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/.

AABANY Hosts 2022 Annual Meeting of Members

On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members for the second time on Remo. President Terrence Shen called the meeting to order and established quorum. The main order of business was conducting the election for the 2022 Board of Directors and Officers.

President Terrence Shen presented the Annual Report of the Board and thanked the Board members for their service during the past year. Treasurer William Hao and Membership Director Beatrice Leong presented the reports for their respective offices. 

Executive Director Yang Chen presented highlights from the Committee Reports. Following the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occurring, Immediate Past President Sapna Palla and President-Elect William Ng tallied the votes.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: The Membership Committee

The Membership Committee received the Committee of the Year Award for its outstanding contributions in promoting AABANY’s membership engagement and in recruiting new members. The Committee successfully transitioned from virtual mixers to in-person events. The most popular events include a visit to Little Island (New York’s newest public park attraction), live stand-up comedy as part of the Asian American International Film Festival, and a screening of “Shang Chi – Legend of the Ten Rings” in a private theater in Times Square. 

Program of the Year: Turning the Tide (T3) Project

The Program of the Year Award was given to the Turning the Tide (T3) Project, a joint project of AABANY and AALFNY, for providing a holistic and practicable action plan to address anti-Asian hate and violence. AABANY established an Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, composed of leadership from several AABANY committees, to leverage diverse skills and talents towards turning back the rising tide of hate and violence against AAPIs. 

Member of the Year: May Wong

The Member of the Year Award was presented to May Wong, for her prodigious contributions, not just but especially, this past year to further the mission of AABANY through the Pro-Bono and Community Service Committee as well as her collaboration with other AABANY Committees. At a time when committees were unable to plan regular events due to the COVID surge, May was forging ahead to come up with new ways for the PBCS Committee to successfully continue to serve and assist the AAPI community with their legal needs. As Vice-Chair of the Committee, she initiated many projects, liaised with law students and firms, led planning meetings, and often was the first to show up and the last to leave. 

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2022 fiscal year.

After the presentation of awards, Terry announced the election results. The following officers were elected and will begin their term one-year terms on April 1, 2022:

Karen Kim

President-Elect

Joseph Eng

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Beatrice Leong

Vice President, Programs and Operations

Evelyn Gong

Treasurer

Shirley Bi

Secretary

Christopher Bae

Membership Director

Anna Mercado Clark

Development Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2022:

Grace Fu

William Hao

Gigio Ninan

Won Shin

Kazuko Wachter

Lawrence Wee

After the election results were announced, all the attendees were invited to stay and network in Remo. We thank everyone who came and participated in the Annual Meeting and the election. Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board to serve in the 2023 fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2022.

NAPABA Announces 2021-22 Board of Governors

NAPABA is committed to having a governing board that reflects the diverse Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander legal community and has the right blend of skill, expertise, community connections, and diverse perspectives as a whole. We are proud to announce the newly elected Officers and Directors who will serve on the 2021-22 NAPABA Board of Governors. We look forward to their leadership and the advancement of NAPABA’s mission and strategic plan. 

The following individuals were elected by the NAPABA membership:    

Executive Committee
President-Elect
Sandra Leung

Treasurer
Hogene Choi

Secretary
Judy Lam

Directors
Director
Marty Lorenzo

Director
Kristin Haugen

Join Us for Our Meet the Candidates Forum on Wednesday, September 8

NAPABA Board of Governors Election Meet the Candidates Forum

Wednesday, September 8 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EDT

To better engage NAPABA members in the Board of Governors elections process, the NAPABA Elections and Nominations Subcommittee is pleased to provide you the opportunity to meet the candidates in a moderated discussion.

Please note that not all candidates for the 2021-22 NAPABA Elections will be participating in this program. Visit our website to view the full list of candidates.

Candidate for Secretary

Judy Lam

Candidates for Director

Kristin Haugen
Marty Lorenzo

Moderator

Christine Chen
Executive Director,
APIAVote

In preparation of the exercise of your right to vote, we encourage you to take the time to consider the vision each candidate has for NAPABA and the diverse perspectives across the Board as a whole. We believe that the active participation of our membership is essential to a vibrant and diverse organization.

AABANY Hosts 2021 Annual Meeting of Members on Remo

On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members on Remo. President Sapna Palla called the meeting to order and established quorum. Elections were held for the 2021 Board of Directors and Officers.

President Sapna Palla presented the Year in Review and Executive Director, Yang Chen, presented the report of the Committees. Following the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occurring, Immediate Past President Brian Song and President-Elect Terrence Shen tallied the votes.

