AABANY Celebrates 2021 Virtual Gala

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, AABANY hosted its 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity. 

The event kicked off at 6 pm with a Pre-Gala Virtual Cocktail Reception on Remo attended by sponsors and special guests, including prominent General Counsels and judges. At 6:30 pm, all Virtual Gala attendees were invited to enjoy a piano concert featuring AABANY Member Renee Yao.

The Virtual Gala started at 7 pm and Kate Siahaan-Riggs, NYC-based actor, stand up comic, and writer, served as emcee. Throughout the gala, AABANY held a text-to-donate fundraiser to support Portrait Project 2.0, the second phase of the Portrait Project study which is researching why Asian Americans are underrepresented in top leadership positions across all sectors of the legal profession and how it can be addressed.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, the City University of New York, with the AABANY Impact Award

Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel Litigation of BASF Corporation, with the AABANY Women’s Leadership Award

Kirkland & Ellis LLP with the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award

Ed Lee, AABANY Board Director and Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Honoree Sneha Desai delivered an acceptance speech, stressing the importance of individuals in leadership and influential positions to make positive change in diversity and inclusion. The Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, hosted a fireside chat with honoree Frank H,. Wu to discuss his career and the work he has accomplished.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2021 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Narissa Ganpat, Minji Kim, and Minh Eric Le.

The Gala concluded with a tribute to Asian American photojournalist and historian Corky Lee who passed away in January due to COVID-19. Corky had taken photos of our past Annual Dinners from its earliest days until 2020.

We thank all of the AABANY Virtual Gala Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. 

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year. 

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2021 Virtual Gala and celebrated with us. Our Virtual Gala was streamed on Vimeo which reports that the gala drew 1,400 views. To watch the gala on You Tube, click here or on the image at the top of this blog. To view the Virtual Gala program book, click here.

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Presented with Certificate of Commendation at NYS Senators’ Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration

New York State Senators John Liu (11th District, Queens), Andrew Gounardes (22nd District, Brooklyn), Brian Kavanagh (26th District, Manhattan) and Toby Stavisky (16th District, Queens) hosted a Lunar New Year virtual celebration Tuesday evening, February 16, featuring performances from AAPI youth and community honorees. The event was well-attended by city, state and federal elected officials, as well as community leaders and their organizations.

Senator Kavanagh presented May Wong, Esq., and Olympia Moy with a certificate of commendation to recognize the work of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee in providing invaluable legal assistance to the AAPI community during the pandemic. May Wong and Olympia Moy were proud to accept the certificate on behalf of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. In their acceptance speech, they detailed the committee’s success in creating a one-day “in-person” clinic in July 2020 to assist tenants with paper applications for the COVID Rent Relief Program. When the COVID Rent Relief Program was extended to February 2021, law students volunteered again to establish a two-week remote hotline service to assist non-English speaking tenants apply via telephone. They were able to assist callers in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish with the help of the committee’s community partners, Chinatown CLT and GOLES. May Wong and Olympia Moy concluded their speech by expressing gratitude towards the State for its effort in addressing the State’s housing and poverty crisis and strongly encouraged the State to “direct emergency financial relief to tenants and property owners in meaningful programs that can provide permanent rental assistance and increased access to rental subsidies.”

Thank you to all the attorney volunteers and law students who helped AABANY and the community, especially May Wong, William Lee, Karen Lin, Nicholas Loh, Xinyi Shen, and Olympia Moy.

Congratulations to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee on this well-deserved recognition! To learn more about the Committee and all its wonderful work, go to probono.aabany.org. They are always looking for more volunteers so email them at clinic.volunteer@aabany.org if you can help.

AABANY Hosts Weekly Membership Mixer on February 12, 2021 to Celebrate Lunar New Year

On February 12, 2021, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly virtual Membership Mixer, with 18 participants in attendance. This week AABANY held a virtual Lunar New Year celebration to welcome the Year of the Ox. 

Participants were asked: “What is your favorite New Year superstition or favorite memory?”  Participants answered that they followed the superstitions not to wash hair, sweep the floor, wear head to toe red clothing, and not arguing on the third day of the new year. Their favorite memories were seeing the Dragon dancers in the Chinatown parade, getting red envelopes, and eating a feast with their family. 

