NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Lucy H. Koh to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

On September 8, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Lucy H. Koh of California to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

If confirmed, Judge Koh would be the first female Korean American federal circuit court judge in the nation’s history.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Lucy H. Koh on her historic nomination to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “Judge Koh is a proven entity with over a decade of state and federal judicial service, with strong bona fides in technology, intellectual property, business litigation, and criminal law.”

In 2010, Judge Koh was unanimously confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by a 90-0 vote after her nomination received wide bipartisan support. Prior to her tenure on the federal bench, Judge Koh served on the Superior Court of California for Santa Clara County, having been appointed in 2008 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Judge Koh has held various positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, notably as a special assistant to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, as Special Counsel in the Office of Legislative Affairs, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Judge Koh has been a partner at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery in Silicon Valley and before that, worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Judge Koh is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

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 Board Director Suzanne Kim as the First AAPI Professor to Co-Author a Casebook on Family Law

AABANY congratulates Board Director (and Past Co-Chair of the Academic Committee) Suzanne Kim on being the first AAPI professor who has co-authored a casebook on family law. Last fall, with co-authors Douglas NeJaime, Richard Banks, and Joanna Grossman, Professor Kim published Family Law in a Changing America, a casebook that focuses on family law and contemporary race, class, and gender issues that affect the family unit:

Family Law in a Changing America is a new casebook that highlights law and family patterns as they are now, not as they were decades ago. By focusing on key changes in family life, the casebook attends to rising equality and inequality within and among families. The law, formally at least, accords more equality and autonomy than ever before, having repudiated hierarchies based on race, gender, and sexuality. Yet, as our society has grown more economically unequal, so too have family patterns diverged. The book explores disparities based on race, class, and gender.

The materials are of interest to those focused on the study of inequality faced by diverse American families.

Suzanne Kim is a Professor of Law and Judge Denny Chin Scholar at Rutgers Law School. Before teaching, she was a litigation associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York, where she received the firm’s Pro Bono Service Award. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Denny Chin, after earning a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Read more about Professor Kim here.

Please join AABANY in recognizing Professor Kim for her accomplishment. To learn more about Family Law in a Changing America, visit https://www.wklegaledu.com/NeJaime-FamilyLawinAmerica.

AABANY Congratulates Member Rose Cuison-Villazor on Her Appointment as the First Filipina-American Dean of an American Law School

AABANY has learned that Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor will be serving as interim co-dean of Rutgers Law School, becoming the first Asian-American female dean at Rutgers Law and the first Filipina-American dean of an American law school. Since July 2019, she has served as the vice dean of Rutgers Law School (https://patch.com/new-jersey/newarknj/rutgers-law-school-dean-trailblazes-asian-american-women).

AABANY is proud to recognize Dean Cuison-Villazor among its membership and congratulates her on this historic appointment, just one among many of her trailblazing accomplishments. An expert in immigration and citizenship law, she is a founding director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice at Rutgers Law School. According to Rutgers Law’s own announcement:

Cuison-Villazor teaches, researches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, property law, Asian Americans and the law, equal protection law and critical race theory. She teaches Property Law, Immigration Law, Critical Race Theory, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and the Law, Estates in Land, and Introduction to U.S. Law and recently testified before a Congressional committee on land rights. She earned her LLM from Columbia Law School, JD from American University and BA from the University of Texas.

Dean Cuison-Villazor’s scholarship regarding immigration and citizenship law has been notable, highlighting previously neglected legal history concerning property and race. Dean Cuison-Villazor’s 2010 law review article “Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race, and Citizenship” inspired AABANY’s own Oyama v. California trial reenactment. Oyama v. California overturned the California Alien Land Laws which prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship,” i.e., Asian Americans, from owning property. The case established legal precedent for future civil rights cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Read more about the trial reenactment here.

AABANY’s Academic Committee Co-Chairs Catherine Kim, Donna Lee, Elaine Chiu, and Thomas Lee extend a special congratulations to Dean Cuison-Villazor, stating:

AABANY congratulates and is extremely proud of Dean Cuison-Villazor’s appointment as interim co-dean of Rutgers Law School. She is an immigration, citizenship, and race & the law scholar with a national reputation, a gifted teacher, and a superb leader. Rutgers Law is fortunate to have Rose lead its Newark campus at this critical time, as is AABANY to claim her as a cherished colleague.

