NY Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and the NY Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts 2021 Convocation: Watchdogs or Lapdogs? The Ethical Challenges Facing Government Lawyers

In our highly charged political climate today, government lawyers face unprecedented ethical challenges; they must often make decisions that clash between ethical rules and what their superiors demand. There is a growing consensus that rules are frequently unclear, but there is no agreement in how to revise them. 

On October 14th, 2021, 11:00 a.m-4:00 p.m ET, the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts will be holding a virtual Convocation that will bring together outstanding professionals who have had decades of experience in government to address these critical issues and provide much needed reforms. 

The Convocation will kick off with Paul D. Clement and Neal Katyal, both leading members of the Supreme Court bar who have led the U.S. Solicitor General’s office. They will speak on the ethical challenges facing today’s government lawyers and whether the government lawyer can (or should) represent both the client and the public’s interest. Three additional panels will follow and will touch on a variety of topics. 

The first panel titled, “How are Government Lawyers Different from Their Private Sector Counterparts in Their Ethical Responsibilities? Let Us Count the Ways” will examine conflicts government lawyers may face when advising decision makers in the executive branch and/or the agencies they serve. The second panel titled, “The Right Recipe for Independent Candid Advice: What Should Get Thrown In? What Should Get Left Out?” will discuss what it means for lawyers to exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. The final panel titled “ Recalcitrant Clients: What to do When the ‘Client’ Rejects Your Advice (or Worse)” will dive deep into questions such as, “With whom does the government lawyer have an attorney-client privilege?” and “Whose confidential information should be protected?”

Please note that this event is free of charge. To register for the event please click here

To learn more about the Convocation, please click here. 

For more information regarding the Convocation Agenda, please click here. 

Please direct any questions to professionalism@nycourts.gov

AABANY Co-Sponsors Virtual Fireside Chat with Prominent Asian American Judges on January 26, 2021

On January 26, 2021, AABANY co-sponsored a virtual fireside chat hosted by the New York City Bar entitled, “Our Story: Asian American Judges Share Their Path to the Bench, and Thoughts on Diversity and of the Future.” Prominent speakers included:

  • Hon. Shahabudeen Ally, Supervising Judge, New York County Civil Court;
  • Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department and AABANY member;
  • Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant, New York State Supreme Court, Queens County; and
  • Hon. Lillian Wan, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County and AABANY member.

Serving as moderator, Judge Ally led the discussion on each jurist’s path to the bench, challenges faced in their paths regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, and their thoughts on the inclusion of more Asian Americans in the future of the court system. 

For Justices Oing, Pandit-Durant, and Wan, they did not anticipate becoming jurists when they were in law school. Justice Pandit-Durant had previously served at the Queens Assistant District Attorneys Office for over 20 years, and Justice Wan had been a litigator at the Administration for Children’s Services for 9 years and later as a court attorney referee at Surrogates Court. They became interested in joining the bench after their experiences of appearing before judges everyday and learning more about the judicial appointment process. Speaking about the path to the bench, the speakers emphasized the importance of getting outside their own comfort zone and attending events to get their names out there. You want people to recognize you as someone who would be able to do the job, said Justice Pandit-Durant. “They’re not going to know you until they want to know you.”

Speaking on diversity in the court system, the speakers agreed that compared to the past, we are moving in the right direction. There are now many more women and diverse women on the bench. In the state of New York, there are currently 39 judges of Asian American descent. Justice Wan said, “There is more respect and acceptance of the outcome if we have a bench that looks like the community they serve. Diversity matters.”

In the final segment of the fireside chat, Judge Ally asked the speakers: “What can we do as a population to engage the next generation?” Justice Wan spoke about the importance of mentorships. Many people do not realize that practically anyone with the right qualifications can become a judge, and it is necessary for mentors to help demystify the process. Speakers also discussed how students can be inspired by looking at the diversity of the bench and the progress that has already been made. The jurists praised the 80+ audience members for joining their chat and asking great questions, and concluded with the hope that the number of judges of Asian American descent in New York will continue to increase.

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee has a mission to do just that: increase the number of judges of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent in New York. To learn more about the Judiciary Committee, read this blog post about the March 19 membership mixer featuring that Committee or visit this page on the AABANY website.

AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS

Expected to Attend: Grace Lee, Grace Lee Boggs

NYC PREMIERE What does it mean to be an American revolutionary today? Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese-American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution may surprise you. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African- American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.