Congratulations to Kevin Kim on Receiving the Hong Yen Chang Award at the 9th Annual Columbia Law School APALSA Conference at Columbia University

AABANY congratulates Kevin Kim on receiving the Hong Yen Chang Award at the 9th Annual Columbia Law School APALSA Conference on February 22, 2020.

In June of 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York (CUNY) making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. Previously, Kevin served as a Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, and became the first Asian American appointed to this position. In 2009, Kevin became the first Korean American to win a NYC primary when he became the Democratic nominee for NYC Council (District 19). Prior to that, he worked as a Congressional aide to former Congressman Gary Ackerman, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and a law clerk for then-U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin (SDNY). Kevin is also an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tactile Brain LLC, an innovative mental math program designed by Jeonghee Lee, one of the world’s foremost mental mathematicians. In 2015, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) awarded Kevin with an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his many years of community service. Kevin served on AABANY’s Board as Director of Development in 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) and the International Student Conference.

Kevin received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

Kevin received his award during the Gala Dinner following this year’s Columbia Law School APALSA Conference, entitled “The Path Less Traveled: Success Beyond the Law Firm.” The award is named after Hong Yen Chang, who became the first Asian American lawyer admitted to the New York State bar over 130 years ago. In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the United States to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University’s law school and passed the bar exam. However, after passing the bar examination, he was first denied admission because of his lack of U.S. citizenship due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. A special act of the New York Legislature allowed his admission in 1888. Hong Yen Chang then moved to California and applied for admission to the bar there but was denied in 1890 due to his lack of citizenship. Not until 2015 was this exclusion remedied, when the California Supreme Court granted an application from members of the UC Davis Asian Pacific American Law Students Association for posthumous admission of Hong Yen Chang.

Before the award was presented, a video was played featuring Congresswoman Grace Meng and US Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang offering their congratulations to Kevin. Hon. Denny Chin introduced Kevin and presented the award to him. In accepting the award, Kevin gave an impassioned speech calling all in attendance, as law students or as lawyers, to become more active in the issues that affect Asian Americans and all under-served and under-represented communities.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin Kim on this recognition and well-deserved honor.

AABANY Congratulates Kenneth Chin as Recipient of the NYSBA 2020 Diversity Trailblazer Award

AABANY congratulates Kenneth Chin on being presented with the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award at the John E. Higgins, Esq. Diversity Trailblazer Award Ceremony on Jan. 27, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Ken is a Partner and the Banking and Finance Chair at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and longstanding member of AABANY. The award recognizes Ken for his transformative work to promote and achieve diversity and inclusion at his firm and in New York’s Asian American community.

Read our full press release here.

Congratulations to Hon. Denny Chin on Receiving the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. Award from the Network of Bar Leaders

On January 27, 2020, the Honorable Denny Chin, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, received the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. Award from the Network of Bar Leaders. In his remarks, Judge Chin emphasized that the legacy of Judge Baer lives on in initiatives such as the SDNY’s Re-entry through Intensive Supervision and Employment (RISE) Court. Judge Chin presided over the first RISE Court, where he met with at-risk individuals on supervised release to encourage them to seek and maintain employment. Judge Chin was happy to report that at least ten of the individuals in the program were set to successfully graduate from the inaugural program. 

Congratulations, Judge Chin, on the well-deserved recognition and thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the legal profession. For more information about Judge Chin and the award, read the press release here.

Congratulations to AABANY Past President Susan Shin on Being Honored by KAAGNY

AABANY congratulates its Past President Susan L. Shin on receiving the Community Role Model Award at the Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY) 60th Anniversary Fundraiser at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on January 13, for her leadership in the legal community. For more details, from Weil’s website, go to
https://www.weil.com/articles/susan-shin-honored-with-community-role-model-award-by-the-korean-american-association

Margaret Ling Receives Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Defense of Legal Rights & Exemplary Community Service

On the evening of December 3, 2019, Margaret Ling, AABANY Development Director and Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee, was the proud recipient of the Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Defense of Legal Rights & Exemplary Community Service. The award was given to Margaret by the Brooklyn Real Estate Board at their Annual Holiday Party & Community Recognition Awards Presentation. Margaret is a Member of the Advisory Board of Directors.

Margaret is pictured below with her award and with her colleagues Ashvini Persaud, Senior Business Banker of Capital One (left) and Sara Golan, Associate Broker, Nest Seekers International: The Serhant Team (right).

Join us in congratulating Margaret on this well-deserved honor and recognition.