Please join AABANY in recognizing Dean Cuison-Villazor for her accomplishment. To learn more about the Academic Committee, visit https://www.aabany.org/page/352.

NAPABA Congratulates Julie Su on her Confirmation to Become Deputy Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Julie Su on her confirmation to become Deputy Secretary of Labor. Ms. Su will be the first Asian American woman to serve as the Department of Labor’s second-in-command.

“Julie Su’s experience leading California’s labor department – the country’s largest in a state that ranks as the fifth largest economy in the world, makes her extraordinarily well-prepared to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA congratulates Julie Su and applauds the Senate on her well-deserved confirmation.”

In 2014, NAPABA honored Ms. Su with its prestigious Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Ms. Su was recognized for her advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable, poor, and disenfranchised workers, including for her efforts to hold garment manufacturers liable for exploiting slave labor.

Prior to her role as California Labor Secretary, Ms. Su was California Labor Commissioner, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, and has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. Ms. Su was a recipient of the 2019 American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grant. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Jennifer Sung to the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Shalina Kumar to the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

WASHINGTON – On June 30, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jennifer Sung to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. If confirmed, Ms. Sung would be President Biden’s first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) to serve on the appellate court and the first AAPI to serve on the Ninth Circuit in Oregon. Judge Kumar would be the first AAPI Article III judge on the federal courts in Michigan.

“NAPABA congratulates Jennifer Sung on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Shalina Kumar on her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “It is indeed a historic slate for the AAPI legal community. If confirmed, Judge Kumar would be the first AAPI Article III judge in the state of Michigan. President Biden’s intent to nominate Ms. Sung is critical for our community to increase the visibility of AAPI jurists on the appellate bench. Of the 179 authorized federal appellate court judges, there are only 10 AAPIs who are actively serving.”

Ms. Sung is currently a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board, where she adjudicates disputes involving labor relations for an estimated 3,000 Oregon employers and 250,000 workers in the public and private sector covered by collective bargaining laws. Prior to her appointment to the Board, she was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffee, LLP in Portland. Earlier in her career, Ms. Sung was an executive board member of the New York chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Judge Kumar currently serves as Chief Judge of the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court in Michigan. She has been on the bench since 2007, has served as presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, and was appointed Chief Judge by the Michigan Supreme Court in 2018. Judge Kumar previously practiced at the Weiner & Cox law firm and served on the executive board of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association and as a member of the Women’s Bar Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and her law degree from the University of Detroit-Mercy.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her Confirmation to Become the First Asian American Woman to Lead OPM

For Immediate Release: Date: June 22, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her confirmation to become Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  In this role, Ms. Ahuja will be the first Asian American woman to lead the federal government’s principal human resources agency. 

“Kiran Ahuja’s prior governmental experience as OPM’s Chief of Staff, as a career government lawyer at DOJ, and as Executive Director of the White House’s Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI, now the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders) make her ready to lead OPM and its diverse and talented workforce at a critical time,” said A.B. Cruz III, the President of NAPABA. “NAPABA congratulates Kiran Ahuja on her well-earned confirmation.”

In 2011, NAPABA honored Ms. Ahuja with its Women’s Leadership Award for her decades long efforts towards improving the lives of women of color in the United States and the advancement of AAPI women both as founding Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum and as Executive Director of WHIAAPI.

Ms. Ahuja earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a law degree from the University of Georgia.  NAPABA applauded the nomination of Ms. Ahuja and had written to all Senators voicing support for her confirmation.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

AABANY Member Profile: Vincent T. Chang Becomes First AAPI President of NYCLA

Vincent T. Chang, active member of AABANY since 2000 and former AABANY President in 2007, was inducted as the first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) on May 28, 2021. In his new role, Vince is prepared to lead NYCLA in supporting diverse communities, reaching out to more young attorneys and law students, and closing the justice gap to serve those in the community who are most in need.

