Thank you to our Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan!

AABANY hosted for the second time the Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan. This year, Caravan representative Angel Li (CLS ’23) reached out to the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) and Student Outreach Committee (SOC) to supervise six students during the week of March 14, 2022. During this program, students shadowed volunteer attorneys at the Queens pro bono clinics held on Saturdays, researched and drafted legal training materials for the pro bono clinics, attended a legal community presentation about bankruptcy, and met with various mentors from law firms and SOC graduates.    

On behalf of PBCS, we want to thank these law students for creating much-needed training materials to help volunteer attorneys in recognizing common issues in housing, family, wills and estates, and immigration law with flowcharts and outlines. These pro bono clinics act like triages in which attorneys spot issues for the individuals and provide legal information and referrals within a 30-minute session. We’ve been quite fortunate to have the support of our volunteer attorneys who are willing to teach each other and to open the eyes of these young law students about the problems many indigent and limited English proficient clients face daily.

On behalf of SOC, we are grateful for the not-for profit and biglaw corporate attorneys coming together to mentor these law students. Despite their different backgrounds and areas of practice, members of AABANY are always generously contributing their time, resources, and efforts to aid the AAPI community and leading these law students to a career of their own choosing.

Rather than picking just one essay from the Caravan, we believe it’s best to share with you all a snippet of these law students’ thoughts about the Caravan. We wish them the best in completing their studies and continue the AABANY’s spirit of giving back to the community.  

Regards,

Eugene Kim, PBCS

William Lee, SOC

May Wong, PBCS

Supervisors of the Caravan

“In the first instance, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the texts that were assigned preparatory to the start of the Caravan. The excerpt from How Do You Live? was especially memorable as a means of getting me into the right mindset before the program even formally began. It goes without saying that behind every law student and lawyer lies a sizable aggregation of resources: years of schooling, various internship opportunities, and votes of confidence from a network of supportive people. Law students and lawyers are the products of considerable societal investment; as such, it is incumbent upon them to give back and to give generously.”

-Andrew Chang –

“While I knew that our society had those problems, I realized that knowing problems is different from helping people facing the problems. I also understood that volunteer attorneys need to deal with various issues in different legal areas in a limited time in the clinic. Therefore, clients’ problems are not entirely solved there, but clients are given helpful advice on the following steps to solve the problems.”

– Nobuko Ikeda –

“Overall, I really valued not only peeking into the issues faced by the community, but also into how Asian American attorneys are helping combat those issues through the clinic. This caravan has inspired me to participate in the pro bono clinic as a future attorney, and I look forward to exploring even more ways to make the sessions efficient and to help the clients legally and emotionally.”

-Angel Li –

“What I found during the research was that massive amounts of materials and resources are already provided by municipal bodies, government officials, and private law firms on the internet. However, people who are not legal professionals would have difficulty utilizing these public resources. The difficulty arises from a language barrier and complexity in understanding and applying legal standards to one’s own situation.”

– Shota Sugiura-

“I appreciated all the genuine and candid advice I received from our Caravan supervisors, and am especially grateful for the wisdom from my AABANY mentor. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from lawyers from a range of backgrounds: those working in public service, those at firms, those who have transitioned to in-house. It was an equally exciting chance to build bonds with other Columbia APALSA members who felt passionate about giving back to our community.”

-Amanda Yang –

In the News: Paul, Weiss Partners Jeannie Rhee, Lawrence Wee, and Jennifer Wu Offer Advice to Young Asian American Lawyers in “For Asian American Lawyers, Good Mentorship Is Crucial”

In “For Asian American Lawyers, Good Mentorship Is Crucial,” a Law360 Guest Column published on August 16, Paul, Weiss partners Jeannie Rhee, Lawrence Wee, and Jennifer Wu discussed the importance of mentorships and common setbacks and stereotypes faced by Asian American lawyers. Wee and Wu are both AABANY members. Wee is a co-chair of AABANY’s Corporate Law Committee and a former AABANY Board Director, while Wu is a co-chair of the AABANY’s Women’s Committee. Rhee, Wee, and Wu stated that finding good mentors is vital for professional development and career advancement, but also took care to note that the mentor-mentee relationship is two-sided. The authors recommended that mentees find ways to anticipate their mentors’ needs and assist them, while also encouraging mentors to be good listeners and step into their mentees’ shoes. While they maintained that these relationships can help young lawyers learn to manage some challenges associated with being an Asian American in the legal profession, they also recommended that Asian American lawyers should seek out a range of mentors, whether they share the same cultural background or not. 


As mentors, Rhee, Wee, and Wu encouraged younger lawyers to take risks, speak up during meetings and challenging cases, and actively seek out promotions and leadership opportunities, especially since Asian Americans can be seen as risk-averse and face obstacles such as the bamboo ceiling. The authors also cautioned young Asian American lawyers, warning them that they will encounter stereotypes and that not everyone would acknowledge that they are minorities. However, they urged young Asian American lawyers to be their best, most authentic selves and to engage in positive, open communication about race-related issues. They also encouraged Asian American lawyers to become active in affinity groups and seek out organizations dedicated to the Asian American community and the career advancement of Asian American lawyers. The link to the full article is here.

NAPABA Prospective Partners Program Application Deadline in Two Weeks

Prospective Partners Program

Application Closing September 1

The deadline to apply for the NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) is two weeks away! PPP aims to increase the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander partners at major law firms through introduction, mentorship, and relationship building. In anticipation of the program’s eleventh year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in PPP sessions taking place at the 2021 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., from December 9-12, 2021.

NAPABA Prospective Partners Program Applications Are Now Open

Application Deadline: September 1, 2021

The NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) aims to increase the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander partners at major law firms through introductionmentorship, and relationship building. In anticipation of the program’s eleventh year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in PPP sessions taking place at the 2021 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., from December 9-12, 2021.

Invited prospective partners will have the opportunity to meet with a panel of senior in-house counsel (GCs or others with outside counsel hiring authority) during one of two sessions at the Convention on either Thursday, December 9, or Friday, December 10. Additionally, the PPP will pair prospective partners with a “partner mentor” from a different law firm to provide feedback and guidance on the prospective partner’s introduction presentation and career development.

Apply here.

NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III Testifies before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property on the Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary

For Immediate Release: 
Date: July 12, 2021

Contact: Edgar Chen, Policy Director

Click here for Testimony.

WASHINGTON – This morning, NAPABA President A.B. Cruz III testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property at a hearing entitled, “The Importance of a Diverse Federal Judiciary, Part 2: The Selection and Confirmation Process.” President Cruz’s testimony on behalf of NAPABA highlighted the challenges that Asian Pacific American attorneys often encounter as they attempt to advance in the legal profession. According to the 2017 landmark study “A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law” (“Portrait Project”) published jointly by NAPABA and Yale Law School, the most often cited issues are lack of mentorship and role models, lack of leadership training, and work going unrecognized. President Cruz’s testimony also drew on the Portrait Projects finding that the selection process for clerkships or law firm promotion – often a prerequisite for judicial consideration, involves not only measures of objective criteria but also access to mentorship and subjective criteria which are often amorphous factors that decision makers rely on to determine whom they regard as their proteges. President Cruz was joined on the panel by his Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) colleague and Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) President Elia Diaz Yeager.

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The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession..

Thank You to CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan Participants

AABANY extends its thanks to all members of the Columbia Law School community who participated in the CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan. The Spring Caravan was a weeklong volunteer effort from March 1 through 5 in which law students partnered with AABANY’s remote clinic to update AABANY’s COVID-19 resource pages, participate in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and engage in research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. Through translating both AABANY’s COVID-19 materials and remote clinic intake calls, participating students made COVID-related information more accessible to laypeople, particularly those from minority and low-income backgrounds. The Caravan also offered students many professional development and networking opportunities in the form of an AABANY mentorship program, a meet and greet with the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and lunch with AABANY Student Leaders. 

Please see the flyer below for the list of participating students, their reflections on the Pro-Bono Caravan, and the participating attorney mentors. We thank all Caravan participants for their desire to give back to the community and look forward to continuing the fight for equal justice as a team.

AABANY Mentorship Program Hosts Welcome Reception at Fried Frank

On Wednesday evening, February 5, AABANY’s Mentorship Program held its Welcome Reception at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Yang Chen, the Executive Director of AABANY, shared some words of wisdom and encouraged mentees to build informal mentorship relationships with their connections in addition to the formal pairings provided by AABANY’s Mentorship Program. Then, after learning more about how members can get involved with the program for the upcoming year, mentors and mentees from the program got together over drinks and hors d’oeuvres to reconnect, mix, and mingle with each other and other attendees.

Thanks to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP for their generous support and for providing the drinks and refreshments for the event. Shruti Chopra and Tristan Loanzon currently serve as Co-Chairs of the Mentorship Committee. If you would like to learn more, please visit the committee’s page here.

NAPABA Prospective Partners Program Application Extended until Aug. 30!

The deadline to submit an application for the NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) has been extended! PPP aims to increase the number of Asian Pacific American partners at major law firms through introduction, mentorship, and relationship building. Between 2010 and 2018, 72 percent of PPP participants have been promoted to partner or moved to senior in-house positions—84 percent of them within two years of participation! Click here to read NAPABA’s success report

In anticipation of the program’s tenth year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in the PPP sessions taking place at the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, TX from Nov. 7-10. The application will close on Aug. 30, 2019

Learn More and Apply Here

Deadline for the NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP), August 15

The deadline to submit an application for the NAPABA Prospective Partners Program (PPP) is two weeks from today! PPP aims to increase the number of Asian Pacific American partners at major law firms through introduction, mentorship, and relationship building. Between 2010 and 2018, 72 percent of PPP participants have been promoted to partner or moved to senior in-house positions—84 percent of them within two years of participation! 
Click here to read our success report

In anticipation of the program’s tenth year, the PPP is inviting candidate applications and nominations for participation in the PPP sessions taking place at the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, TX from Nov. 7-10. The application will close on Aug. 15, 2019

Learn More and Apply Here