AABANY Celebrates 2021 Virtual Gala

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, AABANY hosted its 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity. 

The event kicked off at 6 pm with a Pre-Gala Virtual Cocktail Reception on Remo attended by sponsors and special guests, including prominent General Counsels and judges. At 6:30 pm, all Virtual Gala attendees were invited to enjoy a piano concert featuring AABANY Member Renee Yao.

The Virtual Gala started at 7 pm and Kate Siahaan-Riggs, NYC-based actor, stand up comic, and writer, served as emcee. Throughout the gala, AABANY held a text-to-donate fundraiser to support Portrait Project 2.0, the second phase of the Portrait Project study which is researching why Asian Americans are underrepresented in top leadership positions across all sectors of the legal profession and how it can be addressed.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Frank H. Wu, President of Queens College, the City University of New York, with the AABANY Impact Award

Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel Litigation of BASF Corporation, with the AABANY Women’s Leadership Award

Kirkland & Ellis LLP with the AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award

Ed Lee, AABANY Board Director and Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Honoree Sneha Desai delivered an acceptance speech, stressing the importance of individuals in leadership and influential positions to make positive change in diversity and inclusion. The Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, hosted a fireside chat with honoree Frank H,. Wu to discuss his career and the work he has accomplished.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2021 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Narissa Ganpat, Minji Kim, and Minh Eric Le.

The Gala concluded with a tribute to Asian American photojournalist and historian Corky Lee who passed away in January due to COVID-19. Corky had taken photos of our past Annual Dinners from its earliest days until 2020.

We thank all of the AABANY Virtual Gala Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. 

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year. 

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2021 Virtual Gala and celebrated with us. Our Virtual Gala was streamed on Vimeo which reports that the gala drew 1,400 views. To watch the gala on You Tube, click here or on the image at the top of this blog. To view the Virtual Gala program book, click here.

AABANY Congratulates Littler on Receiving the 2020 NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Littler Mendelson P.C. (Littler) on receiving the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA’s) 2020 Law Firm Diversity Award. Littler is the world’s largest employment and labor law firm with over 1,500 attorneys in 95 offices globally and AABANY is honored to have the support of Littler as a Silver Sponsor.

The NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award honors law firms that actively and consistently recruit, retain, and promote Asian Pacific American (APA) lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership. It also celebrates law firms’ successes in their support for APA lawyers. Through its many initiatives, Littler is creating a welcoming environment for its employees, accepting of different backgrounds, and is continuing to look for ways to become a more diverse and inclusive employer. 

Eddie Chyun and William Ng — shareholders in the Cleveland, Ohio and Long Island, New York offices, respectively — both emphasized their membership in Littler’s ‘Ohana affinity group ‘Ohana, when asked about their experiences as an APA lawyer at the firm. Within the first few weeks after being hired, Eddie and Will each were approached through email or word-of-mouth about joining ‘Ohana, the affinity group for Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Pacific Islander-American attorneys. The invitation left a memorable impression on them both as it helped ease Eddie and Will’s transition into the law firm by quickly welcoming them into the APA community within Littler. Being a part of ‘Ohana allows them to know APA lawyers across all of Littler’s offices. Affinity groups meet in-person every other year to discuss diversity and inclusion, work on professional development skills such as practicing elevator pitches, and collaborate on coming up with new initiatives relating to retention and advancement, associate development, etc. that can help APA lawyers’ success in the office. Throughout the year, they participate in social gatherings, quarterly calls, and other events which provide members with support and networking opportunities at the firm. 

‘Ohana group photo from their last retreat in Miami

Eddie also serves as co-chair of Littler’s 20-person Diversity & Inclusion Council (D&IC), which includes four APA attorneys among its diverse members. The D&IC focuses on increasing the hiring of individuals from diverse backgrounds and increasing professional opportunities for diverse employees like mentorships and leadership opportunities. Littler’s programs include the Career Advocacy Program (CAP) and Investment for Success, which support and promote diverse attorneys in the firm, including APA lawyers, to leadership positions. 

