Congratulations to AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau for Receiving NAPABA’s 2020 Pro Bono Award

On September 3rd, 2020 the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) announced their 2020 award winners which included Karen Kithan Yau, Of Counsel at Kakalec Law LLP and the Pro Bono and Community Service (“PBCS”) Committee Co-Chair of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”). AABANY is thrilled to have our PBCS Co-Chair recognized for her dedication and service to the community. “I am humbled to receive this honor. I could not have accomplished all that I have but for my incredible colleagues of the PBCS Committee, who are gifted lawyers dedicated to the community good,” Karen said.

Karen was recruited to co-chair the PBCS Committee in 2017 and led AABANY members in the Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (“the Clinic”), the PBCS Committee’s signature and ambitious project, which began two years earlier. The Clinic continues to leverage the linguistic and cultural competence available through AABANY’s diverse membership to help the large and diverse but underserved Asian American Pacific Islanders (“AAPI”) community in New York. 

Karen’s leadership and compassion have allowed the Clinic to thrive, including in its current state as a remote clinic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the Clinic deployed 161 volunteers to serve 418 pro bono clients between 2018 and 2019, which represents a 700% growth from its inception in 2015, in 13 languages besides English. At the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner, the Clinic received the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. “The Clinic’s success was due in no small part to Karen’s deep commitment to serving the public, amplified by vision, leadership and setting a high standard for others to follow,” said AABANY’s Executive Director Yang Chen. Since July when the remote version of the Clinic launched, close to 200 clients have received assistance. 

Karen joined Kakalec Law, an employment and civil rights law firm, after amassing legal, teaching, and professional experience in the public service, not-for-profit and private sectors, and leading legal institutions. Her decades of experience in diverse contexts have been essential to the success of both the Clinic and the Committee. 

Among her responsibilities as the PBCS Committee Co-Chair, Karen has led fundraising efforts to bring in much needed funding to augment the limited available funds from AABANY’s general budget. Karen has also participated in the clinic as a volunteer attorney, taking on several clinic consultations a week regarding employment issues. Moreover, Karen dedicated time to bring on law student Jenna Agatep, from her alma mater Northeastern University School of Law, to help with Committee projects and assist Ms. Agatep with her scholarship application for the Asian American Law Fund of New York to support her work in the Clinic.

The NAPABA Pro Bono Award recognizes an attorney or a team of attorneys for outstanding achievements in pro bono service that (1) involved impact litigation to advance or protect civil rights or (2) provided direct legal services to individuals in the furtherance of the administration of justice. The subject matter and difficulty of the case(s) or matter(s) and time expended are factors considered in selecting the award recipient.

Through her exemplary leadership at AABANY as a co-chair of the PBCS Committee and a leader of the highly impactful Clinic, Karen has gone above and beyond the criteria of this award. Her profound contributions will continue to be felt as she brings much-needed, quality legal service to the underserved in the AAPI community.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Karen Yau on her well-deserved honor. Karen will be presented with the Pro Bono Award at NAPABA’s virtual awards ceremony held in December for all of the Awards recipients. To honor Karen, NAPABA made an award video highlighting her achievements and it will be distributed on NAPABA social media channels. To view the video, please visit the link below:

Stand With Us and Support the Pro Bono Clinic on GivingTuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

GivingTuesday is being held this year on December 3. It is a global movement that began in 2012, and the idea behind it is simple: Do good and help transform your community with your generosity. During this holiday season, we ask that you support our Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic, a project of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY).

The Pro Bono Clinic began in December 2015 and has since served thousands of low-income clients facing various legal hardships. The Clinic has been held in Manhattan’s Chinatown on the second Wednesday of each month since that time. The success of our Clinics in Manhattan has led to an expansion into Brooklyn, which started this fall on a bimonthly basis. We work with local elected officials and community organizations to reach Brooklyn’s Asian American community and draw upon the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s active and diverse membership to serve them. Clients have been coming not only from the five boroughs but from as far as Yonkers, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Our Clinics provide high-quality legal services that are culturally sensitive and linguistically competent. Language and culture pose serious barriers for low-income Asian American community members to receive reliable legal advice. Our Clinics help community members overcome these barriers and seek to widen their access to justice. The Clinics now include mental health professionals and benefits counselors to help community members with their non-legal problems.

Hundreds of volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours for the Pro Bono Clinics. Month after month, they freely donate their time, expertise and legal knowledge to help community members who otherwise would not get the help they need.

Our Pro Bono Clinics can only continue to operate with the generosity of our donors. In September, we announced our goal to raise $25,000 to support the Clinic’s growing operations. We ask that you stand with us and support this vital project. Help us not only to reach our goal of raising $25,000 — through your donations on GivingTuesday – but exceed it! Your donations will support our ongoing expansion efforts and pay for much needed administrative support and supplies.

To make it easier for our members and our community to donate to the Pro Bono Clinic, you can text APAPROBONO to 44321 on your phone. That will send you to our Give Lively page, and you can follow the simple instructions there to make your contribution. You can also donate via the AALFNY website at https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ (make sure to indicate that you are donating to the Clinic). Any amount, large or small, will go a long way towards helping us meet our $25,000 goal.

With our best wishes to you all during this holiday season,

Karen Kithan Yau
Pauline Yeung-Ha
Judy Ming Chu Lee
Asako Aiba
Co-Chairs, AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service Committee

A copy of AALFNY’s latest annual report may be obtained from AALFNY at  donations@AsianAmericanLawFund.org or from the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website www.charitiesnys.com. Information may also be obtained from the NYS Attorney General at 212-416-8686.

Thank you to our January Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

January’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, January 9 at 3 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 16 lawyers and 6 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 34 clients.

We are asking every member to actively support AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic by making donations that are vital to its continuing operation. In a few short years, with the tireless and generous assistance of our volunteers, we have helped hundreds of low-income clients with free legal advice and referrals to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically competent legal services. Together we have helped expand access to justice for underserved Asian American New Yorkers.

If you know family members, friends, or businesses, such as your firm, who would like to support the Clinic, please help us connect with them by contacting Karen Yau at karen.yau@aabany.org.

Or please urge them to make a donation directly. They can visit the website of Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY), AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate: https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ AALFNY is accepting charitable donations on the Clinic’s behalf and can issue any donor a tax receipt. Any contribution, large or small, would help. Please be sure to indicate in the memo field that the donation is intended for the Pro Bono Clinic.

Thank you to all of the January Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Lawyers:

  • Gaye L. Chun
  • Jennie Kim
  • Eun Hye (Grace) Lee
  • Kwok Kei Ng
  • Thomas Hou
  • Francis Chin
  • Alexandra Lee
  • Poonam Gupta
  • Amanda Bernardo
  • Susan Thorn
  • Zhixian Liu
  • Suehyan Cho-O’Leary
  • David Lu
  • Pauline Yeung-Ha
  • Karen Kithan Yau
  • Judy (Ming Chu) Lee

Interpreters:

  • Alva Lin
  • Weiling Huang
  • Derek Ting-Che Tai
  • Teresa Wai Yee Yeung
  • Satoshi Kurita
  • Wenxin Natalie Lu

Special thanks to Johnny Thach for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu Lee, and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on February 13, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Thank you to our November Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

image

November’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, November 14 at 3 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 13 lawyers and 9 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 29 clients:

Lawyers:

  • Christopher Chin
  • Sylvia Chin
  • Gaye L. Chun
  • Kelly Diep
  • Jonathan Hernandez
  • Mihea Kim
  • Beatrice Leong
  • Zhixian Liu
  • David Lu
  • Kwok Kei Ng
  • Annie Tsao
  • John Wu
  • Jessie Xian

Interpreters:

  • Satoshi Kurita
  • Derek Ting-Che Tai
  • Weiling Huang
  • Emily Xianxiao Li
  • Haoyi Deng
  • Vicky Qiuyan Zhao
  • Jessica Wang
  • Teresa Wai Yee Yeung
  • Eric W. Dang

Special thanks to Johnny Thach and Roger Chen for coordinating the clinic, Social Worker Ann Hsu, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu Lee, and Asako Aiba for their leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on December 12, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Thank you to our October Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

image

October’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic, held on Wednesday, October 10 at 3 Bowery Street in Confucius Plaza, brought out 17 lawyers and 6 interpreters who volunteered their time to help 51 clients:

Lawyers:

  • Zhixian Liu
  • Wei Li
  • Sylvia Chin
  • Sonya Chung
  • Rachel Yoo
  • May Kay Wong
  • Lord Chester So
  • Kwok Kei Ng
  • Kevin Hsi
  • Kelly Diep
  • Francis Chin 
  • David Lu
  • Conlyn Chan
  • Christopher Chin
  • Chris M. Kwok 
  • Annie Tsao
  • Jiayun Zhang 

Interpreters:

  • Alva Lin
  • Xianxiao (Emily) Li
  • Wen Zhang
  • Wei Ling Huang 
  • Rachel Chen 
  • Emily Li 

Special thanks to Roger Chen and Johnny Thach for coordinating the clinic, and the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Pauline Yeung, Karen Kithan Yau, Ming Chu Lee, and Asako Aiba for their leadership. 

If you are interested in volunteering at next month’s Pro Bono Clinic on November 14, please contact Asako Aiba at asako.aiba@aabany.org. AABANY’s Monthly Pro Bono Clinic occurs every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. 

Post-Sandy Recovery Efforts – Volunteers Needed For Friday’s Pro Bono Clinic

From KALAGNY:

We know this has been a difficult time for many of you. We hope you and your family are safe and are recovering post Sandy.

KALAGNY invites volunteer attorneys to make a difference in the lives of those adversely affected by Sandy.  Along with other social service providers, we will hold a pro bono “clinic” this Friday, November 9, 2012, from 1-6 p.m. at the Korean American Association of Greater New York (149 West 24th Street, 6th Fl. in Manhattan) (map). No specialized legal experience is necessary. A training session and lunch will be served at noon at the same location prior to the clinic.

At the clinic, KALAGNY and its partner organizations will provide legal support to individuals and businesses that may be facing homelessness, unemployment, medical exigencies, business interruption, or a combination of the foregoing. We are seeking 1-2 bilingual (i.e., Korean) volunteers for an information table at the Clinic.  Please e-mail kalagny@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering by Wednesday November 7, 2012.