Proskauer Now Accepting Applications for its Silver Scholar Program

Proskauer LLP is now accepting applications for its Silver Scholar Program. The scholarship program grants recipients a summer associate position at Proskauer and a $30,000 cash award. The award is named after Edward Silver, the first elected Chairman of Proskauer, and a trailblazing labor lawyer. Silver’s storied commitment to diversity and equal opportunity is memorialized through this program. 

Proskauer is now accepting applications for this program from 1Ls. Applicants will need to submit the following materials: a resume, undergraduate and law school transcripts, a legal writing sample, a personal statement and three references. For more details, including a link to the online application, please click here.

The application deadline is January 16, 2023. Any additional questions can be directed to silverscholar@proskauer.com.

AABANY Co-Sponsors Program on Becoming an AUSA

On November 17, AABANY together with several other bar associations co-sponsored a program on “Becoming an AUSA,” hosted by Cleary Gottlieb at their New York office.

Joon Kim, former Acting United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) (and longtime AABANY member) gave opening remarks to welcome the standing room only crowd of more than 100 attendees. He reflected on his years serving with Preet Bharara and then succeeding him after his much-publicized termination during the prior Presidential administration. To this day, Joon remembers the gravity and weight of the words, “My name is Joon Kim, and I represent the United States” whenever he appeared before a judge or jury. The seriousness of representing the United States in numerous cases of public importance has never been lost on Joon. Now a Partner at Cleary, Joon was the first Asian American Acting United States Attorney in the Southern District, following Preet Bharara, who was the first Asian American United States Attorney in the Southern District.

Una Dean, former Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and now in-house counsel at IBM, helped organize the program and moderated the opening panel with current United States Attorneys Damian Williams (SDNY) and Breon Peace (EDNY). Una was also a past AABANY Board member.

Both Breon and Damian spoke about their paths to the US Attorney’s office and their desire to work on matters that would have positive community impact. Both expressed the belief that the US Attorney’s office provides a unique opportunity to do just that. Breon talked about criminal investigations and prosecutions his office has been doing, including a case that helped prevent a potential terrorist attack at the US Open. His office prosecuted R. Kelly for human trafficking. They fight hate crimes and also work on affinity fraud cases which target vulnerable members from diverse ethnic and religious communities in New York. In criminal cases, his office actively seeks out alternatives to incarceration and diversion programs as ways to resolve criminal complaints, and also supports programs that facilitate re-entry into society for formerly incarcerated persons. On the civil side, EDNY pursues civil rights cases, fights housing discrimination and brings cases to protect the environment. His civil rights division has also been addressing claims about NYPD’s handling of sexual assault complaints from survivors.

Damian, after being trained at a prominent law firm, believed that, for his further development as a litigator and trial lawyer, the US Attorney’s office was the next logical step. Damian has served in the SDNY for a decade and spoke about his time at the SDNY with great passion and fondness, and his love for the work is palpable. “It is the best job in the world, and the best job I can ever hope to have,” he declared. Assistant US Attorneys fight bullies, he noted, and he relishes working in an environment where everyone is dedicated to doing the right thing, serving the public interest.

Una asked both Damian and Breon what qualities they look for in candidates for their offices. Damian answered that they are looking for good, decent, human beings – “no sharp elbows” – who are team oriented. In other words, they don’t want any jerks. (He used a stronger word, but you know what he means.) Candidates should be good writers who are smart, can think on their feet and exercise good judgment. They must have a strong moral compass, a sense of right and wrong, because so much authority is delegated to junior attorneys at his office, and they must be “doing the right thing, the right way – always.” Candidates need to have a tremendous amount of energy, because they will be working hard. If you are looking for a lifestyle change or money, Damian advised, working at the US Attorney’s Office may not be right for you.

Breon agreed with Damian and added that for him, any candidate that has a win-at-all-costs mentality raises a major red flag. He believes in doing justice, and that means at times, his office may have to decline cases or admit error. A candidate that rushes to judgment would not work out. He also looks for attorneys with the courage to tell investigators or judges that the evidence is not there to bring a case or to prosecute a defendant.

Una then talked about the reason why she put this program together, noting that during her time at EDNY, the composition of the office did not reflect the makeup of the community they served. Breon responded that “it is incredibly important that the [EDNY] is a reflection of the community.” He wants people of diverse backgrounds and experiences in his office to help solve problems, because “diversity is critical to getting the work done.” To promote diversity, EDNY has made changes to make hiring more diverse and inclusive, such as by making the process more transparent, has implemented a mentoring program for all new AUSAs and has sponsored trainings through the Diversity Committee.