Littler’s award-winning CAP selects higher-level, high-performing associates (Protégés) who identify as diverse and pairs them with the firm’s most influential leaders (Advocates) and client (Champions) who encourage their career growth. From 2015 to 2020, Protégés represented on average 28% and up to 40% of the firm’s new shareholder class. Twenty-four former Protégés, including eight APA attorneys, have been elevated to shareholder and continue to participate in the program. Currently, 11 of the 31 Protégés in CAP are APA attorneys. The Investment for Success Program pairs recently hired diverse attorneys with a shareholder to help them better integrate into the firm, as the transition in the first few weeks is critical for an attorney’s success in the firm. There are currently 30 diverse associates, including seven APA attorneys, participating in the program. Eddie and Will pointed out the importance of these programs because APA lawyers tend to face barriers with advancement in their positions such as a lack of access to mentors, and with these programs, APA attorneys are able to be mentored by a senior attorney, who ensures that they receive the proper mix of work and opportunities to succeed at the law firm.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Littler continues to create a diverse and inclusive environment through holding their mentorship programs and affinity group meetings virtually.

Littler’s creation of the Career Advocacy Program and the Investment for Success program have promoted and continues to promote APA lawyers to leadership positions within the firm, and the ‘Ohana affinity group continues to provide a supportive community among the firm’s APA lawyers. Littler will be honored at a reception for award recipients held in December 2020.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Littler on receiving the Law Firm Diversity Award. 

AABANY Celebrates 2020 Annual Dinner with More Than 800 Attendees

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, AABANY hosted its 2020 Annual Dinner with the theme “Stronger Together: Unity in Diversity” at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 800 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 60 law firms and corporations.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Hon. Sri Srinivasan, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with the Public Interest Leadership Award.

Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., with the Corporate Leadership Award

Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer, Equinox Holdings, Inc., with the Women’s Leadership Award

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with the Law Firm Diversity Award

To read more about our extraordinary honorees, read the press release here.

This year, Spectrum NY1 News Anchor Vivian Lee served as MC and was joined on stage by Immediate Past President James Cho. 

James presented each of the honorees with special gifts from AABANY. Noting that Alan Tse was considered by his peers to be “The Closer,” James presented him with a bottle of McCallan, a nod to Attorney Harvey Specter from “Suits,” another well-known “Closer.” However, because Alan had to fly back to Chicago, the full-size bottle was replaced with a miniature size, with a ziploc bag that will ensure the bottle gets through security. (We have a feeling that the bottle was consumed well before Alan made it to the airport.)

For Yen Chu, James presented her with a monogrammed workout head towel for her next session at one of Equinox’s many gyms. That is one way to make sure that AABANY is “top of mind” for Yen in the days to come. Finally, for Chief Judge Srinivasan, we figured that as a jurist, he can never have too many robes, so James presented him a wizard’s robe, bearing his name above the Gryffindor crest. Although we doubt we will see Chief Judge Srinivasan wearing that robe on the bench any time soon, we can imagine him donning the robe in chambers, especially on those occasions where he may need to work some judicial wizardry to decide the most difficult cases.

In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2019 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Grace Cho, Raymond Magsaysay, and Andrew Tran. To read more about the Don H. Liu Scholars, see our press release here.

Congratulations also to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. The Pro Bono Clinic was recognized with the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. NYSBA President Hank Greenberg attended the Annual Dinner to present the award. To read more about the award, see our press release here.

We thank all of the AABANY Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success.

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2020 Annual Dinner and celebrated with us.

Thanks to Corky Lee for the photos in this blog post. More photos to come. Stay tuned!

AABANY 2020 Law Firm Diversity Award – Applications Now Open

Since 2014, AABANY has sought to recognize one law firm each year for its extraordinary efforts to improve the diversity of our profession by presenting AABANY’s Law Firm Diversity Award. The 2020 AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award will be presented at the Annual Dinner on February 26, 2020.

Nominees should be a law firm that has achieved significant success in the areas of recruiting, retaining and promoting women and diverse attorneys while also demonstrating a commitment to raising awareness of, and influencing the legal community to address, the challenges faced by women and diverse attorneys in the legal industry.  Criteria for selection include:

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity at all levels of the firm;
  • An established pipeline of diverse talent;
  • A track record of retaining and promoting women and diverse attorneys;
  • External activities, such as active participation in minority bar associations like AABANY and diversity programs of mainstream bar associations like the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, and New York County Lawyers Association;
  • Any other factors the selection committee deems valuable in promoting AABANY’s mission.

The AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award recipient will be chosen by a selection committee through a competitive and confidential process.

If you know of any firms that should apply please forward this email and direct them to this link for the form: https://www.aabany.org/resource/resmgr/lfda/LFDA_2020_SUBMISSION_FORM_FI.pdf

Deadline: January 30, 2020.

Congratulations to Akin Gump on Receiving NAPABA’s Law Firm Diversity Award

We congratulate Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, on being presented NAPABA’s Law Firm Diversity Award at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 9, 2019. AABANY is pleased to count Akin Gump as a Silver Sponsor.

