Asian American Bar Association of New York Commends the Appointment of Donald Leo as New York City Criminal Court Judge

January 14, 2016   

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(718) 228-7206

NEW YORK – January 14, 2016 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) commends New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appointment of Donald Leo as New York City Criminal Court Judge. Judge Leo joined the bench after thirteen years of service as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County and seven years as Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Offender Management Bureau for the New York State Attorney General’s Office. His appointment was effective December 29, 2015.

A lifelong New Yorker and first generation son of Chinese immigrants, Judge Leo is fluent in Cantonese and witnessed firsthand the Chinatown community’s aversion to cooperating with law enforcement and their distrust of the legal system. He has spent many of his years as a public servant fostering public trust and bridging the two worlds of New York’s Chinatown and New York’s criminal justice system by bringing justice to those who often feel that there is none. Judge Leo is a graduate of New York University and received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. He is also a founding member of AABANY’s Prosecutors Committee, started in 2008.

“AABANY is proud to see another one of its prominent members ascend to the bench,” says Yang Chen, Executive Director of AABANY. “Judge Leo is highly qualified to serve on the Criminal Court, and his own life experiences speak to the need for increased diversity on the bench. The more the bench reflects the diversity of the residents in our diverse communities across the city, the more they can develop a sense of trust that the courts are truly representative of them and are there to serve them. We thank Mayor de Blasio and his Advisory Committee on the Judiciary for making this appointment possible, and for continuing to promote diversity on the bench as an integral part of the administration of justice for all New Yorkers.”

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to

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 the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).


Additional information about AABANY is available at

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Thanks to GSPI Co-Chair Karen Yau for sharing news about NYC’s Municipal IDs!

Check out Karen’s latest update from the Government Service & Public Interest Committee:

Dear Colleagues,

Hope you are well!

There are many reasons to attend our Government Service and Public Interest Committee events. A chief one among them is that you will meet very interesting people and learn very interesting information.

As many of you know, NYC’s Municipal ID has been very popular and useful. But it has also been hard to get an appointment to secure it. See:
At last Friday’s panel discussion on the proposed changes to the 

Specialized High School admissions process, in the after-event reception, I met a deputy director of the Municipal ID Program and learned that its capacity has recently increased greatly. Interested persons can get appointments almost immediately.

I have just tried it and secured appointments for me and my husband with no problem. I highly recommend that you check out the program. The ID comes with many privileges, including free membership to cultural institutions.


GSPI Committee Co-chair

If you’d like to become more active in AABANY’s Government Service & Public Interest Committee, feel free to contact Karen at to join their mailing list, attend or volunteer at their events, and hear the latest. You can join their LinkedIn Group by clicking here. Our GSPI Committee is one of our most active, and there’s always room for more!

Responding to the Needs of Immigrants and Immigrant Families in New York: Implementation of Executive Action for the Unauthorized

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
9am to 5pm
Sheen Center
18 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012


Over the last several years, communities throughout the nation have prioritized initiatives to regularize the lives of persons in need of protection, including individuals and families with members that lack immigration status. In the New York City metropolitan area, public and private entities have devoted extensive resources to mobilizing in response to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to planning for the newly announced Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, and to providing legal and resettlement services to children and families who have fled violence and privation in Central America and Mexico.

In recent months, New York collaborative initiatives have intensified in response to the massive Executive Action programs announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014, which will cover the unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA). The President also announced the expansion of the DACA program and other important, but more modest initiatives. This work comes in the midst of New York City’s municipal identification card program, “IDNYC,” launched in January 2015, and on top of large-scale “steady state” work with immigrants by community-based organizations.

To examine the coordinated response of public and non-profit entities to the DAPA and DACA programs, the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) are hosting an all-day event on March 25th at the Sheen Center, located in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood.

The event will include key-note presentations by faith leaders, as well as panel discussions with federal, state, and local officials, legal service agencies, community-based agencies, and national immigrant rights groups. Its panel discussions will:

  • Examine federal, New York State and New York City policy, outreach, and initiatives on Executive Action.
  • Explore legal services mobilization efforts by public and private entities and other collaborative programs in New York City, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley, looking particularly at outreach, public education on benefit eligibility and the risk of fraud, and provision of legal screening, representation and advocacy.
  • Address the role of non-legal, community-based institutions, particularly Catholic parishes, in ensuring the program’s success.

There will also be a short discussion on the work of national organizations in assisting local communities in implementing these programs and efforts to evaluate the programs’ success. After the formal event, there will be a reception and, for those interested, a roundtable discussion that will provide an opportunity to share and coordinate best practices and approaches to serving and empowering this population. The all-day event will seek to place this work in a broader policy, moral, and demographic context; improve the response to the needs of these populations in the New York metropolitan area; and identify lessons, successes and challenges in implementing these programs.

The event is free, but please register only if your attendance is definite. To register, visit or email your name, title, organization and email address to


Thank you to the New York Immigration Coalition for sharing news of this important event.

NYC’s Municipal ID Card Program Officially in Place

NYC’s Municipal ID Card Program Officially in Place

NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics Seeks Recommendations for Qualified Candidates …

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics currently seeks recommendations for qualified candidates to serve as independent and impartial hearing officers to oversee the adjudication of Commission matters.

Hearing officers will preside over formal hearings, render decisions on certain appeals and consider questions of fact and of law in connection with administrative proceedings of and applications to the Commission. The hearing officers will be called on a case by case basis and compensated for their service.

Eligible candidates are requested to submit a resume, writing sample, and professional references to:

NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics
25 Beaver Street
7th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10004

Candidates must have been admitted at least 10 years, must be in good standing, and must be a current New York City resident or be willing to move to New York City in the event of a possible appointment.

Eligible candidates should download the Uniform Judicial Questionnaire from the Committee ’s website at, and should contact the Committee’s Office to request waivers. Applications will remain active for one year from the date of the receipt by this office. Applications will be accepted on a continuing basis for appointment to future vacancies as they arise.

Get Involved, Stay Connected: New York City Bar Association Committee Applications Still Being Accepted

It’s not too late to become a Committee member at the New York City Bar Association, which means that it’s not too late to become involved in over 150 areas of law within a membership body of over 24,000 students and legal professionals! NYCBA is still accepting applications for Committee member positions, and though some deadlines have passed, others are ready and willing for someone to take strong hold of the leadership opportunities.

NYCBA has reached out and noted that AABANY members are strongly encouraged to apply. The sooner, the better. Let’s get the ball rolling.

If you are interested contact Thank you!