NAPABA Announcement: NAPABA Community Service Corps Makes History at Unity March

NAPABA is proud to have been an organizational partner for the Unity March this past Saturday [June 25], the first large mobilization of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) on the National Mall that brought people of all backgrounds together who care about advancing socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. Executive Director Priya Purandare was quoted in the Washingtonian for this historic event. We thank our members who attended and volunteered in the summer heat. Your presence contributed to a larger movement, and we are grateful for all you do! If you missed the event or any remarks, a full livestream of the Unity March is available for viewing here.

Community Service Corps | #NAPABAinAction

The mobilization came at the 40th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s murder, a critical turning point for the AAPI community. Chin’s murder, and the fact that his killers faced no jail time, highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for AAPIs within this country’s legal system. The case galvanized the community to action and this led to NAPABA’S founding in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for AAPIs. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

We now stand at another turning point in history with the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities. To take action and harness the power of our membership, we launched the NAPABA Community Service Corps to provide opportunities for NAPABA members to act for impact at the local and national levels. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities include hate crimes assistance and election protection efforts to fill the needs of the community.

NAPABA needs your help to form a national infrastructure of members committed to strengthening our communities. Will you join #NAPABAinAction? Learn more here and sign up on the Volunteer Now tab!

NAPABA Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 40 Years after His Death

NAPABA Community Service Corps works to preserve the memory of Chin

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association commemorates the 40th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American industrial draftsman, was brutally beaten in a racially motivated attack during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment and died as a result of his injuries a few days later. Vincent Chin’s death and his killers’ lenient sentences marked a turning point in Asian Pacific American civil rights advocacy in the United States.

“With the dramatic spike in hate violence perpetrated against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, honoring Vincent Chin serves as a poignant reminder that more still needs to be done to rid our society of xenophobic hate and ensure our community’s voice is heard,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Mr. Chin’s senseless death and subsequent trial underscored the importance of the Asian Pacific American community standing together in the fight against racism and advocating in the courts. We must continue to build on this legacy by continuing to oppose hate and violence in all forms.”

Chin’s murder and the sentences of his killers highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for Asian Pacific Americans within this country’s legal system. Recognizing the need to establish such representation, NAPABA was founded in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

With the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities, the NAPABA Community Service Corps works to provide opportunities for its members to take action for impact locally and nationally. NAPABA is a co-sponsor of the first-ever Unity March on June 25, 2022, an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities to engage in the Unity March and other projects to protect and advocate for civil rights honors the memory of Vincent Chin.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

AABANY’s Membership Committee Hosts Inter-Bar Association Summer Family Day

On June 4, 2022, AABANY’s Membership Committee hosted an Inter-Bar Association Summer Family Day with the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY) and the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY). Over fifty members and their friends and families gathered at the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center in Brooklyn to participate in spirited sports games and enjoy snacks and refreshments. 

Three full courts were available for AABANY, KALAGNY, and SABANY to utilize, as well as many seating areas on the courts, and an upstairs conference room overlooking the courts. With the AC on high, it was a great way to escape the heat and socialize with other members.

The teams kicked off the afternoon of fun with an engaging game of half-court basketball, before some members pivoted to a lively game of volleyball. In both sports, new alliances were formed, and very quickly, the games went from competitive in nature to collaborative and centered in team building for all those involved, even spectators. Following volleyball, a rallying game of dodgeball ensued, before the afternoon wrapped up with prizes and raffles. Throughout the afternoon, AABANY, KALAGNY, and SABANY members also enjoyed sandwiches, chips, and beverages while networking in the upstairs conference room featuring a full-glass wall overlooking the exciting sports games below. What a truly spectacular way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Shoutout to the Membership Committee for organizing such a fun social event and to our sister bar associations KALAGNY and SABANY for co-sponsoring. Make sure to sign up for upcoming AABANY events at aabany.org/events.

AABANY Hosts Private Viewing of “Photographic Justice: A Tribute to Corky Lee”

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, AABANY board members, committee chairs and invitees attended a private viewing of “Photographic Justice: A Tribute to Corky Lee.” The event was well-attended by numerous EDNY judges, community members and elected officials.

“Photographic Justice” pays homage to the life and work of renowned New York City-based photographer Corky Lee, who documented the Asian American movement through the last five decades. The group photography exhibit features a selection of Lee’s works along with that of other Asian American photographers. The term “photographic justice” has been used by Lee to describe his mission to rectify the exclusion of Asian Americans in America’s visual history.


