In conjunction with the Federal Bar Foundation and several other law firms, 33 women in the legal profession have created a scholarship program in honor of the late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The program is titled “When There Are Nine” (WTA9), as it was Justice Ginsburg’s answer to the question of when there would be “enough” women serving on the Supreme Court. As the upper echelons of the legal profession are dominated by men, the WTA9 Scholarship program was founded to provide a network of support to young women aspiring to become lawyers. The WTA9 Scholarship will grant each recipient $10,000 as well as mentorship through and beyond law school. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and a dedication to academic achievement. Any women graduating from law school between 2022 and 2025 are eligible to apply no later than June 15, 2021. To learn more about the WTA9 Scholarship, click here.
In the April 26 article “Columbia Law Students Participate in 2021 Virtual Spring Break Caravans,” Columbia Law School highlighted a few of the remote spring break pro bono caravans students participated in this year. One of the virtual caravans featured was the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Remote Clinic. During the spring break caravan, Columbia Law students helped update AABANY’s COVID-19 webpages, participated in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and did research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. AABANY Student Leader Jenny Park (CLS’21) organized the caravan with AABANY “because it allowed students to become directly involved with COVID-19 relief efforts and address a specific need in a short period of time.”
To read more about participants’ experiences with the AABANY Spring Break Caravan and to read about other virtual caravans, click here. Thanks to Jenny Park for bringing AABANY and the Columbia Law School community together for this opportunity to provide pro bono resources for the community.
On Monday, January 4, 2021, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee hosted its first virtual Mock Interview Workshop in collaboration with Columbia Law School APALSA, AABANY Career Placement Committee, and the Columbia Law School Alumni Association. The event was part of the Student Outreach Committee’s pre-OCI series, held to prepare students for the interviews during a time of great uncertainty. 90 students from various law schools in and outside of New York received mock interviews and OCI advice from over 40 practitioners, public servants and general counsels from diverse backgrounds.
Prior to the workshop, Columbia Law School APALSA initiated the pairing of students and attorneys according to their availability and shared practice interests. Once the student-attorney pairings were solidified, students connected with attorneys via email. This advance preparation made for a smooth and timely transition to the event.
The workshop began promptly at 6:00 PM with a panel discussing interview tips, dos and don’ts, and Zoom etiquette. The panel, moderated by Margaret Ling, AABANY’s Development Director, featured esteemed speakers Rudy Carmenaty, President of the Columbia Law School Alumni Association, and Yen Chu, Secretary of the Columbia Law School Alumni Association. An OCI tip sheet carefully prepared by the members of the Student Outreach Committee was circulated to the students for review prior to their mock interviews. Starting at 6:30 PM, students met with their paired attorneys for one-on-one 30-minute mock interview sessions through the Remo platform and received invaluable feedback. Many students and attorneys expressed how beneficial the event was and that they appreciated AABANY for organizing such an event where attorneys could pay it forward and students could gain unique interview experiences from well-regarded practicing attorneys and public servants. One student, Eleen Zhou, a 2L from Cornell Law School, commented that she found the mock interview extremely helpful in preparation for the OCI season. Despite a few technical difficulties, members of the Student Outreach Committee worked diligently and promptly to ensure that no attorney or student was left without a mock interview opportunity.
The Student Outreach Committee would like to thank the participating attorneys for generously contributing their valuable time to help our students practice their interview skills. For students entering the interviewing season, best of luck! Please do not hesitate to reach out if AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee can ever be a resource for you. For more information about the Committee go to https://www.aabany.org/page/121
On December 4, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly virtual Membership Mixer on Remo, with 13 participants in attendance, catching up with each other. Then, on December 11, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted a Law Students’ Study Break Mixer on Remo, inviting students to take an hour break from studying for finals and come meet members, unwind and get a morale boost! It was a successful event, with 14 participants in attendance.
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 many often stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.
Membership Committee will continue to host weekly virtual mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person.
Please join us on December 18 for a “Countdown to 2021 Mixer” on Zoom. We are looking forward to saying good-bye to 2020. Register here by December 17: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1420342
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee (“SOC”) together with NYU APALSA as co-sponsor were thrilled to host over 110 attendees in its annual resume review workshop on the virtual platform, Remo. The event was particularly exciting this year because we invited APALSAs locally and outside of New York. We were pleased to see students join us from different states representing fifteen APALSAs who got to meet numerous attorneys in diverse sectors ranging from law firms to General Counsels of public companies.