Damian pointed out that he is the first African American US Attorney at SDNY and acknowledged that diversity is a challenge that needs to be addressed. He believes that outcomes are better when there are diverse views on the team. He also offered that the jury box will look like New York, so the government table should try to look like New York as well. Damian emphasized that politics has no role to play in the US Attorney’s office, no matter who the sitting President happens to be. He shared that Justice Sotomayor, at the start of her career was an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, and in a recent speech, she stated that she became a prosecutor because “it gave her the broadest option to do justice.” Damian agrees with that view.

Breon and Damian both closed by extolling the virtues of public service, particularly at the US Attorney’s office. Damian finds it hard to leave his desk each night because of all the great cases he gets to work on. “When I go home at night,” Breon declared, “I feel like I’ve done something good for the community.” 

After Damian and Breon spoke, the program shifted to a panel of attorneys of color from both SDNY and EDNY, in both criminal and civil divisions, moderated by former AUSA Maria Cruz Melendez, now a Partner at Skadden. The panel included:

·      Sagar Ravi, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Co-Chief, Complex Frauds & Cybercrime Unit, SDNY

·     Rebecca Tinio, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Co-Chief, Civil Frauds Unit, SDNY

·      Hiral Mehta, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Deputy Chief, Business and Securities Fraud Section, EDNY

·      Marietou Diouf, Assistant U.S. Attorney, International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section, EDNY

·      Camille Fletcher, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Narcotics Unit, SDNY

·      Dara Olds, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Civil Division, EDNY

·      Ivory Bishop, Assistant U.S. Attorney, General Crimes, EDNY

All the panelists echoed the passion of Damian and Breon in their love of their work and the weight accorded to representing the United States in court on important cases of great public interest, in both criminal and civil matters.

Hiral Mehta (EDNY) spoke about the proactive nature of the office and the flat structure. There is no hierarchy, and everyone’s input is sought. Ivory Bishop (SDNY) talked about getting to work on all types of cases, from street crimes to public corruption.

Rebecca Tinio (SDNY) mentioned that her cases were great for training, because they go to trial. Her unit works on high stakes cases, such as the tax and bankruptcy case involving Purdue Pharma, the anti-kickback cases involving Novartis, and groundbreaking cases involving the Clean Air Act.

Maria asked the panel what role diversity plays in the cases that the offices see. The panelists gave examples from cases they worked on, in which their own diverse backgrounds and experiences allowed them to connect with and relate to the witnesses in the case, ultimately leading to successful outcomes.

Maria asked the panel to address the hiring process. Dara Olds (EDNY) stated that her office has separate criminal and civil tracks. Rebecca (SDNY) explained that her office has one unified process for all applicants. Both offices have initial interviews, some conducted by those on the panel. Both offices request writing samples, which are reviewed to determine whether a candidate will advance. If the candidate gets through the first round, they are interviewed by more senior AUSAs, including section chiefs. The final round would involve the US Attorney and their executive staff.

Sagar Ravi (SDNY) stated that they are always accepting applications, and Hiral (EDNY) confirmed the same for his office, except during times when a hiring freeze is in place. Currently, there is none so right now “the doors are open.”

What if an applicant thinks that they do not have the right credentials to apply? Dara (EDNY) noted that the US Attorney’s office does not accept applicants straight from law school and encouraged everyone who has obtained several years of experience to apply, regardless of whether they are applying from a large firm or if they had clerked for a judge. Camille Fletcher (SDNY) advised that even if you don’t get called for an interview the first time, you should try again.

After the panels were done, all the attendees stayed for a reception with food and drinks generously provided by Cleary. Many of the panelists stayed to speak directly with the panelists and ask the questions they were not able to during the main program. The room was buzzing with lively conversations among prosecutors, attorneys, and law students in attendance.

Much thanks and appreciation go to all the speakers and moderators for the evening. Thanks to Una Dean for spearheading the event, to Cleary for being such a gracious host, and to all the co-sponsors:

·      Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association

·      Caribbean Attorneys Network

·      Dominican Bar Association

·      Hispanic National Bar Association – Region II

·      Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater
New York

·      Metropolitan Black Bar Association

·      Muslim Bar Association of New York

·      New York City Bar Association

·      National Black Prosecutors Association

·      South Asian Bar Association of New York

    NAPABA Presents Its 2022 NAPABA Awards

    For over a decade, NAPABA has annually honored outstanding organizations that make an impact in the legal profession and within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

    NAPABA is proud to recognize these deserving innovative organizations for the following 2022 NAPABA Awards. All of these organizations will be celebrated at the 2022 NAPABA Convention from November 3-6 in Las Vegas .