Lee’s last project was to chronicle the effort to combat anti-Asian violence before his passing from COVID-19 in 2021.

A long-time friend of AABANY, Lee was the photographer for AABANY’s Annual Dinner for many years. In 2017, AABANY co-sponsored a photo exhibit by Corky Lee in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. At the event, Lee discussed his experiences as a photojournalist over the years as and his role as the self-proclaimed “Undisputed Unofficial Asian American Photographer Laureate.”

AABANY President William Ng, in his remarks during the reception, read the dedication to Corky from AABANY’s Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Report: “Corky Lee personified the Asian-American movement, and AABANY honors his memory by carrying on his work to combat indifference, injustice and discrimination against Asian Americans.”

This exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM through November 20, at Hon. Charles P. Sifton Gallery of the United States Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York (225 Cadman Plaza East).

Thanks to AABANY board member Chris Kwok for his instrumental role in organizing and making this VIP reception possible.

AABANY Hosts Family Ski Trip at Shawnee Mountain over Presidents’ Day Weekend

AABANY’s 2022 ski trip took place over Presidents’ Day weekend on Sunday, February 20, at Shawnee Mountain.  Carpools left New York City Sunday morning for the hour and a half drive to the Pocono Mountains.  AABANY members, friends, family, and children enjoyed favorable ski conditions at Shawnee on a crisp and sunny winter day.  Skiers met for lunch by the hearth in the Hope Lodge at the base of the mountain.  The ski day concluded with an après-ski dinner at the Gem and Keystone Tavern on the grounds of the historic Shawnee Inn.

Thanks to AABANY President Terry Shen for organizing this family-friendly event, and thanks to everyone for taking part. If you would like to see more family-friendly outings like the ski trip, send us your ideas at main@aabany.org.

In the News: AABANY Joins Push for Adoption of “Unity Map” in New York Redistricting Process

On January 4, 2022, City Limits published an article entitled, “As NY Redistricting Forges Forward, Asian American Groups Push for ‘Unity Map’” detailing an independent coalition’s efforts to establish more equitable districts in the state.

As the redistricting process continues in New York, a coalition of three civil rights legal groups—the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Center for Law and Social Justice, and Latino Justice—seek to combat the fragmentation of minority communities. Altogether forming the Unity Map Coalition, the groups’ proposed “Unity Map” recognizes the rapid growth of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in New York and aims to preserve the political power of communities whose interests have historically been undermined in the redistricting process. 

If adopted by Governor Kathy Hochul, the “Unity Map” would replace drafts developed by the state Independent Redistricting Commission, drafts which have been influenced by the coalition’s input but that have failed to fully address issues relayed by community members. Legal groups, such as AABANY, in addition to pro-democracy groups have signed onto a letter requesting another opportunity from state lawmakers to provide public comment before the governor approves draft maps. 


To read the full article, click here.

Congratulations to AABANY Board Director David S. Sohn on Receiving NAPABA’s 2021 Best Under 40 Award

This December, the Best Under 40 Award will be presented at the 2021 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) Convention in Washington, D.C. to honor outstanding attorneys and organizations that have made an impact within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) community. Every year, NAPABA recognizes talented AAPI attorneys under the age of forty from around the country who have achieved prominence and distinction in their fields of endeavor. Recipients are selected on the basis of two factors: first, demonstrated success and professionalism in the practice of law; and second, a commitment to the AAPI community. Among those being honored will be David Sohn, a Deputy Bureau Chief at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and a valued member of AABANY’s Board of Directors, who has been named  one of NAPABA’s Best Under 40 for 2021.

A prosecutor, father, and husband, David has not only taken an exceptional career path but has also shown a continuous and inspiring dedication to the AAPI community. David has achieved the first criterion of consideration for this award, a demonstrated success and professionalism in the practice of law, in various ways. David attended The George Washington University where he studied international affairs and interned for government agencies throughout his undergraduate career. After graduating from The George Washington University, David went on to receive his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and developed an interest in criminal law after taking the class in law school. Upon graduating, he briefly worked at a law firm that represented plaintiffs in an antitrust case. With the help of AABANY’s network, David later joined the Kings County District Attorney’s Office where he enjoys the process of finding out the truth and representing the interests of all constituents. As a prosecutor, David is able to find a sense of achieving justice for everyone which includes the defendants and the community and not just the victims. 

