PRESS RELEASE: Xerox General Counsel and New York Asian Bar Association Advisory Committee Member Don Liu to Receive ‘Legend of Law’ Library of Congress Burton Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 7,2014                            Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director (718) 228-7206  

XEROX CORPORATION GENERAL COUNSEL AND ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER DON LIU TO RECEIVE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS “LEGEND OF LAW” BURTON AWARD

NEW YORK – May 7, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that Don Liu, General Counsel & Secretary of Xerox Corporation and a member of AABANY’s Advisory Committee, has been named one of the “Legends in Law” by the Burton Awards Program in association with the Library of Congress.

Nominated by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Don Liu was chosen among the general counsels nominated by managing partners of the nation’s 1,000 largest law firms. The winners are selected based on their reputation in the legal profession, demonstrated competence in a specialized area of law, extensive background and experience, complexity and scope of matters handled, success in global or national issues, and exemplary leadership in law. The Burton Awards were established in 1999 by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit academic effort devoted to recognizing excellence in the legal profession.

“AABANY congratulates Don Liu for this latest prestigious honor recognizing his exceptional legal career,” said AABANY President Clara Ohr.  “As one of the numerous beneficiaries of Don’s tireless efforts to champion diversity and inclusion through his guidance, individual mentoring, and raising mainstream awareness, AABANY is pleased but not at all surprised the Burton Foundation has selected him as a ‘Legend in Law.’”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to main@aabany.org.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community.  Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole.  AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

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America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel | National Law Journal

America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel | National Law Journal

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The 2013 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference hosted by Weil Gotshal featured a packed afternoon with several CLEs to keep attendees busy. Session 3 commenced at 2:30 pm and CLE topics included: “How do GCs Manage Crisis and Government Investigations,” “E-discovery and the New Ethical Rules for Non-Litigators,” “The Right to Vote: Asian Americans and the Struggle Over who Can Vote and How,” and much more, including the afternoon portion of the all-day Trial Advocacy Program (TAP).

“How do GCs Manage Crisis and Government Investigations” was one of our most popular CLE programs. The panel was moderated by Don Liu, Corporate Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Xerox. Panelists included Stuart Alderoty, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel at HSBC, Bruce Bettigole, Partner at Sutherland, Katy Choo, Chief Investigative & Anti-Corruption Counsel at General Electric, and Sandra Leung, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Session 4 started at 4PM with well-attended CLEs: “The Partner Track: Fiction v. Reality,” “Common Sense Immigration Reform,” and “General Counsel Roundtable.”

Outside of the CLE programs, Robert Leung, Michael Park, and Gurinder Singh, of the newly formed AABANY Career Placement Committee, held one-on-one meetings throughout the day, in the morning and afternoon, with many individuals interested in the participating in the committee and the AABANY Career Exchange.

Many thanks to all of our speakers and moderators for contributing their time in preparing for and serving on their panels. AABANY would like to thank all staff, volunteers and attendees for participating in the conference.

Michael Wu featured in May issue of Inside Counsel

Michael Wu featured in May issue of Inside Counsel

Don Liu Joins NY City Bar Task Force on Young Lawyers

Don Liu Joins NY City Bar Task Force on Young Lawyers

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On Wednesday, June 27, AABANY’s In-House Counsel and Corporate Law Committees held the 5th Annual Winetasting and Networking Reception at the Aicon Gallery in downtown Manhattan.  We had 120 attendees including in-house attorneys from 46 companies or organizations.  We were delighted that the following GCs were able to attend:

  • Vernon G. Chu, BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc.
  • Pearl Hou, Sen Yu International Holdings, Inc.
  • Charles Kwak, GE Capital Real Estate – Global Investment Management
  • Carol Lee, Taconic Capital Advisors LP
  • Parkin Lee, The Rockefeller Group
  • Bobby Liu, MD Sass Investors Services, Inc.
  • Don Liu, Xerox Corporation
  • Sonia Low, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
  • Joseph Yi, Lam Group

We thank Gail Inaba,Managing Director and Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department of J.P. Morgan, for addressing the attendees at the event.  Gail is currently the Global Group Practice head for the securities financing and prime brokerage business in the Investment Bank.

Thanks to our sponsors for making this 5th Annual Winetasting and Networking Reception possible and thanks to everyone who attended.  Congratulations to the In-House Counsel Committee and Corporate Counsel Committee on a successful event.

To learn more about the In-House Counsel Committee, contact the co-chairs Duane Morikawa and Vincent Hull at inhouse-chairs@aabany.org  To learn more about the Corporate Law Committee, contact the co-chairs John Rogers and Stephen Kim at corporatelaw-chairs@aabany.org.

Fireworks at Smooth Moves 2012

On Tuesday, April 24, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), through its Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, presented Smooth Moves 2012: Career Strategies for Attorneys of Color.  The CLE portion of the event was entitled: “Views from the Corner Office: Diverse GCs Discuss How to Get There and How to Win Their Business.”

The moderator was Hon. Stephen C. Robinson, Partner at Skadden Arps and former judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When Judge Robinson turned to the question of how to get the business of the prominent GCs who were on the panel, he asked how important diversity was in getting hired.

Don LiuDon Liu, Senior Vice President, Secretary and GC at Xerox Corporation replied that with Xerox’s strong leadership on issues of diversity, Xerox placed a high premium on diversity in deciding which outside counsel to retain.

At that point, Sandra Leung, GC and Corporate Secretary at Bristol-Myers Squibb, turned to Don and said, “Let me challenge you a bit on that. Do you mean to tell me that if you had a bet-the-company case and the only lawyer who can win the case for you and who is the proven expert on that type of case and has a winning track record, but he and his firm have a poor showing on diversity, you would not hire that attorney?”

Don answered, “I’ve never been faced with that situation,” which drew appreciative laughter from the audience, “but do you mean to tell me that in this wide world, he would be the only lawyer who can handle that case? I doubt it.  We would certainly consider his qualifications and track record, but we would still place a high premium on diversity.”

Sandra LeungSandra continued to press and was joined by Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President and GC at Universal Music Group, who shared Sandra’s viewpoint and did not think that diversity would take precedence over other factors, especially if the case was not just “bet-the-company” but was “bet-the-industry.” In such a case, diversity or not, the company would go with the best lawyer for the job.

Don, seeming somewhat piqued but contained, replied: “There seems to be a suggestion that picking the diverse candidate somehow implies getting inferior services. I don’t buy that.” The audience applauded loudly for that statement.

The back-and-forth continued and Don seemed to relent slightly in his position but did not retreat from his stance that the hypothetical was unrealistic. Col. Maritza Ryan, Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, the fourth panelist, noted for the record (yes, transcription was being taken) that she was “the peaceful one.” The audience laughed appreciatively in response.

The debate was certainly lively and enhanced what was already an engaging discussion.  At the end, Don and Sandra, who are long-time friends, gave hearty hugs to each other, making clear that there were no hard feelings.

I didn’t have the benefit of the transcript in recounting the exchanges described above but of all the Smooth Moves programs I have had the pleasure to enjoy these last few years, this is the one for which I would request a copy of the transcript.  If you know how we can get a hold of one, please let me know.

What do you think?  If your company was faced with a bet-the-company or bet-the-industry case, does diversity go out the window in deciding which outside counsel to hire?