    Affiliate of the Year Award Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association

    The NAPABA Affiliate of the Year Award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates for their best practices and accomplishments in their local communities.

    Honoree Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association (SCCLA) is the country’s first AAPI bar association and has created meaningful programs and events for its members as well as for law students and the local community. Learn more about the SCCLA


    APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award Yang Law Offices

    The NAPABA APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award recognizes our membership’s law firms—solo, small, and large—that have achieved prominence and distinction, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to the AAPI community. Honoree Yang Law Offices has shown this commitment through their work across multiple locations in California and internationally. Learn more about Yang Law Offices.


    Law Firm Diversity Award Allen & Overy

    The NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award honors law firms that actively, affirmatively, consistently, and enthusiastically recruit, retain, and promote AAPI lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership. It celebrates law firm successes in recognizing the potential, supporting the promise, and raising the influence of AAPI lawyers. Honoree Allen & Overy has made diversity, equity, and inclusion one of their strategic priorities — fundamental to the kind of firm they want to be. Learn more about Allen & Overy.

    [AABANY congratulates Allen & Overy on this recognition. Allen & Overy received the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award at the 2022 AABANY Annual Dinner.]


    NAPABA Applauds the Nomination of Alamdar S. Hamdani for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas

    WASHINGTON – Friday [October 14], President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Alamdar S. Hamdani to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. If confirmed, Hamdani would be the first AAPI to serve as a U.S. attorney in the state of Texas.

    “NAPABA applauds the Biden-Harris administration for nominating Alamdar Hamdani to serve as a U.S. attorney,” said A.B. Cruz, acting president of NAPABA. “Mr. Hamdani is a well-qualified candidate who has a long history in public service and strong ties to Houston and its legal communities. 

    “There is still a large gap for Asian Americans in the law, with only one Presidentially appointed U.S. attorney out of 94 judicial districts. The U.S. attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer in their district, and the underrepresentation of AAPIs is concerning, especially as anti-Asian hate continues to deeply affect our community. NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Mr. Hamdani, and Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz for recommending and supporting his nomination. We also encourage Senators to consider recommending qualified AAPI candidates to serve as U.S. attorneys.”

    Since 2014, Alamdar Hamdani has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Prior to his tenure in the Southern District of Texas, he served as deputy chief of the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division at the Department of Justice, and as a trial attorney in the same section. Hamdani has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and was a founding partner of Hamdani & Simon, LLP. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center and the University of Texas at Austin.

    “Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the United States and Texas, with nearly one in five new Texans identifying as Asian American,” said Priya Purandare, executive director of NAPABA. “In the Houston area within the Southern District of Texas, the Asian American population grew by 53 percent in the last decade, and they comprise nearly nine percent of the population. Mr. Hamdani’s nomination is a step in the right direction in ensuring our community is represented. We urge the Senate to quickly confirm him.”

    NAPABA Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Affirmative Action Case

    For Immediate Release:
    Date: August 3, 2022

    Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

    WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) filed an amicus brief in the cases challenging affirmative action before the Supreme Court, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. We were joined on the brief by the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.

    In the brief, the bars reiterated their support for the principles laid out in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which allowed the consideration of race as a factor in college admissions as part of a holistic admissions process. The brief lays out the importance of diversity in the legal profession and the impact overturning holistic admissions in college on current efforts to diversify the legal pipeline. The brief did not address the second question posed by the Court about the practices and policies implemented by either Harvard or the University of North Carolina.

    NAPABA has consistently supported the principle of holistic admissions since it first submitted an amicus brief in Grutter with a coalition of Asian Pacific American organizations. NAPABA was joined by other diverse bars reiterating their support for affirmative action and the impact on the legal profession in both Fisher v. Texas (2013) and Fisher v. Texas (2016). This principle was codified and most recently affirmed by the NAPABA Board of Governors as the organization’s standing policy in 2015.

    NAPABA thanks Dan Bromberg, Appellate Practice leader, and Shelby Dyl of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, for serving as pro bono counsel on this brief. We thank Albert Giang of King & Spalding LLP and Radha Pathak of Stris & Maher LLP, for their leadership as Co-Chairs of NAPABA’s Amicus Committee and contributions to the brief. A special thanks to Kevin Fong, former NAPABA Amicus Chair, for his advice and contributions.

