AABANY Holds its 2024 Annual Meeting of Members at King & Spalding on February 13

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members at King & Spalding. President Karen Kim called the meeting to order and established quorum. The main order of business was conducting the election for the 2025 Board of Directors and Officers and voting on a proposed revision to the bylaws to set term limits for certain Committee Chairs.

Treasurer Jasmine Ball gave the Treasurer’s Report, sharing information about AABANY’s financial performance through September 30, 2023. Membership Committee Co-Chair Ashley Shan presented the Membership Director’s Report in place of Membership Director Christopher Bae, who was not able to attend.

President Karen Kim presented the Annual Report of the Board, summarizing the major activities of AABANY during the past year, and thanked the Board members for their service during the past year.

Executive Director Yang Chen presented highlights of Committee activities. Following the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY during the 2024 fiscal year.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: Student Outreach Committee

The Committee of the Year Award was given to the Student Outreach Committee for their dedication and commitment to advancing the mission of AABANY and providing enriching programming and activities that benefits not only law students but AABANY’s membership and community as a whole.

Program of the Year: Winter Soiree 2024

The Program of the Year Award was given to the Winter Soiree. Held on January 25th, 2024, the In-House and Corporate Law Committees led the biggest and best Soiree to date for AABANY, successfully bringing together in-house counsel, law firm attorneys, AABANY Board members, Committee Chairs, and a record number of sponsors for this marquee event.

Member of the Year: William Lee

The Member of the Year Award was presented to William Lee for his commitment to serving the AABANY Student Outreach Committee, his steadfast leadership and mentorship, and his contribution to the advancement of AABANY’s mission, programs, and activities over the years.

Student of the Year: Joon Choe

The Student of the Year Award is new and was presented for the first time to Joon Choe, Fordham Law School, class of 2025, for giving his time to advancing AABANY’s mission, programs, and activities through his constant and trustworthy volunteer service.

Honorable Mentions: Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee

An honorable mention was presented to the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee for their pro bono clinics in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn that continue to serve an under-represented and under-resourced population, and for providing AABANY’s members with the opportunity to volunteer and support New York’s AAPI and immigrant communities.

An honorable mention was also presented to the Solo and Small Firm Committee for their unique and innovative programs and events that have benefited and enhanced the lives and experiences of AABANY members in solo and small firm practice.

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2024 fiscal year.

After the presentation of awards, Karen announced the election results. The following officers were elected to serve a one-year term for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2024 and ending March 31, 2025 (the “2025 Fiscal Year”):

Benjamin Hsing

President-Elect

Jeffrey Mok

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Ashley Shan

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Jasmine Ball

Treasurer

David Mou

Secretary

Alysha Naik

Membership Director

Varuna Bhattacharyya

Development Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms beginning on the first day of the 2025 Fiscal Year:

Christopher Bae
Vishal Chander
Grace Fu
William Hao
Gigio Ninan
Lawrence Wee
Jennifer Wu
Kevin Yam
Dwight Yoo

At the meeting, the following proposal was voted on: To amend AABANY’s by-laws to establish term limits for certain Committee Chairs by setting a four (4) year term limit for Committee Chairs, excluding Chairs of any Standing Committees, taking effect on the first day of the 2025 Fiscal Year.

This amendment was passed.

We thank everyone who attended the Annual Meeting and everyone who voted, whether by proxy or in person. Congratulations to all the newly-elected Officers and Directors.

Special thank you goes out to AABANY President-Elect Joseph Eng and the wonderful staff at King & Spalding for hosting AABANY’s 2024 Annual Meeting.

NAPABA Applauds the Historic Confirmations of Micah W.J. Smith and Shanlyn A.S. Park to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii


For Immediate Release:
 
Date: November 30, 2023 
ContactRahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director for Policy 

WASHINGTON – On November 29, 2023, the United States Senate confirmed Micah W.J. Smith and, on November 30, 2023, Shanlyn A.S. Park to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Mr. Smith was confirmed for a vacancy opening on January 30, 2024, and Judge Park was confirmed for opening on October 9, 2024.