David has exemplified the second criterion for the award by demonstrating a commitment to the AAPI community through his leadership and passion outside of his professional pursuits. Since joining AABANY, David has become a dedicated driver of meaningful participation of AAPIs in the legal profession.  Over the years, he has held multiple leadership positions at the committee and board level. David joined AABANY where he planned many social events to facilitate networking and followed this trend at KALAGNY where he worked with and later led the gala-planning committee. David is vocal about the need for more government attorneys in the AAPI community. AAPI attorneys are prominent at entry-level positions but there is a need for more representation at supervisory levels. As Regional Governor at NAPABA, David has actively advocated for making the convention more affordable for government attorneys. 

David attributes much of his success to the mentors and people he has met along his journey. Early in his career, David adopted a “work hard” mentality. He eventually realized the importance of networking and asking for advice. David always aspired to work as a prosecutor but never received a response until he began to network through AABANY. When asked what advice he has for aspiring lawyers, David said his best recommendations are to listen to people’s successes, but more importantly, listen to people who share their failures. David provided an anecdote about how he got dropped after a round of interviews for jobs after his 3L year of law school, but remained positive. He states, “Be positive, work your ass off, don’t complain.” David strongly encourages law students and young attorneys to join bar associations like AABANY and to become active members of the legal community.  

Outside of his career, David and his family love to travel. His favorite places to visit are Seoul and Paris. David tends to go to Korea every year to see family and also enjoys going to the beaches on Jeju Island.

AABANY congratulates David on receiving NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award. The Best Under 40 Award reception will be on December 9th at the 2021 NAPABA Convention. The award will be presented during NAPABA’s 33rd Anniversary Gala on December 11. 

Congratulations to AABANY President-Elect William Ng on Receiving NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) will be holding their Annual Convention this December in Washington, D.C. Among those being honored by NAPABA with their 2021 Best Under 40 Award will be William Ng, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C. and the President-Elect of AABANY. Every year NAPABA selects a group of talented young Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) attorneys who are under the age of 40 from across the United States. Recipients of the award are judged on two factors: first, excellence and professionalism in the field of law and second, a commitment to impacting the AAPI community for the better. Will has demonstrated both throughout his illustrious career. 

Will has fulfilled the first criteria of the award by demonstrating excellence in the legal profession in a variety of ways. After graduating from St. John’s University School of Law, Will began his career by working for the New York City Law Department’s Tort Division where he represented numerous city agencies including the police and fire departments in personal injury and civil rights cases. Will then transferred to the Labor and Employment Law Division, which provided him invaluable federal court litigation experience defending the City of New York, one of the largest public employers in the nation. In his current practice at Littler, Will focuses on defending private and public employers in employment litigation matters as well as wage and hour class actions. In addition to his litigation practice, Will regularly counsels employers on their workplace policies and practices for compliance with federal, state and local employment laws.

Will has fulfilled the second criteria of the award through his work in AABANY as well as working to help AAPI-owned companies in the hospitality, financial services, health care, retail, real estate, and transportation industries at Littler. Furthermore, Will has continued to drive AABANY’s mission and has held numerous leadership positions for the past 10 years within AABANY including founding the Labor and Employment Law Committee and serving as Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers, Government and Public Sector (now Government Service and Public Interest), and Student Outreach Committees. 

Will’s drive for professional excellence as well as support of meaningful participation by the AAPI community stems from his parents who owned a local business. As a native New Yorker, Will has been around local business owners throughout his life. Will saw the hardships that minority-owned businesses faced and believed that the best way he could contribute to the AAPI community was to give back through his work with AABANY and other nonprofit organizations. He is proud to represent a large number of AAPI local businesses as part of his regular practice. Most recently Will, as a panel member of AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service, has defended Chinatown businesses that have been sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These lawsuits have targeted landlords and small business owners in Chinatown and have the potential to shut down these local businesses. Will is committed to helping these merchants and property owners defend against these ADA lawsuits while also providing advice on how to comply with various laws and regulations.

When asked what advice he has for aspiring lawyers, Will responded that they should focus on the potential areas of law that might fit their interests and strengths but they should also take opportunities to meet people and learn about their work in industries and fields “that might not be in [their] comfort zone.” Will also highly recommends getting involved in organizations such as AABANY which he describes as an “umbrella group that is home to so many different people from all walks of life.” Will believes that being part of an organization like AABANY teaches you “how to interact with different people at different stages of their career.”

The BU40 Award will be presented on December 11 during the Gala Dinner at the NAPABA Convention. Please join AABANY in congratulating Will on this well-deserved honor and recognition.

