In 2021 the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) formed the Task Force on Racism, Social Equity, and the Law to examine how structural racism permeates and influences facets of daily life leading to injustice and inequality among New Yorkers. The Task Force included six subcommittees, Criminal Justice, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Justice, Health, and Housing, and examined the key issues that cause structural racism to be entrenched and persistent. These subcommittees provided recommendations and action steps for NYSBA to take to address structural racism and effectuate meaningful societal transformation.
AABANY Member Nelson Mar served on the Task Force as co-chair of the Education Sub-Committee. Over a period of a year and a half, he helped identify and draft the issues and recommendations for the Education section of the Task Force report. We also thank and recognize past AABANY member Lillian Moy on her leadership as Co-Chair of this important NYSBA Task Force.
The NYSBA Business Law Section would like you to know about their Speakers Bureau as well as the opening of this year’s mentorship program. Please see below for further details:
1. NYSBA – Business Law Section Speakers Bureau – The Business Law Section is creating a faculty of speakers that they can contact for their various programs during the year. They want to make sure they have diverse attorneys as part of that faculty. Please complete this link
On September 20th, 2022, AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force was honored with the prestigious Bar Leaders Innovation Award in the category of large-sized bar association (2,000 members or more) at the New York State Bar Association headquarters in Albany, making AABANY a recipient of this award for the third year in a row. Beatrice Leong, Esq., AABANY’s Co-Vice President of Programs and Operations, went to Albany to accept the award from the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Bar Leaders, on behalf of AABANY.
On September 20, Beatrice met with bar leaders from across New York state during a Bar Leaders Symposium and discussed how AABANY was able to maintain membership and actively keep its members and community engaged. During the reception following the Symposium, Beatrice accepted the award on behalf of AABANY. In her acceptance speech, she emphasized why AAVTF was created and the impact the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (“HEART”) had on helping community members navigate the criminal justice process. Beatrice also described how AAVTF worked with community organizations, the police, local prosecutors, elected officials, and law firms to gather data on hundreds of hate incidents while also directly assisting survivors. The event concluded with a dinner among the assembled bar leaders, providing another opportunity for Beatrice to share how AABANY was able to bring its leaders and members together to fight anti-Asian violence in New York City.
In AABANY’s press release about the award, President Willam Ng further commented: “With the support and acknowledgment of NYSBA and other partner organizations, AABANY and its AAVTF are confident that we can create safe and just communities and legal systems for Asian New Yorkers and all New Yorkers.” To read the press release issued by AABANY, please click here.
To read the AAVTF’s Endless Tide report, please click here.
To support the efforts of AAVTF, please click here.
To learn more about the HEART project, please click here.
AABANY congratulates Margaret Ling on her New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) member profile published on July 25, 2022. Focusing on her career path and the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, the member profile speaks to the necessity of making progress against discrimination in the legal profession.
Margaret noted that “women and people of color are [still] not making partner and leaving prestigious firms after 20 years of service.” Discussing her personal experiences with racism and sexism in the field, Margaret stated, “now I mentor young lawyers because there was no one there to help me. I tell them that you have to speak up for your work and fight to be recognized for it.” Read more here.
NYSBA was founded in 1876 and currently has a membership base of over 70,000 individuals, with its headquarters in Albany, NY.
The New York City Bar Association ADR Committee and New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section are committed to increasing the selection of ADR professionals from historically underrepresented communities. To promote this goal, the two groups are compiling a directory of association members who are ADR professionals and self-identify as a member of a historically underrepresented community including but not limited to: a person of color, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, as having a disability, or identify as a woman.
The directory is being built in partnership with the following bar associations (list in formation): The Asian American Bar Association of New York, The Caribbean Attorney Network, The Dominican Bar Association, The Hispanic National Bar Association, NY Chapter, The Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association, The Metropolitan Black Bar Association, The Puerto Rican Bar Association, and The Women’s Bar Association.
If you are a City Bar member, AABANY member, or member of any of the partnering bar associations, and self-identify as a member of a historically underrepresented community and wish to be included in the directory, please fill out the following survey on or before July 23, 2021.
If you have any questions regarding this initiative or if you are a bar association leader and wish to participate in this initiative, you may contact Robyn Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or Catherine Carl at email@example.com.
Vincent T. Chang, active member of AABANY since 2000 and former AABANY President in 2007, was inducted as the first Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) on May 28, 2021. In his new role, Vince is prepared to lead NYCLA in supporting diverse communities, reaching out to more young attorneys and law students, and closing the justice gap to serve those in the community who are most in need.
