The deadline to apply for the NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) is two weeks away! PPP aims to increase the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander partners at major law firms through introduction, mentorship, and relationship building. In anticipation of the program’s eleventh year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in PPP sessions taking place at the 2021 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., from December 9-12, 2021.
This year, AABANY is teaming up with the Asian American International Film Festival to promote two films, A Rifle and a Bag and Americanish, during AAIFF’s film festival, which will run from August 11 – 22. AABANY members receive a 20% discount for all VOD screenings if they use the code AAIFF44_AABANY.
This year’s festival is a hybrid festival, mixing online screenings and live-streamed events with select in-person events. You can watch from home with an internet connection. Most films are available for viewing throughout the U.S. and Canada unless otherwise noted. You can access AAIFF’s full list of films and in-person events and screenings at this link:
Somi and her husband are striving to forge a new identity after fighting alongside the Naxalites, a communist guerrilla group that has been waging war on the Indian State since the 60’s. After a decade of armed struggle for the rights of their tribal communities, the couple deserted the movement and surrendered to the police. Ever since, they have been trying to educate their son and reconcile their violent past with the desire to integrate into Indian society.
In Jackson Heights, Queens, career-driven sisters Maryam and Sam and their newly immigrated cousin Ameera must navigate the consistent and sometimes conflicting demands of romance, culture, work, and family. Serving both as a lighthearted reimagination of and critical divergence from the classic romantic comedy, AMERICANISH tackles and celebrates the complex intersectionalities of womanhood by welcoming us into the world—with all its joys and tribulations—of these three marriage-aged women.
Region Restrictions: Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT)
How Screenings Work:
All films are VOD – on demand. If purchasing tickets in advance, you will receive an access link via email when the film becomes available to view. For most films, this will be August 11. If purchasing tickets during the festival (August 11 – August 22, 2021), you will receive the access link immediately.
You may watch the film anytime during the festival (Aug 11 to Aug 22). Once you hit play, you will have 48 hours to finish watching the film. If you do not finish the film within those 48 hours, you will need to purchase another ticket. Please note that some films may have additional restrictions. Please read the Film/Event page for any additional restrictions. For more info, please click this link.
The NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) aims to increase the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander partners at major law firms through introduction, mentorship, and relationship building. In anticipation of the program’s eleventh year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in PPP sessions taking place at the 2021 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., from December 9-12, 2021.
Invited prospective partners will have the opportunity to meet with a panel of senior in-house counsel (GCs or others with outside counsel hiring authority) during one of two sessions at the Convention on either Thursday, December 9, or Friday, December 10. Additionally, the PPP will pair prospective partners with a “partner mentor” from a different law firm to provide feedback and guidance on the prospective partner’s introduction presentation and career development.
AABANY is excited to announce that President Terrence (Terry) Shen was featured in the 2021 Power of Diversity list of New York’s Top 100 Asian American Leaders published by City & State on July 19, 2021. Terry was recognized as 53rd on the list.
City & State wrote:
As partner at the law firm Kramer Levin, Terrence Shen represents New York’s top corporate interest clients like MVC Capital in its merger with Barings BDC, which represents more than $1.5 billion of assets. Shen is also the president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. Under his leadership, the association released Know-Your-Rights literature, hosted public forums on rising anti-Asian hate crimes and organized candidate forums for New York’s district attorney races.
Congratulations and thank you to Terry for representing AABANY among New York’s most influential Asian American leaders.
In addition to Terry, several others featured on City & State’s list have worked with or been associated with AABANY, as members, community partners, or sponsors. We extend our congratulations to them as well.
Among the others in the top 10, AABANY has worked with Ron Kim (2), State Assembly Member; John Liu (3), State Senator and first Asian American to serve on the City Council; and Margaret Chin (9), New York City Council Member.
