AABANY Hosts Annual Judges’ Reception in Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

On Monday, May 24, 2022, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee hosted its annual Judges’ Reception to honor newly inducted and elevated and retiring judges in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We are pleased that this year’s event could be held in person, as last year’s event was via Zoom. The event was held at the Surrogate’s Courthouse, 31 Chambers Street, in downtown Manhattan. 

The honorees recognized at the event were individuals who represent the significant strides that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have achieved, in the ongoing effort to increase diversity in our leading institutions. The following judges were honored: 

  • Hon. Giyang An
  • Hon. Margaret Chan
  • Hon. Christopher Chin
  • Hon. Phyllis Chu
  • Hon. Vanessa Fang
  • Hon. Karen Gopee
  • Hon. Simiyon Haniff
  • Hon. Judy Kim
  • Hon. Biju Koshy
  • Hon. Andrea Ogle
  • Hon. Vidya Pappachan
  • Hon. Kim Parker
  • Hon. Raja Rajeswari
  • Hon. Omer Shahid
  • Hon. Soma Syed
  • Hon. Lillian Wan
  • Hon. Frances Wang

We are proud to celebrate these AAPI trailblazers in the judiciary. AAPIs remain significantly under-represented in New York courts. According to Secretary Johnson’s Report on New York Courts, 14% of New York City’s population is Asian but only 6% of judges are Asian. In light of current events and the rise in anti-Asian violence, AAPI representation on the bench is more important than ever. AABANY thanks the honorees for their pioneering example.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this event and the Judiciary Committee for organizing. To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee and its work, click here.

AABANY Celebrates 2022 Annual Dinner with 800+ Attendees

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, AABANY hosted its 2022 Annual Dinner with the theme “Forging a New Path to an Equitable Future” at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 800 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 50 law firms and corporations.

AABANY was proud to honor:

  • Flora W. Feng, Senior Legal Director, Global Intellectual Property, PepsiCo with AABANY’s Corporate Leadership Award 
  • Emily A. Kim, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zeta Charter Schools with AABANY’s Women’s Leadership Award

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

We were joined by New York Governor Kathy Hochul who delivered remarks on the strength of the AAPI community and the importance of coming together to effectuate change. 

This year, Actress/Comedian/Activist Kate Siahaan-Rigg served as MC. She was our MC last year during our Virtual Gala, and this was her first time serving as our live MC at the Annual Dinner. Thank you, Kate, for raising awareness on “representASIAN” while adding color and fun to the ceremony! 

We were proud to honor Allen & Overy with the Law Firm Diversity Award for its commitment to improving diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. To read more about the award, read the press release here. 

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2022 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Seung Hye Yan, Edward Jung, and Brian Liu. Read more about the program here.

We extend sincere thanks to everyone who helped us raise over $30,000 for AABANY-AALFNY’s Turn  the Tide (T3) Project to fight anti-Asian hate and violence. We thank Mayer Brown for challenging the audience to match its initial donation of $10,000. Over the course of the evening, attendees tripled the match! We thank MC Kate Siahaan-Rigg for her endless humor and compassion in helping us exceed our fundraising goal. To learn more about the T3 Project see https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.aabany.org/resource/resmgr/2021aav/Turning_the_Tide_v5_compress.pdf

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 thank all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian American and Pacific Islander legal community and the communities we serve. Our sponsors support AABANY’s many activities and signature events throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2022 Annual Dinner and celebrated with us. We were happy to see you all in person after two years of quarantine, social distancing and endless Zoom meetings.

More photos to come. Stay tuned! 

AABANY Celebrates Founders’ Day with Gov. Hochul

On October 28, 2021, AABANY’s Membership Committee, together with the Career Placement Committee and IP Committee, hosted the first annual Founders’ Day at Broadridge’s New York office in midtown Manhattan. Surrounded by dramatic views of the New York skyline, the event celebrated AABANY’s thirty-second year as an association serving AAPI legal professionals and the AAPI community. This celebration honors the founders who helped form AABANY in 1989. Hon. Doris Ling Cohan, Hon. Marilyn Go, Sylvia Chin and Rocky Chin joined the party as honorees. Approximately 50 members and friends gathered together to connect and re-connect over food and drinks. President Terry Shen was joined by many Board members and Committee Chairs for the occasion. Towards the end of the party, the Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, made a special appearance and gave remarks commending the achievements of AABANY over the past three decades, including fighting Asian hate and serving the AAPI community. As the first female Governor of New York state, she encouraged more women to enter public service. 

We hope to establish Founders’ Day as an annual event. Thanks to Governor Hochul, the Founders, and the AABANY leadership for attending and making this first Founders’ Day a memorable one. Thanks also to AABANY’s Diamond Sponsor, Broadridge, for making this event possible at their beautiful space. To see more photos of the event, go to: https://photos.app.goo.gl/CmBvkiEJTY7TeSLYA

The Membership Committee’s next big event is a Night at the Opera to see “Turandot” at the Met. Please register now: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1564041. Tickets are going fast.

AABANY Co-Sponsors New York County Lawyers Association’s AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on June 2

On June 2, 2021, AABANY co-sponsored New York County Lawyers Association’s (NYCLA’s) AAPI Heritage Month Celebration. The event was hosted by NYCLA’s Asian Practice Committee which AABANY Board Member Margaret Ling co-chairs. Congresswoman Grace Meng was awarded the 2021 NYCLA AAPI Trailblazer Award for all of her civic duty to the AAPI Community. In her keynote speech, she stressed how important it was for all of us to continue to work together and educate others about anti-Asian hate and racism. Attendees applauded the Congresswoman for her dedication and hard work in co-authoring the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and securing its passage. Those in attendance also applauded the installation of Vincent Chang, the first AAPI President of NYCLA. He vowed to continue to uphold NYCLA’s focus on sustaining the rule of law including the importance of practicing diversity, equity and inclusion in furtherance of fairness and justice for all.

Congratulations to Congresswoman Meng on her award, and we wish Vince much success during his tenure as NYCLA President.

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!