Kathy Hirata Chin Honored with the Inaugural Hong Yen Chang Award at the New York County Lawyers Association on May 28th

Many congratulations to longstanding AABANY member Kathy Hirata Chin on being honored by the Columbia Law School Association and Asian Columbia Alumni Association with the inaugural Hong Yen Chang Award at the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) at 14 Vesey Street on Tuesday, May 28. The event was co-sponsored by AABANY, the Asian Practice Committee of NYCLA, the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York, and the Network of Bar Leaders. We were joined by many AABANY community members and Columbia alumni. Ms. Chin is a 1980 graduate of the Columbia Law School.

The well-attended reception began with AABANY Development Director Margaret Ling providing a brief history of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. She highlighted two key dates in Asian American history: May 7th, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States in 1842, and May 10th, when the transcontinental railroad was completed with the help of Chinese laborers in 1869.

Then, NYCLA’s secretary Jai Chandrasekhar welcomed guests to the reception and shared some of Hong Yen Chang’s achievements, including being the first Chinese person in the United States to graduate from an American law school, in 1886.

Next, the Hon. George B. Daniels shared some of Kathy Hirata Chin’s achievements as an accomplished litigator and community member.

Then, AABANY’s Executive Director Yang Chen read from the introduction to the Portrait Project, the first-ever comprehensive study of Asian Americans in the legal profession, which spoke on the progress today of Asian Americans as big firm lawyers, government attorneys, corporate counsel members, public defenders, judges and more—reaching “levels of legal participation unthinkable compared to just over 30 years ago.” He made this reference to comment on how far Asian Americans in the legal profession have come from Hong Yen Chang’s time and have yet to go.

Bridgette Ahn, the current president of the Network of Bar Leaders, then took the podium to share brief remarks on NYCLA’s work and mission. Rudy Carmenaty, the President of the Columbia Law School Association, followed up by illuminating more of Ms. Chin’s achievements and the reasons for holding the Hong Yen Chang reception.

Then, the honoree Kathy Hirata Chin shared an engaging presentation on Hong Yen Chang’s remarkable life, including many long forgotten and little known details about his achievements at a time when discriminatory laws and attitudes toward Asians were far more prevalent.

Finally, Ms. Chin was presented with the inaugural Hong Yen Chang award honoring her trailblazing achievements in the spirit of Hong Yen Chang. Her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, added his reflections. He stated, “Kathy is a wonderful, caring, gracious, hard working, brilliant person. And beyond that, she is a terrific lawyer, a pioneer in her own right as an Asian American woman—a litigator—making her mark at a time when law firms were still holding events at male owning clubs. And there were zero Asian American partners.”

Regarding Ms. Chin’s accomplishments, as stated in AABANY’s press release, “[she] has handled dozens of appellate cases, concentrating her practice in healthcare and real estate…. She has served on Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s Judicial Screening Committee for the First Judicial Department from 1992-1994; the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Eastern District of New York from 1992-1999; the Gender Bias Committee of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Fairness; the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Task Force to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession; and Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye’s Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections from 2003-2006; and the New York County Lawyers’ Association Board of Directors. In April 2016, she was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the First Department Judicial Screening Committee. Since January 2016, Chin has served as a member of the Second Circuit Judicial Council Committee on Civic Education & Public Engagement, focusing on historic reenactments as a teaching tool. With her husband, the Hon. Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and teams of lawyers and judges from AABANY, she has developed and presented reenactments of famous cases such as Korematsu vs. U.S, to educate the community about the significant contributions of Asian Americans to the social, political and legal history of the United States.”

Regarding Hong Yen Chang, according to AABANY’s press release: “In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the United States to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University’s law school and passed the bar exam. However, after passing the bar examination, he was first denied admission because of his lack of U.S. citizenship due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. A special act of the New York Legislature (N.Y. L.1887 c. 249) allowed his admission despite this bar and in 1888, Hong Yen Chang reportedly became the first Asian American attorney admitted to the bar in New York. Hong Yen Chang then moved to California and applied for admission to the bar there but was denied in 1890 due to his lack of citizenship. Not until 2015 was this exclusion remedied, when the California Supreme Court granted an application from members of the UC Davis Asian Pacific American Law Students Association for posthumous admission of Hong Yen Chang.”

Please join AABANY in congratulating Kathy Hirata Chin on all of her achievements and on her well-deserved honor at the inaugural Hong Yen Chang reception.

Thanks to Kevin Hsi for providing the photos for this blog post.

NAPABA Names Sylvaine Wong as Its 2017 Military and Veteran Service Award Winner

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to present the inaugural 2017 NAPABA Military and Veteran Service Award to Commander Sylvaine W. Wong, deputy director of the United States Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, Military Manpower Division. The NAPABA Military and Veteran Service Award — a brand new award — seeks to recognize individuals within the Asian Pacific American legal community serving the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, including Reserve and National Guard) as uniformed personnel or as civilians or as veterans of the Armed Forces whose outstanding achievements (1) greatly enhanced the mission of the Armed Forces; (2) contributed to the advancement of rights for service-members, their families, and/or veterans; or (3) furthered the administration of justice.

The 2017 NAPABA Military and Veteran Service Award will be presented at the NAPABA Anniversary Gala at the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4, 2017.

Commander Wong’s military career has seen her traverse the globe from U.S. military bases to the Pentagon to deployments in support of the most historically significant combat operations over the last two decades. Her tireless dedication to advancing the principals of justice and the rule of law has left lasting impacts not only on the individual service members and their families she has represented, but also on policymaking and programmatic efforts at the national and international levels.

A few highlights of Commander Wong’s military career include:

  • Multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, including to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson;
  • Establishing one of the most robust and precedent-setting waterfront legal assistance programs to bring legal services directly on to the decks of combat ships;
  • Championing for the rights and advocacy on behalf of military sexual assault victims; and
  • Contributing to the repeal of the U.S. government’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on military service by homosexuals and bisexuals.

Upon moving to Washington, D.C., in 2007, Commander Wong became one of the JAG Corps’ subject matter experts on administrative law, specifically pertaining to personnel law and military rights and benefits. As part of the Department of the Navy’s Equal Opportunity program, Commander Wong reviewed hundreds of investigations by individual sailors for alleged violations of military regulations and statutory law, including congressional inquiries. Her review of the specific administration of the program for compliance with federal law also contributed to the Navy’s long-term preparations leading up to the 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in military service by homosexuals and bisexuals.

Commander Wong returned once again to Washington, D.C., in 2016 after a posting in Italy to serve as the deputy director for Recruiting and Diversity for the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Military Personnel Division). Currently, she is responsible for the policy development and execution oversight of the entire JAG Corps’ recruiting, accession, and retention mission. In addition to managing the recruiting program, which spans the over 200 American Bar Association-accredited law schools throughout the nation, she has reinvigorated the JAG Corps’ diversity and inclusion efforts, compelling new initiatives to bring diversity and inclusion into all aspects of career development and retention within the JAG Corps.

Among the efforts Commander Wong has spearheaded is the Diversity Liaison Program, empowering both junior and senior officers within the Navy JAG Corps to work substantively with national affinity bar associations and law student organizations to develop meaningful long-term partnerships. This program is designed to offer mentorship, resources, and subject matter expertise to the members of these various organizations while simultaneously promoting public service in the legal profession.

NAPABA congratulates Sylvaine W. Wong as the inaugural 2017 NAPABA Military and Veteran Service Award recipient.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visitwww.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter(@NAPABA).

PRESS RELEASE: Perkins Coie LLP to Receive Inaugural Law Firm Diversity Award from Asian American Bar Association of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2014                              

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(718) 228-7206

NEW YORK – September 18, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that Perkins Coie LLP will receive its inaugural Law Firm Diversity Award at the Fifth Annual AABANY Fall Conference, which will take place at the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP on September 20, 2014.

AABANY established this award to recognize a law firm with an extraordinary commitment to diversity, evidenced in part by a formal diversity plan that has achieved demonstrable success in the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women and minority attorneys, and also by a firm’s active participation in minority bar associations and other external diversity initiatives.  

According to AABANY President, Clara Ohr, “We selected Perkins Coie LLP to receive our Law Firm Diversity Award from a field of very strong candidates because of their (i) strong numbers of women and minority partners; (ii) goal-oriented and systematic diversity plan, which not only monitors the hours and assignments of women and minority attorneys on a monthly basis to ensure their continued development, but also considers individual diversity and inclusion efforts with respect to partner compensation; and (iii) consistent financial and personnel support of multiple minority bar associations.  Perkins Coie’s innovative practices have left an impressive footprint in establishing a broad pipeline of diverse talent that could serve as a useful roadmap for other law firms to consider.  AABANY congratulates and thanks Perkins Coie for its impressive efforts.”