AABANY also congratulates:
Sandra Ung (16), New York City Council Primary Winner for District 20 and former AABANY treasurer;
Shekar Krishnan (16), New York City Council Primary Winner for District 25 and former AABANY member;
Faiza Saeed (34), a Presiding Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a Gold Sponsor of AABANY for many years;
John Park (35), Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, one of our longtime community partners;
Margaret Fung (38), Co-founder and Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, one of our longtime community partners;
Preet Bharara (52), as the first AAPI United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a regular speaker at our annual Prosecutors Reception and an honoree at our Annual Dinner in 2015;
My Chi To (54), Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services and former AABANY member;
Ruchi Shah (65), President of SABANY, a sister bar association and longtime collaborator with AABANY;
Justin Yu (80), Chair of the New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce, an AABANY partner of many years for our walk-in Pro Bono Clinic; and
Thomas and Jill Sung (88), Chair and President/CEO, respectively, of Abacus Federal Savings Bank. Thomas’s daughter and Jill’s sister, Vera, is currently an AABANY member.
AABANY is privileged and honored to have worked closely with so many of New York’s most influential AAPI leaders. Congratulations to everyone who made the list, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations and partnerships in the future.
The full City & State article can be found here, starting on page 17.
As Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) jurists in the New York State court system we celebrated AAPI Heritage month in May for the first time in our Courts by participating in panels, co-hosting events, and acknowledging the many jurists that blazed the trail for us. We also recognized the work that remains for the Courts to be inclusive of the AAPI experience.
Our fairly young history in the New York State Judiciary began only 38 years ago with the appointment of the Hon. Randall Eng to the New York City Criminal Court bench in 1983. It continued with the historic elections of the Hon. Peter Tom and the Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt to the New York County Civil Court in 1987. Judges Eng and Tom were the first Asian Americans appointed to the Appellate Division and even served simultaneously as Presiding Justice and Acting Presiding Justice in 2016. Equally historic was the election of the Hon. Anil Singh in 2002, the first elected South Asian judge, and his subsequent appointment to the Appellate Division in 2017. The Hon. Raja Rajeswari became the first South Asian judge appointed in New York in 2015.
While we are proud to celebrate our “firsts,” many of us remain the “only,” and the AAPI community remains underrepresented in the judiciary. Secretary Jeh Johnson highlighted this fact in his October 1, 2020 report on equal justice in the New York State Courts, where he noted that AAPIs comprise 8.5% of New Yorkers and only 2.6% of the judiciary. Currently, there are only 39 AAPI judges in all of New York State, and that is out of 1,227 jurists. Secretary Johnson also reported that in New York City, AAPI people comprise 14.1% of the population and only 6.3% of the judiciary, and that the AAPI community remains underrepresented among judges chosen by election. 37 of the 39 AAPI judges preside in New York City, and there are only two elected AAPI judges north of New York City. There has never been an AAPI judge elected in Brooklyn, Staten Island or the Bronx. Only two out of the 86 Court of Claims judges are AAPI, and there are no South Asian jurists. No AAPI jurists currently sit on our intermediate appellate courts in the Second, Third, and Fourth Departments. No AAPI has ever been appointed to the Court of Appeals.
Of the 63 supervisory or administrative judicial positions in New York State, there are only two AAPI jurists. None of the 12 Administrative Judges in New York City, 10 Administrative Judges outside New York City and 21 Supervising Judges outside of New York City are AAPI jurists. These statistics show that Asian American and Pacific Islanders lack a full voice in the administration of justice in New York State.
We call upon public officials, the Office of Court Administration, bar associations and judicial screening committees to place a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion that recognizes and includes the AAPI community across all levels of the New York State Courts. We also call upon our own AAPI community to be more proactive in all of the different stages of the judicial appointment and electoral processes so that we can ensure that there is a multitude of qualified candidates available for consideration. We hope to look back in the near future at the progress we expect to achieve.
