The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) submitted a letter on April 24, 2023 to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) expressing concern about the ongoing issue of anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States, particularly in New York. In the letter, we highlighted the increase in incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined the efforts of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) in addressing these issues, including hosting webinars, publishing reports, advocating for legislative changes, and providing resources to support victims. While we appreciate the USCCR for drawing attention to anti-Asian crimes, we believe that there is much more work to be done. AABANY presented three recommendations to combat anti-Asian hate crimes: improved hate crime data reporting, recognition of the community as a victim and investigative partner, and appropriate training for prosecutors and law enforcement. We emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government, law enforcement, and community organizations to ensure the safety of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.
To read AABANY’s public comment in its entirety, please click here. AABANY gratefully acknowledges the efforts of Chris Kwok, Issues Committee Chair, and AABANY Student Leaders Jinny Lim, J.D. candidate, Seton Hall Law School ‘24, and Catherine Tran, J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School ‘25, in preparing this submission.
Again showing AABANY’s commitment to raising up the next generation of Asian American lawyers, the Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) committee teamed up with the Student Outreach Committee (SOC) and Mayer Brown LLP to host the first ever “AABANY Students Meet Government and Public Interest Lawyers” event. The program was held on the evening of February 23 and was very successful, featuring a room packed with students and mentors, and two professional panels, followed by a networking reception.
The panels showcased how Asian Americans have succeeded as lawyers in government service and in the public interest. The panels featured:
Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief Counsel from the Office of Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall;
Sofia Khan, Director of the Family Law Unit from Legal Services NYC (LSNYC);
Belinda Luu, Staff Attorney from Mobilization for Justice’s (MFJ) Special Litigation Project;
Frank Ng, Deputy General Counsel from the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH);
Kwok Ng, Associate Court Attorney from New York City Civil Court;
Nakeeb Siddique, Director of Housing from the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office;
Marti Weithman, Assistant Commissioner from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (DHPD); and
Annie Wang, Director of Immigrant Justice Project from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education (AALDEF).
The panels showed students what it is like to work in a variety of fields in government and public interest and what it takes for students to get a foot in the door.
The panel discussions were followed by a networking reception with more government service and public interest lawyers. In attendance were, Ernie Collete from MFJ, Kevin Hsi from DHPD (also GSPI Committee’s Co-Chair), Jonathan Rosen from New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), May Wong (Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Co-Chair) from DC 37 Legal Services. Also, in attendance were AABANY’s Executive Director Yang Chen, Vice President of Programs and Operations Beatrice Leong, and Treasurer and Co-Chair of the GSPI Committee Evelyn Gong.
Thank you to AABANY student leaders Stephanie Sun (Fordham Law) and Alex Lao (Pace Law), SOC Vice Chair Justin Lee (NYU Law), SOC Co-Chair William Lee (Associate, Mayer Brown LLP) and GSPI Committee Co-Chair Rina Gurung (Associate Court Attorney, Housing Court) for leading the charge.
Special thank you to Mayer Brown LLP for sponsoring and hosting this event.
To learn more about the GSPI Committee, click here. To learn more about the SOC, click here.
WASHINGTON—This past Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would investigate the rise in hate-based violent extremism against Asian Americans that has occurred since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds this necessary undertaking and unequivocally condemns and rejects the violence that has been directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and calls for appropriate law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute offenders.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been over 3,000 recorded hate incidents against the Asian American community, along with concern that law enforcement has been slow or reticent to investigate the incidents.
“NAPABA is deeply troubled by the continued rise of hate crimes and violence against the Asian American community and the hesitant response by the government to counter this disturbing and unacceptable trend,” said A.B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “While we appreciate President Biden and the Department of Justice’s acknowledgement of this crisis, we need our government to do more to protect AAPIs. There needs to be proactive coordination between local, state and federal authorities, including prevention and prosecution against such crimes. NAPABA has, and will, continue to work diligently to provide support to assist victims and their families, and action and advocacy to prevent hate crimes and acts of violence against the AAPI community.”
An 84-year-old Thai American man in San Francisco was shoved to the ground during his morning walk and died two days later;
A 91-year-old Chinese American man In Oakland was attacked and pushed to the ground when several shops were vandalized in Chinatown;
A 64-year-old Vietnamese American woman in San Jose was robbed following a Lunar New Year’s celebration;
A 61-year-old Filipino American in New York had his face slashed with a box cutter on the subway; and
A 52-year-old Chinese American woman in Queens, New York was physically attacked and shoved to the ground while waiting in line at a bakery.
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 approximately 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 in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.