“NAPABA congratulates Micah Smith and Judge Shanlyn Park on their confirmations to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii,” said Anna Mercado Clark, President of NAPABA. “Judge Park becomes the first Native Hawaiian woman to serve as an Article III judge, and upon the swearing-in of Mr. Smith next year, it will be the first time in history where all the Article III judges on a U.S. District Court are AANHPI.”

“President Biden continues to extend his record of judges from the AANHPI community,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “Today, President Biden has appointed 28 AANHPI Article III judges that the U.S. Senate has confirmed. We thank President Biden for nominating Mr. Smith and Judge Park, and Senator Hirono and Senator Schatz for recommending them.”

Micah W. J. Smith, a graduate of Kauai High School, is an Assistant United States Attorney, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Criminal Civil Rights Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii. He has also been the office’s Chief of Appeals and Legal Strategy since 2022. Previously, Mr. Smith served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 2012 to 2018. Earlier in his career, he was an associate and counsel at O’Melveny & Myers. Mr. Smith served as a law clerk for Justice David H. Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania.

Judge Shanlyn Park, a graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy, has been a state court judge on the First Circuit Court on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, since 2021. Previously, Judge Park worked from 2017 to 2021 at the Honolulu law firms McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, L.L.P., and Gallagher Kane Amai & Reyes. From 1997 to 2017, Judge Park served as an assistant federal public defender in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Hawaiʻi. Prior to her service in that office, Judge Park was in private practice at Hisaka Stone & Goto from 1996 to 1997. She served as a law clerk for Judge Francis I. Yamashita, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Hawaiʻi from 1995 to 1996. Judge Park received her J.D. from the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law in 1995 and her B.A., cum laude, from Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1991.

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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 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 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.

Congratulations to the Law Firm of Hugh H. Mo, P.C. for Receiving NAPABA’s APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award

The Law Firm of Hugh H. Mo, P.C (Mo Law Firm). is being recognized as APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). This award is presented annually to an acclaimed law firm that has demonstrated a strong commitment to advocating for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, while simultaneously upholding the highest ethical and legal standards within the field. This well-deserved recognition not only acknowledges the Firm’s outstanding legal work, but also its staunch commitment to Pro Bono representation of AAPI crime survivors and those facing race-based discrimination. The Mo Law Firm was presented with the award during the Saturday evening Gala at the NAPABA Convention in Indianapolis, on November 11.

The Mo Law Firm, headquartered in New York City, is set apart by its distinguished father-daughter team among its legal staff. As founder and partner, long-time AABANY member Hugh H. Mo, and counsel, Elizabeth L. Mo, were both former prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Their careers embody the American dream and the immigrant ethos of upholding tradition while pursuing professional success. 

The son of one of China’s first female journalists and a law professor killed by the communists for his democratic beliefs, Hugh H. Mo immigrated to America at the age of nine. Growing up in NYC’s Chinatown, Mo witnessed firsthand the discrimination and oppression that the Chinese American community faced. After receiving his J.D. from Boston University School of Law, Hugh was ready to make his mark on the legal landscape of New York. He was the first Asian American appointed as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan DA’s Office, and was also the first Asian American appointed as Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Police Department.

Continuing the legacy of her family’s dedication to the law, Elizabeth L. Mo embarked on her own remarkable journey. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she became an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and served in both the Trial and Investigations Divisions. Her unwavering commitment to justice and her passion for advocating on behalf of the marginalized mirrors her father’s dedication. Today, this dynamic father-daughter duo collaborate and combine their wealth of experience and shared values in their pursuit of legal excellence and justice.

