To engage NAPABA members in the Board of Governors elections process, the NAPABA Elections and Nominations Subcommittee is pleased to provide you the opportunity to meet the 2022-23 NAPABA Officer and Director candidates in a moderated discussion.
In advance of the virtual Town Hall, NAPABA is soliciting questions from our membership. Please submit your questions for our candidates here no later than Wednesday, September 21, at 5 pm ET.
Candidate for President-Elect Anna Mercado Clark
Candidate for Treasurer Annette Kwok
Candidate for Secretary Kristin Haugen
Candidate for Director Angela Lim
In preparation of the exercise of your right to vote, we encourage you to take the time to consider the vision each candidate has for NAPABA and the diverse perspectives across the Board as a whole. We believe that the active participation of our membership is essential to a vibrant and diverse organization. NAPABA continues to accept endorsements for each candidate. Visit our website to view candidate statements and to submit an endorsement by Monday, September 26, at 8 pm ET.
On June 30, The FilAm published a profile about AABANY Member Anna Mercado Clark, her decision to pursue the law, her professional background, and her Filipino identity. Born in the Philippines, Anna immigrated to the United States as a twelve-year-old and initially planned to pursue a career as a physician, even graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology. However, she became interested in the law after learning about Bush v. Gore following the 2000 presidential election. Curious about the law and its “impact on society,” Anna attended Fordham University School of Law, where she interned for the Hon. Denny Chin, who was then a judge at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and who now serves in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. After graduating law school, Anna worked as a criminal prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office and then as an attorney for a private law firm, where she represented health care providers in medical malpractice cases. She currently is a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, where she leads the Data Security and Private Practice Team and the eDiscovery and Digital Forensics Team. Anna also serves as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Fordham Law School.
Anna, who has described herself as “decidedly Filipino,” has always found ways to promote her Filipino identity. During her time at Rutgers, she served as president of the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students and helped plan the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue’s 2000 Conference. Currently, Anna serves in leadership roles in her law firm, in minority bar associations, and in the greater community. She credits her father, Dr. Daniel Mercado, for encouraging her to remain connected to and take pride in her Filipino identity. To read the full article, please click here.
“Stronger Together: APA Women in the Legal Profession – Strategies to Support, Lead, and Advance” was one of the many panels presented at AABANY’s Fall Conference this year. Held on Saturday, September 26 from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm, the panelists consisted of:
Connie Montoya, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson
Sandra Yamate, CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Anna Mercado Clark, Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP
Judy Lam, Partner, Maynard Cooper & Gale
Honorable Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge, State of New York
Sandra Leung, General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
Sapna Palla, Partner, Wiggin and Dana
The panel was not recorded to create a safe environment for panelists as well as listeners so that there could be a candid conversation about race and the experiences APA women have had to face throughout their legal careers.
The panel started off with discussing the challenges and barriers of being an APA woman in the legal profession. Shared experiences among the panelists were that they were often overlooked in the courtroom, being perceived and mistaken as the court interpreter or court reporter rather than as the lawyer or judge. Even when they were correctly perceived as the lawyer, the panelists were still treated differently compared to their white male counterparts. In response to these challenges, the panelists discussed how it was okay to feel uncomfortable about these topics and it is important to focus on the microaggressions. If people are more vocal about the uncomfortable situations and share their experiences with the community, it creates a greater ability to mobilize and create change.
The panelists stressed the importance of seeing more APA women in higher positions and one way of achieving that is through having role models and mentors for rising APA lawyers. Current AABANY President, Sapna Palla, highlighted the AABANY Leadership Development Program which has been successful in teaching participants the skills to advance into executive positions, and she hopes to see more programs that do the same.
The panel ended with each panelist going over one action item they were willing to commit to within the next year that will help support and advance APA women in the legal profession. The general consensus among the panelists was to start a mentoring circle. Not only do the panelists want to be an available resource for people who come up to them and have questions, but also they want to be active in following up with mentees and seeking feedback from them.
The panelists also vow to use their positions as a platform to continue this dialogue. Advancing APA women in the legal profession is an ongoing conversation and hopefully, listeners of the panel are inspired to continue the dialogue with their friends, peers, and colleagues.
Thank you to the panelists, Anna Mercado Clark, Judy Lam, Honorable Grace E. Lee, Sandra Leung, and Sapna Palla, and moderators, Connie Montoya and Sandra Yamate for sharing their experiences and leading an important discussion about supporting APA women in the legal profession.