AABANY Hosts “Fortune 500 General Counsel Panel: Leadership During Crisis Webinar”

On May 21, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) presented its “Fortune 500 General Counsel Panel: Leadership During Crisis,” part three of NAPABA’s General Counsel Webinar Series. The event highlighted prominent General Counsels working in various industries and discussed the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace along with advice for aspiring General Counsels. The panelists included Damien Atkins, General Counsel of the Hershey Company; Peter Beshar, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Marsh & McLennan; Elisa Garcia, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Macy’s; David Hyman, General Counsel and Company Secretary of Netflix; Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of JLL; and David Yawman, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of PepsiCo. The panel discussion was moderated by Michael Wu, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Madewell.

The panel discussed the immediate challenges faced by General Counsels in light of the current pandemic and the transition to an online work environment. Emphasis was placed on adaptability and flexibility as General Counsels and legal departments across all industries have had to quickly put together plans for long-term financing and shifts in day-to-day operations. This emphasis on adaptability also stresses greater cooperation between the legal team, the board of directors, and C-suite executives in forming a coherent strategy in both dealing with the pandemic and also pursuing non-COVID-19 related objectives. As Alan Tse stated, companies are, more than ever, looking toward their legal teams for leadership in navigating through economic uncertainty and changes in corporate governance.

Additionally, the importance of communications and integrating technology into the workplace are vital as General Counsels need to be able to coordinate all the moving parts of the company in making the localized decisions necessary to ensure compliance with local regulations and sustainable growth. While it is important to have contingency plans during times of crisis, General Counsels need to be vigilant and flexible in their approach toward unpredictable and complex problems in the future. Peter Beshar stated that General Counsels should also prioritize “collective cyber resilience, not just of our company, but of broader society” by protecting critical online communication channels. Additionally, General Counsels should form effective response plans to prepare companies from destabilizing cyberattacks.

Recent changes in legislation and the regulatory environment have also driven General Counsels to be more proactive in how they view the relationship between what David Yawman describes as the “great continuum… between the legislative environment and policy issues coming out of societal trends.” Ultimately, General Counsels should recognize that changes in corporate governance are facilitated by both government legislation and company policies and that, as legal professionals, they have a crucial role to play as both a guide for their clients and a trailblazer for corporate policy.

Lastly, the panel discussed efforts to promote diversity within their organizations and the role General Counsels play in ensuring inclusion in the workplace. Inclusion championship should be a fundamental, core value of corporate governance and thus, should be, as David Hyman describes, a “top-down” process embodied by all corporate executives. Individuals and legal teams should be empowered to take initiative in leading pop-up conversations and workshops that champion inclusive leadership that stresses not only diverse participation, but diverse leadership. Companies should also hold individuals accountable and translate inclusion policies into action.

The panel attracted more than 500 registrants, making it the single biggest AABANY Zoom meeting to date. Attendees were eligible to receive 1.0 New York CLE credits, with 0.5 credits fulfilling the Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirement and 0.5 credits fulfilling the Law Practice Management requirement. We thank Michael Wu for organizing the panel and for moderating a highly informative and substantive discussion. We thank all the speakers for sharing their insights, knowledge and perspectives. The event was covered by Corporate Counsel. Read the article here (Law.com subscription required).

PRESS RELEASE: IN THE CONTINUING EFFORT TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY WITHIN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK CONGRATULATES THREE PARTICIPANTS OF ITS LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM WHO HAVE BEEN ELEVATED TO PARTNERSHIP AT TOP LAW FIRMS

NEW YORK — April 10, 2020. The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Luna Ngan Barrington of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP on her elevation to partnership and Jeffrey Mok of Fish & Richardson P.C. on his elevation to principal, on January 1, 2020. Congratulations to Dohyun Kim of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for her elevation to partnership on April 1, 2020.