On May 20, the Historical Society of the New York Courts, the Asian American Judges Association of New York, and Meyer Suozzi English & Klein P.C. co-sponsored a panel discussion on the role of Asian Americans in the federal and state judiciary. The panelists of the event were Hon. Pamela K. Chen, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York and AABANY member; Hon. Toko Serita, New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice, Presiding Judge of the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court, and AABANY member; and Hon. Anil C. Singh, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. Hon. Lillian Wan, New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice and AABANY member, moderated the panel.
New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore opened the event with a few remarks, thanking the panelists and acknowledging their trailblazing careers as Asian-Americans. Chief Judge DiFiore also emphasized the importance of remembering AAPI history and the United States’ legacy of racial exclusion against Asians. She then turned the program over to Judge Randall T. Eng. Judge Eng, Of Counsel at Meyer Suozzi and former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, welcomed the attendees and shared his experiences as the first Asian American appointed to the bench in New York.
Judge Wan then introduced the panelists for the event, opening the discussion with a brief presentation on AAPI history from Hong Yen Chang and the Chinese Exclusion Act to the present day. After the presentation, each of the panelists introduced themselves and shared their backgrounds and paths to becoming judges. Judge Wan began the panel discussion, asking the panelists about their experiences as Asian Americans at the times of their confirmations. Many of the panelists recounted how there were very few, if not any, Asian American judges when they were appointed. Judge Chen recalled how her appointment was facilitated by Obama’s attempts to diversify the federal bench, while Judge Serita recounted her experiences as the first Japanese American appointed to her court.
Judge Wan moved on to the reasons behind the underrepresentation of AAPIs in the state and federal judiciary. All of the panelists cited lack of political engagement, the lack of a pipeline, and the general tendency of Asian lawyers to seek employment at corporate law firms. Judge Chen also brought up cultural barriers, touching on how Asians tend not to promote themselves and do not seek help even when needed.
Judge Wan shifted the topic to Asian stereotypes and its effects on day-to-day legal practice. The judges all expressed how Asians are frequently lumped together, being viewed as a monolithic group. Judge Serita pointed out that the term “Asian” itself perpetuates invisibility, as it smothers the diverse experiences that individuals of different Asian cultures experience. Judge Chen also mentioned how women of color tend to face more microaggressions than men of color.
Judge Wan then asked the panelists if they had experienced any incidents of anti-Asian assault during the COVID pandemic. Judge Serita shared that during the height of the pandemic, she would wear a hat and sunglasses on the subway in order to hide her Asian identity. She also mentioned how women make up 70% of bias incident victims due to being stereotyped as meek and docile. Judge Serita also emphasized the importance of continuing the conversations about Asians and race in light of the rise in anti-Asian incidents. Judge Chen also shared a story, where an Asian female jury member had to be excused from jury duty because she feared being assaulted on the subway commute to the courthouse.
Judge Wan then directed the conversation towards the role of diversity in the judiciary. All the judges emphasized the importance of having a judiciary that reflects the diversity of the people it serves. Judge Chen also cited Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion in the Schuette v. Coalition case, pointing out how race does matter in the judiciary due to the long history of minorities being excluded in the United States.
Judge Wan then asked the panelists their thoughts on building a pipeline for Asians to enter the judiciary. All the judges expressed how important it was to reach out to the community to inspire young people to consider a public service career. Judge Chen identified a number of internships and programs for students aspiring to become judges while also noting how increasing Asian political representation in federal and state positions would afford aspiring AAPI lawyers the support needed to get through the confirmation process. Judge Chen also mentioned the role of bar associations like AABANY and the South Asian Bar Association of New York in sponsoring candidates for the bench. Judge Serita finished by encouraging young lawyers to be more proactive and to overcome Asian cultural humility.
Judge Wan moved to the topic of judicial screening panels, asking the judges their thoughts on the role of diversity on the panels. All the judges agreed on the vital role of diversity on screening panels. Judge Serita recounted one instance where an Asian woman being reviewed by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys was given a low qualification score, due, in part, to the fact that only one out of the 30 committee members was Asian.
To close the panel, Judge Wan asked the judges if they had any advice to give to young attorneys aspiring to the bench. Judge Chen and Judge Serita both encouraged the attendees to enjoy their work, be passionate about it, but also, to not plan their careers rigidly around becoming a judge. All the judges also expressed the importance of flexibility and of keeping options open.
At the end of the event, Judge Eng shared photographs and a newspaper clipping documenting his long and distinguished career in the judiciary. Judge Wan then thanked the panelists for their time and the attendees for coming to the event.
WASHINGTON – This morning, NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property at a hearing entitled, “The Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary, Part 2: The Selection and Confirmation Process.” President Cruz’s testimony on behalf of NAPABA highlighted the challenges that Asian Pacific American attorneys often encounter as they attempt to advance in the legal profession. According to the 2017 landmark study “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law” (“Portrait Project”) published jointly by NAPABA and Yale Law School, the most often cited issues are lack of mentorship and role models, lack of leadership training, and work going unrecognized. President Cruz’s testimony also drew on the Portrait Projects finding that the selection process for clerkships or law firm promotion – often a prerequisite for judicial consideration, involves not only measures of objective criteria but also access to mentorship and subjective criteria which are often amorphous factors that decision makers rely on to determine whom they regard as their proteges. President Cruz was joined on the panel by his Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) colleague and Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) President Elia Diaz Yeager.
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..
On June 30th, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s (AABANY) Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) hosted a community workshop on self-defense and defense of others. The speakers were Nassau County Assistant District Attorney and Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Joseb Gim and St. John’s University Law School Professor and Academic Committee Co-Chair Elaine Chiu. The presentation was moderated by Eugene Love Kim, Legal Aid Society attorney and Vice-Chair of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and was translated into Cantonese and Mandarin by Kwok Ng, law clerk at the New York State Supreme Court and PBCS Committee Co-Chair, and Ye Qing, attorney at Morvillo Abramovitz, respectively.
In light of the recent surge in anti-Asian violence and bias incidents, the presentation focused on the legal consequences that New York Penal Law has for self-defense. ADA Gim gave a summary of the laws and listed the various weapons that qualify as “deadly physical force” under New York Penal Law. These weapons include, but are not limited to, pepper spray, collapsible batons, and electric stun guns. ADA Gim also pointed out that, in exercising self-defense, unless a “reasonable person” would have made the same decision to defend themselves in your situation, using regular physical force or deadly physical force to defend yourself may lead to you being charged with a criminal offense. Prof. Chiu briefly described the possibility of also being sued in a civil lawsuit but noted that using violence within the bounds of the New York Penal Law would prevent a judgment against you.
At the end of the presentation, ADA Gim talked about more practical, immediate implications of the laws on self-defense and defense of others. He emphasized that, oftentimes, choosing to defend yourself will result in both you and the attacker being taken into police custody from the scene for further investigation and possible prosecution. He then discussed the importance of concrete evidence, 911 calls, recordings, and eyewitness testimony in corroborating your testimony. Both ADA Gim and Prof. Chiu also noted that individuals, before defending themselves, have a duty to flee dangerous situations unless they are attacked in their own homes. After the presentation, the discussion was opened to questions from the attendees.
AABANY thanks the members of the AAVTF for organizing the community workshop and for their service to the AAPI community of the greater New York metro area. To view the recording of the event, click here. To learn more about and to help fund the AAVTF’s initiatives, click here.
Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director WASHINGTON- The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) – the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) – together with the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA-North America) stand united in their support of efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in continuing legal education (CLE) and in opposition to the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling and amendments to the Florida Bar Rules on diversity requirements for CLE programming. As national organizations dedicated to advancing equality and opportunity for underrepresented and historically marginalized members of the legal profession, diversity, equity, and inclusion are of paramount importance to our communities. Diversity on CLE panels benefits both panelists who are recognized for their expertise, as well as audience members who can be inspired by seeing those with similar backgrounds or experiences serving as role models and educators in the legal profession. Moreover, CLE participants may well benefit from hearing from panelists who bring unique and diverse perspectives that they may not have been exposed to previously.
