AABANY Hosts Panel on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Workplace and Beyond

On July 28, 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) hosted an event addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace and beyond. Moderated by Margaret Ling, Director of Business Development and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Committee at AABANY, the panel featured: William H. Ng, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson and former Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Committee of AABANY; Donna Dozier Gordon, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at USTA; Asker A. Saeed, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and Principal at Saeed Consulting; Sean Bacchus, CEO and Founder of the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council; and Prof. Meredith R. Miller, President of the Network of Bar Leaders. 

The program began with an acknowledgment of Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon who recently passed away. Margaret urged the participants to follow the Congressman’s famous words, to get in “good trouble,” as they work to make their communities more equitable and representative.

Will Ng opened by recounting his experience with diversity and inclusion while working in large law firms. He noted that law firms need to have support from management and leadership in order to succeed in creating a more diverse workplace. He also stressed that recruitment was not the issue, but rather, retaining diverse, younger talent.

Asker Saeed followed by outlining steps that may help large law firms advance their diversity and inclusion efforts. First, law firms should think about their reason for promoting diversity: not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also better for business. Firms should hire the best people, and the best attorneys are not only one gender, race, ethnicity, or sexuality. Second, firms should examine their systems and procedures, particularly in lateral hiring and promotions. For example, when partners are asked to recommend people to a position, they are likely going to recommend individuals who look like them or remind them of themselves, thus perpetuating the status quo that partners should be white, male, straight, etc.. Thirdly, firms should hire and pay someone to be in charge of diversity and inclusion for greater accountability, as well as create a specific budget for diversity and inclusion initiatives. Finally, law firms should create more opportunities for all people to prove their abilities and advance in the organization.

Meredith R. Miller added that, in 2016, the American Bar Association identified discrimination as professional misconduct. She emphasized that firms should not focus on not discriminating, but rather being anti-discrimination and anti-racist. She also urged bar associations to build pipelines for minority communities in the legal field.

Donna Gordon examined the connection between diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the Black Lives Matter movement. Due to the nation’s changing landscape, especially after the Black Lives Matter movement, the success of a firm will depend on its ability to hire and retain diverse talent. Black Lives Matter has reignited corporate interest in diversity and inclusion. However, despite the long history of these diversity initiatives, African Americans still do not experience as much advancement in the workplace. Donna urged participants to focus on addressing the gaps in the African American talent pipeline by tapping into wider networks.

Finally, Sean Bacchus stressed that organizations must be recognized for their progress and held accountable for the work they are not engaging in. Mentorship and sponsorship from senior leaders towards minorities are very important, especially given the prevalence of nepotism in large firms. Sean also urged firms to not only target Ivy League students during recruitment but also look at the CUNY system.

We thank Margaret Ling for organizing and moderating the successful event, and the panelists for offering their valuable insights. Attendees received 1.0 credits in the diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias requirement, and 0.5 credits in the ethics requirement. To view a recording of the program, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxb4uylxkMQ or click the image above.

KALAGNY – 2016 NAPABA Northeast Regional Conference

KALAGNY – 2016 NAPABA Northeast Regional Conference

Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook

Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook

AABANY ED Speaks at “Bridge the Gap” CLE Orientation Program

On Wednesday, October 23, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen was a panelist at a CLE Orientation Program presented by the First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness for a group of about 240 new attorneys who were scheduled to be sworn in to the New York State bar on October 28.  The program took place at NYCLA from 9 am to 11 am, and Mr. Chen provided an overview of ethical issues confronting the new practitioner.  Mr. Chen spoke from his perspective as a practitioner for nearly 20 years working on complex commercial litigation and antitrust matters. Maria Matos, Executive Secretary of the Committee on Character and Fitness and former President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, organized the event, which is held every few weeks throughout the year.

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The 2013 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference took place on Saturday, September 21, at the New York offices of Weil Gotshal & Manges. It started with breakfast and registration at 8:00 am. Panel session 1 began at 9:30 am, featuring CLE programs on “Office Politics 101 – How to Win the Popularity Contest at Work,” “Post-Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later and its Impact on the Northeast,” and “The Nexus of IP and Everything Else in the Universe.” The morning session of the Trial Advocacy Program (TAP) began with a lecture.

Panel session 2 followed at 11:00 am with CLE programs on “How to Get Disbarred: Avoiding Ethics Complaints and What to Do if you Can’t,” “Girlfriends: ‘Lean In’ – When, Where and How,” and “Bright Lights, Big Pharma.” TAP breakout sessions took place, allowing participants to engage in actual exercises based on the morning lecture.

At the same time, during the morning session, the In-House Counsel Forum, Judicial Forum, numerous pitch sessions and the AABANY Career Exchange were simultaneously going on. It was a busy morning.

2013 Judicial Campaign Ethics Training and Guidance

The Judicial Campaign Ethics Center has posted a notice concerning some resources and requirements that may be of interest to attorneys who are considering a campaign for elective judicial office this year in New York State, or who may be asked to serve on a judicial candidate’s campaign committee.

Download a copy of this notice here.

Further questions or comments may be directed to JCEC@nycourts.gov or
1-888-600-JCEC (5232).

Upcoming Ethics CLEs

Get those elusive Ethics CLE credits at our upcoming programs – and it’s free for AABANY members (fee charged to non-members).

The IP Committee presents: Intellectual Property Ethics for In-House Counsel (1.5 Ethics), May 17. RSVP here.

Government & Public Sector Committee presents: Everyday Ethics for the Government and Public Sector Attorney (2.0 Ethics), May 23. RSVP here.

Solo & Small Firm, Real Estate and Immigration committees co-sponsor two programs,  each about ethical lawyer marketing and sustaining your practice (each 1 Ethics + 1 Law Practice Management) May 23rd (RSVP here)  and June 6th (RSVP here).

You can fulfill your ethics CLE requirements this year with these great AABANY programs!

Advanced registration for our CLE programs is required at our website www.aabany.org .

AABANY ED Speaks at “Bridge the Gap” CLE Orientation Program

On Wednesday, April 25, AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen was a panelist at a CLE Orientation Program presented by the First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness for a group of about 250 new attorneys who were going to be sworn in to the New York State bar that day.  The program took place at NYCLA from 9 am to 11 am, and Mr. Chen provided an overview of ethical issues confronting the new practitioner.  Mr. Chen spoke from his perspective as a practitioner for nearly 20 years working on complex commercial litigation and antitrust matters.  The other panelists included Meredith Heller, who spoke on seeking and getting help through Lawyers’ Assistance Programs, Jeremy Feinberg, who spoke on civility, professionalism and pro bono service, and Norma Lopez, who gave an overview of the disciplinary process and how to avoid getting caught up in it.  Maria Matos, Executive Secretary of the Committee on Character and Fitness and former President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, organized the event, which is held every few weeks throughout the year.