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee’s Pro Bono Clinics Serve Numerous Community Members in September and October

AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee would like to thank everyone who attended the second and third hybrid Manhattan pro bono clinics in September and October, as well as the soft opening of the Queens pro bono clinic this past Saturday, Oct. 30. The three clinics assisted a total of fifty-five (55) clients, who sought advice on a range of topics, including housing law, immigration, elder law, loans and contracts, marriage and divorce, estates law and drafting of wills and powers of attorney, discrimination, 9/11 compensation, and fraud. PBCS and AABANY are grateful to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for co-sponsoring and hosting these clinics. 

The clinics for the past two months could not have happened without the gracious help of many AABANY members and committees. During the September pro bono clinic, in collaboration with AABANY’s Bankruptcy Committee, PBCS provided a “Know Your Rights” presentation on the topic of bankruptcy and consumer debt. During the October clinics, Rina Gurung and Kevin Hsi, two of the three co-chairs of AABANY’s Government Service and Public Interest Committee, and Zhixian (Jessie) Liu, a co-chair of AABANY’s Immigration Committee, helped PBCS out by volunteering to see clients for one-on-one informational consultations. Thanks to AABANY’s Committees for their camaraderie!

At the pro bono clinics, PBCS volunteers use quick issue-spotting skills to help members of the AAPI community and those with limited English proficiency know what their rights are. For instance, while answering housing questions, a volunteer discovered that a 70-year-old couple living at a rent-stabilized apartment was eligible for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exception (SCRIE). SCRIE is a program that allows qualified tenants to have their rent frozen at their current level and be exempt from future rent increases. This is crucial since most seniors depend on their fixed income. If their rent goes up, qualified SCRIE tenants do not have to pay the higher rent, as the City will pay the landlord the difference between the current rent and the future rent. The 70-year-old couple who came into the PBCS clinic will receive assistance from AAFE to apply for SCRIE. 

In order to be eligible for SCRIE, an applicant must be 62 years or older, have less than $50,000 in household income, spend more than 1/3 of monthly income on rent, and reside in a NYC rent-stabilized apartment, rent-controlled apartment, rent-regulated hotel or single room occupancy unit, Mitchell-Lama development, Limited Dividend Housing Company development, Redevelopment Company development, or Housing Development Fund Company development. Senior citizens who own homes, condominiums or private non-government supervised co-ops may also be eligible for SCRIE. To learn more about SCRIE, see https://access.nyc.gov/programs/senior-citizens-rent-increase-exemption-%E2%80%8Bscrie/.

To learn more about the PBCS Committee and its work, click here and here. The next hybrid legal clinics will take place on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at AAFE, 2 Allen Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10002; and Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at CCBA, 62 Mott Street (2nd Floor), New York, NY 10013. For up-to-date details about the clinic and other events, please check PBCS’s event calendar.

And as always, we are always looking for volunteers to help us out! 

To volunteer at CCBA’s Clinics – https://airtable.com/shrQFecVpU1u5ltAy

To volunteer at AAFE’s Clinics – https://airtable.com/shrtPeVTibQA9qNgD   

AABANY thanks the following September 18, 2021 Manhattan CCBA Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Asako Aiba*
Chao Yung (Kloe) Chiu
Megan Gao
Chenxin (Sarah) Li
Eugene Kim
Jason Kuo
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee
Karen Lin
Erxian (Estelle) Lu*
Jayashree Mitra
Kensing Ng*
Kwok Ng
Grace Pan
Anthony Park*
S. Yan Sin
Tina Song
May Wong
Courina Youlisa*
Serena Zou^

AABANY thanks the following October 16, 2021 Manhattan CCBA Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Xuanyou (Alicia) ChenLuna Fu^
Francis Chin
Yoonhee Kim*
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee*
Karen Lin
Zhixian Liu
Erxian (Estelle) Lu^*
Megan Gao
Kwok Ng
Kendall Park^*
S. Yan Sin
Johnny Thach
Annie Tsao
Bill Yang^*
Teresa Wai Yee Yeung^
May Wong
Meng Zhang*

AABANY thanks the following October 30, 2021 Queens Clinic Volunteers:

AABANY  AAFE
Esther Choi^Lilian Cheung
Megan GaoLuna Fu
Rina GurungGabriel Hisugan
Kevin Hsi
Eugene Kim
Kendall Park^*
Rachel Ji-Young Yoo*
May Wong

^Non-attorney volunteers

*Remote volunteers