“The objective of the ABA policy and the Florida CLE Diversity Policy is not to exclude anyone, but to ensure inclusion,” argued CK Hoffler, a Florida Bar member and President of the NBA in the NBA’s submission to the Supreme Court. “No one is displaced nor denied an opportunity to participate because of these new policies. African-African attorneys founded the NBA, due in large part because of exclusion. Today, there remains a need to ensure the inclusion of African American attorneys in the legal field and include African American attorneys in the discussion of legal issues.”
“As bar associations dedicated to the advancement of equality and opportunity for APA attorneys, NAPABA and its Florida affiliates believe it is imperative to feature a diverse range of views, experiences and backgrounds in CLE programs in order to address the critical gaps in mentors, connections and role models that are so important for career advancement,” wrote A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA in a joint filing before the Court submitted with Florida-based affiliates. “Panelists benefit from recognition as experts which burnishes their credentials, and audience members can be inspired by witnessing those with similar backgrounds or experiences serving as role models and educators in the profession.”
“Diversity is vital to ensuring equal justice under the law and to public confidence in our legal system,” said Elia Diaz-Yaeger, HNBA National President. “If we want to move in the right direction, we must work to ensure a greater diversity across our profession that is representative of the people and communities we represent. That kind of positive change does not happen on its own; it requires bold action and leadership. We urge the Court to clarify its order to permit inclusive diversity policies for CLE courses.”
“In Florida, with a Native American population of over 125,000 and two federally recognized tribes, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people are grossly underrepresented in the legal profession and strikingly so in the judiciary,” said Colleen Lamarre, President of the National Native American Bar Association. “The ABA policy and the Florida Bar Business Law Section’s CLE Diversity Policy are aimed at ensuring that CLE programing reflects the local population and advances the voices of historically marginalized groups. Representation and visibility through the continuing legal education process is critical to guaranteeing that the voices of indigenous people are heard and that the local and national attorney population, the pipeline of future attorneys, and our clients benefit and learn from interactions with Native American attorneys and their professional and cultural experiences.”
“Ensuring that diverse points of view are recognized and promoted throughout the legal profession is a primary goal of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association,” said Lousene Hoppe, LGBTQ+ Bar Association President. “We support the efforts of the ABA and the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion on CLE panels, and we oppose the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling and amendments to the Florida Bar Rules on diversity requirements for CLE programming.”
“SABA North America is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entire legal profession in North America,” said Samir Mehta, President of SABA North America. “We are committed to seeing this diversity reflected through lawyers of all backgrounds and identities. In Florida, there is only one Asian Pacific American on the federal bench in the entire state and such jurists represent less than one percent of state court judges there. This level of underrepresentation is unacceptable and we look forward to seeing more judges from all marginalized and historically underrepresented backgrounds added, including Asian American and South Asian American judges. In the arena of continuing legal education, we hope that the Florida Supreme Court will recognize that inclusion of different viewpoints will serve as an inspiration for the entire bar. We also hope this will prove that historically underrepresented or marginalized communities are not only welcome, but have much to contribute to our common goal of advancing justice.”
With the stated goals to eliminate bias, increase diversity, and implement efforts aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys, the Business Law Section (BLS) of the Florida Bar set forth a policy preference whereby the BLS would only sponsor, co-sponsor, or seek accreditation for any CLE program that had minimum numbers of diverse panelists, although the policy also had built in flexibility allowing for exemptions in the event that, after a diligent search, diverse panelists could not participate. In April, on its motion, the Florida Supreme Court struck down this policy characterizing it as “tainted by…discrimination,” and analogizing it to university admissions cases where the Supreme Court of the United States prohibited quotas based on race, even though the policy does not exclude or foreclose the participation of any panelist on a CLE program based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other characteristic. The Florida Supreme Court then re-wrote the Florida Bar rules to prohibit the approval of any CLE programs that use quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation of course faculty or participants. The ruling means that licensed Floridian attorneys would be banned from receiving CLE credit for attending an ABA-sponsored CLE program, as the ABA has a similar diversity policy.