These three AABANY members are all proud participants of AABANY’s Leadership Development Program (ALDP). Established in 2018, ALDP is a six-month long interactive leadership training course aimed at helping AABANY members who are senior attorneys at law firms and companies navigate the promotion process within their respective organizations. According to A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law by Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Americans have a 3.65 ratio of associates to partners—significantly higher than the 1.01 ratio for Caucasians—and the highest ratio of any racial or ethnic group for more than a decade. Asian Americans also have the highest attrition rates at law firms. Although Asian Americans comprise 6.7% of all attorneys in the Vault/MCCA 2014 survey, they comprise 8.9% of attorneys who left their firms that year. ALDP addresses these issues of chronic Asian American underrepresentation at leadership levels through its law firm partnership track program, which is focused on cultivating a selected group of Asian Pacific American (APA) law firm associates on the partnership track. In 2019, ALDP expanded its program to include an in-house counsel track.  ALDP is unique in its small set of qualified participants and its focus on soft skills, accountability, and the AABANY community.  AABANY President Sapna Palla is a co-founder of ALDP.

Luna Barrington is a Partner in the Complex Commercial Litigation practice of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. She represents clients in consumer class actions, antitrust litigation, commercial contract disputes and multi-district litigations, and has extensive experience taking cases from the pleading stage through to trial. Prior to joining Weil, Ms. Barrington served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard M. Berman, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Barrington received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was a member of the Hastings Business Law Journal.

Jeffrey Mok, a Principal at Fish & Richardson P.C., focuses his practice on litigation and counseling for patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets. His work spans a variety of technical areas, including wireless communications, semiconductor technology, automotive technology, financial services, software, and medical devices. He has represented clients in federal courts across the country and before the U.S. International Trade Commission. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2012 and his B.S. in electrical engineering, with a minor in computer science, from Columbia University in 2007.

Dohyun Kim, a Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, private equity, securities and general corporate law matters. Ms. Kim regularly advises public and private companies in a variety of U.S. and cross-border corporate matters, including acquisitions and dispositions, investments, joint ventures, restructurings and financings. She has represented clients across a wide variety of industries, including consumer products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, technology and communications. Ms. Kim received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where she was the Senior Executive Editor for the New York University Law Review.

“AABANY congratulates Luna Barrington and Dohyun Kim on their elevation to partnership and Jeffrey Mok on his elevation to principal and recognizes them as outstanding participants in AABANY’s Leadership Development Program,” states AABANY President Sapna Palla. “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law tells us that although Asian Americans comprise 7.05% of all attorneys in the Vault/MCCA survey of 2015 data, they held only 2.09% of seats on executive management committees, 2.32% of seats on partner review committees, and 3.78% of seats on associate review committees. Furthermore, the 2016 Law Firm Diversity Benchmarking Report from the New York City Bar Association shows that Asian/Pacific Islander attorneys make up only 3% of all leadership positions within New York’s law firms. AABANY is committed to helping raise these numbers through ALDP. We are extremely grateful for the leadership and dedication of ALDP’s faculty members and organizers for making this innovative and impactful program possible. We especially thank and acknowledge our sponsors and our members for their support of ALDP’s mission to empower qualified senior attorneys in their respective firms and fields. We look forward to sharing more of ALDP’s continued success in the future.”

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Mediators Wanted – Presumptive ADR Initiative

Thanks to the Network of Bar Leaders for sharing this important announcement about the Presumptive ADR Program:

The NYS Unified Court System has launched the Presumptive ADR Program, an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) initiative, which will expand existing ADR programs and develop appropriate dispute resolution programs in a broad range of civil cases statewide.

These programs will address various case types and will be implemented systemwide. Some programs will rely on the existing network of ADR programs while others will seek to develop or expand rosters of neutrals who meet the requirements of Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge. Courts may be seeking neutrals for assistance in areas that may include matrimonial and family law, personal injury, trusts and estates and commercial matters.

The court system is seeking to improve diversity in the court rosters and increase outreach in all judicial districts.  The Network of Bar Leaders is in a unique position to help promote ADR practitioners through this recruitment tool.

We encourage prospective neutrals to submit their information on or before March 20, 2020 by completing and submitting the online form at this link: https://forms.gle/SqnP8AG8irbfqt2a9 so that it can be aggregated and provided to the court system to make outreach more efficient when the time comes.

The information you provide will be forwarded to the NYS Unified Court System’s ADR office and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge’s Special Counsel for ADR Initiatives for Courts within NYC and Outside NYC, for their further consideration when the initiative reaches that stage.

Please note that the court system will contact only those respondents whose professional background, formal training, ADR and subject matter experience, and geographic availability meet the current needs of a particular roster. The court system will also communicate directly with you at a later date if they are in need of any additional information.

AABANY Congratulates Kenneth Chin as Recipient of the NYSBA 2020 Diversity Trailblazer Award

AABANY congratulates Kenneth Chin on being presented with the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award at the John E. Higgins, Esq. Diversity Trailblazer Award Ceremony on Jan. 27, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Ken is a Partner and the Banking and Finance Chair at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and longstanding member of AABANY. The award recognizes Ken for his transformative work to promote and achieve diversity and inclusion at his firm and in New York’s Asian American community.

Read our full press release here.

Prosecutors Committee Celebrates 11th Annual Reception at NYCLA

AABANY’s Prosecutors Committee was founded in September 2008 to enhance the advancement and professional development of Asian Pacific American (APA) prosecutors, the establishment of a network between former and current APA prosecutors, the recruitment of APA law students to become prosecutors, and the cultivation of trust and communication between the APA community and the local prosecutors’ offices. 

Our membership is comprised of current and former prosecutors of Asian American, Pacific Islander and South Asian heritage from all five local New York City District Attorney’s offices, Nassau and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices, Assistant Attorney Generals from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, as well as federal prosecutors from both the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Each year, the Committee hosts an annual reception to honor those who have contributed to the criminal justice system as well as to promote diversity within the APA community in New York City.

On December 3, 2019, at its 11th Annual Reception, the Committee honored Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, and Gilbert C. Hong, Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, for their exemplary and established record of public service and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Approximately 150 Prosecutors Committee members and guests filled to capacity the main auditorium at the New York County Lawyers Association, 14 Vesey Street, to celebrate this special event.  The evening featured distinguished guests and speakers who provided congratulatory remarks to the Committee and the honorees. 

The speakers at the daïs included the following representatives from state, local and Federal prosecutors’ offices:

  • Joseph Alexis, Executive ADA, Kings County
  • Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney, Southern District of NY
  • Bridget Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor
  • Catherine Christian, Special ADA for External Affairs, NY County
  • Mark Lesko, Chief AUSA, Eastern District of NY
  • Derek Lynton, Chief ADA, Bronx County
  • John Ryan, Acting District Attorney, Queens County
  • Anthony Scarpino, District Attorney, Westchester County
  • Madeline Singas, District Attorney, Nassau County

Also in attendance were the following judges:

  • Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally, Bronx Criminal Court
  • Hon. Dorothy Chin Brandt, Retired Justice, Queens Supreme Court
  • Hon. Karen Gopee, Queens Criminal Court
  • Hon. Marilyn Go, Retired Judge, District Court, EDNY
  • Hon. Lorna Schofield, District Court, SDNY
  • Hon. Don Leo, Brooklyn Criminal Court
  • Hon. Danny Chun, Brooklyn Supreme Court
  • Hon. Phyllis Chu, NYC Criminal Court
  • Hon. John Hecht, Brooklyn Supreme Court
  • Hon. Dean Kusakabe, Queens Family Court
  • Hon. Judy Kim, NYC Criminal Court
  • Hon. Daniel Lewis, Queens Supreme Court
  • Hon. Richard Tsai, NYC Criminal Court
  • Hon. Cori Weston, Judge, NYC Criminal Court

Distinguished guests included:

  • Agnes Chan, first Asian woman detective in NYPD history
  • Yang Chen, Executive Director of AABANY
  • Sherry Cohen, Chief of Legal Recruitment, Bronx County
  • Lila Kirton, Bureau Chief, Westchester County
  • Jesse Sligh, Executive ADA, Queens County
  • Brian Song, President, AABANY

In addition, the family of NYPD Det. Wenjian Liu, who made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in the line of duty in 2014, made a special visit to the Reception.  Det. Liu’s family received the Prosecutors Committee’s posthumous award on Det. Liu’s behalf at the 2015 reception. The family was recognized with a heartfelt standing ovation and a message that Det. Liu will not be forgotten.

