NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge John Z. Lee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


WASHINGTON – 
Today, [Sept. 7], the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge John Z. Lee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Lee is the first Asian American appellate judge to serve on the Seventh Circuit. 

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Lee on his historic confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,” said A. B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Judge Lee is an experienced jurist with a decade of experience as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Moreover, Judge Lee’s story, the son of a coal miner and a nurse who immigrated to the United States when he was only five years old, resonates with many in our community.”

Judge Lee is an active member in the AAPI legal community, serving as a former Board Member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area (AABA Chicago) and continues to be active with both AABA Chicago and NAPABA. He was the President of the Board of Directors for the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), a co-founder of the Willow Creek Legal Aid Clinic in Hoffman Estates (a joint program between CARPLS and Willow Creek Church), and the President of the Board of Directors of Asian Human Services. 

In addition to his service as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois since 2012, Judge Lee worked in private practice and as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Lee and Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth for recommending and supporting his nomination..
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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.

NAPABA Applauds the Confirmation of Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 5, 2022

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Roopali H. Desai to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Confirmed in record time, Judge Desai is the first South Asian American judge to serve on the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Judge Desai on her confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” said A. B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA.” Judge Desai is a trusted legal expert with a broad coalition of bipartisan support. Her experience, legal acumen and background brings much needed representation and legal diversity to the Ninth Circuit.”

Previously Judge Desai served as partner at Coppersmith Brockelman. She served as a law clerk for The Honorable Mary Schroeder, Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is a graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the University of Arizona.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Judge Desai and Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for recommending and supporting her nomination.

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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.

NAPABA Commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the Oak Creek Gurdwara Shooting

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 5, 2022

Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – Today marks the 10th anniversary of the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis., which resulted in the death of seven worshipers: Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra, Satwant Singh Kaleka, and Baba Punjab Singh. NAPABA, alongside the Oak Creek Sikh American community and Sikh communities across the nation, remembers and honors the lives lost and forever altered. We grieve with their families and stand with our community deeply impacted by this act of hatred.

“Every individual in our country has the right to live and thrive in a nation that feels safe and inclusive,” said NAPABA Executive Director Priya Purandare. “This year’s Oak Creek commemoration is centered around the message ‘Heal, Unite, Act’ — Together, we will continue to heal from the loss of loved ones, unite to confront hate-motivated violence, and further our long-standing commitment to act towards building a safe, diverse, and inclusive America.”

The 10-Year Remembrance Vigil at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin will be livestreamed on YouTube on Friday, August 5, 2022, at 6 p.m. CDT. For more information regarding Oak Creek remembrance events, please visit oakcreek10.squarespace.com.

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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.

NAPABA Applauds the Nominations of Cindy K. Chung to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON—Today, President Joe Biden nominated Cindy K. Chung to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If confirmed, Chung would be the first Asian American appellate judge on the Third Circuit and Judge Roberts-Perez would be the first Asian American district judge on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“NAPABA offers its congratulations to Cindy K. Chung and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez on their nominations,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “We applaud President Biden for nominating a strong and historic slate of highly qualified Asian American candidates and for continuing to broaden the diversity of backgrounds and professional experiences to the bench. We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm them.”

Cindy K. Chung
In 2021, Chung was nominated by President Biden to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and was confirmed by a voice vote. She is the first Asian American U.S. Attorney in Pennsylvania and the only Asian American currently leading any prosecutors’ office in Pennsylvania. Active in the Asian American community, Chung has participated in community briefings and events addressing anti-Asian hate incidents.

Previously, Chung served as a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she prosecuted the first case under the Shepherd-Byrd Hate Crimes Act. She also served as an assistant district attorney at the District Attorney’s Office, New York County, and investigation counsel in the Official Corruption Unit. Chung began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Myron Thompson on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her B.A. from Yale University.

Judge Mia Roberts-Perez
In 2015, Judge Roberts-Perez was elected to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Previously, she was in private practice at Perez Law LLC, where she specialized in criminal defense and family law. Judge Roberts-Perez started her career at Defender Associations of Philadelphia where she served as public defender in the major trials division. She received her J.D. from Temple University, Beasley School of Law and her B.A. from Tufts University.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Cindy K. Chung and Judge Mia Roberts-Perez and Senator Casey and Senator Toomey for recommending and supporting their nominations.

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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.

In the News: AABANY Member Karen Lin Achieves Historical Primary Victory in the Race for Queens Civil Court Judge

On June 29, 2022, QNS published an article congratulating Karen Lin for her historical primary victory in the race for Queens Civil Court Judge. Karen Lin, an AABANY member, is the first East Asian female judge elected in Queens. 

Unofficial election results from the Board of Elections in the City of New York reflect that with over 97% of the scanners reported, Lin captured around 40% of the vote. Responding to her victory, Karen said, “It has been a long but exhilarating and inspirational day of talking with voters, and I am humbled and honored for the tremendous show of support all throughout Queens. I’m proud of the determined and focused campaign we ran and gratified for the support of my family and the community. On to the next step!”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about Karen Lin’s profile, click here.

NAPABA Applauds Nomination of Roopali H. Desai to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden nominated Roopali H. Desai to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. If confirmed, Desai would be the first South Asian American appellate judge on the Ninth Circuit.

“NAPABA congratulates Roopali H. Desai on her historic nomination to the Ninth Circuit,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Ms. Desai is a highly respected attorney, with nearly two decades of experience and a strong commitment to public interest. Her broad range of legal experience, representing both plaintiffs and defendants—including state agencies and municipalities, unions, corporations, elected officials, non-profit and public interest organizations, membership/professional organizations, individuals, and hospital and health care institutions, will be a welcome addition on the appellate court.”

