Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and Government Service & Public Interest Committee Launch First Hybrid Pro Bono Clinic on Aug. 14

On August 14, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee and Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee hosted a hybrid legal clinic and provided a “Know Your Rights” presentation for residential and commercial tenants on the topic of rent arrears and evictions. The event was held at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in Manhattan’s Chinatown and was co-sponsored by AABANY, CCBA, Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY).

During the presentation, which was shown on Zoom and screened in-person at CCBA, Rina Gurung, an associate court attorney at the New York State Unified Court System and co-chair of the GSPI Committee; Kensing Ng, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in East Harlem; and Meghan Liu, a Cleary Gottlieb pro bono fellow at Legal Services NYC, discussed different types of cases that are brought in housing court, such as nonpayment, holdover, and housing part cases. They also explained which eviction moratoria are in effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized that these laws can change at any time. This was especially relevant, given the imminent expiration of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act on August 31, 2021; the expiration of the CDC’s moratorium on October 3, 2021; and the U.S. Supreme Court’s August 12, 2021 opinion striking down part of the New York moratorium.

Gurung, Liu, and Ng also provided resources that tenants could contact to file hardship declarations and explained the basics of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides rental arrears, temporary rental assistance, and utility arrears assistance to low- and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. They also explained that landlords seeking to sue their tenants should hire a lawyer and for those who received a marshal’s notice to go to court. In addition, the presenters explained differences in procedures for cases involving commercial tenants and provided resources for both landlords and tenants, phone numbers for free consultations for income-eligible individuals, and a guide to landlord disputes. Bei Yang, a contract attorney at On Call Counsel, interpreted the presentation live into Mandarin Chinese.

Eighteen clients attended the clinic for one-on-one legal consultations with AABANY volunteers, including 12 who had registered beforehand, one virtual caller, and five walk-ins. Topics ranged from housing and matrimonial law to immigration, fraud, medical malpractice, and personal injury. All available client consultation slots were successfully filled.

One client, an older man who only spoke Cantonese, came to the clinic because he had been scammed by a woman who claimed to be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him online. She then asked him to send her a significant sum of money, and he did so before realizing that she was a fraud. Such occurrences are not uncommon, especially among elders, and individuals who have been or who know victims of similar types of fraud should not feel ashamed to tell their stories or speak to an attorney. Sharing these stories promotes awareness of these types of scams and helps others avoid them.

While AABANY volunteers were conducting one-on-one consultations, several clients watched the presentation in the CCBA sitting area. One client asked for the PBCS email to see if she could get a recording of the presentation and re-watch it, as she missed a portion of the live presentation. She also was impressed by clips from the Anti-Asian Violence PSA that explained what hate crimes were and how they can be reported, and asked for the link to the YouTube video, even though she spoke no English. After the one-on-one consultations concluded, volunteers debriefed the clinic and got to know each other over a post-clinic meal at Canton Lounge.

The PBCS Committee thanks Rina Gurung, Kensing Ng, and Meghan Liu for lending their expertise in rent arrears, eviction moratoria, and landlord and tenant rights and Bei Yang for providing a live interpretation of the presentation. The Committee would also like to thank Beatrice Leong, Francis Chin, Guiying Ji, Jae Hyung Ryu, Judy (Ming Chu) Lee, Karen Kithan Yau, Kwok Ng, Samantha Sumilang, and Shengyang Wu for providing clients with legal information and resources during one-on-one consultations; Kloe Chiu and Esther Choi for providing language interpretation during one-on-one consultations; Luna Fu and Wai Yip from AAFE for language interpretation and other assistance; Zhixian (Jessie) Liu and Poonam Gupta for acting as standby consultants for immigration-related questions; and Asako Aiba, Karen Lin, Kevin Hsi, Kwok Ng, May Wong, Megan Gao, and Olympia Moy for coordinating and staffing the clinic.   AABANY would also like to thank CCBA, CCCNY, and AAFE for co-sponsoring this event. We are also grateful to the staff at Charles B. Wang for providing video resources on mental health and anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the PBCS Committee and its work, click here and here. The PBCS Committee is tentatively planning to hold its next hybrid legal clinic on Saturday, September 18, 2021 between 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM. For up-to-date details about the clinic and registration information, please click here.

Fall Conference 2020: Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic

On September 26, 2020, as part of the second day of the 2020 Fall Conference, AABANY hosted a program discussing Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic, which focused on trends and newly compiled statistics related to this discrimination. The panel included:

  • Karen King, Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (Moderator)
  • Joe Gim, Deputy Chief of the County Court Trial Bureau in Nassau County
  • Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and Member of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
  • Stewart Loo, Deputy Inspector of the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force
  • John C. Yang, President and Executive Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at the Asian American Federation

First, Professor Jeung introduced “Stop AAPI Hate,” an online reporting center organized by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. Since March 19, 2020, the reporting center has been tracking and responding to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California and where possible throughout the United States. In California, there have been over 300,000 reported incidents over the eight month period. There was a major uptick in March when President Trump started calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and in late June when Trump started using the term “Kung Flu.” Although most of the reported incidents have been verbal, there have been an alarming number of incidents where Asian Pacific Americans (APA) were coughed or spat on.

