Congratulations to AABANY Member Glenn D. Magpantay for Receiving NAPABA’s 2020 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

Glenn D. Magpantay, a long-time civil rights attorney, advocate, and leader for Asian Pacific American (APA) and LGBTQ rights, is a 2020 recipient of the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, NAPABA’s highest honor. Each year, outstanding lawyers are awarded for their exceptional leadership in paving the way for the advancement of other APA attorneys and creating lasting, substantial contributions in the broader APA community.

Glenn’s inspiring commitment to public service and activism started in college and continued after graduation when he was a lobbyist for higher education in the early 1990s. As one of the few Asian people working in the State Capitols at the time, Glenn learned the importance of APA and LGBTQ representation in law.

As a civil rights attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), he quickly became an authority on the federal Voting Rights Act and expert on Asian American political participation. He fought for the right of Asian Americans to vote in their native language, to put in place translated registration forms and language interpreters at poll sites, and to challenge unconstitutional voter ID requirements in many cities.

At the cornerstone of Glenn’s incredible legal work and advocacy is intersectionality. In addition to working with several law firms on pro bono projects, he has recently led two challenges that reached the U.S. Supreme Court: Hawaii v. Trump (2018), which challenged President Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, and DHS v. Regents of the University of California (2020), which challenged President Trump’s proposed cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In a recent interview, Glenn reflected on how LGBTQ Asian attorneys have to navigate through a very traditional work environment where they often cannot express who they really are. In response to this, he has worked for over a decade to create a network for LGBTQ Asian attorneys to find peer support and thrive and advance in their careers. As Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Glenn highlighted the often overlooked stories of LGBTQ Asians, trained a new generation of LGBTQ activists, and cultivated a more diverse face of the LGBTQ movement. And above all, Glenn knows that he could not have done this work without AABANY.

“Ever since I went to my first AABANY event in 1988, they have given me the trust and ability to create these spaces for LGBTQ APA attorneys,” Glenn said. “AABANY is my home because I’ve always felt valued, not just as a public interest lawyer, but also — and especially — as a colorful, openly gay attorney working in the name of Asian American civil rights.”

In addition to the many doors that AABANY has opened for Glenn, he also is incredibly thankful for the support he received from several law firms, such as Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Shearman & Sterling, and Skadden Arps. “I would not have been able to uphold and protect the Voting Rights Act without some of the biggest law firms in New York helping me with issue-spotting, fact-to-rule application, and their commitment to intersectional diversity and inclusion. And I would not have been able to sue New York City for bilingual voting rights without the help of six hundred lawyers from the New York Asian American bar in monitoring polling sites and recording anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement. ”

It’s a lifetime achievement award, but I’m not ready to retire. We have come a long way, but we have not yet come far enough.

Glenn continues to teach and inspire legal minds by teaching legal studies and Asian American studies at Hunter College, Brooklyn Law School, and Columbia University, and his work is far from over.

“The goal was never for me to get an award; it was to change the profession to be more diverse and inclusive where we can achieve our fullest potential,” Glenn said. “It’s a lifetime achievement award, but I’m not ready to retire. We have come a long way, but we have not yet come far enough.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Glenn on this well-deserved honor and recognition. NAPABA has announced on its website that the Award Ceremony will be held in December 2020. Additionally, NAPABA is honoring its awardees by featuring them on their social media accounts. To access the video on Glenn’s life and achievements, please visit the link below:

NAPABA Announces 2017 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients

For Immediate Release
Aug. 30, 2017

                                                   For More Information, Contact:
                                                   Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
                                                   bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected five exceptional attorneys to receive NAPABA’s highest honor — the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. These Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American legal profession, as well as to the broader Asian Pacific American community.

The 2017 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Awards will be presented on Nov. 3, 2017, at a special ceremony during the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., to the following recipients:

  • Honorable Halim Dhanidina
  • Parkin Lee
  • Willard K. Tom
  • Honorable G. Michael Witte
  • Honorable Youlee Yim You

The 2017 Trailblazers class is represented by a diverse and impressive group. Judge Halim Dhanidina began his career as a deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for over 14 years, working his way up to the Hardcore Gang and the Major Crimes Divisions. In 2012, Los Angeles Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Judge Dhanidina to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County — making him the first Muslim American judge in California. Judge Dhanidina was a founding law student member of NAPABA’s Los Angeles affiliate (APABA-LA), and, through his efforts, APABA-LA partnered with SHADES (Stopping Hate & Delinquency by Empowering Students). With SHADES, APABA-LA’s members served as mentors and case proctors for teenage jurors in an innovative “Teen Court” program which provided an alternative to traditional school discipline by educating offenders and helping them to develop stronger empathy toward victims.

While in law school at New York University, Parkin Lee helped pioneer the practice of allowing students of color to review law school applications from, and advocate for, potential students of color, a practice initiated at NYU and subsequently adopted at other law schools, including Harvard. At the time, there were few students of color — including Asian Pacific Americans — in the law school (there were five Asian Pacific American students in total in his class). Currently, 30 percent of the J.D. student body at NYU are students of color; 16 percent of the Fall 2016 class are Asian and South Asian. As senior vice president and chief legal officer of the Rockefeller Group, Mr. Lee is trusted counsel to one of the country’s most recognized names in real estate development and asset management. Previously, he spent 20 years at New York Life Insurance Company where he became one of the highest ranking Asian Pacific American attorneys in the insurance industry in New York. He served for many years as president of the NAPABA Law Foundation where he is currently on the board and is board chair of the Asian American Justice Center.