The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA). The HNBA is an incorporated, nonprofit, nonpartisan, national membership organization that represents the interests of more than 67,000 Hispanic legal professionals and as well as the close to 13 percent of law students enrolled in ABA accredited law schools in the United States and its territories. We are committed to advocacy on issues of importance to the 61 million people of Hispanic heritage living in the U.S. From the days of its founding three decades ago, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession. It does so by encouraging Hispanic students to choose a career in the law and by prompting their advancement within the profession once they graduate and start practicing. Through a combination of issue advocacy, programmatic activities, networking events and educational conferences, the HNBA has helped generations of lawyers succeed. For more information about HNBA, visit www.hnba.com.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession. For additional information about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org.
Founded in 1925, the NBA is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 66,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.
Founded in 1973, the NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. For additional information about NNABA, visit www.nativeamericanbar.org.
The National LGBTQ+ Bar was founded over thirty years ago by a small group of family law practitioners at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 1987, the idea of creating a gay and lesbian bar association was formally introduced at the Lesbian & Gay March on Washington. The first Lavender Law® Conference took place the following year at the Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In 1989, at the American Bar Association’s Mid-Year meeting, bylaws were presented, and a nonprofit board of directors was formalized. At the second board meeting in 1989 in Boston, the LGBT Bar, then known as the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (NLGLA), had 293 paid members, and initiated a campaign to ask the ABA to include protection based on sexual orientation to its revision of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct for Judges. In 1992, the LGBT Bar became an official affiliate of the American Bar Association and it now works closely with the ABA’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and its Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. For more information about the LGBTQ+ Bar, visit www.lgbtbar.org.
SABA North America was founded in 2002 to strengthen the rapidly growing South Asian legal community with a recognized and trusted forum for professional growth and development, and promotes the civil rights and access to justice for the South Asian community. With 29 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, SABA attorneys work in all areas of the law, including at large law firms, as in-house counsel, government attorneys, and solo practitioners. SABA hosts an Annual Conference, annual Lobby Day, and numerous other successful programs throughout the year. For more information about SABA North America, visit www.sabanorthamerica.com.
WASHINGTON – On June 30, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jennifer Sung to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. If confirmed, Ms. Sung would be President Biden’s first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) to serve on the appellate court and the first AAPI to serve on the Ninth Circuit in Oregon. Judge Kumar would be the first AAPI Article III judge on the federal courts in Michigan.
“NAPABA congratulates Jennifer Sung on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Shalina Kumar on her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “It is indeed a historic slate for the AAPI legal community. If confirmed, Judge Kumar would be the first AAPI Article III judge in the state of Michigan. President Biden’s intent to nominate Ms. Sung is critical for our community to increase the visibility of AAPI jurists on the appellate bench. Of the 179 authorized federal appellate court judges, there are only 10 AAPIs who are actively serving.”
Ms. Sung is currently a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board, where she adjudicates disputes involving labor relations for an estimated 3,000 Oregon employers and 250,000 workers in the public and private sector covered by collective bargaining laws. Prior to her appointment to the Board, she was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffee, LLP in Portland. Earlier in her career, Ms. Sung was an executive board member of the New York chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School.
Judge Kumar currently serves as Chief Judge of the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court in Michigan. She has been on the bench since 2007, has served as presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, and was appointed Chief Judge by the Michigan Supreme Court in 2018. Judge Kumar previously practiced at the Weiner & Cox law firm and served on the executive board of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association and as a member of the Women’s Bar Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and her law degree from the University of Detroit-Mercy.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.