When asked about their initial reaction to receiving this prestigious award, both Hugh and Elizabeth expressed their deep gratitude towards AABANY and NABAPA. “Essentially, this recognition stands as a lifetime achievement award, not just for our Firm, but for both Liz and me, acknowledging our unwavering commitment as Asian American lawyers,” remarked Hugh, contemplating his distinguished career. Elizabeth echoed her father’s sentiments, adding: “We are so thankful to AABANY and NAPABA for supporting our careers and our Firm. Only in America could a firm like ours exist and prosper, and this recognition also serves as tribute to all of those that have come before us and people who we hope to inspire.”

With a combined 60 plus years of trial and investigation experiences, the Mo Law Firm has achieved remarkable success for its primarily Chinese clients. However, for this unique firm, legal representation goes beyond the courtroom. The Firm’s mission is tri-fold: vigorously advocating for their clients, mentoring AAPIs and championing the AAPI community’s causes. The firm represents a variety of corporate entities, foreign entrepreneurs, emerging start-ups, and governmental organizations, and individuals, domestic and overseas, delivering innovative legal advice and strategic counsel and problem solving in a variety of practice areas, including federal and state litigation, white collar criminal defense, commercial litigation, compliance and regulatory, business and tax matters.

Beyond that, the firm engages in extensive Pro Bono work, giving back to the community. “A lot of people think of Pro Bono as volunteer work, or being part of an overall effort to do good. I think that as an attorney, Pro Bono should be very much part of an attorney’s practice, career, as well as dedication,” firmly stated Hugh, who has dedicated his life to public service. Adding onto her father’s beliefs, Elizabeth portrayed Pro Bono as an endeavor that should not be marked by ability, but by obligation. “It is not about the ‘we can’s’ or ‘we should’s,’ but rather, by the fact that we must give back to the community,” she stated fervently. 

Elizabeth expanded on the interplay between her Asian American identity and her legal work. “As Asian Americans, we have a very unique cultural and language competency that not everyone has. It’s like being a unicorn— our firm is truly a unicorn in this industry. We would like to dedicate our skills and competencies to Pro Bono resources.” The Mo Law Firm has provided legal representation to victims of Asian hate crimes, individuals targeted by scams, students and healthcare professionals facing discrimination. Additionally, they have advocated for AAPI interests in unprecedented legal challenges, exemplifying their commitment to justice and community advancement over 30 years of legal practice. 

Speaking about memorable Pro Bono cases, Hugh shared an instance where he helped an Asian American high school student suffering from school bullying because of his racial identity navigate unjust felony and misdemeanor charges for making alleged terrorist threats on social media against his tormentors. After a back and forth battle with the District Attorney’s office, Hugh was able to secure a non-criminal disposition for the young man, allowing him to continue his education unfettered by a criminal record. Years later, Hugh learned that the young man not only graduated from college and law school, but was working as an Assistant District Attorney. The young man’s life journey would not have been possible without Hugh’s zealous advocacy on his behalf. “We as lawyers, if we have the capacity to do so, we should step up and do right every day. Lawyers should use our resources— our trade, our experience, our connections— to do good,” Hugh declared. Recalling the case proudly, Hugh believes that this case truly epitomizes the Mo Law Firm’s dedication to its ethos, the pursuit of justice and unwavering commitment advocating for clients beyond the call of duty. 

The Mo Law Firm’s approach to Pro Bono work goes far beyond legal representation, encompassing a holistic perspective. “To us, Pro Bono is not just about representing victims of hate crimes, but also supporting and mentoring the clients and other attorneys. It’s really so embedded in our firm’s culture that we don’t even think of it as Pro Bono,” Elizabeth explained. During his legal career spanning over four decades, Hugh has co-founded numerous APA civil and community organizations including: the Chinatown Health Clinic (predecessor to the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center), NYPD Asian Jade Society, Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and most recently, the NYPD Asian American Police Executives Council (AAPEX). Most notably, Hugh and Elizabeth have been actively involved and supported AABANY and NAPABA throughout their legal careers, with Hugh serving as a founding member of AABANY and Elizabeth as a former Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee and currently as Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Government Enforcement and Compliance Committee. 