Jo-Ann Yoo then discussed the situation in New York and emphasized that reporting is only as good as its outreach. Joe Gim specified that legally, a hate crime in New York must both involve a person selected to have a crime against them because of their identity and have that factor be a substantial part of the crime.

Next, Stewart Loo introduced the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force, which gets involved with incidents of hate and discrimination when they become crimes. The task force assists victims who cannot speak English but want to report an incident. Due to cultural differences and the length and complexity of reporting a crime to the NYPD, the criminal process can be very daunting. Yoo added that many people are shy or afraid to report, regardless of a language barrier, especially to the media. John Yang then discussed the importance of media pieces in humanizing the statistics and building community strength.

Professor Jeung and John Yang also discussed how APA social status has historically been very conditional. As many APA individuals still toggle between being part of a Model Minority or a Yellow Peril, they are seen as perpetual foreigners, which adds to the rising anti-Asian hate.

The panel concluded with talking about the rise in APA youth supporting Black Lives Matter. In order to be heard on a nationwide scale, everyday citizens must fight for the respect that their communities do not already receive, whether by serving as a poll worker, speaking up in organizations, or simply voting. The panel ended with discussing how APA culture is stereotypically seen as quiet, but in order to see change now, people need to speak up and speak out.

Thank you to the panelists, Joe Gim, Russell Jeung, Stewart Loo, John C. Yang, and Jo-Ann Yoo, and moderator Karen King for leading such an inspiring and important discussion on anti-Asian violence and hate during the pandemic. And thank you to the AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service, and Government Service and Public Interest Committees for hosting the event.

Click here to access the Stop AAPI Hate website.
Click here to access AAF’s COVID-19 Safety Resources.

To view a recording of this program, please click on the video image at the top of this blog post.

AABANY Presents: Dress for Success

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, AABANY’s Career Placement Committee presented its inaugural Dress for Success event. The event took place at J.Crew Fifth Avenue. Over 20 people attended the event. The event provided attendees with personal styling advice, an opportunity to shop, and wardrobe demonstrations that would allow each attendee to put their best foot forward in dressing. Special thanks to the Government Service & Public Interest Committee, Litigation Committee, Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee, Student Outreach Committee, and Women’s Committee for co-sponsoring the event. Special thanks to Flavor Fuzion Catering and Ashvini Persaud, Sr. Business Banker at Capital One, for her generous donation.

AABANY Presents Pathways to Government Service and Public Interest Career Panel

On October 29, 2019, AABANY’s Government Service & Public Interest Committee, Career Placement Committee, Student Outreach Committee, and New York Law School’s APALSA teamed up to present Pathways to Government Service and Public Interest Career Panel.

Panelists included:

Mihea Kim, Staff Attorney, Homicide Defense Task Force, The Legal Aid Society;
Hon. Donald Leo,  New York City Criminal Court Judge, New York Supreme Court;
Nelson Mar, Senior Staff Attorney, Education Law Unit, Bronx Legal Services 
Kin Ng, Bureau Chief of the Red Zone Trial Bureau, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office;
Won Shin, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York

Moderator: Hon. Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge, New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

The panelists shared what experiences led them to their current position in the public interest/government sector. Fun tidbits were also revealed — two of the panelists litigated cases against each other, while two other panelists went to high school together. Attendees and panelists enjoyed friendly banter and discussion after the panel. 

We thank the Government Service & Public Interest , Career Placement, and Student Outreach Committee Committees for hosting this panel. To learn more about the GSPI Committee, go here. To learn more about the Career Placement Committee, go here. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, go here.

GSPI and Prosecutors Committees Co-Sponsor July Membership Mixer

On Thursday, July 18, 2019, AABANY’s Membership Committee, Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committee, and Prosecutors Committee hosted a Membership Mixer with members, colleagues, and friends at Stout NYC on West 33rd Street. 

Members and non-members alike enjoyed reconnecting with familiar faces and building new relationships. We filled an entire side room in the cellar of Stout. The date of the mixer coincided with the birthday of former Prosecutors Committee Co-Chair Helen Ahn, who sadly passed away last November. To read the tribute to her in the Winter 2018 issue of The Advocate, click here. The Prosecutors Committee brought a birthday cake to mark the occasion and to honor Helen’s memory.

The Membership Committee held a special raffle. To be eligible for prizes, attendees had to follow AABANY’s Instagram account and post about the Membership Mixer. A special shout out to Jimei Hon and Melanie Rios for winning free memberships, and Abraham Lee for winning an international whiskey flight courtesy of BARO by Chefs Society.

To learn more about the GSPI Committee, go here. To learn more about the Prosecutors Committee, go here.

Join the Membership Committee and the Prosecutors Committee for an outing to watch a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on August 16. To view the event, click here.

Pro Bono Opportunity: Assist Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence?

Pro Bono Opportunity: Assist Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence?