Rahat N. Babar Appointed as NAPABA’s Deputy Executive Director for Policy 

For Immediate Release:
Date: April 10, 2023 
ContactPriya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has named Rahat N. Babar as its new Deputy Executive Director for Policy. In this role, Rahat will lead strategies and programs that will advance NAPABA’s advocacy, civil rights, and policy priorities.

Rahat brings to the position a long-standing commitment to NAPABA and the Asian American and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander community, and nearly two decades of high-profile public service. Rahat is a former member of NAPABA’s Board of Governors and a former chair of NAPABA’s Civil Rights Committee. He previously served as President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania and served on the Board of Directors of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. NAPABA recognized Rahat as one of NAPABA’s Best Under 40 in 2018.

Currently, Rahat serves as a Judge on the Superior Court of New Jersey, the first Bangladeshi American to be a member of the court. Immediately prior to his appointment, Rahat was Special Counsel to Governor Philip D. Murphy, overseeing all high-profile litigation impacting the Governor and the Administration. Previously, he was the Director of Community Engagement at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, where as part of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal’s Executive Leadership Team, he led the Attorney General’s efforts to strengthen the office’s relationships with community leaders, faith leaders, and the public. Rahat held several other leadership roles within the Attorney General’s Office, practiced in a boutique corporate law firm, and taught law and public policy at Temple University Beasley School of Law as an Adjunct Professor. 

 “We are so fortunate to have such a legal luminary and NAPABA stalwart lead our policy efforts,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “Rahat is a proven bar leader and policy expert who is uniquely situated to help ensure that our national advocacy vision and civil rights priorities can be carried out across the country by harnessing the passion and collaboration of our members and affiliate bar organizations.” 

Rahat will begin his new role with NAPABA in May 2023. 


AABANY Congratulates Muhammad Faridi on his Historic Appointment by Mayor Adams to the Handschuh Committee

On February 21, Mayor Adams announced the appointment of Muhammad Faridi, past AABANY member, as the first Muslim-American representative to the Handschuh Committee, an oversight panel for police practices to investigate political activity.

AABANY Membership Director, Christopher Bae, attended the Mayor’s announcement in City Hall, and offered the following quote:

“Asian-American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) applauds Mayor Adams for appointing Muhammad Faridi as the civilian representative to the Handschu Committee, the first Muslim-American to hold the role,” said Christopher Bae, membership director, AABANY. “With the Handschu Committee charged to ensure that the NYPD is not improperly investigating the Muslim community, it’s long overdue that the Muslim community have representation on the committee. When a government has full participation from its multiracial and diverse religious communities, we are all better for it.”

Congratulations to Muhammad Faridi on this historic and important appointment. To read the full press release, click here.

AABANY Congratulates Sudha Setty on Appointment as Dean of CUNY Law School

On February 22, Sudha Setty was named dean of the CUNY School of Law, the nation’s leading public interest law school and New York City’s only publicly funded law school. An exceptional scholar and legal leader, she is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a CUNY school.

“Dean Setty boasts a sustained record of accomplishment as an antitrust litigator, pro bono civil rights counsel, scholar of constitutional law and legal education leader, as well as a pioneering administrator and leader,” said Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. “We are thrilled to welcome her to CUNY Law.”

Setty has been the dean of the Western New England University School of Law since 2018, when she became the first woman of South Asian descent in the U.S. to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school. At Western New England University School of Law, Setty’s deanship has focused on enhancing the social justice work at the school and its commitment to racial justice and diversity, equity and inclusion. Projects she has overseen include the creation of the Center for Social Justice in 2019 and the inaugural Workshop for Asian-American Women in Legal Academia.

She is also a leader outside of the university. Currently, she serves on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Standing Committee on Alternative Pathways to the Bar (co-chairing one subcommittee), on the Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations to the U.S. District Court, on the Advisory Committee for the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, on the Deans’ Steering Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, as a board member for Community Legal Aid, and on the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy

AABANY congratulates Dean Setty on this most recent accomplishment in a distinguished career. To read more about Dean Setty and CUNY Law School, please visit https://www.law.cuny.edu/newsroom_post/cuny-names-sudha-setty-as-law-school-dean/

AABANY Congratulates Former Board Member Kevin Kim on His Appointments to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and as the New Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses

On December 31st, 2021 former AABANY Board Member Kevin Kim was selected as the first Korean American  to hold the position of Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses where he will be responsible for running a dynamic City agency focused on connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a thriving economy. Kevin also was selected on December 20th, 2021 to be a Commissioner to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders which has been tasked with advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities.

Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating law school Kevin began his legal career as a law clerk for then United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Denny Chin. He then worked as an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he practiced corporate law. 

Kevin has devoted his career to public service and specifically promoting greater Asian representation in positions of power. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York and was elected to the national Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club. His past board service includes the American Red Cross in Queens, Friends of Thirteen (public media provider featuring PBS series), Korean American Association of Greater New York, and the Korean American Community Foundation. From 2014-2016, Kevin was the Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, becoming the first Asian American appointed to this position. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York, making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. In that position, he chaired the Audit Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Investments. 

Kevin has received countless awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Columbia Law School APALSA Hong Yen Chang Award for inspiring civic engagement; KAAGNY, Man of the Year; and City Hall News (“40 Under 40”).

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin on his appointments to these important positions.

AABANY Congratulates Member Eunkyong Choi on Her Appointment as Special Trial Judge

On December 6, 2021, Chief Judge of the United States Tax Court, Maurice B. Foley announced that AABANY Member, Eunkyong Choi, has been selected to serve as a Special Trial Judge.

Eunkyong Choi holds a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Political Science from the University of Akron, and both a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in Taxation from the Washington University School of Law. In addition to time spent in private practice working on a variety of legal issues, Eunkyong taught Ethics & Media at Sanford Brown College and was a Lecturer in Law at the Washington University School of Law. Eunkyong spent several years working for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), having served as the LITC Program Director for Nevada Legal Services from 2010-2014 and as a Supervising Attorney with the Washington University LITC from 2014- 2016. In June 2016, she became head of The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, an independent office within the New York City Department of Finance set up to help New York City residents with property and business tax problems after they have found difficulty in fixing them on their own.

Eunkyong spoke at the AABANY Fall Conference in 2017 in a program titled “The Melting Impôt: The Intersection Between Immigration and Tax.” The panel discussed tax issues faced by many immigrant and ESL taxpayers who are unaware of their taxpayer rights and responsibilities. In July 2018, AABANY co-sponsored Diversity Tax Day for Professionals Working with Limited English Proficiency Taxpayer in which Eunkyong was a guest speaker. In October 2020, she was a speaker on AABANY’s Real Estate Committee program, “New York City and Long Island Real Estate Taxes.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Eunkyong Choi on her appointment as Special Trial Judge in the United States Tax Court.

CONGRATULATIONS TO PRBA BOARD MEMBER Justice Luis A. Gonzalez (Ret.) on his appointment to the Mayor’s Judiciary Committee

Announcement from the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA): 


Mayor de Blasio today announced the appointment of Luis A. Gonzalez to the Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, who was the first Latino individual to have been appointed a Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in the State’s history.

“Luis Gonzalez has much to be proud about, being the first Hispanic to serve as a Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division in New York State,” said Mayor de Blasio. “But he also has a solid track-record serving New Yorkers as a Housing Court and Civil Court Judge, as well as a New York State Supreme Court Justice.  I’m confident that he will continue to serve the best interests of New Yorkers on the Advisory Committee.”

Luis A. Gonzalez was the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court’s First Judicial Department from 2009 through the end of December 2015. Justice Gonzalez was designated a Justice for the Appellate Division’s First Judicial Department by Governor George E. Pataki in 2002, and appointed Presiding Justice in 2009 by Governor David Paterson.  Justice Gonzalez was appointed by Mayor de Blasio alongside Justices Eugene Nardelli and Christopher Chang, who were nominated by former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Jonathan Lippman and the Presiding Justice of the Second Judicial Department Randall T. Eng respectively. On the Advisory Committee, Justice Gonzalez will be responsible for recruiting, screening and nominating highly qualified candidates for judicial appointment to the Family Court and Criminal Court of New York City, as well as the Civil Court for interim appointment.