AABANY congratulates Hugh H. Mo and Elizabeth L. Mo for their well-deserved recognition as NAPABA’s APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year. Not only have they demonstrated exceptional legal prowess, their tireless dedication to the principles of justice and equity, especially on behalf of the AAPI community, is a profound testament to their values.

Please join AABANY in congratulating The Law Firm of Hugh H. Mo, PC on this award, along with all the honorees being recognized at the 2023 NAPABA Convention.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Kenly Kiya Kato to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2023
Contact: Rahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director for Policy
WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Kenly Kiya Kato’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Kato on her confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. An experienced jurist, her service as a U.S. Magistrate Judge on that court since 2014 has been exemplary,” said Sandra Leung, President of NAPABA. “Active in the AANHPI community, her commitment to public service and access to justice was shaped by the incarceration of her parents during World War II solely because they were of Japanese descent.”

“Judge Kato is the 26th Article III judge from the AANHPI community that was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. President Biden continues to extend his record of judges from the AANHPI community,” said Priya Purandare, Executive Director of NAPABA. “We thank President Biden for nominating Judge Kato and the late Senator Feinstein and Senator Padilla for recommending her.”

Prior to Judge Kato’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court, she served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Earlier in her career, she maintained a private practice and was a deputy federal public defender. Judge Kato was a law clerk to the late Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and Harvard Law School.
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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 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 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.

Beatrice Leong Honored with NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award

In recognition of her legal prowess, dedication to service, and entrepreneurial spirit, Beatrice Leong, a prominent Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman solo practitioner, has been honored with the Best Under 40 award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Beatrice will receive the award on November 11th at the NAPABA Convention in Indianapolis, during the Gala on Saturday evening. The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) is thrilled to celebrate this outstanding achievement and applauds Beatrice’s unwavering commitment to the legal profession and her community.

Empathy Born from Experience

Beatrice was set on becoming a prosecutor since she was in Junior High school. She was married to her high school sweetheart, she had finished law school, and she had an offer to intern with the Queens District Attorney’s office.

The discovery of her then-husband’s infidelity threw a wrench in her plans and forced Beatrice on a different path. Her consultations with divorce attorneys were disheartening. She failed the bar exam. “I felt like I was dying,” she said, looking back on that time. Nevertheless, she took matters into her own hands. The same drive and passion for justice that made her want to prosecute wrongdoers pushed her to become a divorce lawyer, the kind that she wanted for herself, and one that her future clients could safely rely on.

From personal experience, Beatrice understands the emotional and often heart-wrenching aspects of divorce and family conflicts. This has equipped her with a profound empathy that she channels into her legal practice. She is a compassionate advocate who walks alongside her clients through the tumultuous process of divorce, offering pragmatic guidance with a deep understanding of the emotions that accompany such challenges.

Redefining Success as a Solo Practitioner and Entrepreneur

Beatrice started her career in divorce and family law at matrimonial and family law firms in both Queens and Manhattan, first at Plaine & Katz LLP and later at Parmet & Zhou LLC and Kleyman Law Firm. She started her own practice, the Law Office of Beatrice Leong, in 2021. As the only solo practitioner among this year’s Best Under 40 honorees, Beatrice’s remarkable journey is an inspiration to young lawyers. Reflecting on her career, Beatrice emphasized the importance, especially for young AAPI lawyers, to recognize the value of their work and not be afraid to carve their own path.

Leadership in the Legal Community

Beyond her exceptional legal practice, Beatrice is dedicated to serving the AAPI community by playing an active role in both AABANY and NAPABA. She currently serves as a Co-Vice President of Programs and Operations at AABANY and a Co-Chair of NAPABA’s Solo & Small Firm Network.