    ###

    The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

    AABANY Congratulates Margaret Ling on her New York State Bar Association Member Profile

    AABANY congratulates Margaret Ling on her New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) member profile published on July 25, 2022. Focusing on her career path and the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, the member profile speaks to the necessity of making progress against discrimination in the legal profession. 

    Margaret noted that “women and people of color are [still] not making partner and leaving prestigious firms after 20 years of service.” Discussing her personal experiences with racism and sexism in the field, Margaret stated, “now I mentor young lawyers because there was no one there to help me. I tell them that you have to speak up for your work and fight to be recognized for it.” Read more here.

    NYSBA was founded in 1876 and currently has a membership base of over 70,000 individuals, with its headquarters in Albany, NY.

    Outside of her work for the NYSBA, Margaret Ling is also a former AABANY Board member, most recently serving as Director of Development. She is the founding Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee and continues to co-chair it today. Upcoming events featuring AABANY’s Real Estate Committee include AABANY Real Estate Committee Presents: “Emoticons, Emojis, Smileys and Stickers” CLE on August 3, 2022, and AABANY Real Estate Committee Presents: “Representing Foreign Purchasers & Foreign Sellers” CLE on August 10, 2022.

    NAPABA Applauds the Nominations of Cindy K. Chung to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

    For Immediate Release: July 12, 2022
    Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

    WASHINGTON—Today, President Joe Biden nominated Cindy K. Chung to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If confirmed, Chung would be the first Asian American appellate judge on the Third Circuit and Judge Roberts-Perez would be the first Asian American district judge on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    “NAPABA offers its congratulations to Cindy K. Chung and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez on their nominations,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “We applaud President Biden for nominating a strong and historic slate of highly qualified Asian American candidates and for continuing to broaden the diversity of backgrounds and professional experiences to the bench. We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm them.”

    Cindy K. Chung
    In 2021, Chung was nominated by President Biden to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and was confirmed by a voice vote. She is the first Asian American U.S. Attorney in Pennsylvania and the only Asian American currently leading any prosecutors’ office in Pennsylvania. Active in the Asian American community, Chung has participated in community briefings and events addressing anti-Asian hate incidents.

    Previously, Chung served as a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she prosecuted the first case under the Shepherd-Byrd Hate Crimes Act. She also served as an assistant district attorney at the District Attorney’s Office, New York County, and investigation counsel in the Official Corruption Unit. Chung began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Myron Thompson on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her B.A. from Yale University.

    Judge Mia Roberts-Perez
    In 2015, Judge Roberts-Perez was elected to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Previously, she was in private practice at Perez Law LLC, where she specialized in criminal defense and family law. Judge Roberts-Perez started her career at Defender Associations of Philadelphia where she served as public defender in the major trials division. She received her J.D. from Temple University, Beasley School of Law and her B.A. from Tufts University.

    NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Cindy K. Chung and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez and Senator Casey and Senator Toomey for recommending and supporting their nominations.

    ###

    The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, 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 all backgrounds in the legal profession.

    Member Profile: Karen King Wins Unanimous Victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in Domestic Violence and International Custody Dispute Case

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    On March 22, 2022, AABANY member Karen King argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada (20-1034), a case involving the interpretation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. Karen is a Partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, Co-Chair of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and an active member of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force. She sat down with AABANY to share reflections on the oral argument, diversity among litigators, and the importance of pro bono work. 

    Looking back, the law was a natural career choice for Karen.  She was president of the debate team in high school as well as at Yale University, where she majored in philosophy and political science.  After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School, she moved to New York and began her career at Cravath.  Two decades later, she appears regularly in federal and state courts on behalf of corporate clients, she was named a “Notable Woman in Law” by Crain’s New York Business, and she received both the Federal Bar Council’s Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)’s Pro Bono award.  Her pro bono clients include victims of discrimination, survivors of domestic violence, students with learning disabilities, victims of gun violence, and prisoners on civil rights issues. 

    Karen’s impressive career reached another milestone this year when she had her first argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada . She represents Narkis Golan, an American citizen and survivor of domestic violence, and mother to a young child who was born in Italy.  The case has been pending for nearly four years and was accepted by the Supreme Court for argument last December to resolve a circuit split on whether district courts are required to consider ameliorative measures to facilitate return of a child to a foreign country, even after finding that return would subject the child to a “grave risk” of exposure to harm.

