NAPABA Donates $10,000 to Assist AAPI Crime Victims

On September 21, 2021, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), proudly announced an award of $10,000 to the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund (“Fund”) to support the Fund’s efforts to assist crime victims and implement educational programs specifically aimed at reducing violence targeted against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) population across the nation. Created by NAPABA affiliate the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) and the GAPABA Law Foundation out of the aftermath of the Atlanta spa shootings, the Fund will provide emergency monies to victims in need of urgent assistance. The Korean American Bar Association of Georgia (KABA-GA) is also a founding partner. The Fund is also committed to raising awareness about rights of AAPIs, providing linguistic access to justice, and supporting other educational activities such as bystander training.

“NAPABA is honored to support the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund and all the critical work the Fund will undertake not only to help victims recover from the wounds of anti-Asian hate crimes, but the affirmative educational work that will help prevent future hate from occurring,” said A.B. Cruz III, President of NAPABA. “The Fund’s mission aligns with NAPABA’s priorities of forging meaningful relationships between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect, as well as combating stereotypes, and raising awareness and visibility of AAPI’s not only in legal circles, but in civic life in this country.”

“GAPABA is grateful for NAPABA’s continuing support and collaboration in our shared goal of ensuring that AAPIs remain visible and receive the support they need,” said Angela Hsu, President of GAPABA. “While we have launched the AAPI Crime Victims and Education Fund from Georgia, which became the epicenter for the rebirth of an anti-Asian hatred movement in the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings, we recognize that AAPIs around the country have been systemically overlooked for philanthropy, crime victim support, and other social services. This is why we established the fund to operate at a national level.” The Fund is currently overseen by the GAPABA Law Foundation, which is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and has an Advisory Board consisting of legal and community leaders from across the United States. The effort is led by a six-person volunteer executive committee, consisting of Angela Hsu, of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and President of GAPABA; BJay Pak, of Alston & Bird LLP, former U.S. Attorney, N.D. Georgia; Christopher Chan, of Eversheds Sutherland; Edward Sohn, of Factor Law, Inc, and the GAPABA Law Foundation; Sara Hamilton, of Thompson Hine LLP, President of KABA-GA; and Timothy Wang, of Delta Air Lines, and President Elect of GAPABA. To contribute to the Fund please visit GAPABA Law Foundation for details.

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 Hosts Part 2 of its Summer Judicial Series, “APA Judges on the Federal Bench”

On May 7, AABANY co-sponsored a panel of Asian Pacific American judges as part two of NAPABA’s Summer Judicial Series. The event was hosted by the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). In addition to AABANY, the event was co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area (APABA-DC), the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF), the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA), the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA), and the South Asian Bar Association of Georgia (SABA-GA).

In honor of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as to encourage the growing number of young Asian American lawyers aspiring to the bench, GAPABA and NAPABA organized the panel to share the stories and careers of trailblazing APA judges. The panelists were AABANY member Hon. Denny Chin, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Hon. James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Hon. Sri Srinivasan, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, Hon. Jennifer Choe-Groves of the U.S. Court of International Trade, Hon. Theodore D. Chuang, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and Hon. Lucy H. Koh, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The panel was moderated by GAPABA Board Member Michael C. Wu and Byung Jin (BJay) Pak, Partner at Alston & Bird. GAPABA President and Of Counsel at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Angela Hsu, GAPABA President-Elect and Associate General Counsel at Delta Air Lines Timothy Wang, and GAPABA Communications Co-Chair and Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Prathyusha Chenji were also in attendance.

Michael and BJay posed several questions to the panelists regarding their backgrounds and experience on the bench. All of the panelists expressed how their upbringing in the U.S. made them keenly aware of their “otherness” and in some cases, motivated them towards public service. Judge Chin (a former AABANY President, 1992-93) shared his background as an immigrant from Hong Kong and his experience growing up in New York City. Judge Chin also noted that, as one of the few Asians in his school and at his work, he was constantly under scrutiny and pressure to perform well. “I felt like Yao Ming,” he stated. Several panelists also reported that they still faced microaggressions in their professional lives, despite their position as judges.

When asked about their career paths and perspectives on diversity on the bench, all of the panelists described varied experiences in private practice, the legislative branch, and executive branch of the government before becoming a federal judge. Many of the panelists also expressed how diversity in the federal government could only lead to better and more informed decisions on behalf of the American people. Many of the panelists also shared their own stories about how they were inspired and encouraged by seeing diverse individuals serving in government and in public positions. All of the judges expressed how the justice system in America ought to be color blind and that all individuals should have the right to a fair trial regardless of their background. Judge Chin also discussed the importance of community and unity despite having diverse perspectives. When asked to respond to Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor’s discussion on the threat of disunity to national security, Judge Chin concurred, pointing out how even after President Biden’s election, Americans have yet to listen to each other without politicizing every single issue.

The moderators then closed the panel with several questions about advice any of the judges might have for young attorneys, law clerks, and others aspiring to become judges themselves. The panelists expressed how being a judge begins with being a good attorney. All of the judges emphasized the importance of relationships and teamwork, of maintaining a good reputation, and of being respectful and professional to all.