The following officers were elected and will begin their term on April 1, 2021:

William Ng
President-Elect

Cynthia Lam
Vice President, Programs and Operations

Joe Eng
Vice President, Programs and Operations

Margaret Ling
Development Director

William Hao
Treasurer

Christopher Bae
Secretary

Beatrice Leong
Membership Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2021:

Jasmine Ball
Jeff Ikejiri
Suzanne Kim
Chris Kwok
David Sohn
Bart Wu
Karen Yau
Andy Yoo

Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board.

The following awards were presented:

Committees of the Year: The Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and the Student Outreach Committee

For the numerous initiatives they organized to support the community during COVID-19, including Know Your Rights webinars, COVID Rent Relief Program application drives, and postering and social media campaigns to promote the Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic and other community programs.

Program of the Year: Weekly Membership Mixers

For hosting more than 30 weekly mixers on Zoom and Remo since April 1, 2020 to provide an open space for members and non-members to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections.

Member of the Year: Bart Wu

For his outstanding work with the Legal Referral and Information Service, which he helped launch, and his work reviving the Solo and Small Firm Practice Committee.

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2021 fiscal year.

Congratulations to the Officers and Directors elected to the Board to serve during fiscal year 2022 which commences on April 1, 2021.

We would also like to thank our members for attending and participating in the annual meeting.

NAPABA Presents: Board of Governors Election President-Elect Candidates Forum


On Tuesday, August 18 at 1 PM PDT/4 PM EDT, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) will be hosting a virtual Meet the President-Elect Candidates Forum.

Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to learn more about the President-Elect candidates! Submit your questions for the candidates to membership@napaba.org prior to the forum.

Candidates for President-Elect

Headshot - Sid Kanazawa
Sid Kanazawa
Headshot - Gary Zhao
Gary Zhao

Moderator

Headshot - Christine Chen
Christine Chen
Executive Director,
APIAVote

Take the time to consider the vision each candidate has for NAPABA and the diverse perspectives across the Board as a whole.

Register here.

AABANY Member Profile: Hon. John Z. Wang Runs for New York City Civil Court

https://www.instagram.com/judgewang4civilcourt/

Hon. John Z. Wang, a proud member of AABANY, has launched his own campaign to run for New York City Civil Court in the First Municipal Court District, which covers Battery Park, Chinatown, FiDi, Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, and Two Bridges. An active contributor to the Judiciary Committee of AABANY, Judge Wang has organized panels on how to become an appointed and elected judge in hopes of encouraging more Asian American and Pacific Islander lawyers to pursue this path. Now, he hopes to make his community proud by becoming the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First District.

Judge Wang immigrated to the United States at five years old and grew up in a predominantly working-class Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn. As one of very few Asian Americans in his community, he recognized the dangers of racism and bigotry and the importance of respecting other cultures and races.

The Judge has devoted his entire career to public service. After graduating from Vassar College and Brooklyn Law School, he received a six-month fellowship to work at Legal Services, where he advocated for claimants of unemployment insurance. Subsequently, he served as a court attorney in Brooklyn Family Court and the Bronx and Manhattan Civil Courts, and clerked for Hon. Anthony Cannataro, a New York State Supreme Court Justice and the Administrative Judge of the New York City Civil Court. Last year, Judge Wang was appointed as a Brooklyn Housing Court Judge. In all his years serving in New York’s courts, he has also contributed to policy-making by helping to restructure parts of the Manhattan Civil Court.

Now, Judge Wang hopes to serve as the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First Judicial District. Judge Wang views the Civil Court as the people’s court–it serves everyday people with real, working-class issues. He is moved by the stories and individuals that these small claims and credit card disputes represent, and hopes to do his part to deliver justice to everyday people.

Judge Wang also maintains a reputation for treating individuals that come before him with dignity, compassion, and fairness. As the only sitting judge in this contested race, Judge Wang understands the weight of making difficult decisions regarding people’s livelihoods.

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee vetted Judge Wang for his appointment to Housing Court in 2017 and found him highly qualified and well-suited for the role. The Committee noted that “[t]he advocates and judges that encounter Mr. Wang in the courthouse uniformly praise his intellect, work ethic and demeanor.” After more than two years on the bench, Committee Co-Chair Will Wang (no relation) observed: “It is somewhat uncommon for a relatively recent judge to have published the number of opinions Judge Wang has published. To me, this demonstrates both Judge Wang’s work ethic and overall writing ability.”

Judge Wang believes he faces a tough but winnable campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic has created serious challenges, including uncertainty in voter turnout and participation, but he hopes that his experience working in Civil Court will inspire individuals to volunteer and vote for him.

For more information on Judge Wang’s campaign, including how you can volunteer or support his candidacy, visit https://www.judgewang4civilcourt.com/ or email judgewang4civilcourt@gmail.com.

This member profile has been published for informational purposes only and does not constitute and should not be construed as a campaign endorsement.

https://www.instagram.com/judgewang4civilcourt/

Allen & Overy Hosts AABANY’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, AABANY held its Annual Meeting of Members at Allen & Overy. President Brian Song called the meeting to order and established quorum. Elections were held for the 2020 Board of Officers and Directors, along with a vote on bylaw revisions to clarify and extend term limits.

President Brian Song presented the Year in Review while Executive Director, Yang Chen, presented the report of the Committees. After the reports, awards were presented to honor AABANY leaders and committees for their dedication to AABANY over the past year. While these presentations were occuring, Immediate Past President James R. Cho and President-Elect Sapna Palla tallied the votes.

The following officers were elected and will begin their term on April 1, 2020:

Terrence L. Shen
President-Elect

Tiffany Miao
Vice President, Programs and Operations

David Sohn
Vice President, Programs and Operations

Margaret Ling
Development Director

William Hao
Treasurer

Christopher Bae
Secretary

Beatrice Leong
Membership Director

The following candidates were elected as Directors to serve two-year terms starting on April 1, 2020:

Jasmine Ball
Una A. Dean
Edward Y. Kim
Naf Kwun
Won Shin
Kazuko Wachter

Congratulations to all the Officers and Directors who were elected to the Board.

The bylaw revisions were passed.

The following awards were presented:

Committee of the Year: The Young Lawyers Committee

For their outstanding contributions in promoting AABANY’s mission and their service to our members and the community at large.

Program of the Year: The AABANY Trial Reenactments Project under the auspices of the Professional Development Committee 

For enhancing and contributing to public understanding and awareness of major contributions by Asian Americans to the social, political and legal history of the United States.

Member of the Year: Beatrice Leong

For her contributions to the growth of AABANY’s membership under her leadership as Membership Director.

Congratulations to all the honorees for the recognition of their achievements and hard work during the 2019 fiscal year.

We would like to thank our members for attending and participating in the annual meeting, and we also thank John Hwang and Allen & Overy for hosting the meeting in a beautiful space, treating us to a delectable selection of food and drinks.

Accepting Nominations for Officer Candidates and Applications for At-Large Board Members for NAPABA’s 2019-20 Bar Year

NAPABA election season has kicked off!  Below is information about nominating Officer candidates and applying for At-Large Board Member positions. Please share with your networks! 

Remember, you must be a NAPABA direct member OR activate your affiliate membership online by July 1 to be eligible to vote in this year’s elections. Click here to join/renew today.

The NAPABA Board of Governors consists of nine Officers who are elected by the membership, ten Regional Governors who are chosen by the NAPABA Regions, and four At-Large Board Members who are appointed by the Board of Governors. Now through July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT, the NAPABA Nominating & Elections Committee will be accepting nominations for members who want to stand for election as Officers and applications from members who want to be considered for At-Large Board Member positions.

Nominate Yourself or Another Member for an Officer Position

Click here for more information or to submit a nomination by July 8 for the following Officer positions:

  • President-Elect 
  • Vice President for Finance and Development
  • Vice President for Membership
  • Vice President for Programs and Operations
  • Vice President for Communications
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary  

Apply to be an At-Large Board Member

Review the complete guidelines and apply here by July 8 to be considered for an At-Large Board Member position.

NAPABA Call for Nominations

The NAPABA Nominating and Elections Committee is accepting nominations for election as the Vice President for Finance and Development of the NAPABA Board of Governors for the 2018-19 term, in light of Courtney Fong’s withdrawal. Read his full statement here. The NAPABA Board of Governors makes the organization’s policies for the given year, and consists of nine officers, ten regional governors, and four appointed At-Large Board Members. The responsibilities of board members include, but are not limited to, supporting NAPABA’s mission statement, endorsing NAPABA events and programs, securing financial supporters, and demonstrating the highest standards of integrity and decorum. For a full list of governor responsibilities, click here

AABANY members who joined or renewed their NAPABA membership by July 1, 2018, are eligible to vote. Ballots have been delivered by email, and must be cast on or before Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. If you have any questions, you may contact the NAPABA Nominating & Elections Committee Chair George Chen, george.chen@bclplaw.com, or NAPABA Executive Director Tina Matsuoka, tmatsuoka@napaba.org. For general inquiries, please contact elections@napaba.org. 

To submit an nomination and for more information regarding this position, click here. The deadline to submit is October 22 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT.