AABANY Co-Sponsors Virtual Fireside Chat with Prominent Asian American Judges on January 26, 2021

On January 26, 2021, AABANY co-sponsored a virtual fireside chat hosted by the New York City Bar entitled, “Our Story: Asian American Judges Share Their Path to the Bench, and Thoughts on Diversity and of the Future.” Prominent speakers included:

  • Hon. Shahabudeen Ally, Supervising Judge, New York County Civil Court;
  • Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department and AABANY member;
  • Hon. Ushir Pandit-Durant, New York State Supreme Court, Queens County; and
  • Hon. Lillian Wan, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County and AABANY member.

Serving as moderator, Judge Ally led the discussion on each jurist’s path to the bench, challenges faced in their paths regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, and their thoughts on the inclusion of more Asian Americans in the future of the court system. 

For Justices Oing, Pandit-Durant, and Wan, they did not anticipate becoming jurists when they were in law school. Justice Pandit-Durant had previously served at the Queens Assistant District Attorneys Office for over 20 years, and Justice Wan had been a litigator at the Administration for Children’s Services for 9 years and later as a court attorney referee at Surrogates Court. They became interested in joining the bench after their experiences of appearing before judges everyday and learning more about the judicial appointment process. Speaking about the path to the bench, the speakers emphasized the importance of getting outside their own comfort zone and attending events to get their names out there. You want people to recognize you as someone who would be able to do the job, said Justice Pandit-Durant. “They’re not going to know you until they want to know you.”

Speaking on diversity in the court system, the speakers agreed that compared to the past, we are moving in the right direction. There are now many more women and diverse women on the bench. In the state of New York, there are currently 39 judges of Asian American descent. Justice Wan said, “There is more respect and acceptance of the outcome if we have a bench that looks like the community they serve. Diversity matters.”

In the final segment of the fireside chat, Judge Ally asked the speakers: “What can we do as a population to engage the next generation?” Justice Wan spoke about the importance of mentorships. Many people do not realize that practically anyone with the right qualifications can become a judge, and it is necessary for mentors to help demystify the process. Speakers also discussed how students can be inspired by looking at the diversity of the bench and the progress that has already been made. The jurists praised the 80+ audience members for joining their chat and asking great questions, and concluded with the hope that the number of judges of Asian American descent in New York will continue to increase.

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee has a mission to do just that: increase the number of judges of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent in New York. To learn more about the Judiciary Committee, read this blog post about the March 19 membership mixer featuring that Committee or visit this page on the AABANY website.

Judges Needed for Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition

If you are an attorney attending the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Convention in Chicago this year, we request that you volunteer to serve as a judge in the preliminary and/or quarterfinal rounds of the 2018 Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition (Competition).  The Competition is an appellate advocacy competition sponsored annually by the NAPABA Law Foundation, an IRC § 501( c )(3) non-profit, charitable and educational affiliate of NAPABA.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Competition!  The Competition honors the late Judge Thomas Tang, a champion of individual rights, an advocate for the advancement of minority attorneys, and an ardent supporter of NAPABA.  Judge Tang served on the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1977 until his passing in 1995. To learn more about the competition, click here.

This year’s problem addresses the following issues:

  1. Whether a state university may impose disciplinary sanctions on a student for non-curricular expressive conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment in order to protect the expressive rights of other.
  2. Whether a state university may expel a law student based on university officials’ determination that her off-campus expressive activity, otherwise protected by the First Amendment, violates the professionalism standards governing attorneys.

The information for the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds is as follows:
Date:  Friday, November 9, 2018
Time:  Preliminary Round One (9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.), Preliminary Round Two (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.), and Quarterfinal Round (2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Place:  Sheraton Grand Chicago (301 E. North Water St., Chicago, IL 60611)

Please register online at https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/dicpm to judge one or both of the preliminary rounds and/or the quarterfinal round.  Although the sign-up sheet is getting full, please consider signing up to be an alternate in the event someone needs to make a last minute cancellation. Once you register, you will be emailed the problem, the bench brief, the rules and the oral argument scoring sheets.  Please report to the Tennessee meeting room located on the second level at least 20 minutes before your scheduled round to obtain your room assignment.  We ask that alternates also report to the Tennessee meeting room 20 minutes before your scheduled room to determine if your services are needed for the Competition.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Linda Tran (linda.tran.m37t@statefarm.com) or Leah Gould (gould.leah@gmail.com).

Volunteer Mock Trial Judges Needed! Earn CLE Credit!

Volunteer Mock Trial Judges Needed! Earn CLE Credit!

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Celebrates Historic Milestone with Chuang Confirmation to the Federal District Court for Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555

NAPABA CELEBRATES HISTORIC MILESTONE WITH CHUANG CONFIRMATION TO THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT FOR MARYLAND

WASHINGTON — Today, with the confirmation of Theodore Chuang to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the Obama Administration has tripled the number of Asian Pacific American judges on the federal bench, going from 8 judges to 24 active Article III APA judges since 2008. Judge Chuang is the first Asian Pacific American judge to serve on the federal judiciary in Maryland or in any of the states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

“Theodore Chuang’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland is a historic occasion on many fronts,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Judge Chuang has a long history of public service and will be the first Asian Pacific American federal judge to ever sit on the bench in Maryland, breaking yet another barrier in the legal profession. He has long been an active member of NAPABA and the Asian Pacific American community, and we are proud to have supported his nomination. We applaud Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland for putting Judge Chuang’s name forward.”

“Judge Chuang’s confirmation today also sets a new high for the number of Asian Pacific Americans to serve on the federal bench, and is a fantastic way to begin Asian Pacific American Heritage Month,” added Simonitsch. “President Obama and his administration have demonstrated unwavering support and dedication to the appointment of well-qualified, diverse nominees to the bench, making genuine progress in building a judiciary that looks like our great nation. We also thank all of the U.S. Senators who have supported diverse candidates like Judge Chuang to the bench, and look forward to working with the Senate to do even better in years to come.”

Before his service on the bench, Judge Chuang served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he worked since 2009. He was previously the Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in 2009 and Deputy Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, Chuang served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Massachusetts and as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Chuang has held leadership positions with the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, the District of Columbia Bar, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington D.C. Area.

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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 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service 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.

PRESS RELEASE: NAPABA Applauds Confirmation of Manish Shah to the Federal Bench

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee
(202) 775-9555

NAPABA APPLAUDS CONFIRMATION OF MANISH SHAH TO FEDERAL BENCH

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Manish Suresh Shah to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by a vote of 95-0. He is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as an Article III judge in the state of Illinois and in the Seventh Circuit.

“NAPABA proudly supported the nomination of Manish Shah to the bench, and we congratulate him on his confirmation today,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). President Obama, Senator Kirk, and Senator Durbin should be commended for their support of Judge Shah, and for their steadfast commitment to nominating well-qualified, diverse candidates to the bench.“

Judge Shah is a long-time member of the Chicagoland community, and has devoted his career there to public service. Before joining the bench, Shah worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois since 2001. There he served as the chief of the Criminal Division since July 2012, and previously served as the chief of Criminal Appeals. Judge Shah also attended the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for Judge James B. Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois, the court which he now joins.

NAPABA applauds President Obama for this historic nomination, and thanks Senator Kirk for recommending Judge Shah. His confirmation today increases the number of active Asian Pacific American Article III judges to 23 nationwide: 4 federal appellate court judges and 19 federal district court judges. He is the third Asian Pacific American to be nominated and confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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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 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service 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.

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.