Don Liu Joins NY City Bar Task Force on Young Lawyers

Don Liu Joins NY City Bar Task Force on Young Lawyers

AABANY APPLAUDS SELECTION OF DON H. LIU AS A 2012 NEW YORK CITY BAR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHAMPION AWARD HONOREE

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 9, 2012

Contact:  Yang Chen – (718) 228-7206

AABANY APPLAUDS SELECTION OF DON H. LIU AS A 2012 NEW YORK CITY BAR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHAMPION AWARD HONOREE

NEW YORK – May 9, 2012 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) applauds the selection of Don H. Liu as one of the 2012 New York City Bar Diversity Champion Award Honorees.

The New York City Bar’s Enhance Diversity in the Profession Committee will the presenting the Seventh Annual Diversity Champion Award at an Award Ceremony and Luncheon on June 5th, 2012.  The award recognizes the critical role individual attorneys have played in initiating and sustaining change within their organizations and the overall New York legal community.  The award recipients embody the New York City Bar’s Statement of Diversity Principles, which defines diversity as an inclusive concept, encompassing race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, disability and marital and parental status.

”AABANY is extremely excited and pleased that the New York City Bar has chosen Don Liu as an honoree and recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award,” said Jean Lee, AABANY’s President.  “Don has been a life-long champion and fighter for Asian Americans and other under-represented groups, not just in the corporate sector but in all aspects of life and society.  His track record on diversity reaches out across generations of lawyers and individuals to advance and promote the values and goals of diversity, in the legal profession and beyond.  We are fortunate and privileged to count him as a dedicated friend of AABANY and its mission to increase diversity in the legal profession.  We still have a long way to go, but with Don on our side, we stand a good chance of getting there sooner rather than later. Don is truly deserving of this recognition, and we congratulate him.”

Don H. Liu is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Xerox Corporation, where he is responsible for all of Xerox’s legal and government affairs.  Throughout his career Mr. Liu has been committed to increasing the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys. This commitment is reflected in his stewardship of Xerox’s legal department and in his leadership and involvement in national and regional diversity organizations. He is an active member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and is the Vice Chairman of the Asian American Diversity Advisory Council for Comcast Corporation. He also served as the Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), which honored him with their ICON Award and Trailblazer Award. He most recently is the recipient of the Leadership Award by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Legacy Diversity Award by the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education Opportunity.

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community.  Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole.  AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

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On Tuesday night, May 2, AABANY held a Mentor-Mentee Happy Hour at Pranna Lounge.  Many current and prospective mentors and mentees met, mingled and caught up over food and drink.  We counted many interesting people in the room, including Roslyn Tom, a partner at Baker & McKenzie who was once the first woman at a Japanese securities firm, Don Liu, General Counsel at Xerox who was an avid disco dancer in his high school days, and Margaret Ling, in-house counsel at First American Title and Chair of AABANY’s Real Estate Committee, who swore in Mick Jagger when she clerked for Hon. Constance Baker Motley.  We were hoping to announce the launch of the 2012 Mentorship program and talk about the current Mentorship program, but the din of the bar made it impossible.  If you would like to learn more about AABANY’s Mentorship Program, contact our Coordinator, Julie Kwon at julie.kwon@aabany.org.

Fireworks at Smooth Moves 2012

On Tuesday, April 24, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), through its Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, presented Smooth Moves 2012: Career Strategies for Attorneys of Color.  The CLE portion of the event was entitled: “Views from the Corner Office: Diverse GCs Discuss How to Get There and How to Win Their Business.”

The moderator was Hon. Stephen C. Robinson, Partner at Skadden Arps and former judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When Judge Robinson turned to the question of how to get the business of the prominent GCs who were on the panel, he asked how important diversity was in getting hired.

Don LiuDon Liu, Senior Vice President, Secretary and GC at Xerox Corporation replied that with Xerox’s strong leadership on issues of diversity, Xerox placed a high premium on diversity in deciding which outside counsel to retain.

At that point, Sandra Leung, GC and Corporate Secretary at Bristol-Myers Squibb, turned to Don and said, “Let me challenge you a bit on that. Do you mean to tell me that if you had a bet-the-company case and the only lawyer who can win the case for you and who is the proven expert on that type of case and has a winning track record, but he and his firm have a poor showing on diversity, you would not hire that attorney?”

Don answered, “I’ve never been faced with that situation,” which drew appreciative laughter from the audience, “but do you mean to tell me that in this wide world, he would be the only lawyer who can handle that case? I doubt it.  We would certainly consider his qualifications and track record, but we would still place a high premium on diversity.”

