AABANY CLE: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On October 2, 2019, the AABANY Real Estate Committee presented the CLE entitled: “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE was co sponsored by Flushing Bank, Big Apple Abstract Corp, KALAGNY, and Littler. It took place at Flushing Bank in New Hyde Park, New York and was attended by 40 attorneys. The panelists were AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler; Samitha Lukose-Khan of Flushing Bank; and Sanjay Nair, Associate at Littler. The CLE was moderated by Margaret Ling, Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee. The presentation invoked some powerful and informative discussion specifically on diversity, inclusion and bias in the legal profession.

Pictured above from left to right: Riyaad Khan of Allstate Insurance; Maria Silva of Flushing Bank; Margaret Ling of Big Apple Abstract and AABANY; Thomas Kane of Flushing Bank; Mohammad Yusuf of Flushing Bank; William Ng of Littler; Sanjay Nair of Littler. 

Robing Ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park

On July 11th, at the Museum of Korean American Heritage, AABANY, along with KAAGNY and KALAGNY, co-sponsored the robing ceremony for the Hon. Michael H. Park, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The event was held to commemorate and celebrate Judge Park as the first Korean American to serve on the Second Circuit.

The program kicked off with a spirited rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Then, Charles Yoon, President of KAAGNY, delivered opening remarks from the podium noting the historic nature of this event in Korean American history. The venue was especially fitting for the ceremony as many momentous Korean American milestones were printed on the walls—from honoring the first Korean naturalized citizen of the United States, Philip Jaisohn, to remembering the Korean comfort women. 

KALAGNY President Gene Kang then delivered heartfelt comments on the necessity of diversity on the judicial bench and how far Korean Americans have advanced in the legal profession starting out with humble origins from “a small Asian peninsula.” Next, Michael Kim, a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Yale Law School classmate of the Hon. Michael Park, shared a memory from when he was still in law school and Judge Park belted out an NSYNC song at Karaoke—true to Korean fashion. Kim commented that if Judge Park had decided to stay in Korea, he might be introducing a K-pop star instead of a Second Circuit Judge. Finally, the Hon. Denny Chin, the first Asian American United States Second Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, administered the oath of office to the Hon. Michael Park. Sarah Seo, Judge Park’s wife, robed him. KALAGNY generously provided the new robe for Judge Park.

After the robing ceremony, Judge Park took the stage to thank attendees and organizations such as AABANY, KALAGNY, and KAAGNY for their support. He especially thanked those who had come before him, such as the Hon. Denny Chin, in paving a path for more Asian American judges, like him, to follow. In closing, AABANY President Brian Song cited AABANY’s mission statement and shared hopes that one day, a robing ceremony for an APA judge might not appear so remarkable as many more APA judges are elevated to the bench in the future, to more accurately reflect the diversity of America.

AABANY congratulates the Hon. Michael H. Park and warmly thanks all attendees for joining us in celebrating the historic event. 

PRESS RELEASE: THE ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, THE KOREAN AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK, THE SOUTH ASIAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK AND THE FILIPINO AMERICAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK URGE INCLUSION OF ALL VOICES IN SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS LEGISLATION

NEW YORK, June 19, 2019 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”), the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (“KALAGNY”), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (“FALA New York”) condemn the process by which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio formulated his plan to reform admissions to the city’s specialized high schools because he has shut out Asian American leaders and organizations from any meaningful participation.  We believe that any legislation with such wide-ranging impact on all communities should not be permitted to move forward when the process by which it has been advanced to the legislature has been marked by excluding the voices of the Asian American community.

In June 2018, Mayor de Blasio announced his support for New York State Assembly Bill A2173 which calls for eliminating the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), to be replaced by a new selection process.  He did so without seeking any input from the Asian American community or any of the New York Asian American elected officials at the Federal, State, or local levels. We are deeply concerned, because we believe this exclusionary process illustrates how the current debate has largely ignored and dismissed the reality that Asian Americans also face racial discrimination.

Asian Americans currently make up more than 60% of enrollment in the specialized high schools.  Pronouncing that the specialized high schools had a “diversity” problem,” Mayor de Blasio’s rhetoric problematically casts the Asian American populations in these schools as a problem that needs to be fixed and ignores the incredible diversity that exists at the schools.  

In March 2019, the Mayor recognized that his rollout was flawed and that he “wish[es] he had done it better,” promising to meet with Asian American community leaders.  That meeting finally took place three months later, on June 13, with less than a week left in the State legislative session. Even though the Mayor finally apologized to the Asian American community at that meeting, Assembly Bill A2173 continues to move forward in Albany.

We recognize that the proposed elimination of the SHSAT is a divisive issue, even within the Asian American community.  AABANY proudly led public discussions on this issue, hosting a community forum in Flushing in 2014, another forum in Manhattan in 2015 and a documentary film screening about the SHSAT called “Tested” in 2015. AABANY used these opportunities to engage speakers on opposing sides of the debate in an effort to educate the public on the differing viewpoints, including those within the Asian American communities, on SHSAT reforms.   

The Asian American community is not monolithic.  We celebrate both the diversity within the Asian American community and the diversity Asian Americans bring to American society.  We fully support improving access to quality education for all. We are invested in true diversity, one that does not envision a small pie that must be divided among competing groups.  We support building more specialized high schools and the revival of gifted and talented programs in every elementary and middle school. We support city funded SHSAT test prep for any student that wants to take it.

Given the flawed process that produced the Mayor’s plan, we oppose New York State Assembly Bill A2173.  We call upon the Mayor to withdraw his current plan and provide Asian Americans a seat at the table to develop a new plan for the specialized high schools that benefits from having all stakeholders heard and represented in developing legislation on the vital issue of a fair, equitable and diverse public education system for all.

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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).

The Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY) is a professional membership organization of attorneys and law students engaged with the issues affecting the Korean American community in Greater New York.  Incorporated in 1986, KALAGNY seeks to encourage the professional growth of its members as well as provide legal support for the Korean American community.

Founded in 1996, the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) is an organization of South Asian attorneys practicing in the New York City metropolitan region. The mission of the SABANY is to enhance the professional development of the South Asian legal community and act as a resource to the South Asian community at large by increasing access to justice, upholding the rule of law and improving our justice system.

FALA New York was formally organized in 2015 in New York as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Filipino American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants or paralegals and law students. The mission of FALA New York is to promote the vibrant Filipino American legal community in New York by connecting Filipino American attorneys in order to share our experiences and expertise and to explore issues, cases and laws that affect the Filipino American community.

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AABANY CLE: Selling and Purchasing Real Property from an Estate

On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, Margaret Ling, AABANY Development Director and Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, and Pauline Yeung-Ha, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair, presented a CLE and networking event entitled “Selling and Purchasing Real Property from an Estate.” The event was hosted by Flushing Bank at their Astoria branch and was co-sponsored by AABANY, KALAGNY, and Big Apple Abstract Corp.

Margaret and Pauline discussed the importance of doing your due diligence when selling or purchasing real property from an estate. They shared horror stories of clients trying to cut corners and scam the system. One story involved a separated husband and wife, where the wife claimed that the husband had passed away and tried to rush the closing on the sale of their house. After some investigation, it was discovered that the husband was alive and well in Greece. The moral of the story was that as real estate attorneys it is imperative to not blindly trust surrogates and extremely important to demand proof of death to prevent future liability and to protect your license.

Margaret and Pauline also discussed the tax implications and other liabilities that accompany the different types of estate structures, which included Joint Tenancy, Tenants in Common, Tenants by the Entirety, Life Estates, and Trusts. They advised that practitioners can save themselves a lot of trouble by taking the time to do their due diligence and by speaking to title companies.

We thank Flushing Bank and its staff for hosting the CLE panel for the evening. Thanks also to the speakers and everyone that attended. One CLE credit in the area of professional practice was awarded to attendees. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/120.

AABANY CLE: Real Estate Fraud – Red Flags and War Stories

On March 6, 2019, Margaret Ling, AABANY Co-Chair of the Real Estate Committee, presented the CLE entitled “Real Estate Fraud – Red Flags and War Stories” The CLE networking event took place at Knights of Columbus in Brooklyn and was co-sponsored by AABANY, KALAGNY, Northfield Bank and the Brooklyn Real Estate Board. 

Pictured here from left to right: Debbie Lemma, Margaret Ling, Joanne Valerio, Geri Giancola, and Francis Chin of AABANY

Thanks to Margaret Ling for the write-up and photo for this post.

Fall Harvest Moon Festival Networking Event

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On September 26, 2018, AABANY’s Real Estate and Solo & Small Firm Practice Committees, with KALAGNY, Citrin Cooperman and HSBC, hosted a Fall Harvest Moon Festival Networking Event. Over 60 people attended the event at Citrin Cooperman’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. AABANY leadership in attendance included Margaret Ling, AABANY Development Director and Co-Chair of AABANY’s Real Estate Committee; Cary Chan, AABANY Co-Chair of Real Estate and Solo & Small Firm Practice Committee; Poonam Gupta, AABANY Immigration Committee Co-Chair; Beatrice Leong, AABANY Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair; and Vincent Chang, Former AABANY President. VIP Guests included Bridgette Ahn, President of the Network of Bar Leaders; George Xu, President of New Century Development; and Wellington Chan, Executive Director of Chinatown Partnership. Many thanks to our sponsors Ben Liu, CPA, Director at Citrin Cooperman, and David Lau, Retail Business Banking Relationship Manager at HSBC Bank. Everyone enjoyed the networking and the buffet, which included moon cakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Above: Citrin Cooperman Team and Margaret Ling

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Left to Right: Bridgette Ahn, George Xu, David Lau,Margaret Ling, Ben Liu

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Left to Right: Ben Liu, George Xu, Patrick Yu, Wellington Chan, Margaret Ling, David Fesser

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Left to Right: Jane Chen, Jang Lee, Margaret Ling, Cary Chan