    During oral argument, the justices were active in their questioning and seemed interested in how best to address situations where the grave risk is sourced to a complex problem like domestic violence.  “Am I correct that the vast majority of these grave risk cases are ones involving domestic violence?” asked Justice Barrett, who continued to say: “It just seems to me that that’s a much different case for ameliorative measures than, say, the nuclear plant next door that the Chief posited at the outset.  That would be a pretty straightforward move, and then there would be no more grave risk, whereas I think you get into the complexity of the financial support payments and the undertaking or restraining order, however it should be categorized, in these domestic abuse cases that pose maybe a unique circumstance?”  The recording of oral argument is available here

    When asked whether she expected at the outset that this case would reach the U.S. Supreme Court, Karen replied that she did not. She added that, at the start of the case in 2018, “we were hopeful that it would end at the trial level.” But despite establishing, by clear and convincing evidence, that return to Italy would expose the child to a grave risk of harm, the case went back and forth to the Second Circuit on the question of appropriate ameliorative measures.  Ultimately, Karen and the team came to believe that the interpretation of the Hague Convention set forth by the Second Circuit required review by the Supreme Court.  Despite the extraordinarily slim odds of having a case accepted for argument, the Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General to weigh in on the cert petition and ultimately granted cert. 

    Arguing before the Supreme Court is the dream of many litigators. Karen prepared through “lots of moots [i.e., practice sessions], testing answers to every conceivable question we could think of, and reflection and discussion of the issues with colleagues, co-counsel, and pretty much anyone willing to talk about it.” In terms of approach to oral argument, she felt she needed to get straight to the point and anticipate challenging questions from the Justices about the key legal issues. Although the preparation process was similar to what she has done for other appellate arguments, it was clearly “more nerve-wracking, more high profile, and more work.”  She credits having an amazing team supporting her at Morvillo, the incredible work of the Paul, Weiss team (her former firm and co-counsel throughout the case), and the lawyers at the Zashin firm (co-counsel at the Supreme Court merits stage).  Although the oral argument was in person, it was not open to the public because of COVID-19 restrictions.  Karen was accompanied only by co-counsel Dan Levi from Paul, Weiss on the big day.  

    At the Supreme Court argument, the Solicitor General’s office was represented by Frederick Liu, and the Respondent Jacky Saada was represented by Richard Min, a family law attorney in New York.  It is believed that this was the first time all three advocates arguing a case before the Supreme Court were of AAPI descent. This is a remarkable moment for the AAPI community, and for AAPI litigators.  Karen recognizes that it was important to “push [herself] to create the moment” and not to “be intimidated by milestones.” 

    Karen is a strong advocate for diversity in the courtroom and in law firms.  She advises young litigators to strengthen their courtroom skills and give back to the community through pro bono work.  Karen has been recognized for her pro bono commitment over the years and generally works on one or two ongoing pro bono matters on top of her regular workload. Reflecting on her career thus far, Karen sees her persistence, optimism, and creative thinking, as survival skills that have led to great opportunities.  “You just have to push through… . Keep you head up and keep moving toward your goals.  Don’t let the machine crush you.” 

    Oral argument in Golan v. Saada (20-1034) by Todd Crespi

    Karen King, Richard Min, and Fred Liu, who argued Golan v. Saada (20-1034)

    AABANY President Will Ng and Immediate Past President Terry Shen Interviewed for the New York City Bar Association Podcast: A Conversation Discussing AAPI Professional Career Trajectories

    AABANY President, William Ng, and AABANY Immediate Past President, Terry Shen, spoke with, Ashley Wong, an Associate at Sidley Austin LLP, for the New York City Bar Association podcast posted on May 26, 2022, to comment on AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Professional Career Trajectories.

    Associate Ashley Wong began the conversation by examining the present landscape for AAPI advancement in their careers. She notes that while the US AAPI population is the “fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the country,” growing by 88% in the past two decades, “many AAPI employees are still portrayed as ineffective or weak managers, resulting in AAPIs leaving companies at higher rates and not reaching senior positions.” 

    Commenting on his career path and success in reaching leadership positions,  AABANY President Will Ng spoke to the support he had received from colleagues and members of the AAPI community as integral factors to his success. Similarly, Immediate Past President Terry Shen also detailed the effective alliances that had helped him progress dynamically from the field of STEM to Corporate Law and even to Investment Banking. Common to their responses, both AABANY leaders spoke to the importance of having strong role models that formed their support network and the foundation for their success. 

