In the News: AABANY, SABANY, KALAGNY, & FALA-New York’s Joint Statement on AAPI Under-representation in the Judiciary Featured in The New York Law Journal

On Tuesday, June 15, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY), and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York) released a joint statement calling on the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) to fill judicial vacancies with Asian American Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) judges, including that of Judge Anthony Cannataro’s former role as the citywide administrative judge for the civil court of New York City. On Wednesday, June 16, The New York Law Journal published a front-page article recounting the social and demographic context driving the release of this joint statement, reiterating how “[u]nlike other communities of color, Asian representation has lagged due to a failure by political and judicial leaders to support and promote AAPI judges.” The article also noted how the AAPI bar associations acknowledged the diversity of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent judicial appointments but remained staunch in their commitment to remedying the dearth of AAPI representation on the bench.

To read the full article, click here (subscription required).

Membership Committee Hosts Weekly Mixer with FALA-New York on October 9

On October 9, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly virtual Membership Mixer, with 20 participants in attendance. This week AABANY had the honor of co-hosting the event with the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York). The icebreaker question posed to the group was: “Who is your favorite superhero, real or fictional?” Participants reported they idolized Captain Jean Luc Picard, Spiderman, Xena, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Neo, Jay and Silent Bob, Morpheus, Naruto, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oksana Chusovitina, and their bartender.  Many of the participants hailed from New Jersey, and the burning question of the night was: “Is the beloved NJ ham dish called a pork roll or Taylor Ham?”

The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we have moved online to offer members a weekly outlet to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections. Mixers start at 6:30pm on Friday and the main event ends at 7:30pm but many stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.

Membership Committee will continue to host weekly virtual mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person. 

We are giving away door prizes in some weeks. In order to win, you must be a member and must RSVP on the calendar to get a raffle number. Non-members can join the mixer but won’t be eligible to win a prize. 

This week Membership Committee gave away a free Membership. Congratulations to Louise Lingat for winning the prize.

Membership Committee would also like to thank Barry Kazan, a Partner at Mintz & Gold LLP for his generosity! Barry offered to pay FALANY and AABANY memberships for the October 9 Mixer attendees who are not already members of the respective bars.

Mixers are not recorded, and are LIVE, so don’t miss out. This week’s mixer happens on Oct. 16. Register by Thursday at


NEW YORK, June 19, 2019 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”), the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (“KALAGNY”), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (“FALA New York”) condemn the process by which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio formulated his plan to reform admissions to the city’s specialized high schools because he has shut out Asian American leaders and organizations from any meaningful participation.  We believe that any legislation with such wide-ranging impact on all communities should not be permitted to move forward when the process by which it has been advanced to the legislature has been marked by excluding the voices of the Asian American community.

In June 2018, Mayor de Blasio announced his support for New York State Assembly Bill A2173 which calls for eliminating the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), to be replaced by a new selection process.  He did so without seeking any input from the Asian American community or any of the New York Asian American elected officials at the Federal, State, or local levels. We are deeply concerned, because we believe this exclusionary process illustrates how the current debate has largely ignored and dismissed the reality that Asian Americans also face racial discrimination.

Asian Americans currently make up more than 60% of enrollment in the specialized high schools.  Pronouncing that the specialized high schools had a “diversity” problem,” Mayor de Blasio’s rhetoric problematically casts the Asian American populations in these schools as a problem that needs to be fixed and ignores the incredible diversity that exists at the schools.  

In March 2019, the Mayor recognized that his rollout was flawed and that he “wish[es] he had done it better,” promising to meet with Asian American community leaders.  That meeting finally took place three months later, on June 13, with less than a week left in the State legislative session. Even though the Mayor finally apologized to the Asian American community at that meeting, Assembly Bill A2173 continues to move forward in Albany.

We recognize that the proposed elimination of the SHSAT is a divisive issue, even within the Asian American community.  AABANY proudly led public discussions on this issue, hosting a community forum in Flushing in 2014, another forum in Manhattan in 2015 and a documentary film screening about the SHSAT called “Tested” in 2015. AABANY used these opportunities to engage speakers on opposing sides of the debate in an effort to educate the public on the differing viewpoints, including those within the Asian American communities, on SHSAT reforms.   

The Asian American community is not monolithic.  We celebrate both the diversity within the Asian American community and the diversity Asian Americans bring to American society.  We fully support improving access to quality education for all. We are invested in true diversity, one that does not envision a small pie that must be divided among competing groups.  We support building more specialized high schools and the revival of gifted and talented programs in every elementary and middle school. We support city funded SHSAT test prep for any student that wants to take it.

Given the flawed process that produced the Mayor’s plan, we oppose New York State Assembly Bill A2173.  We call upon the Mayor to withdraw his current plan and provide Asian Americans a seat at the table to develop a new plan for the specialized high schools that benefits from having all stakeholders heard and represented in developing legislation on the vital issue of a fair, equitable and diverse public education system for all.


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 a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

The Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY) is a professional membership organization of attorneys and law students engaged with the issues affecting the Korean American community in Greater New York.  Incorporated in 1986, KALAGNY seeks to encourage the professional growth of its members as well as provide legal support for the Korean American community.

Founded in 1996, the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) is an organization of South Asian attorneys practicing in the New York City metropolitan region. The mission of the SABANY is to enhance the professional development of the South Asian legal community and act as a resource to the South Asian community at large by increasing access to justice, upholding the rule of law and improving our justice system.

FALA New York was formally organized in 2015 in New York as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Filipino American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants or paralegals and law students. The mission of FALA New York is to promote the vibrant Filipino American legal community in New York by connecting Filipino American attorneys in order to share our experiences and expertise and to explore issues, cases and laws that affect the Filipino American community.


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On Friday, February 24, AABANY, together with the Korean American Lawyers Association of New York (KALAGNY), the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York), the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY) and the Migrant Center, Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, presented a Writ of Habeas Corpus Training to a full house at San Damiano Hall at the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street.

The course covered the recent Executive Orders on immigration and provided training on filing habeas corpus petitions. Among the speakers was Immigration and Nationality Law Committee Co-Chair Amanda Bernardo.

For more photos from the event, click on the embedded Facebook post above from FALA-New York.

Thanks to everyone who took part in this important and timely program, and thanks to KALAGNY for spearheading the organization of this event.

Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing v. Atonio

On June 23rd, the Filipino American National Historical Society hosted their 16th Biennial Conference, A Pinoy State of Mind: Building Our Roots at John Jay College. We were proud to join the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Oregon in presenting Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio. In the 1970s, led by Filipino activists, workers in Alaskan canneries organized and filed class actions against unfair and discriminatory working conditions that had prevailed for decades against Asian American cannery workers. Although the Filipino workers lost their case before the United States Supreme Court, their efforts led Congress to pass an amendment to the Civil Rights Act in 1991 to achieve equal treatment and justice for workers of color. The reenactment cast wonderfully brought this tragic history back to life. 

At the end of the re-enactment, several former Alaskan cannery workers attending this event stood up and shared their personal experiences with audience. The audience gave them a round applause. The story telling compelled many audience members to reflect on how much that generation had suffered and how much history has progressed. 

Thank you to Connie Montoya and FALA New York for organizing this important session during the FANHS Conference. Thank you once again to Hon. Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for once again leading a successful reenactment. For those wanting to learn more about this historical reenactment, please visit:

Write-up by AABANY Intern Claudia Shi.