Since high school, Vince gravitated towards pursuing a career in the legal profession. Involved in both his high school and college debate teams, Vince found overlapping aspects between debate and law. In presenting an argument, he noticed both involve research, assembly of evidence, and oral presentation. After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Krupansky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 1989. Being familiar with litigation from his experience in debate and serving as a judicial clerk in a Federal appellate court, Vince chose to practice in litigation. Currently, Vince is a Litigation Partner at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York specializing in complex commercial litigation matters in the financial industry, including investment banking, hedge funds, and mortgage backed securities.
Outside of his work at the law firm, Vince is an active member of numerous bar associations and organizations, and has served and continues to serve in various leadership positions. To name a few, Vince previously served on the New York State Bar Association Committee of Bar Leaders, on the Board of Directors at Legal Services NYC, and is currently the Vice President of the Asian American Law Fund of New York. Although he might be affectionately called a “Bar Junkie,” Vince did not participate in bar association work until later on in his career.
The first bar association Vince joined was AABANY, and he appreciated both the social and intellectual aspects of the association. He enjoyed the opportunity to learn about different areas of law while also being able to network and meet prominent lawyers. One of his fondest memories of serving as President of AABANY in 2007 was hosting the Annual Dinner because it was a rare event for 500 to 600 AAPI lawyers, including General Counsels and Judges, to all gather in the same room in New York City. This was especially significant because at the time there were at most 400 members in AABANY compared to the 1,500 members AABANY has now.
At AABANY, Vince also played a prominent role in organizing the AABANY Trial Reenactments. With a goal to educate lawyers and the public about the notable trials and cases in U.S. history involving AAPIs, Vince assisted Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin to develop scripts for the productions. Since 2007, Vince has starred as a cast member in numerous reenactments at the annual NAPABA conventions and at other events. He most recently played Fred Korematsu in the “Fred Korematsu and His Fight For Justice” reenactment in November 2019 at the NAPABA convention.
Today, Vince is the first AAPI President of NYCLA, which was the first bar association to admit women and lawyers of color into its membership. He views his role as both an honor and a serious responsibility—an honor because past presidents include esteemed individuals and a responsibility because of his duty to represent AAPIs and serve as a role model. At a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of many bar associations’ and law firms’ missions, NYCLA plans to be more interactive with young lawyers, especially diverse attorneys, by reaching out to law schools, affinity bar groups, and law firms. Vince also plans for NYCLA to remain relevant on public policy issues and respond to them in a timely manner. He hopes that “taking positions that affect diverse communities will make them notice and realize NYCLA is on their side.”
A common theme of Vince’s work is the pursuit of justice to not only improve the legal profession, but to also improve the quality of legal representation for individuals in the community. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary to review federal judicial nominees; sat on a NYCLA panel at a public hearing to address the impact of budget cuts on the Judiciary; served on the Disciplinary Committee for the First Department to prosecute disciplinary complaints against lawyers in Manhattan; and worked on other initiatives to minimize the justice gap. Vince plans to continue working on this at NYCLA as “access to justice is a hallmark of what bar associations and NYCLA are aiming for.” One program NYCLA has planned is to support attorneys who represent indigent persons through the Assigned Counsel Plan (18b). Under the proposed program, by increasing the rate at which assigned counsel are paid, there will hopefully be an increase of lawyers interested in doing 18b work, which will further decrease the access-to-justice gap. NYCLA also hopes to revive their Special Masters Program to provide an opportunity for young attorneys to gain experience working with the court system, and to close the gap between court workload and staff gap. At NYCLA’s AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on June 2nd, Vince vowed to continue to uphold NYCLA’s focus on sustaining the rule of law including the importance of practicing diversity, equity and inclusion in furtherance of fairness and justice for all.
Please join AABANY in congratulating Vince on becoming the first AAPI President of NYCLA and for doing all the work he does to support communities. We wish Vince great success in his vital new role as NYCLA President! To learn more about NYCLA, visit its website at https://www.nycla.org/. AABANY members who join NYCLA for the first time are eligible to receive 50% off their annual dues the first year and 25% off the second year. For more details, click here.
AABANY congratulates Kenneth Chin on being presented with the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award at the John E. Higgins, Esq. Diversity Trailblazer Award Ceremony on Jan. 27, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Ken is a Partner and the Banking and Finance Chair at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and longstanding member of AABANY. The award recognizes Ken for his transformative work to promote and achieve diversity and inclusion at his firm and in New York’s Asian American community.
Here is the intro video for Glenn Lau-Kee when he was honored back in April during the Museum of Chinese in America’s Celebration of Community Heroes. The video mentions Glenn’s leadership as AABANY President (1997-98) and as the first Asian American President of the New York State Bar Association (2014-15). AABANY Executive Director Yang Chen appears in the video, along with other community leaders, to salute Glenn and his contributions to not just the Asian American community but the larger community as well. Thank you, Glenn, for all that you do. You are truly an inspiration to us all and a genuine Community Hero. Congratulations, again!