From representing Vietnam War protesters in the 1970s to his work with the Asian Law Caucus and other West Coast groups defending the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1988, Willard K. Tom’s impressive 38-year legal career, both in private practice and in government, has demonstrated a sustained commitment to the public good as well as to the enforcement and advancement of antitrust and consumer protection law. In 2000, Mr. Tom left his position as deputy director of the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission (the antitrust arm of the FTC) to become a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, but returned to the FTC in 2009 to serve as general counsel, becoming the first Asian American to hold that post. In that position, he took part in the most important FTC matters relating to competition and consumer protection, including three that led to significant FTC victories in the U.S. Supreme Court.

More than thirty years ago, Judge G. Michael Witte became the first Asian Pacific American to be elected a judge in the State of Indiana (1984). Since 2010, Judge Witte has served as the executive director of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, one of the most important and visible positions in the Indiana legal community. He also became the first Asian American to serve as chairperson of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Judicial Division in 2010. He received the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award (2009) from his local community and was honored by the ABA National Conference of Specialized Court Judges as its National Distinguished Judge of the Year (2008). His 25 year judicial career included service as judge of the Dearborn County Court, Lawrenceburg, Indiana (1985–2000); judge of the Dearborn Superior Court No. 1 (2000–2008); and judge of the Wayne Superior Court No. 1, Richmond, Indiana (2009).

In 2016, Judge Youlee Yim You, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Oregon, was appointed as the first Asian American federal judge in Oregon. Before that, in 2007, the Oregon governor appointed her as the first female Asian American trial judge in the state. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge You’s legal career focused primarily on criminal law. She served as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York; a death penalty staff attorney for the federal court in Los Angeles; and as both an assistant attorney general and public defender in Oregon. Throughout her career, she has served on various legal committees and community organizations, and performed volunteer service, including a month at Mother Teresa’s orphanage in India. She received a pro bono service award from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (now Asian Americans Advancing Justice) in Los Angeles, an Award of Merit from the Multnomah (OR) Bar Association, and will be receiving an award from the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association in September.

NAPABA congratulates the 2017 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award recipients and thanks them for paving the way for Asian Pacific American attorneys.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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 color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association | 1612 K St. NW, Suite 510 | Washington, D.C. 20006 | www.napaba.org

Update: NAPABA Announces 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients

For Immediate Release
Oct. 8, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

Update: NAPABA Announces 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected five exceptional attorneys to receive NAPABA’s highest honor — the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys. These Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and made substantial and lasting contributions to the APA legal profession, as well as to the broader APA community.  

The 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazers Awards will be presented on Nov. 6, 2015, at a special ceremony during the 2015 NAPABA Convention in New Orleans, to the following recipients:

Captain Benes Z. Aldana — United States Coast Guard
Assemblymember Rob Bonta — California State Assembly
David Louie — Kobayashi Sugita & Goda LLP
Justice Sabrina Shizue McKenna — Supreme Court of the State of Hawai’i
Judge Amul Thapar — United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky

The 2015 Trailblazers class is represented by a diverse and impressive group. Captain Aldana serves as the Staff Judge Advocate (Chief Legal Officer) of the Eighth Coast Guard District, the largest district in the Coast Guard, and is responsible for providing legal advice to the district commander and oversees the provision of legal support to Coast Guard operations spanning 26 states, including the outer continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, he is currently a judge on the U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals. He is believed to be the first Asian Pacific American to be appointed as a military trial judge (2005) and as an appellate judge (2015) in the U.S. military. As a leader in the American Bar Association, he is currently a board member of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and on the ABA Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360.

Assemblymember Bonta is the first and only Filipino American ever elected to the California State Legislature in the 165 year history of the state and has led a number of significant legislative efforts to empower the APIA community, including: Assembly Bill (AB) 7 to establish a state day of recognition to honor Filipino American labor leader and California hero, Larry Itliong; AB 123 to require the state public school curriculum to include the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California; and AB 817 to assist the nearly 2.6 million eligible voters in California who are not yet fully proficient in English by providing them with language assistance at the polls.

Mr. Louie most recently served as the attorney general of the State of Hawai‘i from 2011 to 2014 — the first Chinese-American attorney general in the nation. As attorney general, Mr. Louie was the chief law enforcement officer for the state, providing advice, counsel, and representation to all aspects of state government (including the Governor) on all legal matters for the state, both civil and criminal. Mr. Louie helped to pass and defend Hawai’i legislation legalizing same sex marriage, settled 30-year-old claims of Native Hawai’ians against the State for $200 million, negotiated a $40 million conservation easement on 665 acres of ocean front land, and worked with other state attorneys general on the national mortgage foreclosure settlement, Internet safety and consumer protection.

Justice McKenna was a trial judge for 17 years before joining the Hawai’i Supreme Court in 2011 as its third woman and as the first open member of the LGBT community of Asian Pacific heritage to serve on a state court of last resort. Throughout her career, she has pursued civil rights, social justice, and equality in access to justice for all. As a young associate in the early 1980’s, she successfully advocated for her firm to provide 50 hours of annual billable hour credit for pro bono time, a policy that was also later adopted by other Hawai’i firms. Justice McKenna oversaw implementation of Hawai’i’s court interpreter certification program, instituted a policy requiring free language access for all participants in Oahu’s family courts as the then presiding judge, then advocated for adoption of the same policy for the entire judiciary. As an appellate and trial judge over the last 22 years, she has ruled in many high profile and important cases.

Judge Thapar was nominated by President George W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2007, making him the nation’s first South Asian American Article III judge. Prior to his confirmation, Judge Thapar served as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. While U.S. attorney, Judge Thapar was appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) and chaired the AGAC’s Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee.

NAPABA congratulates the 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award recipients and thanks them for paving the way for Asian Pacific American attorneys.

_______________________________________________________________________

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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 color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).