Congratulations to Hon. Lillian Wan, Recipient of the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Diversity Award

On Wednesday May 8, the Brooklyn Bar Association held its annual meeting on Wednesday and honored nine members of the local legal community during a ceremony at the Brooklyn Bar Association building on Remsen Street. AABANY is proud to note that its member, Hon. Lillian Wan, received the Diversity Award. Read the full article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle here.

From Yang Chen, Executive Director:

“AABANY congratulates Justice Wan on being honored with the first-ever Diversity Award from the Brooklyn Bar Association,” states Executive Director Yang Chen. “We have followed Justice Wan’s path to the bench and her rise over the years, and we commend the Brooklyn Bar Association for recognizing her with this well-deserved honor, recognizing her role as a trailblazer in the Asian American community and as a champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and the community.”

Read the full AABANY press release here.

AABANY CONGRATULATES JUDGE LILLIAN WAN ON HER HISTORIC APPOINTMENT AS THE FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO SERVE ON THE NEW YORK COURT OF CLAIMS

NEW YORK – June 25, 2018- The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”)
congratulates the Honorable Lillian Wan on being confirmed by the New York State Senate on
June 20, 2018, to sit as a judge on the New York Court of Claims, where she will rule on cases
involving claims against the state or its agencies. As Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) stated
at the confirmation, Judge Wan will be “making history” by serving as the first Asian American
woman on the Court of Claims. 

Prior to her confirmation, Judge Wan served as a Judge on the Kings County Family Court after
being appointed in 2012 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where she heard a number of
complex cases pertaining to child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, and family offenses. She
also presided over “crossover youth” cases, which involve children who enter the juvenile justice
system after spending time in the state’s child welfare system or in foster care. 

Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Wan led a successful legal career as an experienced
trial attorney for the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”) in the Family Court Legal
Services Division, where she litigated cases on neglect and abuse. Judge Wan also served as a
Court Attorney-Referee in Kings County Surrogate’s Court, where she participated in settlement
conferences and held hearings related to guardianship, kinship, adoption, and estates. Judge Wan
received her B.A. from Binghamton University and her J.D. from Albany Law School, where she
served on the Albany Law Review and graduated within the top five of her class. 

Judge Wan is an active member of various organizations and committees dedicated to the
advancement of justice, including the Encourage Judicial Service Committee and the New York
State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. She currently serves as a board member for the
Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and the New York State Family Court Judges Association,
and has served as the former Co-Chair of the Government and Public Sector (now the
Government and Public Interest) Committee for AABANY. Judge Wan is active within her local
community, taking part in outreach programs such as the National Association of Women Judges
“Color of Justice” Program, which aims to introduce students to the legal profession. 

“AABANY is immensely proud of Judge Wan. Her experience in the courtroom, compassion,
and unwavering dedication make her an unparalleled candidate to serve as a judge on the Court
of Claims,” said James Cho, President of AABANY. “Judge Wan’s confirmation also reminds us
of the progress we have made in advancing diversity and inclusion on the bench; Asian Pacific
Americans and other minority communities continue to be underrepresented on the bench, but
we are gratified to see that New York is appointing minority judges like Judge Wan. Her
appointment marks a historic and significant step forward in making the judiciary more diverse
and inclusive.” 

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-
2478, 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 a New York
regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). 

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Congratulations to Hon. Lillian Wan, first Asian American woman in the New York State Court of Claims, confirmed by the New York State Senate on the evening of June 20, 2018. AABANY congratulates Judge Wan on this historic appointment. Please join us in wishing her every success in this next phase of Judge Wan’s judicial career.

Congratulations also to all the appointees confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 20:

  • JOEL M. COHEN 
  • JOHN R. HIGGITT 
  • FRANCIS A. KAHN III 
  • Hon. CHRIS ANN KELLEY 
  • DAVID L. LEWIS 
  • JAMES A. McCARTY, Jr. 
  • MICHELE SHARON RODNEY

Meet AAJANY: Asian American Judges Association of New York

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(Pictured above, left to right: Hon. Gilbert Hong, Hon. Marilyn Go, Hon. Denny Chin, Hon. Pamela Chen, Hon. Lillian Wan, Hon. Lorna Schofield, Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, Hon. Kiyo Matsumoto, Hon. Toko Serita, Hon. Lydia Lai, Hon. Laurie Lau, Hon. Leslie Purificacion (seated), Hon. Dean Kusakabe)

On April 23, 2014, the newly formed Asian American Judges Association of New York (AAJANY) met with their Asian American colleagues on the federal bench and were hosted by the Honorable Denny Chin, Second Circuit Judge, for a tour of the courthouse. They later convened for dinner at Forlini’s to discuss common issues.

AAJANY was formed to address issues affecting Asian American judges, staff, and litigants in the state courts, to promote more diversity amongst the bar and the judiciary, and to advance the inclusion of judges of Asian descent at all levels of the state court system.

Three of those attending are also officers of the NAPABA Judicial Council (a national organization of state and federal judges of Asian descent): Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan (President), Hon. Denny Chin (Treasurer), and Hon. Marilyn Go (Secretary).

AAJANY is sponsoring the event, “How to Become a State Court Judge – from an APA perspective,” on April 29, 2014, 6pm, at the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA), 14 Vesey Street. Registration has closed but feel free to attend as a walk-in. Click here for more info.