Congratulations to AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau for Receiving NAPABA’s 2020 Pro Bono Award

On September 3rd, 2020 the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) announced their 2020 award winners which included Karen Kithan Yau, Of Counsel at Kakalec Law LLP and the Pro Bono and Community Service (“PBCS”) Committee Co-Chair of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”). AABANY is thrilled to have our PBCS Co-Chair recognized for her dedication and service to the community. “I am humbled to receive this honor. I could not have accomplished all that I have but for my incredible colleagues of the PBCS Committee, who are gifted lawyers dedicated to the community good,” Karen said.

Karen was recruited to co-chair the PBCS Committee in 2017 and led AABANY members in the Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (“the Clinic”), the PBCS Committee’s signature and ambitious project, which began two years earlier. The Clinic continues to leverage the linguistic and cultural competence available through AABANY’s diverse membership to help the large and diverse but underserved Asian American Pacific Islanders (“AAPI”) community in New York. 

Karen’s leadership and compassion have allowed the Clinic to thrive, including in its current state as a remote clinic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the Clinic deployed 161 volunteers to serve 418 pro bono clients between 2018 and 2019, which represents a 700% growth from its inception in 2015, in 13 languages besides English. At the 2020 AABANY Annual Dinner, the Clinic received the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. “The Clinic’s success was due in no small part to Karen’s deep commitment to serving the public, amplified by vision, leadership and setting a high standard for others to follow,” said AABANY’s Executive Director Yang Chen. Since July when the remote version of the Clinic launched, close to 200 clients have received assistance. 

Karen joined Kakalec Law, an employment and civil rights law firm, after amassing legal, teaching, and professional experience in the public service, not-for-profit and private sectors, and leading legal institutions. Her decades of experience in diverse contexts have been essential to the success of both the Clinic and the Committee. 

Among her responsibilities as the PBCS Committee Co-Chair, Karen has led fundraising efforts to bring in much needed funding to augment the limited available funds from AABANY’s general budget. Karen has also participated in the clinic as a volunteer attorney, taking on several clinic consultations a week regarding employment issues. Moreover, Karen dedicated time to bring on law student Jenna Agatep, from her alma mater Northeastern University School of Law, to help with Committee projects and assist Ms. Agatep with her scholarship application for the Asian American Law Fund of New York to support her work in the Clinic.

The NAPABA Pro Bono Award recognizes an attorney or a team of attorneys for outstanding achievements in pro bono service that (1) involved impact litigation to advance or protect civil rights or (2) provided direct legal services to individuals in the furtherance of the administration of justice. The subject matter and difficulty of the case(s) or matter(s) and time expended are factors considered in selecting the award recipient.

Through her exemplary leadership at AABANY as a co-chair of the PBCS Committee and a leader of the highly impactful Clinic, Karen has gone above and beyond the criteria of this award. Her profound contributions will continue to be felt as she brings much-needed, quality legal service to the underserved in the AAPI community.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Karen Yau on her well-deserved honor. Karen will be presented with the Pro Bono Award at NAPABA’s virtual awards ceremony held in December for all of the Awards recipients. To honor Karen, NAPABA made an award video highlighting her achievements and it will be distributed on NAPABA social media channels. To view the video, please visit the link below:

Congratulations to 2020 NAPABA Award Winners

On September 3, 2020, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) announced its 2020 award winners.

AABANY congratulates the following:

Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients:

Glenn D. Magpantay, Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

Mari Matsuda, Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii

The Honorable Rosa Peng Mroz, Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court in the State of Arizona

L. Song Richardson, Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California

Eric Yamato, Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice at the University of Hawaii

Affiliate of the Year Award Recipient:

Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC)

APA-Owned Law Firm Award Recipient:

Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho

Law Firm Diversity Award Recipient:

Littler Mendelson P.C.

Best Under 40 Award Recipients:

Jasmeet Kaur Ahuja, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP 

Kristin Asai, Partner at Holland & Knight LLP

Thy B. Bui, Partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP 

Vicki Chou, Of Counsel at Hueston Hennigan LLP 

Pankit Doshi, Partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP 

Benjamin H. Huh, Legal Counsel at Apple Inc. 

Sofia Jeong, Associate General Counsel of IP Legal at Facebook, Inc. 

Robin Jung, Senior Attorney of Litigation at Dykema Gossett LLP 

Naephil “Naf” Kwun, Partner at Lee Anav Chung White Kim Ruger & Richter LLP 

Erica Lai, Antitrust & Commercial Litigation Counsel at Cohen & Gresser LLP 

Bonnie Lau, Litigation Partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP

Rotsen “Chinny” Law, Attorney at The Ramos Law Firm 

Mark L. Legaspi, Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Strategy, M&A, Investments and Emerging Technologies at Intel Corporation 

Abigail Rivamonte Mesa, Chief of Staff at Office of Supervisor Matt Haney, District 6

Lisa Kim Anh Nguyen, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP

Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta 

Philip Nulud, Senior Counsel at Buchalter

Judge Rizza O’Connor, Chief Magistrate Judge at Magistrate Court, Toombs County, Lyons, Georgia 

Candice Wong, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General & Chief of Staff of U.S. Department of Justice – Criminal Division 

Maya Yamazaki, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP 

Women’s Leadership Award Recipient:

Sandra Yamate, Chief Executive Officer at Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Military and Veteran Service Award Recipient:

Colonel Kay K. Wakatake, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Pro Bono Award Recipient:

Alice Hsu, Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Karen Kithan Yau, Of Counsel at Kakalec Law LLP

AABANY congratulates its members who were honored by NAPABA:

Glenn Magpantay, Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

Naf Kwun, Best Under 40 Award

Alice Hsu, Pro Bono Award

Karen Yau, Pro Bono Award

AABANY also congratulates Littler, an AABANY Silver Sponsor, on receiving the Law Firm Diversity Award.