Through AABANY, Beatrice met other AAPI lawyers, rare in her field, and people who could relate to being mistaken by court officers as an interpreter, intern or a litigant, because they do not fit the traditional image of a lawyer. She says that she found “her community” through AABANY: the pro bono clients she advised through AABANY, fellow AAPI lawyers, and AAPI law students.

Beatrice recalls being described as a “natural leader” by her peers at AABANY after she joined. More and more, she dedicated her free time to fostering connections between the organization’s members, drawing from a deeply held conviction that strength comes from unity. Later, she joined NAPABA to promote AAPI representation on a national level.

Beatrice Leong’s journey is a testament to her unyielding dedication to her clients, her community, and the legal profession. Her personal understanding, professional excellence, and commitment to service make her a beacon of hope for those navigating the difficult waters of divorce and family law. Beatrice’s passion and expertise continue to inspire and make a profound impact, both in the legal world and the lives of those she serves.

Congratulations to Beatrice Leong on this well-deserved award and recognition! You can click here to learn more about the Best Under 40 award and read about other awardees. 

Please join AABANY in congratulating all of the honorees at the 2023 NAPABA Convention.

Brian Song Honored with NAPABA’s Military and Veteran Service Award

In recognition of his unwavering dedication to his military service, his career and his community, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) presented the 2023 Military and Veteran Service Award to Brian Song. The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) is honored to join in celebrating this outstanding achievement and recognizing Brian’s profound commitment to the legal profession and his extraordinary service to his community. Brian will receive the award on November 11th at the NAPABA Convention in Indianapolis.

A Unique Journey of Service and Ambition

Raised by first-generation Korean immigrant parents who instilled in him a strong sense of duty and the value of service, Brian found his calling early in life. Like most immigrant parents, there were only three “acceptable” career paths in his parents’ eyes: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. From an early age, Brian wanted to be two things- a lawyer and a soldier.

After attending college on an Army ROTC scholarship, Brian faced the choice of starting his service obligation to the Army immediately upon graduating or seeking an educational delay in order to attend law school. Since a delay would allow him to realize his childhood dream of becoming a soldier and his career goal of becoming a lawyer, he chose to compete for the delay and ultimately for selection in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). His journey was influenced by his strong desire to give back to his country. It was an unconventional path but one that has led to remarkable accomplishments.

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Throughout his military career, Brian often found himself taking the road less traveled. As an Asian American officer, he was acutely aware of the scarcity of Asian American faces, especially in more senior ranks. He frequently found himself to be the only Asian American in the room during important discussions, a reality that further fueled his commitment to breaking barriers and opening doors for others.

One of the moments that resonated with Brian was the tragedy of Danny Chen, a young soldier who faced harassment and abuse in the military. Experiences like these strengthened his resolve to advocate for inclusivity and equity within the military. (You can read about AABANY’s participation in the 12th Annual Commemoration of Private Danny Chen here.) 

While he acknowledges that progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to shatter the so-called “bamboo ceiling” that restricts Asian Americans’ representation in the higher ranks of the military. The lack of representation in flag officer roles, i.e., generals and admirals, is a concern that remains. 

Service and Leadership in the Legal Profession

After law school, Brian’s legal career began in the JAG Corps, serving with distinction for four years on active duty from 2003 to 2007. At the end of his original military commitment, Brian volunteered to continue his service in the U.S. Army Reserve. Despite balancing a civilian career as an associate, and now as a partner, with several major law firms, Brian devoted the time and energy necessary for success in his military career. The Reserves are supposed to be one weekend a month and two weeks a year, but it is often more than that especially at the senior ranks. It is not possible to overstate the sacrifices that our military reservists make in order to continue to serve by balancing two careers along with family and other obligations.  

Notably, he was part of a pro bono legal team that filed a suit on behalf of Sikh American recruits who were denied religious accommodations to both practice their faith and join the United States Marine Corps. After an initial defeat in District Court, the case — Toor et al. v. Berger et al.— continues into the next phase as the plaintiffs seek meaningful religious accommodations throughout their respective careers in the Marine Corps. Brian and his co-counsels hope that the Marine Corps will conform to the policies adopted by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. 

