AABANY’s Academic Committee was proud to co-sponsor the second ever Workshop for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Women in the Legal Academy at UC Davis School of Law, held on Friday, September 16, 2022. This conference is designed to support and mentor women aspiring to enter or who are in the legal academy. AABANY’s generous co-sponsorship allowed travel stipends for individuals to attend. It was a fantastic two-day event. Academic Committee Co-chairs Catherine Kim, Donna Lee, and Elaine Chiu were delighted to attend. To learn more about the Academic Committee, click here.
When: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 6:30pm
Price: General Admission $15 | Members $10
What do laundry workers in Manhattan’s 1930s Chinatown have to do with the neighborhood’s activists today? Experience stories of repression, mobilization, and resilience in Chinatown, past and present, at this evening of documentary film and discussion. We begin with Betty Yu’s Discovering My Grandfather Through Mao, about Yu’s grandfather’s activist work with laundry workers during the Chinese Exclusion era, followed by ManSee Kong’s Chinatown Tenant Stories: Mrs. Zheng on Delancey, about Chinatown resident Mrs. Zheng’s introduction to community organizing. The screenings conclude with a private preview of Curtis Chin’s unreleased documentary, Dear Corky, about the late photographer Corky Lee, who died of COVID-19. A talkback and audience Q & A with the directors, moderated by reporter Shirley Ng, will follow the films.
About the Speakers:
Curtis Chin is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker whose voice has been recognized by the National Association for Multicultural Education, the National Association for Ethnic Studies, the American Librarians Association, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and more. A graduate of the creative program at the University of Michigan, Chin has also received fellowships from ABC/Disney Television, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and served as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. As a community activist, Chin co-founded the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the premiere non-profit dedicated to promoting Asian American writers. He has also worked as the Director of Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and served on Barack Obama’s Asian American Leadership Committee during his 2008 Presidential Campaign. His memoir, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant is scheduled to be released in 2024. curtisfromdetroit.com
ManSee Kong is a filmmaker and cultural worker born and raised on unceded Lekawe and Munsee Lenape land (Queens/NYC). Her work is anchored in immigrant experiences and inspired by grassroots community organizing efforts. Her films have screened at Museum of Modern Art, Glasgow Women’s Library, film festivals and community spaces, with support from the Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Camargo Foundation, Spike Lee Production Award, Puffin Foundation, and Asian Women Giving Circle. In 2015, she co-founded Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) with Tomie Arai and Betty Yu, a cultural collective that uses art to advance community-led social justice campaigns. CAB has received support from A Blade of Grass, Rubin Foundation, Asian Women Giving Circle, Fourth Arts Block, Culture Push, Laundromat Project, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. ManSee is a Third World Newsreel Production Workshop alum with an MFA in Film from NYU.
Shirley L. Ng is a staff writer for the news blog, Asian American News (AsAmNews) and a community organizer at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). She is an advocate for the Asian American community, a passionate supporter of Manhattan Chinatown and a member of several groups and associations. Shirley attended NYC public schools and graduated from Hunter College with a BA in Media Communications and Political Science. She was born in Manhattan and raised in Chinatown by immigrant parents from Toisan, China.
Betty Yu is a multimedia artist, photographer, filmmaker and activist born and raised in NYC to Chinese immigrant parents. Ms. Yu integrates documentary film, new media platforms, and community-infused approaches into her practice. She is a co-founder of Chinatown Art Brigade. Ms. Yu has been awarded artist residencies and fellowships from the Laundromat Project, A Blade of Grass, KODA Lab, Asian American Arts Alliance, and her work has been presented at the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, NY Historical Society, and Artists Space. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College and a One-Year Certificate from International Center Photography New Media Narratives program. Ms. Yu teaches at Pratt Institute, Hunter College, and The New School and has over 20 years of community, media justice, and labor organizing work. Betty sits on the boards of Third World Newsreel and Working Films and on the advisory board of More Art.