    In recognizing the work that AABANY does to ensure that future leaders in the field of law have access to more diverse role models, Will and Terry spoke about both the local and systemic changes that AABANY has put forth. From organizing pro bono clinics for LEP communities to facilitating legislative change toward the protection and promotion of AAPI communities, AABANY has advocated for meaningful participation and leadership of and for AAPI communities. Within AABANY, Terry spoke to AABANY’s Leadership Development Program, which seeks to “address the continued under-representation of [AAPI] attorneys in leadership positions in the legal field.”

    To conclude the interview, Ashley asked both leaders to share any advice they had for aspiring lawyers and AAPI individuals interested in pursuing the legal profession. Will encapsulated his advice into three key points: “Think strategically, speak to others, and plan ahead.” Terry reiterated the importance of forming solid alliances with mentors and colleagues.

    To listen to the full podcast, click here.

    AABANY Member Profile: Karen Lin Runs for Queens Civil Court Judge

    Karen Lin, an AABANY member since 2019, is a candidate for Judge of the Civil Court in Queens. A dedicated public servant, Karen currently serves as court attorney-referee in Kings County Surrogate’s Court. A former Committee Co-Chair for AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, she led the creation of the Queens Pro Bono Clinic in 2020 and subsequently the Remote Legal Clinic. Now, she hopes to serve her community in a new capacity by becoming the first East Asian female judge elected in Queens. 

    A Lifelong New Yorker 

    Karen was raised in Flushing and northeast Queens by immigrant parents and continues to call Queens home today. A student of the New York City public school system, she attended the selective Hunter College High School and later the Bronx High School of Science. She attended college at the State University of New York at Buffalo before returning to New York City to pursue her law degree at Brooklyn Law School. 

    Motivated to be an advocate for everyday people, Karen began her career as a civil rights and family law attorney at a small firm. She represented families in New York City Family Court and State Supreme Court. She subsequently left for an opportunity to work in the legislative office of New York State Senator Catherine Abate of the 27th District, covering lower and midtown Manhattan. There, as District Counsel and later Chief of Staff, she advocated for constituents in neighborhoods that included Chinatown and the Garment District. The experience gave Karen new insight into the needs of New Yorkers on issues such as affordable housing, fair wages, and labor rights. 

    Making the Courts Accessible to Everyone

    When Senator Abate gave up her seat to run for Attorney General, Karen returned to the courtroom, this time as a court attorney. Working as a neutral arbiter refined her ability to resolve disputes, facilitate dialogue, and practice empathy. Her commitment to justice was well-recognized by her colleagues, as she was subsequently appointed judge of the New York City Housing Court. “Housing court is the last stop before you’re homeless,” Karen reflects, “[yet] the playing field is so unlevel.” She was humbled by this opportunity. Having advocated for underserved communities for decades, Karen was committed to resolving the disputes before her with full understanding from both parties. 

    The bench was Karen’s dream position as a public servant. As a judge, she worked hard to ensure that each person who appeared before her had a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But with a growing family, she decided to step off the bench to care for her three young children. She returned to the courtroom in 2013 as a court attorney-referee in Surrogate’s Court, the position she continues to hold today. She assists grieving families who face difficult conversations following the loss of a loved one. Care and compassion are pillars to Karen’s work: “If you care about people, you’ll care about their problems and see people as people instead of cases to go through,” she explains.  

    Changing the Air in the Room

    Now that her children are older, Karen hopes to deliver justice again through the bench. She believes that “a good judge knows the law, understands and applies it. A great judge does that and cares about people.” As the daughter of immigrants, a working mother and a lifelong public servant to disadvantaged communities, Karen stresses the need for diverse judges who are attuned to their constituents’ backgrounds. In Queens, where Karen is running, Asians are among the most underrepresented groups in the judiciary. According to the Special Advisor Report on New York State Courts, around 9 percent of Queens judges are Asian although the most recent Queens census reports that Asians constitute 27 percent of the population. 

    “The air in the room changes depending on who is in it,” Karen says. She hopes that her campaign will inspire other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to run for the bench. “As lawyers, [running for the judiciary] is not on our radar…yet invisibility changes when we call it out, when there are more of us who are not silent.” As judge, she is committed to continue serving everyday families and to ensure they are treated with dignity throughout the process. 


    For more information about Karen Lin’s campaign, including how you can volunteer or support her candidacy, please visit https://www.karenlin2022.com/.