All these award winners will be recognized during the month of October on NAPABA social media channels. Follow NAPABA’s Facebook and LinkedIn to hear the winners give their acceptance speeches and more!

Congratulations to Karen Yau

On Thursday, Oct. 17, at the 40th anniversary gala for Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Brooklyn Community Services, held at Affable Eatery in Brooklyn, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau was honored for her work in support of the community. Many AABANY members and leaders came out to celebrate with Karen, including Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Pauline Yeung-Ha and Asako Aiba, Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair Kevin Hsi, AABANY Director of Technology and Professional Development Committee Co-Chair Francis Chin and Executive Director Yang Chen. Karen’s family, including her parents, were also in attendance.

AABANY also congratulates the other honorees at the gala dinner:

  • Dr. Gabriel Rincon, DDS
    Board of Trustees Chairman, The Family Health Centers at NYU Langone
  • Elizabeth Culkin, Principal, PS 176K
  • Hewett Chiu, Executive Director, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    President and CEO, Academy of Medical and Public Health Services

Karen, in her acceptance speech, accepted the award on behalf of the Pro Bono Clinic, which has grown in number of clients served and number of volunteers participating, and which started serving clients in Brooklyn last month, in September. The next Brooklyn Pro Bono Clinic will take place on November 21. Please help us spread the word. More details here: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1291193 If you are able to volunteer there, contact Asako Aiba at [email protected].

AABANY’s 11th Annual Holiday Party

On December 13, 2018, AABANY held its annual holiday party, this time at rent24, a co-working space near Bryant Park. We believe this might well have been the 11th annual holiday party.  The party started at 7 pm, after the space was converted from office space to a party space that we had all to ourselves for the duration of the event. We enjoyed cheese and crudite from Murray’s and Korean food from Woojirip. A professional bartender served and mixed a variety of beverages, including soft drinks, beer, wine, and whiskey. For dessert, we munched on an assortment of cupcakes, brownies and cookies from Whole Foods

The party was at full capacity, with over 140 people registered. We received a special visit from Andrew Yang, candidate for US President, who shared with the crowd why he was running. Also at the party was Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Karen Yau, who appealed to the attendees to support the Pro Bono Clinic with a donation.

The party was scheduled to end at 9 pm but many stayed until 9:30 pm. Thanks to all who came. Check out some photos from the party at https://photos.app.goo.gl/AKxJP4jZ2Grh7oo5A

Special thanks to Charles Chen, VP of Programs and Operations, for finding the space, David Sohn, Membership Director, for handling food and beverages, and Margaret Langston, interns Katie Lee and Emma Li, and our volunteers for helping to staff the event

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

For Immediate Release: CACF Names Karen Kithan Yau New Executive Director Effective June 3, 2013

AABANY congratulates Karen Yau on her appointment as Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. Karen is a member of AABANY and co-chair of the Government Service and Public Interest Committee.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 12, 2013

Contact:

Vanessa Leung, Deputy Director

[email protected] 

212.809.4675 x 102 

COALITION FOR ASIAN AMERICAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES NAMES KAREN KITHAN YAU NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EFFECTIVE JUNE 3, 2013  

NEW YORK, NY- The Board of Directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) announces the appointment of Karen Kithan Yau as Executive Director, effective June 3, 2013. She succeeds Wayne Ho, who completed nearly nine years of service as executive director. Ms. Yau is currently an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York, serving in the Labor Bureau.

“We are very pleased that Karen Yau will join CACF. She has deep legal, governmental, and community experience, and has shown that she gets results that matter for the least advantaged in our society. She has enormous enthusiasm for CACF’s mission,” said Edward Pauly, Acting President of CACF’s Board. “And we thank Wayne Ho for his extraordinary and selfless leadership for the past 9 years. He has successfully transformed CACF into the premiere advocacy voice for Asian Pacific American children and families.”

Ms. Yau began her career as an organizer for MFY Legal Services on the Lower East Side. An immigrant, she graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and Stony Brook University, and received her J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to joining the Office of the Attorney General, she was an Assistant Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law. Ms. Yau was also a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School. Recipient of a Skadden Fellowship, she worked at the National Employment Law Project. In addition to public interest law, Ms. Yau practiced as a litigation associate at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard. Active in community service, Ms. Yau is a member of the inaugural Solidarity Board of Community Voices Heard and an alumna of the Immigrant Civic Leadership Program at the CORO New York Leadership Center.

“I am honored to be given an opportunity to lead CACF and to work with Asian Pacific American and immigrant children and families whose experiences I relate deeply to,” said Ms. Yau. “I am committed to working with the excellent Board, Staff, and Action Council of CACF to build on its legacy, and with fellow advocates to shape and implement an effective advocacy agenda for the well-being of the children and families in our diverse communities." 

The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization, aims to improve the health and well-being of Asian Pacific American children and families in New York City. CACF’s website is www.cacf.org.

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