When AABANY President Brian Song delivered his welcome remarks at the start of the reception, he passed along the word from Queens County District Attorney-elect Melinda Katz’s transition team that her office is inviting applications, especially from diverse candidates at all levels. Many of the other speakers at the daïs lost no time in announcing that their offices were also hiring. We anticipate that prosecutors’ offices may see an uptick in applications coming out of this Reception.

AABANY thanks Prosecutors Committee co-chairs Myongjae M. Yi and Maria Park as well as vice-chairs Michael Leigh and Emily Ching for organizing the event. The Committee also thanks Kin Ng, Brian Lee, David Chiang, Catherine Christian, Francis Chin, Giyang An and the planning members for their assistance.  AABANY thanks the New York County Lawyers Association for providing the beautiful venue again for this special celebration.

More photos from the event can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/UZiD12LZFpxJmwLP6

To learn more about the Prosecutors Committee, please visit: https://www.aabany.org/page/73

American Arbitration Association Higginbotham Fellows program: Applications are being accepted through February 17, 2020

The American Arbitration Association is now accepting applications for the 2020 AAA Higginbotham Fellows Program, which will be a milestone year – our 10th year. The training component of the Program will be hosted in New York during the week of May 3, 2020.  During the Program, Fellows will engage with leading ADR practitioners for an intensive week of training, seminars, and networking events. 

Interested candidates can visit https://www.adr.org/HigginbothamFellowsProgram  to download a copy of the Program Guidelines and Application or to apply online.  This year, AAA will be offering limited scholarships. The deadline for applications has been extended to  Monday February 17, 2020. 

The AAA created this highly visible, extremely successful one-year program in 2009 to provide training, networking, and mentorship for up-and-coming diverse ADR practitioners, who historically have not been included in meaningful participation in the field. Since its inception, the AAA Higginbotham Fellowship Program continues to exceed expectations with past Fellows making gains in their ADR careers, including those who have successfully advanced to the AAA’s Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators.

Please review the factsheet about the AAA Higginbotham Fellows Program. Questions about the program may be directed to AAAHigginbothamFellows@adr.org.

Press Release: NAPABA Statement on the Harvard Admissions Case

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2019
For More Information, Contact:
Navdeep Singh, Policy Director
202-775-9555; nsingh@napaba.org

WASHINGTON – Late yesterday, Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a ruling that upheld the use of race conscious admissions in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard. NAPABA applauds the Court for reaffirming that (1) diversity remains a critical and compelling interest for universities to achieve; and (2) the consideration of race as one of many factors in a holistic admissions process is a permissible means to evaluate an individual student’s application.

“The ruling makes clear that it is vital for students to be able to share their whole selves when applying to college,” said NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi. “NAPABA is encouraged that the Court upheld the principle of holistic, race-conscious admissions, recognized that race continues to matter in people’s daily lives and experiences, and eloquently underscored the importance diversity in education. While the Court found Harvard did not engage in intentional discrimination against Asian American applicants, NAPABA also supports continuing efforts by colleges and universities to improve their admissions processes, including work to recognize and address implicit bias, so that all parts of a thoughtful and holistic admissions system work together to ensure that all students have equal opportunities free from discrimination.”

NAPABA supports efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and the consideration of race as part of a holistic, individualized admissions process.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local 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 engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

Marking the 30th Anniversary of AABANY’s Founding

Please join us in celebrating AABANY’s founding date on July 28, 1989—30 years ago. On this day, Steve T. Min, as Incorporator, filed a Certificate of Incorporation on behalf of AABANY with the State of New York. Then, on October 20, 1989 AABANY’s incorporation was announced, and attorneys interested in learning about AABANY were invited to an inaugural reception at New York University Law School on November 9, 1989.

We acknowledge with respect and gratitude Tony Cheh, Rockwell Chin, Glenn Ikeda, Yat T. Man, Steve Min, Serene K. Nakano, and many others for their visionary actions in establishing AABANY. Thank you to all of our past and present Presidents, Board Members, Committee Chairs, members, and friends for their continual support in improving 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. Now one of the most prominent and active minority bar associations in New York, AABANY has well over 1,200 members, including practicing attorneys in the private and public sectors, in-house lawyers, judges, professors, and law students.