About Luis Gonzalez

Luis Gonzalez has been an instructor at Lehman College since 1991. Prior to serving on the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court’s First Judicial Department, Justice Gonzalez served as a New York Supreme Court Justice in the 12th Judicial District from 1992 to 2002. In addition, Gonzalez served on the New York City Civil Court as a Housing Court and a Civil Court Judge. He also was General Counsel for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 1978 to 1980. Justice Gonzalez began his career at the New York City Department of Investigation. Justice Gonzalez received his B.A. from Eastern Mennonite University, and holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

About the Advisory Committee on the Judiciary

The Committee recruits, screens, and nominates highly qualified candidates for judicial appointment to the Family Court and Criminal Court of New York City, as well as the Civil Court for an interim appointment. Based on the Committee’s nominations, the Mayor makes appointments to these courts. The Committee also evaluates incumbent judges for reappointment to these courts and submits its recommendations to the Mayor.

PRESS RELEASE: Navdeep Singh Appointed as NAPABA’s Policy Director


For Immediate Release
Oct. 14, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
[email protected], 202-775-9555

Navdeep Singh Appointed as NAPABA’s Policy Director

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has named Navdeep Singh as its new policy director, announced NAPABA Executive Director Tina Matsuoka. As policy director, Singh will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies and programs to support NAPABA’s policy priorities.

An expert in strategic legal policy and civil rights, Navdeep Singh brings important experience as a policy advocate to NAPABA. Prior to joining NAPABA, Singh served as policy director at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), where he co-authored “Turban Myths” – the first study on implicit bias and the Sikh American community – with researchers from Stanford University, advised the FBI on the implementation of expanded hate crimes categories, and developed the first national Sikh American television public service announcement. Singh is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the George Washington University Law School.

“Navdeep Singh is a proven leader in the Asian Pacific American community and I am excited to bring him on board as NAPABA’s new policy director,” Matsuoka said. “We look forward to working with Navdeep to enhance NAPABA’s national presence and expand our coalitions within the legal profession and the broader community to support diversity and inclusion.”

“It is a tremendous honor to join NAPABA,” said Singh. “I am excited to support NAPABA in its continued efforts to address the civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities, and to help ensure a robust, dynamic, and successful future for NAPABA and the Asian Pacific American community.”


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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 color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).


Septemeber 2, 2014

Contact: Tina Matsuoka
(202) 775-9555

WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama appointed Jenny R. Yang as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Yang’s appointment will make her the first Asian Pacific American to serve as permanent Chair.

“NAPABA applauds the Administration for the appointment of Jenny Yang as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Ms. Yang is a talented and accomplished lawyer and advocate who understands the mission of the EEOC. Her elevation to EEOC Chair is much deserved and highlights the Administration’s dedication to elevating women of color to leadership positions.”

Prior to her appointment as EEOC Chair, Yang was Vice Chair of the EEOC where she led its efforts on behalf of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She also worked with former EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien to improve enforcement of equal pay laws with the White House Equal Pay Task Force. After graduation from law school, Yang clerked for the Hon. Edmund Ludwig of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and worked with the 1992-93 Presidential Transition Team. She later became a senior trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. From the Department of Justice, Yang joined the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC until her appointment to the EEOC.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics Seeks Recommendations for Qualified Candidates …

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics currently seeks recommendations for qualified candidates to serve as independent and impartial hearing officers to oversee the adjudication of Commission matters.

Hearing officers will preside over formal hearings, render decisions on certain appeals and consider questions of fact and of law in connection with administrative proceedings of and applications to the Commission. The hearing officers will be called on a case by case basis and compensated for their service.

Eligible candidates are requested to submit a resume, writing sample, and professional references to:

NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics
25 Beaver Street
7th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10004

Candidates must have been admitted at least 10 years, must be in good standing, and must be a current New York City resident or be willing to move to New York City in the event of a possible appointment.

Eligible candidates should download the Uniform Judicial Questionnaire from the Committee ’s website at www.nyc.gov/judiciary, and should contact the Committee’s Office to request waivers. Applications will remain active for one year from the date of the receipt by this office. Applications will be accepted on a continuing basis for appointment to future vacancies as they arise.