About the Films:
Chinatown Tenant Stories: Mrs. Zheng on Delancey (ManSee Kong, 2015, 6 mins.): Chinatown resident Mrs. Zheng reflects on her introduction to community organizing upon joining a local grassroots group after garment factories in Chinatown closed en masse after 9/11. Mrs. Zheng became a lead tenant organizer with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and successfully organized tenants in her own building on Delancey Street in 2005, pushing back against an unscrupulous landlord. Based on oral history conversations with Mrs. Zheng, Chinatown Tenant Stories is a video and talkback series created for use in tenant organizing meetings, and produced as part of the Asian American Oral History Collective in collaboration with Chinatown Tenants Union of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, with support from Third World Newsreel and LMCC.
Dear Corky (Curtis Chin, 2022, 16 mins.): For over fifty years, Corky Lee photographed New York City’s Chinatown, as well as the Asian American community around the country. With a strong sense of social justice, he captured the biggest activists and celebrities to the everyday heroes. Sadly, after continuing to document the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, he fell to COVID. Through his words and pictures, this documentary offers a glimpse of the man behind the camera.
Discovering My Grandfather through Mao (Betty Yu, 2011, 18 mins.) is a short documentary film about Betty Yu’s personal journey as she uncovers her grandfather’s radical history as a labor organizer and co-founder of the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York (CHLA), one of the oldest Chinese-American labor organizations in this country. Her grandfather, Sui Woo, a hand laundry worker came together with other workers and recognized the need for an organization that could challenge the racist and anti-Chinese policies in the 1930’s. Today, Chinese Americans and immigrants can learn from this rich history of workers resisting institutional racism and recognizing the importance of community organizing as a powerful tool.
About Asian CineVision:
Asian CineVision (ACV) is a 501(c)(3) media arts nonprofit devoted to the development, exhibition, promotion, and preservation of Asian and Asian American experiences through storytelling. Our mission is to nurture and grow the community of makers and enthusiasts of Asian and Asian American independent film, television, and digital.
2022-23 NAPABA Leadership Advancement Program
August 2022 through February 2023
Application Deadline: March 30, 2022
NAPABA is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 Leadership Advancement Program (LAP) for August 2022 to February 2023. LAP is a year-long experiential program, meant to equip mid-career attorneys with a skill set that will transform them into leaders, professionally and personally, while cultivating close-knit friends and resources. Attorneys in the program will:
- Assess leadership and communications styles and use exercises to gain better self-awareness
- Train to be more effective communicators and listeners
- Learn how to set goals and ground their career vision
- Become better at anticipating the oppositions faced in challenge
- Grow their executive presence
- Leave with a cohort of 24 advisors and friends
This cohort of 24 individuals will launch in a virtual environment, with the possibility of concluding with in-person workshops.
Grace Jamgochian, a Partner at Shearman & Sterling, a member of AABANY and Vice Chair of its Women’s Committee, and a former participant in the LAP Program described her experience as follows:
“Although I participated in the Leadership Advancement Program almost 5 years ago, I still have constant contact with my LAP community across the nation; we regularly seek advice from each other on all kinds of matters from parenting to random legal musings. The perspective you get from a small (but not too small) group of seasoned attorneys is really incredible!”
You must become a member of NAPABA to take advantage of this exclusive opportunity
If you have any questions or wish to apply, please visit the NAPABA website for more details or contact Maureen Gelwicks, Operations Director.
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.
On January 4, 2022, City Limits published an article entitled, “As NY Redistricting Forges Forward, Asian American Groups Push for ‘Unity Map’” detailing an independent coalition’s efforts to establish more equitable districts in the state.
As the redistricting process continues in New York, a coalition of three civil rights legal groups—the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Center for Law and Social Justice, and Latino Justice—seek to combat the fragmentation of minority communities. Altogether forming the Unity Map Coalition, the groups’ proposed “Unity Map” recognizes the rapid growth of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in New York and aims to preserve the political power of communities whose interests have historically been undermined in the redistricting process.