Before the date of the workshop, Blair Hu and Jeong Hyun Hwang from NYU APALSA helped us pair the students and attorneys according to their shared interests in practice areas, school, time availabilities, etc. Once the student-attorney pairing information was sent to all the participants, the students sent in their resumes and connected via email in advance. This preparation contributed to the smooth and timely transition into the start of the event.
At the beginning of the workshop, students waited in a virtual assembly room where they had the opportunity to join different tables and network while waiting for their turn. Each student met with their paired resume reviewers for a one-on-one 20-minute session and received personal feedback on their resumes and career paths. One of the students, Ashley Wong, a 3L from Boston University School of Law, commented that she loved the waiting room feature for the students and that her paired attorney was able to review her resume prior to the event. Ashley commented: “I loved the event and found it super useful.” Despite the initial technical difficulties with Remo, the platform created a unique space for students and attorneys to meet, network, and potentially create meaningful relationships in the community. Based on the feedback that we received from the students and attorneys, we are delighted to know that folks found our event to be useful and had a great time meeting their partners.
We hope everyone enjoyed themselves that night and continue to nurture the connections that they have made. Thank you to the students for joining us, the attorneys who graciously donated their time, and everyone who helped make this event a success. We hope everyone continues to stay safe and we look forward to seeing you in our future programming!
— Lia Kim, Student Outreach Committee Co-Chair
To learn more about the SOC go to https://www.aabany.org/page/121
In response to the exclusion of Native American women law students in the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation’s study, “Women of Color – A Study of Law Student Experiences,” NAPABA urges the inclusion of Native American women.
NAPABA supports the National Native American Bar Association’s call to include Native American Women in the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation “Women of Color – A Study of Law Student Experiences.” While NAPABA believes the omission was unintentional, it is important when addressing the experiences of communities of color that efforts are made to ensure that the final study is inclusive of all communities. As an organization that represents the interests of Asian Pacific American attorneys, NAPABA is too familiar with the frustration of being excluded or lumped into an “Other” category. Within NAPABA itself, there is a concrete effort to be representative of our diverse Asian Pacific American community.
NAPABA strongly advocates that all studies of the legal profession ensure that Native Americans are included when issuing these important and necessary studies.
AABANY is excited to announce that Executive Director Yang Chen has been quoted by the Albany Law School in a newsletter sent out to admitted students.
Albany Law School wrote:
Law school offers incredible opportunities for learning and growth—both personally and professionally. And for those looking to expand their professional networks or boost their resumes, a bar association membership can be a great addition to coursework, extracurriculars, and journals.
It may sound like something you can only do after earning your J.D., but that’s not the case. Joining a bar association—an organization for legal professionals—at the student level has numerous benefits. Many organizations have specialized programming and offerings just for law students.
Want to know more? We spoke with representatives from several bar associations about some of the reasons for getting involved as a law student.
Sharon and Ivan Fong recently began a scholarship fund for rising 2L law students who demonstrate outstanding professional promise, community service, and commitment to the APA community.
Applicants will be evaluated for (a) academic excellence in their undergraduate school years and first year of law school, (b) leadership experience, (c) volunteerism or service in the public interest, (d) knowledge of social and cultural issues of any one or more AAPI communities or commitment to making a significant impact on issues affecting one or more AAPI communities, or both, and (e) commitment to “pay it forward.”
The NAPABA Law Foundation will award from the Sharon and Ivan Fong Scholarship Fund at least one $5,000 scholarship each year, half of which would be distributed to the recipient in his or her second year of law school and the remainder of which would be distributed to the recipient in his or her third year of law school.
Applicants must apply by June 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. However, if applicants submit all but the reference letters by the deadline (and commit to getting the references in soon thereafter), applications will not be considered late.
For more information, please visit the Scholarship page on the NAPABA Law Foundation website.
On Wednesday, March 3rd, AABANY’s Student Outreach committee collaborated with Cardozo Law School’s Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) to host a panel on “How to Network.” The panelists included Margaret Ling, Senior Counsel at Big Apple Abstract Corp., Tiffany Ma, Partner at Young & Ma LLP, and Jeff Ikejiri, Vice President of Legal and Business Services at UnitedLex. The moderator was Aakruti Vakharia, Associate at Garwin Gerstein & Fisher LLP and Co-Chair of the Student Outreach Committee.
