On June 30, The FilAm published a profile about AABANY Member Anna Mercado Clark, her decision to pursue the law, her professional background, and her Filipino identity. Born in the Philippines, Anna immigrated to the United States as a twelve-year-old and initially planned to pursue a career as a physician, even graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology. However, she became interested in the law after learning about Bush v. Gore following the 2000 presidential election. Curious about the law and its “impact on society,” Anna attended Fordham University School of Law, where she interned for the Hon. Denny Chin, who was then a judge at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and who now serves in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. After graduating law school, Anna worked as a criminal prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney’s Office and then as an attorney for a private law firm, where she represented health care providers in medical malpractice cases. She currently is a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, where she leads the Data Security and Private Practice Team and the eDiscovery and Digital Forensics Team. Anna also serves as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Fordham Law School.
Anna, who has described herself as “decidedly Filipino,” has always found ways to promote her Filipino identity. During her time at Rutgers, she served as president of the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students and helped plan the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue’s 2000 Conference. Currently, Anna serves in leadership roles in her law firm, in minority bar associations, and in the greater community. She credits her father, Dr. Daniel Mercado, for encouraging her to remain connected to and take pride in her Filipino identity. To read the full article, please click here.
On May 26, Margaret T. Ling appeared as a guest on Attorney Kenneth Landau’s Radio Show Law You Should Know to discuss “Diversity in Law.” Margaret, who currently serves on AABANY’s Board as Development Director and has been serving for many years as Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, touched on the importance of racial diversity on the bench and the resources AABANY provides for Asian Americans in law. In response to Landau’s questions, Margaret explained that she values AABANY for its advocacy work, given her own experience as a pioneer in the field of law, as one of only three Asian law students in her class. Margaret stressed that AABANY provides a beneficial space for networking and mentorship, for local and international students alike, as well as a Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and Legal Referral and Information Service that’s well-equipped to aid non-English speakers with its volunteers fluent in diverse Asian languages. Over her career, Margaret has witnessed progress regarding diversity in law, but she notes that the “Bamboo ceiling” continues to prevent Asians in law from achieving partnership or other higher-ranking roles. Now, she fondly mentors thirty students, advocating for diversity in law, in addition to her impressive case load.
Out of over 1,400 submissions, AABANY Litigation Committee Co-Chair Luna Barrington has been recognized by Law360 as one of this year’s Rising Stars under 40, as she has secured defense trial verdicts in major class action suits against companies like C&S Wholesale Grocers and Johnson & Johnson. On June 4, Law360 published an article highlighting her recent accomplishments as a trial attorney, underscoring the massive damages she saved her clients by skillfully preparing for and conducting the trial with her trial team. Now a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, she recalls successfully advocating for a group of Mexican-American students in Tucson, AZ, pro bono, as among the proudest moments of her career: in federal court, Barrington fought a state statute banning a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson’s schools, denouncing it as a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. She is also a first-generation lawyer and the first in her family to earn a graduate degree. Please join AABANY in congratulating Luna on being selected by Law360 as one of this year’s Rising Stars under 40, a well-deserved recognition of her achievements and trial skills.
To read the full article, click here (subscription required).
On June 17, 2021, Judiciary Committee Co-Chair William Wang (and former AABANY President, 2015) was quoted in a Democrat and Chronicle article titled “New York’s judges aren’t as diverse as the state is. Here’s why that matters.” A report commissioned by Chief Judge Di Fiore in June 2020, which was released in October 2020, found that communities of color were underrepresented in New York State’s judiciary. Out of the 78% of state-paid judges who responded, only 14% identified as Black, 9% said they were Hispanic or Latino of any race, and 3% said they were Asian American. Sixty-nine percent of judges indicated they were white. In contrast, New York State’s population is 18% Black, 20% Hispanic or Latino, and 9% Asian. Citing the recent rise in hate crimes committed against the Asian American community, Wang argues that increased representation of Asian Americans in the judiciary will help members of the community feel more confident that they can attain justice when they are the victims of such violence. Wang states, “It’s very important for communities of color to be able to go into the court system, a system where they are trying to get and obtain justice and to see someone that potentially can look like them.”
To read the full article, click here (subscription required).
AABANY’s Manhattan DA Candidates’ Forum held on June 15 and 16 was recently covered in a June 21 Law360 article titled “Manhattan DA Candidates Split Over Hate Crime Strategy.” In the run up to the primary election on June 22, AABANY posed questions to seven Democratic candidates (Tahanie Aboushi, Alvin Bragg, Liz Crotty, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Diana Florence, Lucy Lang, and Eliza Orlins) and one Republican candidate (Thomas Kenniff) on issues important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, specifically related to how they would address the surge in anti-Asian violence in New York City. Most of the candidates stated that they would use enhancements to charge perpetrators of hate crimes. In addition, most of the candidates supported creating a hate crimes unit in the DA’s Office, which is one of the proposals offered in AABANY and Paul, Weiss’ report on anti-Asian violence. Only Tahanie Aboushi and Eliza Orlins pledged they would cut the district attorney’s office budget in half. By decreasing the prosecution of low-level offenses, Aboushi and Orlins said the office would be able to focus on more serious crimes, including hate crimes that involve violence. The Law360 article also incorporated Democratic DA Candidate Dan Quart’s stances on the questions posed at the Forum as he was not able to participate due to a prior engagement.
To read the full article, click here. To view the recordings of AABANY’s Manhattan DA Candidates’ Forum, click here for day 1 (Lucy Lang, Alvin Bragg, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, and Tahanie Aboushi) and here for day 2 (Diana Florence, Thomas Kenniff, Eliza Orlins, and Liz Crotty).
On June 11, AABANY Board Director Chris Kwok was interviewed by Erica Byfield on News 4 The Debrief podcast for an episode titled “Anti-Asian Attacks and Relations With the Black Community.” In the episode, they talked about the ongoing hate and violence against Asian Americans across the United States and the longstanding history of society’s treatment of non-whites in America. Chris spoke about how fighting anti-Asian violence is connected to the Black Lives Matter and Me Too Movements because people are fighting for the same things—an equal, just society and an equal chance to be human. However, at the same time, people need to understand how race operates differently between Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latino Americans. Chris states, “Having these conversations in public, honestly, with people who know what they’re talking about, and who are sensitive to these topics, empathetic to people’s experiences, knowledgeable about our histories, about how they are intertwined, how they can be used against us, how we can then turn it around and use it for good. If we‘re able to sort of look at it square in the face is, I think, the way forward. There’s no other way.” In addition, Chris discussed the importance of following up with District Attorney’s Offices in New York City to ensure that hate crimes are addressed and perpetrators are held accountable. To listen to the full podcast, click here.
More public awareness about our report and the rise in anti-Asian violence is needed. Please share our report widely. If you have ideas or thoughts about how we can combat anti-Asian violence, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, June 15, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY), and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York) released a joint statement calling on the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) to fill judicial vacancies with Asian American Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) judges, including that of Judge Anthony Cannataro’s former role as the citywide administrative judge for the civil court of New York City. On Wednesday, June 16, The New York Law Journal published a front-page article recounting the social and demographic context driving the release of this joint statement, reiterating how “[u]nlike other communities of color, Asian representation has lagged due to a failure by political and judicial leaders to support and promote AAPI judges.” The article also noted how the AAPI bar associations acknowledged the diversity of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent judicial appointments but remained staunch in their commitment to remedying the dearth of AAPI representation on the bench.
To read the full article, click here (subscription required).
AABANY Student Leader Jenny Park was recently featured in Columbia Law School’s May 27 article titled “Student Spotlight: Jenny Park ’21 on Community Advocacy, Corporate Law, and What’s Next.” In the article, Jenny shared her journey to law school, her extracurriculars as a law student, and her post-graduation plans.
Among the many extracurricular activities she participated in, Jenny partnered with AABANY twice to assist members of the Asian American community. First, she was a COVID-19 task force leader in the summer of 2020, where she helped provide pro bono resources to the community along with other task force members. As a 2020-2021 Davis Polk Leadership fellow, she partnered with AABANY again in 2021 through a spring break caravan. Jenny and other Columbia Law students updated and translated AABANY’s COVID-19 webpages; participated in client consultations with volunteer attorneys; and researched New York laws. Speaking about her post-graduation plans, Jenny said: “After graduation, I will (hopefully!) pass the bar and begin working at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in New York. Recently, I was also offered a vice chair position with AABANY’s Young Lawyers Committee. I hope to continue serving as a mentor and assisting young professionals as I grow in my career. As a 1L and throughout law school, I also worked with the Esports Bar Association, assisting to host an annual conference, drafting and distributing a diversity and inclusion toolkit, and more. I am currently serving on the diversity committee and plan to remain involved as esports continue to grow.”
To read the full article, click here. To read AABANY’s blog post on the CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan, click here.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Jenny on her graduation from Columbia Law School and thanking her for all the hard work she has done for AABANY!
Glenn Magpantay, Co-Chair of AABANY’s LGBT Committee and Co-Founder and Former Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), was recently featured in a May 20 article in the Philadelphia Gay News. Titled “Queer Asians speak out against discrimination and injustice,” the article featured four leaders in the LGBT Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, who each discussed the issues individuals who identify as both AAPI and LGBT have to face.
In the article, Glenn spoke about how queer AAPI people are often overlooked. There is a lack of existing queer Asian groups in cities such as Miami and Orlando, and even within the greater LGBT community, AAPIs are not always represented in the public policy agendas of some LGBT organizations. Speaking about the anti-Asian hate and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, Glenn stated: “[G]ay Asians live at the intersection of a dual identity…The haters — the people who are harassing us, people who yell at us for being coronavirus carriers — they don’t discriminate on whether you’re gay Asian, a trans-Asian, a Korean Asian. It doesn’t matter to them. You just look foreign. You look like you have the COVID virus.” He added: “Our identities as queer Asians have been flattened by the media. How many of [these hate-crime victims] were gay, queer and trans?”
On May 20, 2021, City & State published an Op-Ed written by President Terry Shen and Past President Linda Lin of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
In the Op-Ed, President Shen and Past President Lin describe how a wave of Anti-Asian violence swept across New York City in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the city government’s lackluster response to these incidents has not been enough to protect the AAPI community. According to the article, stronger Asian-American representation in New York’s courts can help to solve these issues. The article also highlights Kathy Hirata Chin, the only Asian-American candidate for the New York Court of Appeals, arguing that her appointment would be a landmark step towards greater racial diversity, justice, and equity. As stated by President Shen and Past President Lin: “Our government must be diverse to fulfill Lincoln’s vision of a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ The need in our city and state is urgent and necessary.”