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!

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

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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).