NAPABA Hosts Part 2 of its Summer Judicial Series, “APA Judges on the Federal Bench”

On May 7, AABANY co-sponsored a panel of Asian Pacific American judges as part two of NAPABA’s Summer Judicial Series. The event was hosted by the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). In addition to AABANY, the event was co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area (APABA-DC), the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF), the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA), the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of Georgia (SABA-GA).

In honor of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as to encourage the growing number of young Asian American lawyers aspiring to the bench, GAPABA and NAPABA organized the panel to share the stories and careers of trailblazing APA judges. The panelists were AABANY member Hon. Denny Chin, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Hon. James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Hon. Sri Srinivasan, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, Hon. Jennifer Choe-Groves of the U.S. Court of International Trade, Hon. Theodore D. Chuang, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and Hon. Lucy H. Koh, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The panel was moderated by GAPABA Board Member Michael C. Wu and Byung Jin (BJay) Pak, Partner at Alston & Bird. GAPABA President and Of Counsel at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Angela Hsu, GAPABA President-Elect and Associate General Counsel at Delta Air Lines Timothy Wang, and GAPABA Communications Co-Chair and Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Prathyusha Chenji were also in attendance.

Michael and BJay posed several questions to the panelists regarding their backgrounds and experience on the bench. All of the panelists expressed how their upbringing in the U.S. made them keenly aware of their “otherness” and in some cases, motivated them towards public service. Judge Chin (a former AABANY President, 1992-93) shared his background as an immigrant from Hong Kong and his experience growing up in New York City. Judge Chin also noted that, as one of the few Asians in his school and at his work, he was constantly under scrutiny and pressure to perform well. “I felt like Yao Ming,” he stated. Several panelists also reported that they still faced microaggressions in their professional lives, despite their position as judges.

When asked about their career paths and perspectives on diversity on the bench, all of the panelists described varied experiences in private practice, the legislative branch, and executive branch of the government before becoming a federal judge. Many of the panelists also expressed how diversity in the federal government could only lead to better and more informed decisions on behalf of the American people. Many of the panelists also shared their own stories about how they were inspired and encouraged by seeing diverse individuals serving in government and in public positions. All of the judges expressed how the justice system in America ought to be color blind and that all individuals should have the right to a fair trial regardless of their background. Judge Chin also discussed the importance of community and unity despite having diverse perspectives. When asked to respond to Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor’s discussion on the threat of disunity to national security, Judge Chin concurred, pointing out how even after President Biden’s election, Americans have yet to listen to each other without politicizing every single issue.

The moderators then closed the panel with several questions about advice any of the judges might have for young attorneys, law clerks, and others aspiring to become judges themselves. The panelists expressed how being a judge begins with being a good attorney. All of the judges emphasized the importance of relationships and teamwork, of maintaining a good reputation, and of being respectful and professional to all.

AABANY thanks NAPABA for hosting this series and also thanks the justices for their trailblazing example to the APA community. To watch a recording of the event, click here.

AABANY Celebrates 2021 Virtual Gala

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, AABANY hosted its 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity. 

The event kicked off at 6 pm with a Pre-Gala Virtual Cocktail Reception on Remo attended by sponsors and special guests, including prominent General Counsels and judges. At 6:30 pm, all Virtual Gala attendees were invited to enjoy a piano concert featuring AABANY Member Renee Yao.

The Virtual Gala started at 7 pm and Kate Siahaan-Riggs, NYC-based actor, stand up comic, and writer, served as emcee. Throughout the gala, AABANY held a text-to-donate fundraiser to support Portrait Project 2.0, the second phase of the Portrait Project study which is researching why Asian Americans are underrepresented in top leadership positions across all sectors of the legal profession and how it can be addressed.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, the City University of New York, with the AABANY Impact Award

Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel Litigation of BASF Corporation, with the AABANY Women’s Leadership Award

Kirkland & Ellis LLP with the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award

Ed Lee, AABANY Board Director and Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Honoree Sneha Desai delivered an acceptance speech, stressing the importance of individuals in leadership and influential positions to make positive change in diversity and inclusion. The Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, hosted a fireside chat with honoree Frank H,. Wu to discuss his career and the work he has accomplished.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2021 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Narissa Ganpat, Minji Kim, and Minh Eric Le.

The Gala concluded with a tribute to Asian American photojournalist and historian Corky Lee who passed away in January due to COVID-19. Corky had taken photos of our past Annual Dinners from its earliest days until 2020.

We thank all of the AABANY Virtual Gala Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. 

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year. 

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2021 Virtual Gala and celebrated with us. Our Virtual Gala was streamed on Vimeo which reports that the gala drew 1,400 views. To watch the gala on You Tube, click here or on the image at the top of this blog. To view the Virtual Gala program book, click here.

Press Release: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and AABANY to Host Panel Discussion with Acting US Attorney Joon Kim, Judge Denny Chin, and Congresswoman Grace Meng

Press Release: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and AABANY to Host Panel Discussion with Acting US Attorney Joon Kim, Judge Denny Chin, and Congresswoman Grace Meng

AABANY TO RECEIVE 2013 NEW YORK STATE CONFERENCE OF BAR LEADERS INNOVATION AWARD FOR “IVA: THE MYTH OF TOKYO ROSE” PROGRAM

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK – January 27, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that it will receive a 2013 Bar Leaders Innovation Award for its Asian Pacific American Heritage Month production, “Iva: The Myth of Tokyo Rose.”  The award bestowed by the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders Executive Council of the New York State Bar Association recognizes bar associations that introduce new programs, ideas and methodologies that benefit its members and the community at large.  AABANY’s “Tokyo Rose” program was evaluated based on its ingenuity and creativity, effect on the bar and general public, and its overall quality.

“Iva: The Myth of Tokyo Rose,” which was co-produced by AABANY and the Asian American Arts Alliance (the “Alliance”), tells the story of Iva Toguri, a Japanese American citizen, who was accused of treason during World War II.  Original court transcripts were edited and compiled under the leadership of the Honorable Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin.  This material was then adapted by playwright Soriya Chum and culminated in a production addressing issues concerning race, civil rights, prosecutorial abuse and social injustice.  “Tokyo Rose” was directed by Soriya Chum and Elena Chang and performed on stage at the Asia Society in New York City on May 16-17, 2013.  Following the performances, talkbacks were held with esteemed speakers and guests, including the Honorable Denny Chin (U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit), Kathy Hirata Chin (Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP), Gurjot Kaur (Sikh Coalition), Andrea Louie (the Alliance), Yang Chen (AABANY), Rehana Mirza (Ma-Yi Theater’s Writer’s Lab) and Eileen Rivera (Leviathan Lab).

The New York State Conference of Bar Leaders will honor AABANY along with its sister bar associations for their innovative programs at the Annual Breakfast for Bar Leaders to be held at the Hilton New York Midtown on Friday, January 31, 2014.  “On behalf of AABANY, we thank the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders for this prestigious award and recognizing our continuing efforts to produce programs that address significant legal issues and social matters of importance to our members and the Asian Pacific American community as a whole,” said Mike Huang, AABANY’s President. 

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The Asian American Bar Association of New York was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, paralegals and law students.  The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

A performance review of “Iva: The Myth of Tokyo Rose,” is available at http://blog.asianinny.com/films/iva-the-myth-of-tokyo-rose/

Press Release: Heart Mountain at Cadwalader, July 11

Cadwalader to Shed Light on World War II Draft Resister Case

NEW YORK, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (Cadwalader), a leading counselor to global financial institutions and corporations, is hosting a unique event that will reenact the historic World War II case of the 63 Japanese-American draft resisters who were interned at Heart Mountain in Wyoming and refused to report for U.S. military service until their rights as citizens were restored.

The program will be presented by a team of Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) members, which includes Cadwalader Partner Kathy Hirata Chin and Special Counsel Lauren U.Y. Lee. The group develops and performs reenactments of important moments in Asian American legal history, which are first performed at the annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) convention in November. The Hon. Denny Chin, Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Hon. Kiyo Matsumoto, Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, will also participate in the evening’s program.

“I commend Judge Chin, Cadwalader Partner Kathy Chin and the entire team for their efforts to raise awareness of significant, yet often overlooked, moments in our nation’s legal history which impacted Asian Americans. The Heart Mountain case, in particular, challenged notions of citizenship and individual freedoms,” commented W. Christopher White, Chairman of Cadwalader. “As a firm, we are committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and are honored to host this unique program.”

Cadwalader previously hosted another performance by AABANY, which focused on two key Supreme Court cases from 1922 – Takao Ozawa v. United States and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind. George Wickersham, a Cadwalader partner at that time, represented Mr. Ozawa in the former case.

About Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, established in 1792, is one of the world’s leading international law firms, with offices in New York, Washington, Charlotte, Houston, London, Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels. Cadwalader serves a diverse client base, including many of the world’s top financial institutions, undertaking business in more than 50 countries in six continents. The firm offers legal expertise in antitrust, banking, business fraud, corporate finance, corporate governance, environmental, financial restructuring and reorganizations, healthcare, intellectual property, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, private client, private equity, real estate, regulation, securitization, structured finance, and tax. More information about Cadwalader can be found at www.cadwalader.com.

Contacts:

Adam Segall +1 212 504 6492

Adam.Segall@cwt.com

Elizabeth Hyland +1 212-850-5633

Elizabeth.Hyland@fticonsulting.com

SOURCE Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

/Web site: http://www.cadwalader.com

The Hon. Denny Chin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (and past president of AABANY) shared this video with us, the latest in the series “Pathways to the Bench” produced by the United States Courts. It traces his humble beginnings from Hong Kong to Hell’s Kitchen and ultimately to the Federal bench. Take a look. Feel free to share any comments here.

Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan Re-elected to NAPABA Judicial Council

We received the following update from Monica Cheng, Assistant Law Clerk to the Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan:

At its recent annual meeting of the National APA Judges (NAPABA Judicial Council) held in Washington D.C., Justice Doris Ling Cohan (Supreme Court, New York County) was re-elected President, Judge Denny Chin (2nd Cir. Court of Appeals) was re-elected Treasurer, and Judge Marilyn Go (Magistrate Judge, EDNY) was elected Secretary.  Their dinner was hosted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court, at which she did a short program with Hon. Goodwin Liu (Associate Justice, CA Supreme Court), her former law clerk.

Congratulations to the Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, the Hon. Denny Chin and the Hon. Marilyn Go.