Congratulations to James R. Cho and Linda S. Lin on Being Honored with the 2019 CUP Law Catalysts Award

AABANY is proud to announce that last week James R. Cho, Immediate Past President and Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of NY, and Linda S. Lin, Past President 2011 and Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at QBE North America, were presented with the 2019 CUP Law Catalysts award at the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) 10th Annual Lawyers Forum and Law Catalyst Recognition Ceremony. The ceremony was held at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP on November 12, 2019.

The CUP Law Catalyst award honors and celebrates the accomplishments of diverse legal professionals who are achieving extraordinary professional success while making significant and impactful contributions to their community.

James and Linda’s dedication to promoting diversity in the legal profession, their leadership as Past Presidents at AABANY, and service to the overall Asian American community make them highly deserving and outstanding recipients of this recognition.

This is not the first time that AABANY members have been honored with the CUP Law Catalysts award. Below is a list of ABBANY members previously recognized by the Council of Urban Professionals:

November 2018
Alice Hsu, AABANY Member

November 2016
Steve Chung, Past AABANY Board Member
Sonia Low, Past AABANY Board Member

October 2015
Austin So, Past In-House Counsel Committee Co-Chair

October 2014
Jean Lee, Past AABANY President 2012

October 2013
Dwight Yoo, Past AABANY President 2017

October 2012
Vincent Chang, Past AABANY President 2007

Please join us in congratulating James, Linda, and all the other AABANY members that have received this tremendous honor.

Also, please join us in congratulating the other 2019 CUP Catalysts in Law:

Adam Banks, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Tia Breakley, Managing Director & Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Compliance Officer – The Infrastructure Group, The Blackstone Group
Sarah Dodds-Brown, EVP & Managing Counsel, American Express
Stuart Downing, Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
Chinyere Ezie, Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
George Fatheree III, Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Karen Hsu Kelley, Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Jessica Lee, Partner, Loeb & Loeb LLP
Clarence A. Nesbitt, General Counsel, National Basketball Players Association 
Marianela Peralta, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Allegis Global Solutions, Inc. 
Pamela Rosado, Senior VP and Chief Counsel-Litigation, MetLife
Kimberly Spoerri, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Camelia Valdes, Prosecutor, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office

Congratulations to Karen King on Receiving NAPABA’s Pro Bono Award

We congratulate Karen King, AABANY Member and Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, on being presented NAPABA’s Pro Bono Award during the Gala at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 9, 2019. 

This award recognizes an attorney for outstanding achievement in Pro Bono service that involves impact litigation to advance or protect civil rights and provides direct legal services to individuals in furtherance of the administration of justice.

One of the pro bono cases that Karen was recognized for lasted for over 10 years and involved bias and discrimination in the promotion practices of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority against Asian American Police Officers. Karen found her work on the case to be very important for Asian Americans and rewarding for herself. In her video accepting the award, Karen remarked that young lawyers need to look for and seize opportunities to advance their careers “… and pro bono is an excellent way to do that.”

We are extremely excited and pleased that Karen received this prestigious honor. Please join us in congratulating her.

We commend Paul, Weiss on emphasizing, supporting, and encouraging their lawyers to engage in Pro Bono work and for being a Gold Sponsor.

AABANY Presented with Affiliate of the Year Award at NAPABA Convention

On Saturday, November 9, 2019, AABANY was honored to be presented with NAPABA’s Affiliate of the Year award at NAPABA’s National Convention in Austin, Texas. AABANY was selected to receive this award for its best practices and accomplishments in our community.

President Brian Song accepted this honor at the Dinner Gala, but he did not do so alone. He called upon Board members, Past Presidents, and founders, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go (Ret.), and Sylvia Chin to join him on stage to accept the award together on behalf of everyone at AABANY.

For three decades now, AABANY has been working tirelessly to support Asian Americans in the legal profession in New York. It means a great deal for the hard work of AABANY’s Board Members and Committee Chairs, the dedication of our members, and AABANY’s commitment to the overall Asian American Community to be recognized.

We congratulate and thank our entire AABANY family and our sponsors for supporting our mission and bringing AABANY to this Point. As Executive Director Yang Chen said in the video played before the award was presented, “this award is for everyone at AABANY.” 2019 marks the second time that AABANY received the Affiliate of the Year Award. AABANY first received this honor in 2008.

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK IS RECEIVING THE AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR AWARD FROM THE NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AT ITS NATIONAL CONVENTION IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

NEW YORK – November 5, 2019 – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected  the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) as its Affiliate of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the greater Asian Pacific American (APA) community. AABANY will be presented the Affiliate of the Year Award during the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, taking place November 7-10, 2019. AABANY President Brian Song will accept the award on behalf of the association at NAPABA’s Gala Dinner to be held on Saturday, November 9.

