In the News: AABANY, SABANY, KALAGNY, & FALA-New York’s Joint Statement on AAPI Under-representation in the Judiciary Featured in The New York Law Journal

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 Joins SABANY, KALAGNY, and FALA-New York in Calling for Increased Representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Leadership Positions in the New York Judiciary

In February of this year, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) released its report A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions, co-authored with Paul, Weiss, detailing the surge of anti-Asian hate and violence as a result of the pandemic. The report advanced seven carefully-considered proposals for combating anti-Asian racism and discrimination, including, a call for “Greater Representation of Asians in Law Enforcement, Public Office, and the Courts.” Consistent with this proposal, AABANY joined in a statement with 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), calling on the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) to appoint Asian American Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) judges to fill the positions of Administrative Judge in the Civil Court of the City of New York, Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, Criminal Term in Bronx County, Administrative Judge of Supreme Court, Criminal Matters in Queens County, and Appellate Term, First Department.

As the accompanying press release for the joint statement issued on June 15 notes, “the lack of Asian representation on the bench is not a recent phenomenon.” As AABANY’s report explains, “Racism and bias fester where positions of power are held primarily by the white majority. Institutions that are meant to both represent and serve justice to the community will be more effective if they more closely reflect the composition of the community.” Efforts to increase diversity in the judiciary comprise first steps to ensuring the legal system can protect all Americans, regardless of racial identity.

Secretary Jeh Johnson elucidated in his October 1, 2020 Report from the Special Advisor on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts that “the overwhelming majority of the civil or criminal litigants in the Housing, Family, Civil and Criminal courts in New York City are people of color,” but “[b]oth the Minorities and Williams Commissions identified the lack of diversity among judges and non-judicial employees within the court system as a major issue affecting the administration of justice in the state.” Though these courts serve many litigants from communities of color, the bench does not reflect that diversity, with the overwhelming number of judges being male and white. Secretary Johnson concludes, “The sad picture that emerges is, in effect, a second-class system of justice for people of color in New York State.”

AABANY, through its joint statement with SABANY, KALAGNY, and FALA-New York, reaffirms its commitment to the fair administration of justice for all, calling for change to the longstanding under-representation of AAPI judges in New York State. Read more here.

The Asian Columbia Alumni Association Honors Hyung Bak at the Third Annual Hong Yen Chang Award Ceremony

On May 20, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), along with the Asian Columbia Alumni Association (ACAA), Columbia Law School Association, and the Korean American Lawyers of Greater New York (KALAGNY), co-sponsored the Third Annual Hong Yen Chang Award Ceremony to honor Hyung Bak, Columbia Law School alumnus and General Counsel at Warby Parker.

The Annual Hong Yen Chang Award Ceremony is held in honor of the first known Chinese-American lawyer, Hong Yen Chang (1860-1926). Chang was, himself, a graduate of Columbia Law School and graduated with honors. He was recommended to bar admission, but was prevented from practicing in New York state because he was not a citizen. He brought suit and the New York Supreme Court ruled in his favor, licensing him to practice in New York in 1888. Chang then moved to California, hoping to be admitted to practice in the state but was rejected in 1890 due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 2015, more than a century later, the California Supreme Court admitted Chang to the California Bar. In May 2014, AABANY awarded Chang posthumous membership in the association, in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month. Chang was a trailblazer in the legal profession for all Asian Americans who came after him. The Hong Yen Chang Award is thus presented to Columbia alumni who embody Chang’s pioneering spirit and serve as role models and leaders in both their workplace and their communities.

This year’s award recipient, Hyung Bak, is the first lawyer in his immigrant family. As he was growing up, Hyung was all too aware of being “other” at school and at his workplace. He recounted how he was forced to develop a thick skin and persevere despite the comments and discrimination he faced. Hyung also described how he was often overlooked for networking functions, because of his race and the passive stereotypes associated with it. He also emphasized the importance of “claim[ing] your space at the table” as an Asian American to counteract these stereotypes and be heard. Now, Hyung works as General Counsel at Warby Parker, and is a leader in raising awareness surrounding the discrimination Asian Americans face daily. Hyung has led and participated in a number of different forums at Warby Parker about race and diversity, anti-Asian violence, bystander intervention, and many other topics in order to open up the conversation and create a safe space for individuals to discuss these issues. Hyung, through Warby Parker, has also been involved in initiatives to give back to businesses owned by people of color and to increase diverse representation in a number of different fields.