This award honors law firms that actively and consistently recruit, retain, and promote APA lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership. One such lawyer is Alice Hsu, an AABANY member and Partner at Akin Gump.

Alice was interviewed in the acceptance video and stated that over the last few years Akin Gump has spent a lot of time working with pro bono clients and “brought together cross-racial, cross-ethnic coalitions to support challenging the travel ban, the census citizenship question, and DACA rescission. “

Please join us in congratulating Akin Gump on this well deserved honor.

AABANY’S 30th Annual Dinner Celebrated By More Than 700 Attendees

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, AABANY hosted its 30th Anniversary Annual Dinner: United in Action and Vision: Towards 2020 Together at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 700 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 55 law firms and corporations.

This year AABANY was proud to honor:

Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, with the Public Service Leadership Award

Gabrielle Lyse Brown, Executive Director, Diversity and Inclusion for Morgan Stanley, with the Women’s Leadership Award

Deneen Donnley, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of USAA, with the Corporate Leadership Award

Davis Polk & Wardwell with the 2019 Law Firm Diversity Award

In addition, we were also pleased to present scholarships to this year’s class of Don Liu Scholars.

We thank all of the AABANY Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success.

We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.

Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 30th Annual Dinner and celebrated with us.

More photos to come. Stay tuned!

PRESS RELEASE: ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK RECOGNIZES DAVIS POLK & WARDWELL LLP AS THE 2019 AABANY LAW FIRM DIVERSITY AWARD HONOREE

NEW YORK – Feb. 21, 2019 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (“Davis Polk”) has been selected to receive the 2019 AABANY Law Firm Diversity Award.  Davis Polk will receive the award at AABANY’s Annual Dinner on February 27, 2019, at Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall Street, in New York City.

Since 2014, AABANY has selected a law firm to recognize for its commitment to improving diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. Applications are reviewed on four main criteria, which include a formal diversity plan committed to retention and promotion of women and minorities, an established diversity pipeline of talent, external participation in diversity programs with organizations such as AABANY, and the furtherance of AABANY’s mission, which includes the active and affirmative recruitment, retention, promotion, and development of Asian lawyers in New York City.

Davis Polk’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in its traditional emphasis on excellence and respect.

The firm is actively involved in fostering an inclusive environment and culture, from its recruitment efforts that target diverse student organizations and underserved communities, to generous parental leave and reintegration programs in support of new mothers in the workplace.

“AABANY congratulates Davis Polk on receiving the 2019 Law Firm Diversity Award,” states James Cho, AABANY’s President. “We applaud the commitment Davis Polk has shown in advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and AABANY looks forward to working with Davis Polk to continue promoting these important values in the years ahead.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332- 2478, 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 one of the most prominent and active minority bar associations in New York with more than 1,100 members, including practicing attorneys in the private and public sectors, in-house lawyers, judges, professors and law students. AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

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NAPABA Names WilmerHale as Its 2017 Law Firm Diversity Award Recipient

For Immediate Release

Sept. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has named WilmerHale as its 2017 Law Firm Diversity Award recipient. NAPABA created the Law Firm Diversity Award to recognize law firms that actively, affirmatively, consistently, and enthusiastically recruit, retain, and promote Asian Pacific American lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership.

The award will be presented at the NAPABA Anniversary Gala at the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4, 2017.

Commitment to diversity and inclusion starts at the top and cascades throughout WilmerHale. It is one of very few AmLaw 100 firms with a woman co-managing partner and an even smaller number of such firms that have had both a woman and a person of color as a co-managing partner. As an equity-only partnership, Asian Pacific American partners represent 6 percent of U.S.-based partners and partners of color represent 11 percent of the partnership.

WilmerHale’s commitment to diversity is also illustrated in its recruitment efforts. The summer associate classes over the past three years have averaged around 31 percent law students of color, with Asian Pacific American summer associates representing the majority of the diverse associates. Similarly, of the firm’s lateral partner hires over the past three years, diverse partners represented 24 percent and Asian Pacific American partners represented 10 percent.

In 2017, WilmerHale was recognized in The American Lawyer’s “A-List” for the 14th time. The “A-List” is an annual compilation that includes the 20 leading U.S. firms and honors overall excellence, including financial success, commitment to pro bono work, workforce diversity, and associate satisfaction.

NAPABA congratulates WilmerHale as its 2017 Law Firm Diversity Award recipient.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org, or Molly Nunes, WilmerHale Public Relations Director, at617-710-0590 or molly.nunes@wilmerhale.com.