AABANY was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants, paralegals and law students. The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

Over the past three decades AABANY has worked tirelessly to accomplish its mission. For example, we have regularly conducted student outreach and held workshops throughout the year on resume writing, interviewing and networking skills to help law students succeed. We are also into the ninth year of our Mentorship Program that provides individual professional development specifically tailored to the needs of mentees, many of whom are law students. In addition, now in its second year, the AABANY Leadership Development Program assists and guides senior APA law firm associates and in-house counsel through an interactive leadership training program designed to develop and promote qualified APA attorneys for partnership at law firms and leadership positions at companies.

AABANY also plays an integral part in creating diversity on the bench through our Judiciary Committee’s initiatives. AABANY’s Judiciary Committee assisted dozens of judges of Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander heritage in ascending to the bench.

In addition, we collaborate with the South Asian Bar Association of New York, the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York and Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York to further the interests of APAs in the legal profession by offering CLE accreditation, co-sponsoring networking events, and supporting each other’s programs and activities.

Furthermore, we serve the APA community by holding a monthly Pro Bono Clinic in partnership with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of NY. We mobilize the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s diverse membership to provide high quality and accessible legal assistance to the Asian community on the second Wednesday of every month, at Confucius Plaza in Chinatown. In 2018-19, the Clinic served between 21-51 clients with the help of 11-21 volunteer attorneys and 5-12 interpreters each month.

Moreover, in addition to providing free legal assistance to the Asian community, we promote APA history and awareness through our historic trial reenactments. The Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin have spearheaded this project for twelve years. The most recent reenactment, “Alice in Chinatown: Chol Soo Lee and His Fight for Freedom” retold the story of Chol Soo Lee, a young Korean American who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a gangland murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1970s. AABANY has made these reenactment scripts available to schools, community groups, other bar associations and anyone who wishes to perform them. AABANY’s reenactments project has become a template for other groups to encourage civic education and engagement in our communities.

Each new historic trial reenactment premieres at the annual NAPABA Convention, but this year, the AABANY Trial Reenactment Team will be reprising “Korematsu v. United States: Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice” in celebration of Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday. The cast will include luminaries such as Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel (Ret.), the judge who decided the coram nobis proceeding that overturned Korematsu’s wrongful conviction, and Dale Minami, the iconic attorney who led the team that brought about this historic outcome. Judge Patel and Dale Minami will be playing themselves, as will Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, in the reenactment, which will be performed on November 8, at Friday’s Plenary Lunch Session during the NAPABA Convention.

Because of these significant contributions and achievements over the decades, AABANY has become one of the most prominent bar associations in New York and has been selected to receive the Affiliate of the Year Award from NAPABA for a second time. AABANY first received this prestigious honor in 2008 under the leadership of then-President and now Executive Director Yang Chen.

“AABANY thanks NAPABA for this important award and its recognition of our innovative efforts to engage our membership and the community,” states AABANY President Brian Song, a Partner at BakerHostetler in New York. “We are grateful for the leadership and dedication of our current and past Board Directors and Officers for bringing AABANY to this point. We especially thank and acknowledge our sponsors and our members for their support of our mission to promote the interests of APA lawyers and legal professionals and the larger community they serve. AABANY could not be NAPABA’s Affiliate of the Year without the involvement and participation of everyone in the legal profession and community who have been integral to our growth and success over the last thirty years.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

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).

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Congratulations to Karen Yau

On Thursday, Oct. 17, at the 40th anniversary gala for Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Brooklyn Community Services, held at Affable Eatery in Brooklyn, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau was honored for her work in support of the community. Many AABANY members and leaders came out to celebrate with Karen, including Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Pauline Yeung-Ha and Asako Aiba, Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair Kevin Hsi, AABANY Director of Technology and Professional Development Committee Co-Chair Francis Chin and Executive Director Yang Chen. Karen’s family, including her parents, were also in attendance.

AABANY also congratulates the other honorees at the gala dinner:

  • Dr. Gabriel Rincon, DDS
    Board of Trustees Chairman, The Family Health Centers at NYU Langone
  • Elizabeth Culkin, Principal, PS 176K
  • Hewett Chiu, Executive Director, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    President and CEO, Academy of Medical and Public Health Services

Karen, in her acceptance speech, accepted the award on behalf of the Pro Bono Clinic, which has grown in number of clients served and number of volunteers participating, and which started serving clients in Brooklyn last month, in September. The next Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic will take place on November 21. Please help us spread the word. More details here: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1291193 If you are able to volunteer there, contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org.