From the MCCA’s Diversity & the Bar: BU40


The National Asian Pacific Bar Association (NAPABA) celebrated its 25th Annual Convention in Kansas City, MO, last November.  The four-day convention was themed Momentum to celebrate the continuing growth and progress in the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community, and brought more than 1,200 attendees to the show-me state.  Among awards given out at the annual convention is the highly coveted NAPABA Best Lawyers Under 40 (BU40) Award. MCCA’s bi-monthly publication, Diversity & the Bar, profiled these award recipients, including AABANY members and leaders, Mike Huang, Michael Park and Asim Rehman, in the January/February 2014 issue. Read more here.


National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006

November 12, 2013

Contact: Azizah Ahmad
(202) 775-9555


WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) honored individual and law firm recipients of its annual awards at its 25th Annual Convention in Kansas City, MO, on Nov. 7-10, 2013.  The awards bestowed were the Senator Daniel K. Inouye NAPABA Trailblazer Award, Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, President’s Award, Women’s Leadership Award, Affiliate of the Year, APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year, and Law Firm Diversity Award.

The Trailblazer Award, which is NAPABA’s highest honor, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal profession, as well as to the broader APA community. On Friday, November 8, 2013, NAPABA held a special ceremony to rename the Trailblazer Award in honor of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye and presented the 2013 Senator Daniel K. Inouye NAPABA Trailblazer Award to the following recipients:

  • Hon. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senator (posthumously awarded)
  • Lowell Chun-Hoon, Partner, King, Nakamura & Chun-Hoon
  • Hon. Lynn R. Nakamoto, Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Hon. Maryka Omatsu, Justice, Ontario Court of Justice, Canada
  • Brian A. Sun, Partner, Jones Day
  • Hon. John M. Tran, Judge, Circuit Court of Fairfax County, VA

The 2013 Best Lawyers Under 40 Awards were presented at NAPABA’s Anniversary Gala and Celebration Dinner on November 9, 2013. This award recognizes talented APA attorneys under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence in the practice of law while demonstrating an unwavering dedication to the APA community. NAPABA proudly announces the 2013 Best Lawyers Under 40 Award recipients:

  • Jason J. DeJonker, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Sandra S. Fujiyama, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
  • Albert Giang, Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, PC
  • Mike F. Huang, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
  • Jin Y. Hwang, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
  • Christopher C. Javillonar, Bryan Cave LLP
  • Christopher D. Kang, Office of the White House Counsel
  • Winifred V. Kao, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Asian Law Caucus
  • Eugene Kim, Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden
  • Edward C. Lee, Aetna Inc.
  • John Park, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP
  • Michael H. Park, Dechert LLP
  • Rudhir Patel, Apple Inc.
  • Smeeta Ramarathnam, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
  • Steven Y. Reeves, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
  • Asim Rehman, MetLife
  • Betty Song, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles
  • Sanya Sukduang, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • David J. Tsai, Perkins Coie LLP
  • Rocky C. Tsai, Ropes & Gray LLP

NAPABA Past President Paul O. Hirose was honored with the 2013 President’s Award for his continued dedication to NAPABA and the broader APA community, and, in particular, for his work in fighting human trafficking.

This year, J. Weili Cheng, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, was awarded the 2013 Women’s Leadership Award for her significant contributions to the advancement of women in the legal profession.

The 2013 Affiliate of the Year Award was presented to the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts. This award was established to recognize outstanding local NAPABA affiliates and their best practices and accomplishments in their respective local communities.

The 2013 Law Firm Diversity Award honors law firms that recruit and retain APA lawyers and promote them to equity partnership and firm leadership. The award celebrates law firm successes in recognizing the potential, supporting the promise, and raising the influence of APA lawyers. The recipients of the inaugural Law Firm Diversity Award were:

  • Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg, P.C.
  • Lim Ruger
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Last year, NAPABA established the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award to recognize law firms that have achieved prominence and distinction in the legal profession while advancing the goals and ideals of NAPABA and APA legal advocacy groups. The award celebrates law practices that embrace the APA community while maintaining the highest ethical and legal standards in our profession. The 2013 APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award was presented to Kobre & Kim LLP.


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 over 40,000 attorneys and 67 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service 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.

AABANY at NAPABA National Convention 2011

NAPABA’s 23rd Annual National Convention: Sustainability took place last week in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Omni CNN Center from November 17 through 20.  Among the more than 1100 attorneys from around the country was our contingent from New York.

AABANY was well-represented at the NAPABA National Convention. 

Judge Denny Chin, past AABANY President and currently the only active APA Federal appellate circuit judge, was the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s installation banquet.  Judge Chin shared his experiences as a district court judge, regaling the capacity crowd with fascinating, funny and sometimes touching stories from the wide variety of cases he presided over in his fifteen years on the bench as a United States District Court Judge.

Don Liu, General Counsel of Xerox and AABANY member, introduced Friday’s plenary luncheon speaker, Yale Law School Professor and best-selling author Amy Chua.  Don himself was honored with NAPABA’s prestigious Trailblazer Award on Friday evening.  In a moving and heartfelt acceptance speech, Don honored his recently-deceased father as a trailblazer in his own right.

At Saturday night’s installation banquet, NAPABA presented its Best Under 40 award recipients, and AABANY was represented by Director Bobby Liu, General Counsel at MD Sass, and Pauline Yeung-Ha, Co-Chair Solo and Small Firm Committee and name partner at Grimaldi & Yeung.  Also honored was My Chi To, Secretary of AALFNY (Asian American Law Fund of New York) and partner at Debevoise & Plimpton.

On Thursday, at the NAPABA Bar Leadership Institute, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen was the luncheon speaker, talking about AABANY’s experience as the first affiliate with a full-time executive director.

On Friday, Judge Chin led the AABANY re-enactment team in a program entitled “Race, Color and Citizenship: Ozawa and Thind,” which re-created two Supreme Court cases from the 1920s in which the Court upheld the denial of naturalization to two Asian Americans on the basis of race and color.  The cast, led by Judge Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin, was comprised of AABANY members, including many AABANY Directors: Vincent Chang, Yang Chen, Francis Chin, Lauren Lee, Susan Moon, Esther Nguonly, Liza Sohn, Vinoo Varghese, Jessica Wong and Michael Yap.

Throughout the conference, many other AABANY members, including many past AABANY leaders, spoke on or moderated various panels, including: Sylvia Fung Chin, John Flock, Parkin Lee, and Hon. Doris Ling Cohan.

Congratulations also to Hofstra Law School which was recognized on November 18 as the NAPALSA (National Asian Pacific American Law Students Association) Affiliate of the Year.  NAPALSA held several programs and meetings during the NAPABA National Convention.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the NAPABA 2011 National Convention, and congratulations to all the honorees.  You do AABANY proud!