Bar Association Work: A Calling and a Community

Brian’s involvement with NAPABA and AABANY showcases his commitment to service not only in the military but also within the legal profession. Joining bar associations was a piece of advice from mentors who emphasized its importance for career development. Although he initially felt too busy, Brian realized the tremendous value in getting involved as soon as he joined AABANY.

Brian’s contributions to the Asian American legal community have been profound. He established the Military & Veterans Affairs Committee at AABANY and later led the Military & Veterans Network at NAPABA. He hoped to bridge the gap from those transitioning from the military to civilian life, foster greater understanding among the legal community and veterans, and create a platform to discuss legal issues in which veterans have special expertise. From 2019 to 2020, Brian served as AABANY’s President. 

Brian’s service, his legal accomplishments, and his deep involvement in bar associations make him a true trailblazer and an inspiration. We extend our warmest congratulations to Brian Song for receiving the 2023 Military and Veteran Service Award from NAPABA. Brian’s dedication to both his country and the legal profession is truly remarkable, and we are proud to celebrate Brian’s achievements. Click here to learn more about the Military & Veteran Service Award.

Please join AABANY in congratulating all the honorees at the 2023 NAPABA Convention.

AABANY Celebrates 2023 Annual Dinner with 900+ Attendees at Cipriani Wall Street

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, AABANY hosted its 2023 Annual Dinner with the theme “Embracing Wellness and Well-Being: Strengthening the Legal Profession by Investing in Ourselves” at Cipriani Wall Street. Celebrating AABANY’s 34th anniversary, this was our first Annual Dinner during Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month! The dinner attracted over 900 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 50 law firms and corporations. 

The event commenced with the Pre-Dinner General Counsel Reception, a gathering of GCs from companies representing a wide variety of industries, including biotechnology research, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion, financial services, insurance, internet privacy and security, medical, real estate, and more.

Attendance at the reception was exclusive to sponsors and invited guests, with a successful turnout of more than 55 GC attendees. We thank our Reception sponsor, Kirkland & Ellis, for helping us kick off the night with this well-attended program. For the full list of general counsels who accepted AABANY’s invitation, please click here.

AABANY was proud to honor:

  • Michael Wu, Chief Legal Officer, Bath & Body Works, Inc. with AABANY’s Corporate Leadership Award 
  • Prisca Bae, Chief Partnerships Officer, The Asian American Foundation with AABANY’s Women’s Leadership Award
  • Hon. Charles Ellis Schumer, U.S. Senator of New York with AABANY’s Impact Leadership Award

AABANY Corporate Leadership Award honoree Michael Wu delivered a powerful speech on the importance of resilience. He shared the inspiring story of his mother, a Hong Kong orphan and homeless refugee who overcame adversity to achieve the American dream. If she could do it, Michael declared, then “anyone in America can become a success.”  

Prisca Bae, AABANY’s Women’s Leadership Award honoree, shared her initiatives aimed to uplift our AANHPI community. She emphasized the importance of collective improvement, motivating the audience to “[aspire] to be better” and to “aim to [become] CEOs.” Her heartfelt sentiments served not only as a beacon of encouragement, hope and optimism but also an affirmation of the possibility that our aspirations are attainable.

We were joined by New York Senator Charles Ellis Schumer, AABANY’s Impact Leadership Award recipient, who delivered remarks on the strength of the AANHPI community as we “[embody] what the American dream has always been about, coming to this country, working hard building a better life for yourself and your children.” His speech resonated with those who are paving the way for our families and fellow community members. We thank Senator Schumer for his continuous efforts in providing opportunities and resources for the AANHPI community so we can keep pursuing the American dream.

This year, we had the privilege of having Kate Siahaan-Rigg, a remarkable actress, comedian, and activist, as our Master of Ceremonies (MC). She was our MC during our 2022 Annual Dinner, and we were delighted to have her host this year’s event. To read a post-Annual Dinner letter from our MC, read the blog post here

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

In addition, we presented the 2023 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Samuel S. Kim, Kristie-Valerie Hoang, and Emily Yan. Read more about the program here

We extend our sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to our cause and helped us raise more than $20,000 for AABANY-AALFNY’s Turn the Tide (T3) Project to fight anti-Asian hate and violence. Special thanks to MC Kate Siahaan-Rigg for her unwavering humor and compassion in helping us reach our fundraising goal. We also acknowledge the survivors of anti-Asian hate and violence for sharing their stories in the AABANY Anti-Asian Violence Task Force’s “Voices Against Anti-Asian Hate” video, produced by Peter Chin. We were privileged to host survivors of anti-Asian violence, their families and friends at the Annual Dinner.

We thank all of the AABANY 2023 Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. Thanks to President Karen Kim for her leadership of the 2023 Annual Dinner Planning Committee which started during her year as President-Elect in the prior fiscal year. In support of AABANY’s theme, Karen announced AABANY’s inaugural Wellness Day, to take place in July, during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

We gratefully acknowledge all our sponsors, whose generous contributions allow us to actively pursue our mission of advancing the interests of the AANHPI legal community, as well as the communities we serve. A special thank you to our premier sponsors: After-Party: Morrow Sodali; Diamond: Broadridge; Pre-Dinner GC Reception: Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Platinum: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, Levine Lee LLP, Littler Mendelson P.C., Mayer Brown LLP, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Through their support, our sponsors continue to sustain AABANY’s many activities and signature events held throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone who attended the 2023 Annual Dinner and for helping make it a memorable and momentous celebration. Please save the date for the 2024 Annual Dinner: it will take place on May 22 at Cipriani Wall Street! For now, look back at these photos to reminisce, captured by Karen Zhou and Victor Suwatcharapinun. Videos from the 2023 Annual Dinner can be viewed on the event’s webpage here.

Thank You Letter from Kate Siahaan-Rigg and Special Message for Our AABANY Members!

This year, we had the privilege of having the wonderful Kate Siahaan-Rigg, a remarkable actress, comedian, and activist, as our Master of Ceremonies (MC). She was our MC last year during our 2022 Annual Dinner, and now, it is our honor to have her again to host this year’s event. 

Following the 2023 Annual Dinner, Kate asked us to share this message with you all:

Hello AABANY members, 

I had such a wonderful time hosting the gala [on May 23], meeting some of the incredible membership, and honoring your achievements collectively in uplifting our community. I forgot to tell everyone to save the date September 25 for the next DisOrientalism event I’m curating hosting in New York – there will be discounts for AABANY members! And also to, please follow me on Instagram @kateriggnyc to keep connected and show support for AAPI artists. CongratulAsians on a very successful event!!!

Kate

Thank you, Kate, for being a terrific MC. We will be on the lookout for news about DisOrientalism and try to get a group together to go. Stay tuned!

AABANY Congratulates Jennifer H. Wu on Testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism

On March 24, 2023, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) organized a briefing to address the federal government’s response to anti-Asian racism in the United States. Jennifer H. Wu, Co-Chair of the AABANY Women’s Committee and a member of the AABANY Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, provided her testimony during the session. Jennifer highlighted the fact that none of her pro bono clients, who were victims of well-known anti-Asian hate crimes, had ever reported the crimes to federal agencies. “I am here, because I became a civil rights lawyer,” Jennifer declared, “because there has been no federal response to anti-Asian racism.”

During her testimony, Jennifer emphasized the importance of reading AABANY’s reports on anti-Asian violence in 2021 and 2022 to understand “the response from the local community to people in our community dying.” She acknowledged the precipitous rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City and the growing atmosphere among of fear within the AAPI community during the pandemic. Jennifer called for comprehensive support for victims, including providing and advocating for qualified and experienced interpreters in interactions with the police and improved training and education. In addition, “[the] victims need wraparound services [such as] people to help them with [setting up a] Go Fund Me. In order to withdraw funds, you need [a] Social Security number from the United States as well as [a] bank account [in] the United States. They also need [the] ability to apply for U visas if they are undocumented. They need help with healthcare.” Jennifer, herself a daughter of immigrant parents and a mother of three children, expressed her deep “yearn[ing] for a better future.” 

AABANY extends our congratulations and gratitude to Jennifer for her outstanding efforts and advocacy work in support of the AAPI community during a most difficult and challenging time. Her invaluable pro bono work advising and assisting survivors and victims of anti-Asian violence in New York over the past few years were recognized with a Member of the Year Award at AABANY’s 2023 Annual Meeting. We commend her for her dedication and commitment.

To view the full hearing before the USCCR, please click here

To view the highlights of AAPI leaders who testified: 

  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Asian American Federation
  • John Yang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Cynthia Choi, Chinese for Affirmative Action
  • Jennifer Wu, Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Manjusha P. Kulkarni, AAPI Equity Alliance

please click here. Thanks to Commissioner Magpantay for sharing the highlight video.

Franklin H. Williams Presents: “Empowered Asian American Leadership” AAPI Heritage Month Program at 60 Centre Street

On May 18, 2023, the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission presented “Empowered Asian American Leadership” at the New York County Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street, in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The program was co-sponsored by AABANY, the New York State Unified Court Systems Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Asian American Judges Association of New York, and the Asian Jade Society of the New York State Courts. 

AABANY member Hon. Jeffrey Oing, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, introduced the Keynote Address, “The Model Minority Victim,” delivered by AABANY member and former Chair of the AABANY: Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, Professor Elaine M. Chiu of St. John’s University School of Law.

Pre-recorded remarks by Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson commenced the program. 

Welcome Remarks were provided by:

Hon. Shahabuddeen A. Ally, Supervising Judge, New York County Civil Court and Acting Justice of the New York Supreme Court; President of AAJANY; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, and AABANY member

Hon. Troy K. Webber, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Co-Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Hon. Richard Rivera, Acting Supreme Court Justice and Supervising Judge of the Family Courts, Third Judicial District; Co-Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Karen Kim, Senior Counsel at QBE North America; President, AABANY

The program also included CLE presentations, introduced by AABANY member Rina Gurung, Judge, Housing Part, New York City Civil Court; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission.

“The Path to Success and Overcoming Obstacles” was moderated by the Hon. Austin D’Souza, Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York Kings County and AABANY member. Panelists were:

Hon. Zainab A. Chaudhry – Judge, New York State Court of Claims, and AABANY member

Lieutenant Henry Chen– New York County Civil Court, Co-Founder and President, NYSC

Asian Jade Society; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

Hon. Raja Rajeswari – Chair, NYC Criminal Court Equal Justice Committee; Chair,

NYS Unified Court System Advisory Committee on Language Access

Hon. Toko Serita– Statewide Coordinating Judge for Problem-Solving Courts, NYS Unified

Court System, and AABANY member

“Positive Action to Combat the Perpetual Foreigner Syndrome and Empowering the Community” was moderated by the AABANY member Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, former Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department; Commissioner, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. Panelists were:

Joseb “Joe” Gim, Esq. – Chief, Criminal Court Unit, Kings County District Attorney’s Office

Christina Seid – Community Activist, Entrepreneur, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, and AABANY member

President Frank H. Wu – President, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Tony Walters, Director, New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion provided Closing Remarks.

AABANY was privileged and honored to co-sponsor this event and thanks the Franklin H. Williams Commission for organizing it. AABANY thanks the speakers for sharing their knowledge and insights on important issues affecting the AAPI community. For more information about the Williams Commission visit their website at https://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/ethnic-fairness/index.shtml