Since high school, Vince gravitated towards pursuing a career in the legal profession. Involved in both his high school and college debate teams, Vince found overlapping aspects between debate and law. In presenting an argument, he noticed both involve research, assembly of evidence, and oral presentation. After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Krupansky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 1989. Being familiar with litigation from his experience in debate and serving as a judicial clerk in a Federal appellate court, Vince chose to practice in litigation. Currently, Vince is a Litigation Partner at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York specializing in complex commercial litigation matters in the financial industry, including investment banking, hedge funds, and mortgage backed securities.

Outside of his work at the law firm, Vince is an active member of numerous bar associations and organizations, and has served and continues to serve in various leadership positions. To name a few, Vince previously served on the New York State Bar Association Committee of Bar Leaders, on the Board of Directors at Legal Services NYC, and is currently the Vice President of the Asian American Law Fund of New York. Although he might be affectionately called a “Bar Junkie,” Vince did not participate in bar association work until later on in his career.

The first bar association Vince joined was AABANY, and he appreciated both the social and intellectual aspects of the association. He enjoyed the opportunity to learn about different areas of law while also being able to network and meet prominent lawyers. One of his fondest memories of serving as President of AABANY in 2007 was hosting the Annual Dinner because it was a rare event for 500 to 600 AAPI lawyers, including General Counsels and Judges, to all gather in the same room in New York City. This was especially significant because at the time there were at most 400 members in AABANY compared to the 1,500 members AABANY has now.

At AABANY, Vince also played a prominent role in organizing the AABANY Trial Reenactments. With a goal to educate lawyers and the public about the notable trials and cases in U.S. history involving AAPIs, Vince assisted Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin to develop scripts for the productions. Since 2007, Vince has starred as a cast member in numerous reenactments at the annual NAPABA conventions and at other events. He most recently played Fred Korematsu in the “Fred Korematsu and His Fight For Justice” reenactment in November 2019 at the NAPABA convention.

Today, Vince is the first AAPI President of NYCLA, which was the first bar association to admit women and lawyers of color into its membership. He views his role as both an honor and a serious responsibility—an honor because past presidents include esteemed individuals and a responsibility because of his duty to represent AAPIs and serve as a role model. At a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of many bar associations’ and law firms’ missions, NYCLA plans to be more interactive with young lawyers, especially diverse attorneys, by reaching out to law schools, affinity bar groups, and law firms. Vince also plans for NYCLA to remain relevant on public policy issues and respond to them in a timely manner. He hopes that “taking positions that affect diverse communities will make them notice and realize NYCLA is on their side.”

A common theme of Vince’s work is the pursuit of justice to not only improve the legal profession, but to also improve the quality of legal representation for individuals in the community. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary to review federal judicial nominees; sat on a NYCLA panel at a public hearing to address the impact of budget cuts on the Judiciary; served on the Disciplinary Committee for the First Department to prosecute disciplinary complaints against lawyers in Manhattan; and worked on other initiatives to minimize the justice gap. Vince plans to continue working on this at NYCLA as “access to justice is a hallmark of what bar associations and NYCLA are aiming for.” One program NYCLA has planned is to support attorneys who represent indigent persons through the Assigned Counsel Plan (18b). Under the proposed program, by increasing the rate at which assigned counsel are paid, there will hopefully be an increase of lawyers interested in doing 18b work, which will further decrease the access-to-justice gap. NYCLA also hopes to revive their Special Masters Program to provide an opportunity for young attorneys to gain experience working with the court system, and to close the gap between court workload and staff gap. At NYCLA’s AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on June 2nd, Vince vowed to continue to uphold NYCLA’s focus on sustaining the rule of law including the importance of practicing diversity, equity and inclusion in furtherance of fairness and justice for all.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Vince on becoming the first AAPI President of NYCLA and for doing all the work he does to support communities. We wish Vince great success in his vital new role as NYCLA President! To learn more about NYCLA, visit its website at https://www.nycla.org/. AABANY members who join NYCLA for the first time are eligible to receive 50% off their annual dues the first year and 25% off the second year. For more details, click here.