We thank everyone who is or has been a member of AABANY over the course of the last 30 years, and we invite to join our association everyone who shares AABANY’s mission of advancing Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, South Asians and all diverse and under-represented groups in the legal profession in New York.

We encourage all non-members to take advantage of our vast network of attorneys and judges, our twenty-seven different committees, as well as the numerous CLE opportunities that we offer to our members. Please click here to either renew or sign up as an AABANY member.

Robing Ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park

On July 11th, at the Museum of Korean American Heritage, AABANY, along with KAAGNY and KALAGNY, co-sponsored the robing ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The event was held to commemorate and celebrate Judge Park as the first Korean American to serve on the Second Circuit.

The program kicked off with a spirited rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Then, Charles Yoon, President of KAAGNY, delivered opening remarks from the podium noting the historic nature of this event in Korean American history. The venue was especially fitting for the ceremony as many momentous Korean American milestones were printed on the walls—from honoring the first Korean naturalized citizen of the United States, Philip Jaisohn, to remembering the Korean comfort women. 

KALAGNY President Gene Kang then delivered heartfelt comments on the necessity of diversity on the judicial bench and how far Korean Americans have advanced in the legal profession starting out with humble origins from “a small Asian peninsula.” Next, Michael Kim, a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Yale Law School classmate of the Hon. Michael Park, shared a memory from when he was still in law school and Judge Park belted out an NSYNC song at Karaoke—true to Korean fashion. Kim commented that if Judge Park had decided to stay in Korea, he might be introducing a K-pop star instead of a Second Circuit Judge. Finally, the Hon. Denny Chin, the first Asian American United States Second Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, administered the oath of office to the Hon. Michael Park. Sarah Seo, Judge Park’s wife, robed him. KALAGNY generously provided the new robe for Judge Park.

After the robing ceremony, Judge Park took the stage to thank attendees and organizations such as AABANY, KALAGNY, and KAAGNY for their support. He especially thanked those who had come before him, such as the Hon. Denny Chin, in paving a path for more Asian American judges, like him, to follow. In closing, AABANY President Brian Song cited AABANY’s mission statement and shared hopes that one day, a robing ceremony for an APA judge might not appear so remarkable as many more APA judges are elevated to the bench in the future, to more accurately reflect the diversity of America.

AABANY congratulates the Hon. Michael H. Park and warmly thanks all attendees for joining us in celebrating the historic event. 

AABANY’s LGBT Committee Hosts a Roundtable Discussion On Negotiating The Experience of Being Both LGBT and Asian American

On March 5, 2019, the AABANY LGBT Committee held a roundtable discussion titled: “Transactional Identities: Navigating the various contexts of coming out for Asian American lawyers.”  

Presenting were Connie Montoya, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP; Janice Jabido, IP Counsel, Pratt & Whitney; and Tony Thomas, Chief Legal & Labor Relations Officer, City University of New York – Brooklyn College.  

Dennis M. Quinio, Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Milbank, LLP, moderated the discussion.  

Our esteemed presenters jump-started the conversation, sharing their experiences being LGBT and Asian American within the legal profession, their families and their communities at large.  They discussed the struggles of being in the closet; the dynamics of coming out to colleagues, clients, and family members; and strategies for overcoming day-to-day challenges such as microaggressions. Several Asian American LGBT attorneys from private practice, government and the nonprofit sector attended the discussion and shared their experiences in this confidential space, meant to foster a candid and supportive dialogue. We heard about others’ experiences harmonizing identities that may seem to be in conflict and explored how living our “authentic” selves can impact our effectiveness at work.

The law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton graciously hosted the event. At the beginning of the roundtable, Sandra Flow, Partner and Chair of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion at Cleary, delivered warm welcoming remarks, affirming the firm’s commitment to supporting diverse attorneys.  

If you would like to join the AABANY LGBT Committee or learn more, email John Vang at jvang@cfal.org.