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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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JUDGE MARILYN D. GO TO RECEIVE INAUGURAL NORMAN LAU KEE TRAILBLAZER AWARD FROM ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2014 

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(718) 228-7206 

NEW YORK – September 15, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that United States District Court Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go, Eastern District New York, will receive the inaugural Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award. Judge Go will be honored at AABANY’s Fifth Annual Fall Conference held at the law firm Morgan Lewis Bockius on September 20, 2014.

Named for Norman Lau Kee, a revered legal and community pillar of New York City’s Chinatown for decades, this Trailblazer Award honors an accomplished leader in the legal profession of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent or dedicated to APA issues who has carved a path for others to follow, served the community as a mentor and role model, and has made a lasting impact on the APA community through his or her dedication and commitment.

Marilyn D. Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, was the first Asian American woman to serve as a judge in a federal court.  After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1977, she clerked for the late Honorable William M. Marutani in Philadelphia, who was the only Asian American judge on the East Coast at the time. She then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the EDNY and was later a partner at Baden Kramer Huffman Brodsky & Go, P.C.  Committed to promoting diversity and professionalism in the bar, Judge Go was a founding member, officer and director of the Asian American Bar Association of New York; chair of the Voting Rights Committee of NAPABA; Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary of the American Bar Association; and a member of Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on Minority Representation on the Bench.

 “Judge Go is a true trailblazer in our community,” Yang Chen, AABANY’s Executive Director, states. “She rose to the top of the legal profession as an attorney and judge at a time when women leaders, particularly APA women, were few and far between. Through her achievements, accomplishments and leadership, she has paved the way for future generations of lawyers to succeed and attain prominence. As one of the founding Board members of AABANY, she helped to lay the foundation for future leaders to grow the organization into the great bar association it is today. Because of the trails she has blazed, Judge Go has made a real difference for APA attorneys and the legal profession. We are proud to count her as a leading member of our association and our community.”

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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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This Land is Your Land, Too: Working Together for Immigrant New Yorkers

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The inaugural conference of the New York Immigrant Assistance Consortium

June 9th, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
 
Hosted by New York Law School
New York, New York
 
Sponsored by NYIC, ONA, DYCD, AILA-NY

Don’t miss our special plenary, moderated by NY1’s Pat Kiernan

Lunch Plenary: Where are we today? City, State, and Federal Perspectives.       

Panelists:

New York Secretary Of State Cesar Perales
NYC Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal
US Executive Office for Immigration Review Director Juan Osuna
             USCIS NY District Director Phyllis Coven     
         

                              Click here to register.                        

Other panels include:

Anti-Immigration Fraud Efforts & Capacity
Moderated by: JoJo Annobil of the Legal Aid Society

Outreach and Organizing with Community Partners
Moderated by:Marika Dias of Make the Road New York
 
Ethical Challenges of Direct Services and Representation
Moderated by: C. Mario Russell of Catholic Charities of New York
 
Innovations in Outreach and Service Delivery through Technology
Moderated by: Mark O’Brien of ProBono Net
 
Communications, Media, Branding
Moderated by: Laz Benitez of the New York State Office for New Americans
 
Coordination of Pro Bono and Volunteer Efforts
Moderated by: Miriam Buhl of Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP
 
National Perspectives on Legalization Planning and Implementation
Moderated by: Matthew Burnett of the Immigration Advocates Network
 
Private and Public Funding Partnerships
Moderated by: Christopher O’Malley of the IOLA Fund
 
Strategic Partnerships with Traditional and Non-Traditional Partners
Moderated by: Betsy Plum of the New York Immigration Coalition

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The purpose of this one-day conference is to advance the capacity of immigrant assistance provider organizations in New York that serve clients in an efficient, effective and coordinated manner. The conference will bring members of the Immigration community together to share their best practices and learn from current and prior experiences in immigration assistance efforts like DACA, as well as other mass assistance efforts like those following Hurricane Sandy and 9/11.

The registration fee of $55 covers admission to the conference. Admission includes a light breakfast, lunch, and an invitation to a cocktail reception following the final panel.

Please note that CLE credits will be provided.