Congratulations to Long Dang, who won a $100 red envelope.

Our weekly Friday mixers are open to everyone, but only members who register for the weekly mixers through the calendar entry on the AABANY website have a chance at winning a prize. Thank you to the In-House Counsel Committee for co-sponsoring this week’s mixer prize.

Please join us this week in the Remo room, for smaller group breakouts on February 19, 2021. To register for this week’s mixer, please sign up online by February 18 at https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1468895.

Common Threads of Justice: Get to Know Hon. Peter Tom

The Historical Society of the New York Courts continues its month-long celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month with its 2017 film Get to Know: Hon. Peter Tom. At the time of the interview, Justice Tom served as the Acting Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department.
 
The now-retired Justice Tom speaks of his upbringing in Hong Kong, and how his early years in the United States brought him to an interest in the law. He traces his judicial career from Housing Court Judge to Appellate Division Justice. He also discusses the importance of boxing in his life. The film comes full circle in Justice Tom’s reflections on the American dream.

Celebrating API Heritage Month Virtual Town Hall: Learn About City Resources

The New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, NYC Census 2020, and the Queens Borough President’s Office are hosting an API Heritage Month Virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, May 5 at 3:00pm.

The month of May serves as Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, and is a time where we recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. As a City, we recognize the need to share resources with API communities, and to create a feedback loop to better understand how the City can be of more support during this time.

This virtual town hall will give attendees an opportunity to get updates on initiatives and work being led by New York City Commission on Human Rights, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, the Department of Consumer & Worker Protection, the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, NYC Census 2020, and the Queens Borough President’s Office. As you hear from senior officials within these agencies and offices, this virtual town hall will also be an opportunity for community members to share issues and concerns that are related to the work.

You can attend by clicking:  https://nyccchr.webex.com/nyccchr/onstage/g.php?MTID
=e4a2a9cdac5b70e44f52de8516c942a02, or by calling 1-646-992-2010. If you have the WebEx App, please use meeting number 713-512-170.

If you would like to submit questions ahead of the town hall, please e-mail crb@cchr.nyc.gov directly with subject line ‘API Heritage Town Hall Question’.

AABANY Celebrates 2020 Annual Dinner with More Than 800 Attendees

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, AABANY hosted its 2020 Annual Dinner with the theme “Stronger Together: Unity in Diversity” at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 800 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 60 law firms and corporations.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Hon. Sri Srinivasan, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with the Public Interest Leadership Award.

Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., with the Corporate Leadership Award

Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer, Equinox Holdings, Inc., with the Women’s Leadership Award

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with the Law Firm Diversity Award

To read more about our extraordinary honorees, read the press release here.

This year, Spectrum NY1 News Anchor Vivian Lee served as MC and was joined on stage by Immediate Past President James Cho. 

James presented each of the honorees with special gifts from AABANY. Noting that Alan Tse was considered by his peers to be “The Closer,” James presented him with a bottle of McCallan, a nod to Attorney Harvey Specter from “Suits,” another well-known “Closer.” However, because Alan had to fly back to Chicago, the full-size bottle was replaced with a miniature size, with a ziploc bag that will ensure the bottle gets through security. (We have a feeling that the bottle was consumed well before Alan made it to the airport.)

For Yen Chu, James presented her with a monogrammed workout head towel for her next session at one of Equinox’s many gyms. That is one way to make sure that AABANY is “top of mind” for Yen in the days to come. Finally, for Chief Judge Srinivasan, we figured that as a jurist, he can never have too many robes, so James presented him a wizard’s robe, bearing his name above the Gryffindor crest. Although we doubt we will see Chief Judge Srinivasan wearing that robe on the bench any time soon, we can imagine him donning the robe in chambers, especially on those occasions where he may need to work some judicial wizardry to decide the most difficult cases.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2019 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Grace Cho, Raymond Magsaysay, and Andrew Tran. To read more about the Don H. Liu Scholars, see our press release here.

Congratulations also to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. The Pro Bono Clinic was recognized with the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. NYSBA President Hank Greenberg attended the Annual Dinner to present the award. To read more about the award, see our press release here.

We thank all of the AABANY Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success.

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2020 Annual Dinner and celebrated with us.

Thanks to Corky Lee for the photos in this blog post. More photos to come. Stay tuned!

AABANY Presents: Lunar New Year Celebration and Networking Event at Chase Bank

On January 28, 2020, Margaret Ling, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, hosted and organized the Lunar New Year Celebration and Networking Event at Chase Bank located at 41-22 Bell Bvd, Bayside, New York.

Over 50 attorneys attended the reception. A lovely buffet was served, and entertainment was provided by master paper cutting artist Mr. Hou-Tien Cheng. AABANY’s Real Estate Committee collaborated with the following organizations to present this event: Queens County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee; KALAGNY; Big Apple Abstract Corporation; Chase Bank; and Forchelli, Deegan and Terrana, LLP. Margaret Ling, who is both the Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee and the Co-Chair of the Queens County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee, will continue to organize these joint collaborative bar events in the near future.

We thank everyone that attended and wish everyone a prosperous Lunar New Year!

AABANY Celebrates 30th Birthday at NAPABA Convention

On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, AABANY celebrated its 30th birthday at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, just around the corner from the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, at which the NAPABA Convention was taking place. AABANY members who were attending the Convention came out in force and brought friends from various affiliates from around the country. Over 60 attendees filled a section of one of the event rooms on the second floor. Among the attendees were members who were there at the start of AABANY, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go, Hon. Denny Chin (who served as President from 1992-93) and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin. Past Presidents Vincent Chang, James Chou, and Dwight Yoo also attended, as did current President Brian Song. Membership Director Beatrice Leong organized the celebration; she secured the venue and placed the food order, and she also ordered the cake. The authentic
Texas barbecue fare was a big hit, and the cake came out with sparklers.

Thanks to all our members and friends for coming out to celebrate with us in Austin!

Marking the 30th Anniversary of AABANY’s Founding

Please join us in celebrating AABANY’s founding date on July 28, 1989—30 years ago. On this day, Steve T. Min, as Incorporator, filed a Certificate of Incorporation on behalf of AABANY with the State of New York. Then, on October 20, 1989 AABANY’s incorporation was announced, and attorneys interested in learning about AABANY were invited to an inaugural reception at New York University Law School on November 9, 1989.

We acknowledge with respect and gratitude Tony Cheh, Rockwell Chin, Glenn Ikeda, Yat T. Man, Steve Min, Serene K. Nakano, and many others for their visionary actions in establishing AABANY. Thank you to all of our past and present Presidents, Board Members, Committee Chairs, members, and friends for their continual support in improving 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. Now one of the most prominent and active minority bar associations in New York, AABANY has well over 1,200 members, including practicing attorneys in the private and public sectors, in-house lawyers, judges, professors, and law students.

We thank everyone who is or has been a member of AABANY over the course of the last 30 years, and we invite to join our association everyone who shares AABANY’s mission of advancing Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, South Asians and all diverse and under-represented groups in the legal profession in New York.

We encourage all non-members to take advantage of our vast network of attorneys and judges, our twenty-seven different committees, as well as the numerous CLE opportunities that we offer to our members. Please click here to either renew or sign up as an AABANY member.

AABANY Congratulates Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt

Congratulations to the Honorable Dorothy Chin Brandt, former justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County, who was honored at the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on May 2, 2019.

Justice Chin Brandt made history as the first Asian American female judge and the first elected Asian American public official in New York. She began her legal career as an Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and then as an associate at Shearman & Sterling. She joined the firm Dilworth & Paxson in Washington, D.C. and worked in private practice until her election to Civil Court in 1987. After 30 years of public service on the bench, Justice Chin Brandt retired in 2016.

As AABANY President Brian Song stated: “AABANY congratulates Justice Chin Brandt on being honored at the Queens County DA’s Office’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration,” states AABANY President Brian Song. “During the month of May, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, it is most fitting that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of trailblazers like Justice Chin Brandt who has paved the way for generations of lawyers and judges that have entered the profession and achieved success by following her example.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt.