AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee form The Pelican Brief team for the Bronx Zoo’s 5k, Run for the Wild

On Saturday, April 30, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee formed The Pelican Brief team for the Bronx Zoo’s Run for the Wild, a 5K Run and 3K Family Fun Run/Walk. This year, Run for the Wild is inspired by the beloved and endangered hornbills. The Pelican Brief ran, walked, or crawled to improve their well-being and mental health. The Pelican Brief team was happy to participate and support this great cause, and to network with each other in the process.

AABANY members Kevin Hsi, Thomas Hou, Nelson Mar, and May Wong showed up at 7am to show their support. In first place was Thomas Hou who finished the 5k at 9:06am. In second place was Nelson Mar who ran with a pulled hamstring, with his newborn Esperanza cheering him on from her stroller. Co-chairs, Kevin Hsi of the Government & Public Service Committee, and May Wong of the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee finished around late 9am.

Congratulations to The Pelican Brief who placed 19th out of the top 100 teams and raised $1,085 to support the hornbills! And congratulations to Thomas Hou, who placed 20th out of the top 100 participants and raised $890!

Please join the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee at our next event, the Queens Pro Bono Legal Clinic on Saturday, June 25. At these pro bono clinics, attorneys and staff provide free 30-minute legal information and referral sessions to limited English proficient (LEP) clients who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and/or Spanish, in matters relating to housing, family, consumer debt, estates, and immigration matters.

For more information and to register, please visit https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1632287. For more information, please contact PBCS at probono@aabany.org.

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! 

Congratulations to Francis Chin on Receiving the Community Service Award from Brooklyn Law School APALSA

Left to Right: Karen Lin,  Hon. Dean Kusakabe, Francis Chin, Hon. Christopher Chin, Mary Kim 

AABANY Director of Technology and Professional Development Committee Chair Francis Chin was honored with the Community Service Award at Brooklyn Law School’s Annual APALSA Alumni Dinner on April 12. The award recognized Francis’ work with Brooklyn Law School students and dedicated leadership at AABANY and AALFNY (Asian American Law Fund of New York). Francis has been active with AABANY since his days as a law student, and he has remained active for more than two decades, now serving in recent years on the Board and in important Committees. Congratulations and thank you, Francis, for all that you do! 

AABANY Congratulates the Newly-Elected AAJANY Board

AABANY applauds Judge Shababudeen Ally and Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant’s election on February 15 as President and Vice-President of the Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY). Both Judge Ally and Justice Pandit-Durant are AABANY members.

Judge Ally is a Supervising Judge of the Civil Court in New York County. He became the first Muslim male elected to New York City Civil Court in 2018 and the first South Asian Supervising Judge in 2020. Judge Ally began his legal career as a staff attorney with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. Judge Ally then went to work for the NYC Law Department as an Assistant Corporation Counsel. For a decade prior to his time on the bench, Judge Ally operated his own law practice specializing in family and criminal law.

Judge Pandit-Durant is a Justice of the Queens County Supreme Court. Judge Pandit-Durant became the first South Asian judge elected to New York State Supreme Court in Queens and the first South Asian woman judge elected in New York State in 2018. Judge Pandit-Duran began her career as a Prosecutor in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, serving there with distinction for 25 years before being elected to New York City Civil Court in 2015, becoming the first South Asian to hold that elected office.

On March 2, in an article entitled “Asian American judicial org. works to diversify bench,” the Queens Eagle wrote Asian judges are the “least represented racial or ethnic group on the bench,” making up 6 percent of Queens’s judiciary. In the Queens’s Family Court, “there is only one Asian judge and there are no Asian American judges in the Borough’s housing Court.” In comparison, “White judges account for around 66 percent, 17 percent of judges are Latino and 17 percent are Black,” according to the Office of Court Administration data cited by the Queens Eagle.

This lack of AAPI judicial representation is further exacerbated by the overall increase of Queens’s total population. Data cited by the Queens Eagle indicates that Asian Americans account for the largest population growth of 29 percent in Queens, “outpacing the borough’s overall 7.8 percent growth.”

Judge Ally told the Queens Eagle that though there is a lot of work left to be done, diversity efforts on the bench appear to be headed in the right direction. AAJANY’s board includes three other AAPI judges from Queens: Queens Civil Court Judge Changyong Li is the secretary, recently-elected Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term Judge Karen Gopee is the treasurer and Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term Judge Francis Wang is now a member of the Board of Directors. AAJANY’s Board of Directors also includes Hon. Lillian Wan, Hon. Meredith Vacca, Hon. Karen M.C. Cortes, and Hon. Shorab Ibrahim.

To read more about the AAJANY election, please click here.

Congratulations to Judge Ally, Justice Durant, and all the newly-elected Board members of AAJANY. Thank you for all you do to represent the AAPI community and to enhance diversity and inclusion on the bench.


AABANY Congratulates Sudha Setty on Appointment as Dean of CUNY Law School

On February 22, Sudha Setty was named dean of the CUNY School of Law, the nation’s leading public interest law school and New York City’s only publicly funded law school. An exceptional scholar and legal leader, she is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a CUNY school.

“Dean Setty boasts a sustained record of accomplishment as an antitrust litigator, pro bono civil rights counsel, scholar of constitutional law and legal education leader, as well as a pioneering administrator and leader,” said Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. “We are thrilled to welcome her to CUNY Law.”

Setty has been the dean of the Western New England University School of Law since 2018, when she became the first woman of South Asian descent in the U.S. to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school. At Western New England University School of Law, Setty’s deanship has focused on enhancing the social justice work at the school and its commitment to racial justice and diversity, equity and inclusion. Projects she has overseen include the creation of the Center for Social Justice in 2019 and the inaugural Workshop for Asian-American Women in Legal Academia.

She is also a leader outside of the university. Currently, she serves on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Standing Committee on Alternative Pathways to the Bar (co-chairing one subcommittee), on the Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations to the U.S. District Court, on the Advisory Committee for the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, on the Deans’ Steering Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, as a board member for Community Legal Aid, and on the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy

AABANY congratulates Dean Setty on this most recent accomplishment in a distinguished career. To read more about Dean Setty and CUNY Law School, please visit https://www.law.cuny.edu/newsroom_post/cuny-names-sudha-setty-as-law-school-dean/

AABANY Hosts 2022 Annual Meeting of Members

On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members for the second time on Remo. President Terrence Shen called the meeting to order and established quorum. The main order of business was conducting the election for the 2022 Board of Directors and Officers.

President Terrence Shen presented the Annual Report of the Board and thanked the Board members for their service during the past year. Treasurer William Hao and Membership Director Beatrice Leong presented the reports for their respective offices. 

Executive Director Yang Chen presented highlights from the Committee Reports. Following the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occurring, Immediate Past President Sapna Palla and President-Elect William Ng tallied the votes.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: The Membership Committee

The Membership Committee received the Committee of the Year Award for its outstanding contributions in promoting AABANY’s membership engagement and in recruiting new members. The Committee successfully transitioned from virtual mixers to in-person events. The most popular events include a visit to Little Island (New York’s newest public park attraction), live stand-up comedy as part of the Asian American International Film Festival, and a screening of “Shang Chi – Legend of the Ten Rings” in a private theater in Times Square. 

Program of the Year: Turning the Tide (T3) Project

The Program of the Year Award was given to the Turning the Tide (T3) Project, a joint project of AABANY and AALFNY, for providing a holistic and practicable action plan to address anti-Asian hate and violence. AABANY established an Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, composed of leadership from several AABANY committees, to leverage diverse skills and talents towards turning back the rising tide of hate and violence against AAPIs. 

Member of the Year: May Wong

The Member of the Year Award was presented to May Wong, for her prodigious contributions, not just but especially, this past year to further the mission of AABANY through the Pro-Bono and Community Service Committee as well as her collaboration with other AABANY Committees. At a time when committees were unable to plan regular events due to the COVID surge, May was forging ahead to come up with new ways for the PBCS Committee to successfully continue to serve and assist the AAPI community with their legal needs. As Vice-Chair of the Committee, she initiated many projects, liaised with law students and firms, led planning meetings, and often was the first to show up and the last to leave. 

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2022 fiscal year.

After the presentation of awards, Terry announced the election results. The following officers were elected and will begin their term one-year terms on April 1, 2022:

Karen Kim

President-Elect

Joseph Eng

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Beatrice Leong

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Evelyn Gong

Treasurer

Shirley Bi

Secretary

Christopher Bae

Membership Director

Anna Mercado Clark

Development Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2022:

Grace Fu

William Hao

Gigio Ninan

Won Shin

Kazuko Wachter

Lawrence Wee

After the election results were announced, all the attendees were invited to stay and network in Remo. We thank everyone who came and participated in the Annual Meeting and the election. Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board to serve in the 2023 fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2022.

AABANY Member Lisa Lim Recognized by The New York Real Estate Journal in its Women in Commercial Real Estate Spotlight

On November 9th, 2021 Akerman partner Lisa Lim and AABANY member was honored by New York Real Estate Journal in its Women in Commercial Real Estate Spotlight. A graduate of Wellesley College and Fordham Law School Lisa is a go-to resource in the city’s complex and dynamic market, Lisa’s practice focuses on real estate finance and development, economic development, and affordable housing. Lisa focuses her practice in real estate finance and development, economic development, and affordable housing. Her transactional experience includes representing borrowers, lenders, and government agencies in the structuring, negotiation, and closing of complex transactions. Lisa is a Fellow for the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and was recently ranked again by Super Lawyers Magazine in New York for real estate, a distinction she has held since 2015. 

Please join AABANY in congratulating Lisa Lim on this well deserved honor. To read the full feature click, here

AABANY Congratulates Former Board Member Kevin Kim on His Appointments to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and as the New Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses

On December 31st, 2021 former AABANY Board Member Kevin Kim was selected as the first Korean American  to hold the position of Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses where he will be responsible for running a dynamic City agency focused on connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a thriving economy. Kevin also was selected on December 20th, 2021 to be a Commissioner to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders which has been tasked with advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities.

Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating law school Kevin began his legal career as a law clerk for then United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Denny Chin. He then worked as an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he practiced corporate law. 

Kevin has devoted his career to public service and specifically promoting greater Asian representation in positions of power. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York and was elected to the national Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club. His past board service includes the American Red Cross in Queens, Friends of Thirteen (public media provider featuring PBS series), Korean American Association of Greater New York, and the Korean American Community Foundation. From 2014-2016, Kevin was the Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, becoming the first Asian American appointed to this position. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York, making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. In that position, he chaired the Audit Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Investments. 

Kevin has received countless awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Columbia Law School APALSA Hong Yen Chang Award for inspiring civic engagement; KAAGNY, Man of the Year; and City Hall News (“40 Under 40”).

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin on his appointments to these important positions.

Congratulations to AABANY Members Listed in the New York Metro Edition of 2021 Super Lawyers

AABANY congratulates the AABANY members who have been named Super Lawyers in the New York Metro 2021 edition. Super Lawyers are selected through a rigorous selection process that includes being nominated by their peers, evaluated by third-party research in 12 key categories, and reviewed by a Blue Ribbon Panel of attorneys. Only 5 percent of attorneys are selected. 

Please join us in congratulating the following AABANY members on being named to the 2021 Super Lawyers list: 

  • Joanna Chan
  • Loyti Cheng 
  • Eugene Chang
  • David Choi  
  • Elliot Choi
  • Blaise Chow
  • Anna Mercado Clark
  • Kenneth W. Eng 
  • Anthony K.C. Fong 
  • Zheng Gao
  • Flora Go 
  • Lawrence S. Han
  • Annie Huang
  • Eric Kang 
  • Albert Kim 
  • David K.S. Kim
  • Kenneth Chin
  • Steven J. Lee
  • Beatrice Leong
  • Tao Li 
  • Ge Li 
  • Lisa S. Lim
  • James Lo 
  • Tiffany Ma
  • Jay Min
  • Ran Mukherjee
  • Alysha M. Naik
  • William H. Ng
  • Simone Park
  • Sun Ah Park 
  • Zixian Qi
  • Yu Tian 
  • Gloria Tsui-Yip 
  • Katie Wang
  • Karen Wu
  • Stacy Wu
  • Ruofei Xiang 
  • Melissa Yang
  • Si Yang 
  • S. Yan Sin 
  • Stephenie Yeh
  • Michelle Yeung
  • Tsui H. Yee
  • Honghui Yu 
  • Xintong Zhang
  • Shan Zu

Are you an AABANY member who made the Super Lawyers 2021 list but not shown above? If so, please pardon the omission, and let us know so that we can update the list with your name. Contact main@aabany.org

To see the 2021 Super Lawyers New York Metro Edition, click on the image above.