AABANY thanks NAPABA for hosting this series and also thanks the justices for their trailblazing example to the APA community. To watch a recording of the event, click here.

NAPABA Calls on Law Enforcement to Fully Investigate Georgia Shootings

For Immediate Release: Date: March 17, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON—Last night, a gunman entered multiple businesses in Atlanta and opened fire on their predominantly Asian American workforces. This horrifying act of violence left eight dead, including six Asian American women. There have now been nearly 3,800 documented attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago, with this incident, sadly, being the most brazen and violent.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)’s president A.B. Cruz III issued the following statement:

“NAPABA extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and coworkers of the eight victims. Last night’s murders are only the latest in a distressing trend that specifically targets and physically attacks Asian Americans—particularly the elderly and women. This is totally unacceptable.

While further details of this violent act are still forthcoming, it is clear, from this latest tragedy and the many before it, that the Asian American community has good reason to be acutely concerned. Therefore, we specifically call on federal and local state law enforcement to aggressively investigate and prosecute these unconscionable killings to the fullest extent, including unearthing and evaluating all evidence supporting that these murders were racially motivated.

NAPABA is working closely with its Affiliate, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association on this matter. We are fully committed to providing the necessary resources to the victims and their families to ensure justice ultimately prevails, and our community and our allies may heal and transcend this atrocity.”

NAPABA’s hate crimes resources, including providing pro bono legal assistance, can be found here. NAPABA’s Stand Against Hate campaign, denouncing racism can be found here. NAPABA and its affiliates’ past statements on anti-Asian hate can be found here.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 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.

AABANY Issues Statement on Atlanta Shootings

The Asian American Bar Association of New York expresses its pain and sorrow at this latest act of violence in Atlanta involving shootings of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We extend condolences to the families of the victims in these shootings. In this time of increased violence and harassment against the AAPI community, we commend the quick apprehension of the suspect. We urge law enforcement officials to conduct a full investigation, working with community organizations Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) that will be able to offer culturally and historically guided assistance in how hate crimes impact and affect AAPI communities.

AABANY Co-Sponsors “Women’s Leadership Panel: Pathbreakers” Webinar

On July 22nd, GAPABA and NAPABA co-hosted a webinar panel entitled “Women’s Leadership Network: Pathbreakers,” which AABANY was proud to co-sponsor. The event, moderated by GAPABA President Angela Hsu and Hannah Kim, Chief Legal Officer of Energizer Holdings, featured six panelists who discussed the complexities of being an Asian American woman in the legal field, sharing personal anecdotes and advice with those wishing to break the so-called “bamboo ceiling” and “glass ceiling.”

The panelists included Amy Chua, author and Professor of Law at Yale Law School; Hon. Neomi Rao, a judge in the D.C. Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals; Marie Oh Huber, SVP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel & Secretary at eBay; Hon. Lorna Schofield, a United States District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York; Jessie K. Liu, Former United States Attorney in D.C.; and Selena Loh LaCroix, Vice Chair & Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry.

The event was split into two sections: extracurricular development, and career changes and advice. During the first part of the event, the panelists discussed how they felt they had found success as Asian American women in typically white, male-dominated fields. All six panelists agreed that cultivating deep, lasting relationships was one of the most important keys to success. Others added that not allowing yourself to get discouraged was vital, especially because minorities often find their leadership abilities and competency questioned.

“There will always be assumptions based on our appearance and backgrounds, but the way to get around this is perseverance,” Liu said. Chua added that because of these assumptions, the playing field is not level; she admitted that she was forced to out-work and out-prepare her colleagues, and learning how to acknowledge the existence of stereotypes (such as the Model Minority Myth), while not focusing on them.

The panelists also discussed how they ended up in their current positions and in the legal field more generally. While each story was unique, they all shared a common theme – to get to the high-ranking positions they currently hold or have previously held, they had to begin at the lowest point on the totem pole and work their way up. Having a mentor that pushed them to work harder and guided them through their career choices made a big difference.

“I firmly believe that you can’t do it alone; things don’t happen without help. And I believe that the road is littered with hard-working smart people, but there are other qualities you need  to have: taking initiative and asking someone to be your mentor can go a long way,” Judge Schofield advised. While Huber agreed that the best relationships arise organically, she noted the need for organizational and structural change to allow minorities a greater chance to form relationships; “otherwise,” she said, “people are going to be left out.”

One of the most inspiring pieces of advice shared by the panelists was how they reacted to controversy and criticism. Chua admitted to writing provocative pieces even when her own mother warned against it, and found three main ways to maintain her sanity: riding it out, standing her ground, and rejecting bitterness and pettiness.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Asian American women get shoved under the bus disproportionately because of the Model Minority Myth,” Chua shared. “But it is vital to be generous and optimistic regardless.” 

The second section of the discussion focused more specifically on switching careers and taking risks professionally. Many of the panelists switched from the private to the public sector, and though the motivations to make this switch varied from person to person, they all noted that the choice is based both on the context of where you are in life and in your mindset.

Judge Schofield shared that the decision for her to leave the corporate world took a great deal of time, thought, and courage, but when the opportunity arose, she was very glad she took it.

Lacroix added that “as scary as it was to take the plunge, I haven’t looked back since.” She explained that “sometimes your corporation and your own personal integrity might diverge — if it gets very far from each other the discomfort level can get really hard. Trust your own instincts and values,  because that’s all you have at the end of the day. If that’s something that diverges from your corporation, do not be afraid to make that choice. You’re the only one who can build and maintain that integrity.”

On taking risks, Liu added that nearly every job has some degree of risk associated with it. She noted that her personal philosophy is to say ‘yes’ to opportunities whenever they arise and see where it goes from there, because you never know if or when it may come again. 

Ultimately, the panelists all shared that while blazing the trail as Asian American women – often facing harsh assumptions and negative stereotypes – was difficult, it was also extremely rewarding. Judge Schofield advised the audience that “people are going to notice you’re different so you might as well do something with that. Embrace that you’re different and do it with confidence.”

AABANY is honored to have been a co-sponsor for the event, and we would like to thank GAPABA for putting together a wonderful panel, as well as all the speakers for their sage advice and inspiring stories.

For a video of the panel, please click here. 

NAPABA and GAPABA Celebrate the Appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) celebrate the appointment of Judge Carla Wong McMillian to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Appointed by Governor Brian Kemp on March 27, 2020, Judge McMillian will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve on the state’s highest court when sworn in.

“NAPABA extends congratulations to Judge Carla Wong McMillian on her appointment to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, NAPABA President. “A leader in her community and past president of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Judge McMillian will bring her record of legal excellence to the bench. During this challenging time, it is uplifting news to celebrate Judge McMillian blazing the trail as the first AAPI nominated to Georgia’s highest court.”

”GAPABA is thrilled that our own Judge Carla Wong McMillian has been appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court,” said Angela Hsu, GAPABA President. “Currently, there are no other AAPI serving on the highest courts of any state in the South, the Southeast or the Midwest. In addition to the historic nature of this appointment, Judge McMillian is a jurist, a colleague and a friend who has the love and respect of the entire legal community.”

“We are extremely proud to hear that Judge Carla McMillian has been elevated to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” added Judge Benes Aldana (ret.), chair of the NAPABA Judicial Council.

“Justice McMillian is an active member of the NAPABA Judicial Council and has been a trailblazer and an inspiration to our community.  Her elevation to the highest court in Georgia makes her the first and only Asian Pacific American to serve on a state supreme court in the South. This is such welcome news during these difficult times for our nation, as we see a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.” 

Judge McMillian has served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia since 2013. In 2014, she became the first and only Asian American elected to statewide office in Georgia. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, she served as a state court judge for Fayette County. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge McMillian was a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (now known as Eversheds Sutherland). A current board member and past president of GAPABA, she is also a past recipient of NAPABA’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” Award. Judge McMillian is a graduate of Duke University and received her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Register for the Southeast Regional Conference in Atlanta, GA!

image

Atlanta, GA | April 12-13, 2018
Hosted by Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA)

image

REGISTRATION
Registration for the Southeast Regional Conference, hosted by Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, is now open! The conference will take place at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead and kick off with GAPABA’s Annual Gala on April 12 followed by continuing legal education sessions on April 13. Click here to register.

HOTEL
GAPABA is proud to partner with the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead for the Southeast Regional Conference & Gala. The InterContinental is offering a block of discounted rooms at a rate of $189 plus taxes and fees. Click here to make a reservation.

GOLF TOURNAMENT
GAPABA is also hosting a Golf Tournament on the morning of April 12 to benefit the NAPABA Law Foundation and GAPABA Law Foundation. Click here to learn more about the Golf Tournament.

SPONSOR THE CONFERENCE
Consider sponsoring the Southeast Regional Conference. View our sponsorship packages here.

Visit us at www.gapaba.org/gala to learn more about the Southeast Regional Conference.

Press Release: NAPABA Announces GAPABA Its 2015 Affiliate of the Year

For Immediate Release
Aug. 5, 2015

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) as its 2015 Affiliate of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates for their best practices and accomplishments in their respective communities. The 2015 Affiliate of the Year Award will be presented on Nov. 7, 2015, during the 2015 NAPABA Convention in New Orleans, La.

NAPABA is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. GAPABA is one of almost 75 national, state, and local bar associations that are affiliated with NAPABA.

“The selection committee appreciated GAPABA’s adoption of a ‘Year of Service’ as its theme for 2015,” said NAPABA President George C. Chen. “Additionally, GAPABA truly distinguished itself by embodying the motto ‘you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give’ when it included a discrete community service component in every event this year.”

GAPABA’s membership has more than doubled in the past 14 months, due in part to its adoption of innovative membership management software on its website and its concerted efforts that attracted two dozen general counsels to its annual gala. Its recent creation of a young lawyers division also stood out as a best practice that other affiliates could benefit from following.

NAPABA is pleased to confer its Affiliate of the Year Award to the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association and congratulates its leaders on a successful year serving their members and community.

For more information, the media may contact: Brett Schuster, NAPABA Communications Manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).