Sandra LeungSandra continued to press and was joined by Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President and GC at Universal Music Group, who shared Sandra’s viewpoint and did not think that diversity would take precedence over other factors, especially if the case was not just “bet-the-company” but was “bet-the-industry.” In such a case, diversity or not, the company would go with the best lawyer for the job.

Don, seeming somewhat piqued but contained, replied: “There seems to be a suggestion that picking the diverse candidate somehow implies getting inferior services. I don’t buy that.” The audience applauded loudly for that statement.

The back-and-forth continued and Don seemed to relent slightly in his position but did not retreat from his stance that the hypothetical was unrealistic. Col. Maritza Ryan, Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, the fourth panelist, noted for the record (yes, transcription was being taken) that she was “the peaceful one.” The audience laughed appreciatively in response.

The debate was certainly lively and enhanced what was already an engaging discussion.  At the end, Don and Sandra, who are long-time friends, gave hearty hugs to each other, making clear that there were no hard feelings.

I didn’t have the benefit of the transcript in recounting the exchanges described above but of all the Smooth Moves programs I have had the pleasure to enjoy these last few years, this is the one for which I would request a copy of the transcript.  If you know how we can get a hold of one, please let me know.

What do you think?  If your company was faced with a bet-the-company or bet-the-industry case, does diversity go out the window in deciding which outside counsel to hire?

Don Liu Quoted in WSJ Blog on Alternative Billing Arrangements

Don Liu Quoted in WSJ Blog on Alternative Billing Arrangements

Private Showing of the Wedding Palace

Don Liu, Secretary and General Counsel of Xerox, and Andy Hahn, partner with Duane Morris, cordially invite you to a private showing of the Wedding Palace.

The Director, Christine Yoo, a rising Korean star in Hollywood, will attend the private screening and will introduce the film. 

The comedy is about a Korean American wedding – the Korean version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The private screening of Wedding Palace will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 7 p.m.  Mr. Hahn of Duane Morris will host the event at his law firm, located at 1540 Broadway, New York, NY  10036-4086 (map).  It will be an informal event with no charge. To RSVP, please email Wanda.Thigpen@xerox.com by Monday, March 26, 2012.

Wedding Palace

AABANY at NAPABA National Convention 2011

NAPABA’s 23rd Annual National Convention: Sustainability took place last week in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Omni CNN Center from November 17 through 20.  Among the more than 1100 attorneys from around the country was our contingent from New York.

AABANY was well-represented at the NAPABA National Convention. 

Judge Denny Chin, past AABANY President and currently the only active APA Federal appellate circuit judge, was the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s installation banquet.  Judge Chin shared his experiences as a district court judge, regaling the capacity crowd with fascinating, funny and sometimes touching stories from the wide variety of cases he presided over in his fifteen years on the bench as a United States District Court Judge.

Don Liu, General Counsel of Xerox and AABANY member, introduced Friday’s plenary luncheon speaker, Yale Law School Professor and best-selling author Amy Chua.  Don himself was honored with NAPABA’s prestigious Trailblazer Award on Friday evening.  In a moving and heartfelt acceptance speech, Don honored his recently-deceased father as a trailblazer in his own right.

At Saturday night’s installation banquet, NAPABA presented its Best Under 40 award recipients, and AABANY was represented by Director Bobby Liu, General Counsel at MD Sass, and Pauline Yeung-Ha, Co-Chair Solo and Small Firm Committee and name partner at Grimaldi & Yeung.  Also honored was My Chi To, Secretary of AALFNY (Asian American Law Fund of New York) and partner at Debevoise & Plimpton.

On Thursday, at the NAPABA Bar Leadership Institute, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen was the luncheon speaker, talking about AABANY’s experience as the first affiliate with a full-time executive director.

On Friday, Judge Chin led the AABANY re-enactment team in a program entitled “Race, Color and Citizenship: Ozawa and Thind,” which re-created two Supreme Court cases from the 1920s in which the Court upheld the denial of naturalization to two Asian Americans on the basis of race and color.  The cast, led by Judge Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin, was comprised of AABANY members, including many AABANY Directors: Vincent Chang, Yang Chen, Francis Chin, Lauren Lee, Susan Moon, Esther Nguonly, Liza Sohn, Vinoo Varghese, Jessica Wong and Michael Yap.

Throughout the conference, many other AABANY members, including many past AABANY leaders, spoke on or moderated various panels, including: Sylvia Fung Chin, John Flock, Parkin Lee, and Hon. Doris Ling Cohan.

Congratulations also to Hofstra Law School which was recognized on November 18 as the NAPALSA (National Asian Pacific American Law Students Association) Affiliate of the Year.  NAPALSA held several programs and meetings during the NAPABA National Convention.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the NAPABA 2011 National Convention, and congratulations to all the honorees.  You do AABANY proud!