AABANY congratulates Hyung for this well-deserved honor and acknowledges his role as a leader in the Asian American community.

Thank You to Our AABANY Student Leaders

AABANY recognizes and thanks its Student Leaders for all their assistance this summer in fighting COVID-19 and giving back to the Asian American community in New York. Our AABANY student leaders are:

Taiyee Chien, UChicago Law

Long Dang, Columbia Law

Alex Hwang, Cardozo Law

Dianna Lam, Fordham Law

Connie J. Lee, Columbia Law

H. Anthony Park, Ottawa Law

Jenny Park, Columbia Law

Xinyi Shen, Cardozo Law

Sejal Waghray, Emory University

Meng Zhang, Fordham Law

The flyer above contains short descriptions about why each AABANY Student Leader wants to give back and how they have been doing it, such as by volunteering at AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic or participating in various COVID-19 relief activities and programs over the summer.

Please join us in thanking all our AABANY Student Leaders. We also recognize and thank Will Lee, Vice Chair of the Student Outreach Committee, for his leadership in bringing together our Student Leaders and helping AABANY channel their talents and energy to benefit the New York Asian American community.

AABANY Hosts Weekly Membership Mixer on July 24

On July 24, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly Zoom Membership Mixer with the Korean American Lawyers of Greater New York (KALAGNY), with 26 participants in attendance. As a Board Member of both AABANY and KALAGNY, Membership Committee Co-Chair and AABANY Board Secretary Christopher Bae was the perfect host for this event. The icebreaker question posed to the participants was:  “What is your go-to karaoke song?”  Some of the go-to songs or artists were “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, ABBA, “Manic Monday” by the Bangles, “Graduation” by Vitamin C, and Taylor Swift. 

Thank you for joining us, KALAGNY! We hope to team up again in the future.

The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we have moved online to offer members a weekly outlet to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections. Mixers start at 6:30pm on Friday and the main event ends at 7:30pm but people stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups. For this week’s Mixer afterparty, members stayed on until 11:30pm to hang out. 

Membership Committee will continue to host weekly Zoom mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person. 

We are giving away door prizes at the end of some Mixers. In order to win, you must be a member and must RSVP on the aabany.org calendar entry to get a raffle number. Non-members can join the Zoom mixer but won’t be eligible to win a prize. 

Mixers are not recorded, and are LIVE, so don’t miss out.

PLEASE JOIN US THIS WEEK FOR AABANY SHOW & TELL! If you have a cool collection, special art, or a unique item you want to show off to members, please have it ready to present at the July 31 Mixer! Register by Thursday, July 30, at https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1366646.

From KALAGNY: New York Court Restrictions and Protocols, COVID-19 Update

Thanks to KALAGNY for sharing these important court updates for New York courts.

New York State Unified Court System

March 20, 2020 Executive Order No. 202.8 from Governor Cuomo (Link)

“[A]ny specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate’s court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof, is hereby tolled from the date of this executive order until April 19, 2020”

Executive Order 202.8 directs a 100% in-person workforce reduction as of March 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. for “non-essential” services. Law firms have not been identified on the Executive Order or the Governor’s guidances as “essential.” Please see the NYSBA’s summary of the Executive Order here.

March 22, 2020 Administrative Order from Chief Administrative Judge Marks.

“[E]ffective immediately and until further order, no papers shall be accepted for filing by a county clerk or a court in any matter of a type not included on the list of essential matters attached as Exh. A. This directive applies to both paper and electronic filings.”

March 19, 2020 Memo from NY State Court Regarding Essential Services (Link)

For information, please see: https://www.nycourts.gov/

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

March 11, 2020 Memo Re: COVID-19 Protocols (Link)

For more information, please see: https://nysd.uscourts.gov/covid-19-coronavirus

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

March 18, 2020 Administrative Order 2020-06 from Chief Judge Mauskopf (Link)

March 18, 2020 Administrative Order 2020-11 from Chief Judge Mauskopf (Link)

For more information, please see: https://www.nyed.uscourts.go

United States District Court, Northern District of New York

March 13, 2020 General Order #58 in Response to Coronavirus COVID-19 Public Emergency (Link) For more information, please see: https://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/public-emergency

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Effective March 23, 2020, oral arguments will be held by teleconference. For more information, please see: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/

AABANY Presents: Lunar New Year Celebration and Networking Event at Chase Bank

On January 28, 2020, Margaret Ling, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, hosted and organized the Lunar New Year Celebration and Networking Event at Chase Bank located at 41-22 Bell Bvd, Bayside, New York.

Over 50 attorneys attended the reception. A lovely buffet was served, and entertainment was provided by master paper cutting artist Mr. Hou-Tien Cheng. AABANY’s Real Estate Committee collaborated with the following organizations to present this event: Queens County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee; KALAGNY; Big Apple Abstract Corporation; Chase Bank; and Forchelli, Deegan and Terrana, LLP. Margaret Ling, who is both the Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee and the Co-Chair of the Queens County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee, will continue to organize these joint collaborative bar events in the near future.

We thank everyone that attended and wish everyone a prosperous Lunar New Year!

AABANY Presents: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On January 30, 2020, AABANY’s Real Estate Committee hosted a CLE entitled “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE and networking event took place at Hanover Bank in Flushing Commons in Queens, and over 25 attorneys attended.

The panel discussion covered all the basics of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and its relevance to the legal profession. The speakers included AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler,  and Shirley W. Bi, Associate at Littler. Margaret Ling, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, moderated the event. Attendees received 1 credit in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.

Many thanks to our sponsors, John Pollock and Jimmy Lee, both of Hanover Bank, Littler, Big Apple Abstract Corporation, KALAGNY, and the Queens County Bar Association. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/120 .

AABANY Presents: Real Estate Fraud and Cyber Security

On October 28, 2019, the AABANY Real Estate Committee presented a CLE program entitled “Real Estate Fraud and Cyber Security.” The CLE and networking event took place at Anchin Block & Anchin LLP at its Manhattan Headquarters. The event was attended by over 50 attorneys and CPAs. Special thanks to the sponsors: Anchin Block & Anchin LLP; Big Apple Abstract Corp; KALAGNY; Capital One; SDL & GHS Insurance Agency; Ingram, Yuzek, Gainen, Carroll & Bertolotti LLP; Ganfer, Shore, Leeds & Zauderer LLP; Anchin Digital Risk Solutions. Pictured from left to right: Amol Pachnanda, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair; Russell Safirstein, Partner, Anchin Digital Risk Solutions; Margaret Ling, AABANY  Real Estate Committee Co-Chair; Ashvini Persaud, Capital One; Daniel Jacoby, SDL & GHS Insurance; Benny Liu, CPA, Anchin; Larry Litwack, Big Apple Abstract; Jason Ganfer, Ganfer, Shore, Leeds & Zauderer LLP.

AABANY Co-Sponsors KALAGNY’s Third Annual Veterans and Military Networking Event

On November 14th, 2019, AABANY co-sponsored KALAGNY’s Third Annual Veterans and Military Networking Event at Debevoise & Plimpton. Commander David Lee, Staff Judge Advocate for the Naval Special Warfare Command, presented Jasmine Ball, an AABANY board member and corporate partner at Debevoise Plimpton, with a Naval Special Warfare Group Ten challenge coin for her continued support of the US Navy JAG Corp. Commander Lee then gave a presentation titled, “Perspectives on Service,” which outlined the type of work that the Naval Special Warfare Command does and described how his identity as an Asian American impacted his eighteen year career in the military.

Great job by KALAGNY as well as our Military and Veteran Affairs Committee co-chairs, Jimmy Kang and Dong Lee, for putting together a great event. And thank you to Commander Lee, AABANY President Brian Song, and every other serviceman and woman who serve our country.