Desai is a partner in the litigation group at Coopersmith Brockelman, PLC in Phoenix, AZ. She also serves as a professor of practice at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Earlier in her career, Desai clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder. She is endorsed by NAPABA’s affiliate the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Desai received her Juris Doctor, Master of Public Health, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona.

NAPABA thanks President Biden for nominating Roopali H. Desai and Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for recommending and supporting her nomination.

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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 Holds its First “Restaurant Series” Event

On Friday, March 18, AABANY held its first gathering in their Restaurant Series, where AABANY members and friends gather together at Asian-owned eateries to network and support the community. 

14 People came to Hop Lee, a Chinatown institution. The attendees had a traditional 8 Course Cantonese dinner. After dinner, some members went to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for dessert. (Fun fact: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is owned by an AABANY member, Christina Seid, who is a 1L Law student at Touro.) 

Please review our weekly announcements for upcoming restaurant dates, where AABANY will be traveling all over NYC and trying out different cuisines for businesses that were affected by COVID.

Next in the series is a visit to Nowon in the East Village on March 31. For details, see https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1624192.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Talking with Trailblazers

On February 3, AABANY co-sponsored the SDNY Chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s third edition of the Talking with Trailblazers series. The series presents conversations with legal professionals who were the first to break representational ceilings in their field. The February 3 edition featured the first Federal judges of Asian descent in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. The panelists, all AABANY members, were: 

  • Hon. Ona T. Wang, the first Asian-American Magistrate Judge in the SDNY.
  • Hon. Diane Gujarati (EDNY), the first Indian-American to serve as an Article III judge in New York.
  • Hon. Sanket Bulsara (EDNY), the first Indian-American judge within the Second Circuit. 

Attendees were welcomed to join both in-person at the offices of Dunnington Bartholow & Miller in midtown Manhattan and on Zoom. All three judges were present in person, surrounded by an audience of lawyers and law students. The moderator was Padmaja Chinta, who is a partner at Chinta & Fratangelo LLP and the SDNY Chapter’s Chief Diversity Officer.

The panelists discussed a variety of subjects, from how they started their careers to the impact of mentorship. The judges had joined the legal industry from unexpected backgrounds. For example, prior to attending law school, Judge Wang had first obtained a Ph.D. in Zoology from Duke University. The judges also discussed the challenges they faced climbing the upper rungs of their careers. Finally, the conversation closed with a reflection on how the judges’ experiences shape their philosophies and practices on the bench. 

Following the moderated panel, attendees both in-person and virtual were eager to ask questions. The event was expected to end at 7:00 pm, but due to the number of questions and the liveliness of the discussion, it did not formally end until 7:30 pm. At closing, in-person attendees also took the opportunity to meet the judges and members of the SDNY Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Thanks to Judge Wang, Judge Gujarati, and Judge Bulsara for sharing their stories and their insights. Thanks also to the Federal Bar Association’s SDNY Chapter for organizing this series and including AABANY as a co-sponsor.

AABANY Congratulates Sudha Setty on Appointment as Dean of CUNY Law School

On February 22, Sudha Setty was named dean of the CUNY School of Law, the nation’s leading public interest law school and New York City’s only publicly funded law school. An exceptional scholar and legal leader, she is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a CUNY school.

“Dean Setty boasts a sustained record of accomplishment as an antitrust litigator, pro bono civil rights counsel, scholar of constitutional law and legal education leader, as well as a pioneering administrator and leader,” said Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. “We are thrilled to welcome her to CUNY Law.”

Setty has been the dean of the Western New England University School of Law since 2018, when she became the first woman of South Asian descent in the U.S. to serve as dean of an American Bar Association-accredited law school. At Western New England University School of Law, Setty’s deanship has focused on enhancing the social justice work at the school and its commitment to racial justice and diversity, equity and inclusion. Projects she has overseen include the creation of the Center for Social Justice in 2019 and the inaugural Workshop for Asian-American Women in Legal Academia.

She is also a leader outside of the university. Currently, she serves on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Standing Committee on Alternative Pathways to the Bar (co-chairing one subcommittee), on the Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations to the U.S. District Court, on the Advisory Committee for the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, on the Deans’ Steering Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, as a board member for Community Legal Aid, and on the editorial board of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy

AABANY congratulates Dean Setty on this most recent accomplishment in a distinguished career. To read more about Dean Setty and CUNY Law School, please visit https://www.law.cuny.edu/newsroom_post/cuny-names-sudha-setty-as-law-school-dean/

AABANY Congratulates Former Board Member Kevin Kim on His Appointments to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and as the New Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses

On December 31st, 2021 former AABANY Board Member Kevin Kim was selected as the first Korean American  to hold the position of Commissioner of New York City Small Businesses where he will be responsible for running a dynamic City agency focused on connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a thriving economy. Kevin also was selected on December 20th, 2021 to be a Commissioner to President Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders which has been tasked with advancing equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities.

Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After graduating law school Kevin began his legal career as a law clerk for then United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Denny Chin. He then worked as an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where he practiced corporate law. 

Kevin has devoted his career to public service and specifically promoting greater Asian representation in positions of power. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York and was elected to the national Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club. His past board service includes the American Red Cross in Queens, Friends of Thirteen (public media provider featuring PBS series), Korean American Association of Greater New York, and the Korean American Community Foundation. From 2014-2016, Kevin was the Commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority, becoming the first Asian American appointed to this position. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Kevin as a Trustee of the City University of New York, making him only the third Asian American and the first Korean American to serve on the CUNY Board of Trustees. In that position, he chaired the Audit Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Investments. 

Kevin has received countless awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Columbia Law School APALSA Hong Yen Chang Award for inspiring civic engagement; KAAGNY, Man of the Year; and City Hall News (“40 Under 40”).

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kevin on his appointments to these important positions.