On June 29, Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Board Director and Real Estate Committee Co-Chair Margaret Ling moderated the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) Opening Program titled: “Effective Marketing, Advocacy and Public Relations Strategy.” The panelists for the event were Edgar Chen, Esq., National Policy Director for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA); Elia Diaz-Yaeger, Esq., President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA); Tricia “CK” Hoffler, Esq., President of the National Bar Association (NBA); and Dinesh Kumar, Esq., Vice President of Public Relations for the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of North America. The panelists discussed the role of minority bar associations in facing widespread social and political issues as well as the unique voice of advocacy that minority bar associations can utilize. The discussion also explored different ways of reaching membership through websites, newsletters, and other methods.
AABANY thanks Karl Riley, the Chair of the CBLA, for organizing the panel event as well as ABA for hosting the discussion at such a critical moment for the Asian-American community.
Vincent T. Chang, active member of AABANY since 2000 and former AABANY President in 2007, was inducted as the first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) on May 28, 2021. In his new role, Vince is prepared to lead NYCLA in supporting diverse communities, reaching out to more young attorneys and law students, and closing the justice gap to serve those in the community who are most in need.
Since high school, Vince gravitated towards pursuing a career in the legal profession. Involved in both his high school and college debate teams, Vince found overlapping aspects between debate and law. In presenting an argument, he noticed both involve research, assembly of evidence, and oral presentation. After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Krupansky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 1989. Being familiar with litigation from his experience in debate and serving as a judicial clerk in a Federal appellate court, Vince chose to practice in litigation. Currently, Vince is a Litigation Partner at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York specializing in complex commercial litigation matters in the financial industry, including investment banking, hedge funds, and mortgage backed securities.
Outside of his work at the law firm, Vince is an active member of numerous bar associations and organizations, and has served and continues to serve in various leadership positions. To name a few, Vince previously served on the New York State Bar Association Committee of Bar Leaders, on the Board of Directors at Legal Services NYC, and is currently the Vice President of the Asian American Law Fund of New York. Although he might be affectionately called a “Bar Junkie,” Vince did not participate in bar association work until later on in his career.
The first bar association Vince joined was AABANY, and he appreciated both the social and intellectual aspects of the association. He enjoyed the opportunity to learn about different areas of law while also being able to network and meet prominent lawyers. One of his fondest memories of serving as President of AABANY in 2007 was hosting the Annual Dinner because it was a rare event for 500 to 600 AAPI lawyers, including General Counsels and Judges, to all gather in the same room in New York City. This was especially significant because at the time there were at most 400 members in AABANY compared to the 1,500 members AABANY has now.
At AABANY, Vince also played a prominent role in organizing the AABANY Trial Reenactments. With a goal to educate lawyers and the public about the notable trials and cases in U.S. history involving AAPIs, Vince assisted Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin to develop scripts for the productions. Since 2007, Vince has starred as a cast member in numerous reenactments at the annual NAPABA conventions and at other events. He most recently played Fred Korematsu in the “Fred Korematsu and His Fight For Justice” reenactment in November 2019 at the NAPABA convention.
Today, Vince is the first AAPI President of NYCLA, which was the first bar association to admit women and lawyers of color into its membership. He views his role as both an honor and a serious responsibility—an honor because past presidents include esteemed individuals and a responsibility because of his duty to represent AAPIs and serve as a role model. At a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of many bar associations’ and law firms’ missions, NYCLA plans to be more interactive with young lawyers, especially diverse attorneys, by reaching out to law schools, affinity bar groups, and law firms. Vince also plans for NYCLA to remain relevant on public policy issues and respond to them in a timely manner. He hopes that “taking positions that affect diverse communities will make them notice and realize NYCLA is on their side.”
A common theme of Vince’s work is the pursuit of justice to not only improve the legal profession, but to also improve the quality of legal representation for individuals in the community. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary to review federal judicial nominees; sat on a NYCLA panel at a public hearing to address the impact of budget cuts on the Judiciary; served on the Disciplinary Committee for the First Department to prosecute disciplinary complaints against lawyers in Manhattan; and worked on other initiatives to minimize the justice gap. Vince plans to continue working on this at NYCLA as “access to justice is a hallmark of what bar associations and NYCLA are aiming for.” One program NYCLA has planned is to support attorneys who represent indigent persons through the Assigned Counsel Plan (18b). Under the proposed program, by increasing the rate at which assigned counsel are paid, there will hopefully be an increase of lawyers interested in doing 18b work, which will further decrease the access-to-justice gap. NYCLA also hopes to revive their Special Masters Program to provide an opportunity for young attorneys to gain experience working with the court system, and to close the gap between court workload and staff gap. At NYCLA’s AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on June 2nd, Vince vowed to continue to uphold NYCLA’s focus on sustaining the rule of law including the importance of practicing diversity, equity and inclusion in furtherance of fairness and justice for all.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Vince on becoming the first AAPI President of NYCLA and for doing all the work he does to support communities. We wish Vince great success in his vital new role as NYCLA President! To learn more about NYCLA, visit its website at https://www.nycla.org/. AABANY members who join NYCLA for the first time are eligible to receive 50% off their annual dues the first year and 25% off the second year. For more details, click here.
President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC and NAPABA Past President John C. Yang is among the five honorees of the American Bar Association’s 2021 Spirit of Excellence Award. NAPABA proudly congratulates John for his illustrious accomplishments in every facet of the legal profession and for championing the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.
The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. The awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the law.
John has achieved professional excellence in his wide-ranging career that has spanned four different practice settings. He has served as partner at a law firm practice in Washington, DC; led as a Director of Legal affairs at a Fortune 200 company in Shanghai, China; served as a Senior Advisor within the Obama Administration; and most recently, directs the organizational efforts to fight for civil rights and empowering Asian Americans to create a more just America at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.
At each stage of John’s career, he has served as a leader, role model, and mentor to countless racially and ethnically diverse individuals, helping to guide many promising lawyers’ careers. John has tirelessly promoted and supported attorneys who were interested in pursuing a federal judgeship, resulting in the nomination and confirmation of more than 25 Asian American Article III judges. His work has also opened doors for attorneys interested in serving in presidential administrations.
John’s advocacy has reached far beyond the Asian American & Pacific Islander community. In addition to his leadership roles within NAPABA, John has served as Chair of the Minority Caucus of the ABA House of Delegates where he worked closely with bars of color to advance distinct and unifying agenda items and resolutions and he has served on the ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity. Present day, John serves on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC where he collaborates closely in coalition with other organizations representing the interests of minority groups.
John used his parents’ experiences as well as the injustices that he personally encountered as an immigrant to the United States from Taiwan to navigate his own path while blazing a trail for others to follow. NAPABA is proud to have supported John’s nomination as a Spirit of Excellence honoree.
Spirit of Excellence Ceremony
NAPABA invites you to join in celebration as John is recognized and honored at the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award Virtual Ceremony on February 18 at 5 PM ET. In addition to John, honorees include Barbara L. Creel, Román D. Hernández, Sherrilyn Ifill, and Lori E. Lightfoot. To register for the awards ceremony during the ABA Midyear Meeting, please click here.
ABA Presidential Appointments | NAPABA Endorsement Deadline is January 22, 2021 8:00 PM ET
Each year, the American Bar Association places a call for nominations for their Presidential Appointments. The NAPABA Selection Committee is seeking recommendations for the American Bar Association’s Presidential Appointments for the 2021-22 Bar Year.
For many years, NAPABA members and leaders have represented both our organization and the AAPI community within the American Bar Association.
NAPABA provides its members with exclusive opportunities to help them raise their professional profile. You MUST be an active NAPABA member to receive our endorsement for an ABA Presidential appointment.
Do you have great ideas? Issues that propel you? To secure NAPABA’s support for an endorsement, please fill out the form on our website by 8 PM ET on January 22, 2021.
Seven national bar associations today released a joint statement denouncing the rising number of incidents involving anti-Asian discrimination and racist remarks related to the coronavirus and COVID-19.
Calling for unity in these challenging times are the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National LGBT Bar (LGBT Bar), the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America).
“Unfortunately, the emergence of the coronavirus has led to an increase in acts of hate and discrimination targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The legal community stands united against hate. The current situation calls for unity and support—not acts of division and words that sow fear,” said NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf.
The FBI has warned about a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes related to the coronavirus. Numerous community organizations have documented that acts of discrimination and bias are increasing, including incidents involving stereotypes and xenophobic language.
President Wolf continued, “Thank you to our sister bars who issued their own messages of support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community when they saw these acts of hate and discrimination on the rise. A special thank-you to ABA President Judy Perry Martinez, HNBA President Irene Oria, NAWL Executive Director Karen Richardson, LGBT Bar President Wesley Bizzell, NNABA President Robert Saunooke, and SABA North America President Aneesh Mehta for joining me in the video statement to launch this campaign. We encourage other bar associations, law firms, and organizations to join us in denouncing discrimination. We stand together. We stand against hate.”
Congratulations to Glenn Lau-Kee, Partner at Lau-Kee Law Group PLLC and former AABANY President (1997-99), on receiving the American Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Lau-Kee began his legal career as an associate in the Hong Kong and New York offices of Coudert Brothers LLP where he worked on bank financing, leasing, and corporate acquisition transactions. In 1977, he became a partner at Kee and Lau-Kee PLLC where he has developed a thriving real estate and bank financing practice. Mr. Lau-Kee made history as the first Asian American President of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) for the 2014-15 term. He continues his involvement with NYSBA as a member of the Business Law, Health Law and Real Property Law sections. Mr. Lau-Kee has also been an active member of New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until 2004 and serving on various task forces and committees until 2010. He also served on the Board of Directors for the NYCLA Foundation and the New York Bar Foundation, which function as the charitable and philanthropic arms of their respective organizations.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn Lau-Kee.
NEW YORK – The Asian American Bar Association of New York
(“AABANY”) congratulates Glenn Lau-Kee, Partner at Lau-Kee Law Group PLLC and
former AABANY President (1997-99), on receiving the American Bar Association
Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors solo and
small firm attorneys who are widely accepted by their peers as having
significant lifetime distinction, exceptional achievement, and distinction in
an exemplary way. Mr. Lau-Kee and his fellow awardees will be honored on
Friday, May 3, 2019 at the ABA Solo and Small Firms Award Luncheon at the
Marriott Marquis in New York City.
Mr. Lau-Kee began his legal career as an associate in the
Hong Kong and New York offices of Coudert Brothers LLP where he worked on bank
financing, leasing, and corporate acquisition transactions. In 1977, he became
a partner at Kee and Lau-Kee PLLC where he has developed a thriving real estate
and bank financing practice. He was also
a partner at Koo Larrabee Lau-Kee & Lane LLP for six years.
Aside from practicing real estate and business law, Mr.
Lau-Kee has spent much of his legal career tirelessly serving the Asian
American community of New York City. He helped found the Chinatown YMCA, as
well as the US-Asia Institute. For his long-standing service to the YMCA, he
received the Order of the Red Triangle, the highest honor bestowed by the
organization. Along with his father, Norman Kee, Mr. Lau-Kee received the Hon.
George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award in 2010, recognizing their outstanding record
of public service and commitment to providing exceptional legal services to the
Chinatown community in New York City. In 2017, Mr. Lau-Kee was honored as a
Community Hero by the Museum of Chinese in America.
Mr. Lau-Kee made history as the first Asian American
President of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) for the 2014-15 term.
He continues his involvement with NYSBA as a member of the Business Law, Health
Law and Real Property Law sections. Mr. Lau-Kee has also been an active member
of New York County Lawyers Association (“NYCLA”) since 2000, serving on the
Board of Directors until 2004 and serving on various task forces and committees
until 2010. He also served on the Board of Directors for the NYCLA Foundation
and the New York Bar Foundation, which function as the charitable and
philanthropic arms of their respective organizations.
Mr. Lau-Kee has been an active leader in AABANY for over
twenty years. He served as President
from 1997-1999 and on the Board of Directors from 1994-2000. He has served on the Nominations Committee,
contributing to the promotion of future leaders for AABANY.
Mr. Lau-Kee is a graduate of Yale College and Boston
University School of Law.
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).
Apply for the seventh annual Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) in Denver, Colorado from June 23 to 25, 2019. The CBLA is a collaborative effort among the American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, National Bar Association, National Native American Bar Association, and NAPABA. The CBLA will strengthen the pipeline of diverse bar association leaders through leadership training and professional development programs.
The CBLA is intended for up-and-coming bar leaders who have been in practice for 5-15 years and have served as officers of a NAPABA affiliate and/or chair/co-chair of a NAPABA committee.