educate members of Congress and Congressional staffers on issues of importance to the AAPI community. This year, our agenda includes addressing anti-Asian hate with a focus on what Congress and the federal government can do to stop bias from taking root and how to support victims.

Register today to ensure that your voices and advocacy for justice, equity, and opportunity for all AAPIs are heard from your home districts to the halls of Congress!

Click here to register.

The deadline is register is April 30. Learn more about Lobby Day and bookmark the page for the latest information. If you have any questions, please contact policy@napaba.org. 

AABANY Celebrates AAPI Heritage Night at Brooklyn Nets Game

On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, AABANY members attended AAPI Heritage Night at the Barclays Center to watch the Brooklyn Nets take on the Detroit Pistons. During this inaugural event by the Nets to celebrate AAPI cultural heritage, female South Asian acapella group New York Masti performed the national anthem, Chinese-American rapper Bohan Phoenix performed during halftime, and AAPI pioneers were honored during the game.  As for the game itself, fans enjoyed an exciting game where the Nets overcame an early deficit to win by a final score of 130-123 with Kevin Durant leading the way with 41 points. Thank you to those who came out and stay tuned for future AABANY Membership Committee events!

To learn more about the Membership Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/130.