On September 26, 2020, as part of the second day of the 2020 Fall Conference, AABANY hosted Enforcement in a Fragmented World, a panel on unique challenges currently facing attorneys representing clients in white collar and enforcement matters. On the panel were:
Edward Y. Kim, Co-Founder of Krieger Kim & Lewin LLP (Moderator)
Charu Chandrasekhar, Assistant Regional Director of the Division of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Una Dean, Partner at Fried Frank LLP
Joon H. Kim, Partner at Cleary Gottlieb (and former Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York)
Leo R. Tsao, Chief of the Bank Integrity Unit at the U.S. Department of Justice
The discussion started with the panelists talking about how their work has been affected by the pandemic. They discussed how a lot of the work they do — interviewing witnesses, talking and negotiating with the authorities, and gathering information — relied on in-person work. However, they agreed that justice delayed is justice denied, especially for the people and companies they are investigating. With statutes of limitations and fading memories, enforcement attorneys have been interviewing people over video and phone calls. Despite many successful interviews, they still have the obstacle of building relationships and rapport with potential cooperators over the phone. All in all, they agreed that enforcement has been very active recently and will continue to be for years to come.
Then, each of the attorneys discussed their personal experiences in enforcement. Although the attorneys each had different career paths, they agreed that they all loved their jobs because they are able to focus on doing justice, not winning cases. They discussed how their job is also an incredible honor and responsibility to be able to serve their community and country.
Next, the speakers talked about challenges they have encountered as Asian Pacific American (APA) practitioners. While dealing with drastic underrepresentation in their fields, as well as the ever persistent Model Minority Myth and the Perpetual Foreigner stereotype, the attorneys often faced overt and subtle racism in their work. However, they see a strong trend in many organizations towards actively diversifying the workplace to create a base of attorneys who actually reflect the communities they serve. Additionally, Chandrasekhar and Dean discussed the added challenges of being female APA practitioners. They discussed how government work can actually be a great equalizer. Although there are still many difficulties that come with many sacrifices and compromises, women in government service are taught to stand up and speak out in court about their cases, which builds confidence.
The panel concluded with some of the attorneys discussing the importance of separating the system from the service. They agreed that there are many serious injustices and inequities in the justice system, and the justice system must be reformed and improved by educating people within the justice system. The speakers acknowledged that many of the people working and handling individual cases within the system are genuinely passionate about upholding justice. And these attorneys will continue to do so proudly for the rest of their careers.
In these uncertain times, it is incredibly inspiring to hear from leading practitioners and enforcers in the field of white collar enforcement. Thank you to the panelists Charu Chandrasekhar, Una Dean, Joon H. Kim, and Leo R. Tsao and moderator Edward Y. Kim for sharing their experience and insights in the field of justice.
To view a recording of this program, please click on the video image at the top of this blog post.
AABANY and the ABA Section of International Law invite you to attend the 2014 Spring Meeting from April 1-5, 2014 at the Waldorf Astoria New York. ABA International’s Spring Meeting is one of the world’s most important gatherings of international lawyers and we anticipate this year’s conference to break all attendance records with over 1,500 leading attorneys, corporate counsel, government officials, academics and NGO lawyers expected to attend. This conference will offer cutting edge programming on international legal and ethics issues, as well as amazing networking opportunities with colleagues, decision makers, and potential clients from around the world. In addition, the meeting will feature a complimentary day of programming for Corporate Counsel on April 2nd and evening receptions at some of the most exclusive venues in New York City.
The more than 70 substantive CLE sessions at the 2014 Spring Meeting will feature prominent speakers from start to finish, making it a “must-attend” meeting for lawyers with a practice or interest in international legal issues. The meeting begins Wednesday morning with Courageous Counsel, including prominent women General Counsels from the Fortune 500, and concludes Friday afternoon with a look at the future of the legal profession with former Senator Evan Bayh, the Honorable Judith Kaye, Bernard Nussbaum, Richard Revesz, and Frederic Ury. In between, you can hear from many prominent speakers, including Chancellor Leo Strine from the Delaware Court of Chancery and Lord Michael Burton, Chief Judge of Commercial Courts, Royal Courts of Justice, London.
The Early Bird registration deadline is Monday, February 24th and members of AABANY are entitled to register at discounted ABA member prices by submitting a hard copy form, downloadable here.
The KALCA Summer College Internship Program, now entering its 14th year, is a unique opportunity for college students and recent graduates of Asian descent with demonstrated leadership potential to gain practical, hands-on exposure to government, politics and non-profit advocacy. Interns will earn a stipend of $3,000 by participating and successfully completing the program. Applications are due by March 21, 2014.
Interns are placed in leading government offices, nonprofit organizations, and political campaigns in New York City. In addition to full-time assignments, interns take individualized leadership development courses, meet government and civic leaders, explore community and cultural issues, and seek career advice from professionals in a wide range of public service vocations. Mentorship activities and cultural outings round out the program.
The program will run from the beginning of June, 2014 to the beginning of August, 2014. To be eligible, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and a rising sophomore, junior or senior at an accredited university or will have received their Bachelors in Spring 2014. Finalists must be able to attend in-person interviews in New York City.
Korean American League for Civic Action is dedicated to promoting the civic participation of Korean Americans and Asian Pacific Americans. KALCA furthers its mission by investing in leaders with talent and passion to serve the public; educating community members about their rights, duties and responsibilities as American citizens; and providing information about current events of interest to the community.