On February 25th, 2023, AABANY held its Brooklyn Pro Bono Legal Clinic at Homecrest Community Services Bensonhurst Center where dedicated volunteers came together to provide free legal services to the community. In partnership with Homecrest and other community partners, the Clinic provided an opportunity for individuals to meet with attorneys to discuss legal issues related to housing, criminal law, and immigration. The volunteers were able to offer guidance on the legal process, discuss potential legal solutions, and help clients understand their rights.
The Clinic was made possible by volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise to help those in need. These volunteers included attorneys, law students, and our community partners who worked together to make a difference in their community. The Clinic provides vital support to those who may not have the resources to access legal services, and the volunteers’ dedication to pro bono work demonstrates the importance of giving back to those in need.
Please consider joining us at our upcoming clinics:
The Pro Bono Clinic is organized by AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee. To learn more about the Committee’s work visit here. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated volunteers who made the Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic such a success:
On June 30th, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s (AABANY) Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) hosted a community workshop on self-defense and defense of others. The speakers were Nassau County Assistant District Attorney and Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Joseb Gim and St. John’s University Law School Professor and Academic Committee Co-Chair Elaine Chiu. The presentation was moderated by Eugene Love Kim, Legal Aid Society attorney and Vice-Chair of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and was translated into Cantonese and Mandarin by Kwok Ng, law clerk at the New York State Supreme Court and PBCS Committee Co-Chair, and Ye Qing, attorney at Morvillo Abramovitz, respectively.
In light of the recent surge in anti-Asian violence and bias incidents, the presentation focused on the legal consequences that New York Penal Law has for self-defense. ADA Gim gave a summary of the laws and listed the various weapons that qualify as “deadly physical force” under New York Penal Law. These weapons include, but are not limited to, pepper spray, collapsible batons, and electric stun guns. ADA Gim also pointed out that, in exercising self-defense, unless a “reasonable person” would have made the same decision to defend themselves in your situation, using regular physical force or deadly physical force to defend yourself may lead to you being charged with a criminal offense. Prof. Chiu briefly described the possibility of also being sued in a civil lawsuit but noted that using violence within the bounds of the New York Penal Law would prevent a judgment against you.
At the end of the presentation, ADA Gim talked about more practical, immediate implications of the laws on self-defense and defense of others. He emphasized that, oftentimes, choosing to defend yourself will result in both you and the attacker being taken into police custody from the scene for further investigation and possible prosecution. He then discussed the importance of concrete evidence, 911 calls, recordings, and eyewitness testimony in corroborating your testimony. Both ADA Gim and Prof. Chiu also noted that individuals, before defending themselves, have a duty to flee dangerous situations unless they are attacked in their own homes. After the presentation, the discussion was opened to questions from the attendees.
AABANY thanks the members of the AAVTF for organizing the community workshop and for their service to the AAPI community of the greater New York metro area. To view the recording of the event, click here. To learn more about and to help fund the AAVTF’s initiatives, click here.
SABANY Pro Bono Clearinghouse will be partnering with the Office of the NYC Public Advocate for an upcoming immigration legal clinic. Without amazing PBC volunteers, we would not have the capacity to reach our community and serve them, so thank you so much.
What: Immigration Legal Clinic for South Asians When: August 9, 2014 Time: 12-4pm (can volunteer for 2 hour slots) Where: PS 69 located at 77-02 37 Ave. Queens, NY (Near the E,F,M,R, and 7 trains). Need: Immigration and Criminal Law Attorneys (please let us know if you speak a South Asian language though not required)
A bit of an overview, the workshop is a session for members of the South Asian community to learn the basics of current immigration laws, available public services, interacting with law enforcement, and understanding their civil rights. Our attorney volunteers will be giving a quick 10-15 minute consultations over a 4 hour period. The program will begin with a short overview of the following:
Your rights regardless of their immigration status.
How to speak to the FBI/DHS/NYPD/Joint Task force
Your rights at the border
Trigger language to use if stopped by the NYPD or JTF unit
Immigration consequences of your criminal convictions
Requirements of filing for US citizenship
Immigration options if you are out of status
Agencies that will serve you regardless of status
Current City legislative priorities or laws that related to immigrants (undocumented and documented)
It would be fantastic to have 6-10 attorneys on hand to help. Please reach out if you are interested in volunteering at email@example.com with your name, phone number, practice area and language background.
MANISH SHAH NOMINATED TO SERVE AS DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama nominated Manish Suresh Shah to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. If confirmed, Shah will be the first person of South Asian descent to serve as an Article III judge in the state of Illinois.
“We applaud Manish Shah’s historic nomination to the federal bench,” said Wendy C. Shiba, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Mr. Shah has devoted his career to public service in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and his deep experience in criminal law will be an asset to the Northern District of Illinois. We hope that the Senate votes to confirm him swiftly.”
Since 2001, Shah has worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Since July 2012, he has served as Chief of the Criminal Division, and previously served as Chief of Criminal Appeals. During his time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he has also worked in the General Crimes, Narcotics & Gangs, and Public Corruption units. Shah attended the University of Chicago Law School and Stanford University, and went on to clerk for Judge James B. Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois.
NAPABA commends President Obama for nominating Mr. Shah to the bench and Senators Kirk and Durbin of Illinois for their support of his nomination.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT MENTORING PROGRAM
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is seeking candidates for its Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Mentoring Program. Ideal candidates are attorneys with five or more years of experience litigating in state court, with fifteen felony trials to verdict as lead counsel or comparable in-court experience under their belt. Under the supervision of a member of the CJA Panel, CJA Mentees would represent defendants in federal court who qualify for appointed representation under the Criminal Justice Act.
For more information about the CJA Mentoring Program and how to apply, please see the attached PDF file.
Board member Vinoo Varghese, whose amici brief in the Rajaratnam case was quoted in the New York Times on October 23, was quoted in an article about the same case in the New York Law Journal on October 26.
Also submitting an amicus in Rajaratnam on behalf of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Bronx Defenders was Vinoo Varghese of Varghese & Associates.
Varghese wrote the government’s “lack of candor, which the lower court found to be reckless at best, cannot be tolerated” and, if allowed to stand would “gut the Fourth Amendment and Title III protections in wiretap cases going forward.”