NAPABA Congratulates Sarala Nagala on Her Historic Nomination to Become a District Court Judge for the District of Connecticut

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Sarala Nagala on her historic nomination to become a district court judge for the District of Connecticut. If confirmed, Ms. Nagala will become the first Asian Pacific American judge to sit as an Article III judge in the District. “NAPABA applauds the Biden Administration for continuing to advance highly experienced and qualified candidates to serve on federal judiciary,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “Ms. Nagala has a demonstrated commitment to public service and protecting the rights and safety of her community.”

Ms. Nagala currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut where she is responsible for overseeing prosecutions involving human trafficking, child exploitation, hate crimes, and government program fraud and has served as the District’s Hate Crimes Coordinator. Ms. Nagala is a graduate of Stanford University and University of California Berkeley School of Law. She clerked for the Honorable Judge Susan P. Graber on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Congratulates Regina M. Rodriguez and Zahid N. Quraishi on their Historic Confirmations by the U.S. Senate as United States District Court Judges

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) congratulates Regina M. Rodriguez and Zahid N. Quraishi on their historic confirmations by the U.S. Senate as United States District Court Judges.

Rodriguez will become the first Asian Pacific American (APA) judge to sit on the District Court for the District of Colorado, and the first to serve as an Article III judge within the 10th Circuit.  Quraishi, already a federal magistrate judge, will become the first APA to serve as a district court judge in New Jersey and the first Muslim American Article III judge in the country.

“Regina Rodriguez and Zahid Quraishi represent the promise of justice, equity, and opportunity that is so critical for the success of our federal judiciary,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “NAPABA applauds the Senate for the strong bipartisan confirmation of these two highly qualified and experienced nominees.” 

Regina M. Rodriguez has a distinguished reputation as one of Colorado’s most accomplished attorneys with deep experience in both the public and private sectors and a demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest. Rodriguez served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, rising to become Deputy Chief and later Chief of the Civil Division, where she oversaw all civil litigation for the District.  She was the youngest person and the first of Japanese and Mexican descent to hold that role. She received her J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law and her B.S. with honors from the University of Iowa. Rodriguez is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado. 

Judge Quraishi has a distinguished legal career with extensive experience as a prosecutor, in the private sector, and serving his country in uniform. In 2019, Judge Quraishi was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey. His previous government service includes over five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and as a decorated military prosecutor with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Judge Quraishi is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. He received a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in Newark. Quraishi is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate, the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. 

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Rodriguez, Quraishi, and other highly qualified judicial candidates to the federal bench.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 60,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.

NAPABA Applauds the Historic Nomination of Tana Lin to Serve the U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release: Date: April 29, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Tana Lin to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. If confirmed, Lin will be the first Asian American in the state of Washington to be a sitting Article III judge.

“NAPABA congratulates Tana Lin on her historic nomination to be the first Asian American district court judge on the federal bench in the state of Washington,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “She has a demonstrated commitment to her community, including as an active member of our NAPABA affiliate, the Asian Bar Association of Washington. We applaud President Biden for continuing to nominate judicial candidates who will better reflect the diversity of the communities and nation they are being called to serve.”

Ms. Lin has a strong record of public service beginning her career with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, handling cases at both the trial and appellate stages. She then joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where she enforced federal anti-discrimination laws as a trial attorney with the Employment Litigation Section. She continued her public service at the Chicago office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she investigated and litigated employment discrimination cases, enforcing civil rights statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Between 2001-2004, she was the litigation coordinator for the Michigan Poverty Law Program. Ms. Lin is currently of Counsel at Keller Rohback LLP where she handles a variety of complex litigation matters. Her pro bono work there includes securing a nationwide preliminary injunction against the suspension of follow-to-join refugee admissions which was part of the Muslim travel ban. With 30 years of legal experience, she has been named to the Super Lawyers List for Washington from 2012, and 2014-2020.

Ms. Lin immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when she was 3-years old, and worked her way through high school and also while attending Cornell University and the New York University School of Law.

NAPABA urges the Senate to swiftly confirm Tana Lin for District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.