Tiffany Ma spoke about her journey from a mid-tier law school to her lateral move to Morrison & Foerster, advising Cardozo law students to take advantage of their location in New York to build their networks and make themselves more competitive. She believes that “the best marketing is sincerity” and she shared her personal technique of establishing three points of commonality with new connections to help others remember her when she follows up with them afterwards.
Margaret Ling also shared a tip to have different business cards—company, personal, school, etc.—so that students can present the best side of themselves in different contexts. Margaret emphasized the importance of doing one’s homework and being aware of social cultural etiquette, always staying as humble as possible throughout the process.
Jeff Ikejiri advised students to think of networking as making friends. He told the story of how he got his current job through someone he met in line for refreshments during a break at a convention years ago. He encouraged students to be similarly outgoing and open to making new connections as well as being proactive in following up with potential connections.
Cardozo law students of all years came to hear insights and tips from the experienced practitioners. Those in attendance found the discussion thoughtful and engaging.
Thanks to Cardozo’s APALSA for co-hosting the event and providing food for the attendees. We hope to host many similar events in the future as AABANY continues to extend its outreach to students in law schools across New York.
To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/121
On Thursday, February 27, AABANY hosted a breakfast event for law students with Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, U.S. Circuit Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, at The Smith in NoMad. Judge Srinivasan was in town for AABANY’s 2020 Annual Dinner where he was presented the Public Service Leadership Award, and the judge was gracious enough to take the time the next morning to advise students pursuing careers in law. Judge Srinivasan familiarized students with his many life experiences by speaking about his upbringing, education, and career. Everything from his judicial philosophy to his love of sports provided attendees with important nuggets of wisdom and essential insights.
Judge Srinivasan elaborated extensively on the three guiding principles that have shaped his life and his service: doing great work, being a good person, and assuming the best of those around you.
For his first tenet, Judge Srinivasan addressed the familial and social pressures that are widely prevalent in the Asian-American community, acknowledging the constant push to “climb the ladder” and focus heavily on quantifiable success. However, despite this pressure, he insists that the goal of students shouldn’t be to chase after the most lucrative opportunities to bolster a resume, but instead, students should strive to give their best and humble effort to everything that they do, no matter how small or invisible. Such persistence will pay off and be recognized in the long-run.
Regarding his second principle, the judge drew heavily from his own experiences with people in the legal field. He insisted that acting transparently in good-faith and modeling kind behavior will in turn make people feel heard which increases the likelihood of reaching mutually beneficial agreements. Judge Srinivasan remarked on how surprised he has been in the past by the benefits of simply listening to others. His way of approaching interacting with other people has influenced those around him, garnering the respect and trust of his peers.
Finally, Judge Srinivasan insists that, despite our initial inclination to expect the worst of others, there are pleasant surprises to expecting the best of others. Especially in such a partisan environment, he insists that it is important to treat traditional “adversaries” not as ill-intentioned individuals but as normal people with differences in how they approach universal problems. By viewing other people as different rather than evil, the judge believes that compromises can be reached more quickly and effectively.
After giving students background on his experiences and philosophy, Judge Srinivasan opened himself up for questions from the attendees. Many of the students focused particularly on how they can better represent their ethnic communities and perform optimally in the field.
Since some of the students present are leaders of affinity groups on their respective campuses, the judge applauded the efforts of the student leaders and addressed the importance of student advocacy groups. He referenced a common saying by his sister, “it’s hard to be what you can’t see,” to reveal how these minority cultural groups give face to their community and provide the next generation with role models to look up to. While he acknowledged this responsibility to represent is daunting and can feel lonely at times, Judge Srinivasan believes that student leaders should reframe their thinking to feel excited in the face of adversity.
Regarding how to achieve success in the field, the judge suggested looking for mentors who look out for your best interests, preparing for cases thoroughly, and embracing fluidity in argumentation. On a concluding note, Judge Srinivasan stressed the importance of establishing credibility in the forum by advocating zealously while still demonstrating objectivity.
AABANY thanks Judge Srinivasan for his valuable time and thoughtful advice! If you are curious about the judge’s work, please feel free to click the link below as the D.C. Court of Appeals is one of the only appeals courts that livestream oral arguments on its website. Details at https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/Content/Oral+Arguments
Thanks to AABANY Legal Intern David Jung for the write-up and photos.