If adopted by Governor Kathy Hochul, the “Unity Map” would replace drafts developed by the state Independent Redistricting Commission, drafts which have been influenced by the coalition’s input but that have failed to fully address issues relayed by community members. Legal groups, such as AABANY, in addition to pro-democracy groups have signed onto a letter requesting another opportunity from state lawmakers to provide public comment before the governor approves draft maps.
To read the full article, click here.
The Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, NAPABA’s premier lifetime honor, recognizes Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) attorneys who have spent their careers advocating for AAPIs within the legal profession, becoming pioneers in their field of practice. This year, Andrew (“Andy”) T. Hahn Sr., one of the 2021 Trailblazer Award recipients, will join the ranks of those distinguished for their contributions.
For Andy Hahn, leadership and service have always been integral components of his career path. Andy has accumulated a plethora of impressive accolades and achievements over his career spanning more than three decades, such as: US Army JAG officer, successful commercial litigator, and President of NAPABA, AABANY, and KALAGNY.
Andy has continually had to prove, both to himself and to others, that, as a son of Korean American immigrants, he could succeed in his career and find a place within American society as an Asian American.
“Growing up as a kid…I stuck out like a sore thumb,” Andy recalls. “I was subject to a lot of bullying and bigotry.”
It was this resentment of ostracization (as well as a fascination with guns and explosives in his youth) that motivated Andy to enlist in the military. He quickly found his niche in the armed forces, graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Cornell University, with ambitions to pursue a full-time military career in the Special Forces. Andy’s mother, disagreeing with his choice, instead encouraged him to aim for a career in law. Fortunately, becoming a lawyer was Andy’s additional career interest. After being granted a deferment from active duty, Andy completed his legal studies at Cornell Law School.
With a desire to meet more Asian lawyers with similar backgrounds as himself, Andy discovered AABANY early in his career. As an AABANY member, he met Chris Chang, one of the founding members of AABANY and a former chair of the Judiciary Committee. Chris became a valuable mentor to Andy as he explored the workings of the New York court system.
In the past, many Asian Americans practiced law within the transactional fields, such as corporate law and real estate law, and as Andy noted, “none of [the fields] which involved the adversarial process.” In Andy’s view, language barriers and improved career prospects in transactional law contributed to the lack of Asian Americans within litigation. As he gained litigation experience, Andy continued to stand out in becoming one of the first waves of AAPI attorneys to attain partnership at a big law firm in New York City.
Andy remains a firm believer in the power of mentorship and guidance for those just starting out in their careers. Recalling his experience meeting and mentoring law school students and graduates, Andy observed that many Asian Americans remain as “first generation Asian lawyers” within their families; these students or graduates could point to no one in their family who had been involved in the legal profession. At a time when Asian American interest in law is increasing, creating more opportunities for mentorship becomes even more critical.
Andy believes that anti-Asian hate remains the single greatest threat to the AAPI community and AAPI legal professionals today. Until the onset of the pandemic Andy has never seen a high prevalence of anti-Asian hate during his decades of involvement with AABANY and NAPABA, but he notes that there always has been an “undercurrent” of perceiving Asian Americans as foreign. Despite the widespread social movements that have catapulted issues of race and diversity into the national spotlight, Andy feels that big law firm and corporate commitments to diversity and inclusion remain “a lot of lip service.”
“If you look at … the statistics, [attorneys of color] within law firms have not improved in the last two decades…. By the time you get to the leadership positions, it’s pretty much all white people.” For Andy, who serves as Chief Diversity Officer at Hawkins, Delafield, and Wood LLP, his formula for maintaining diversity at his own law firm is simple: recruitment, retention, and promotion. It’s a formula that organizations, such as AABANY, continue to advocate for.
In light of the challenges Asian Americans face, Andy observes positive changes within the Asian American community: “If there is any silver lining with some of this anti-Asian hate, it brings our community together…. We’ve learned … how to stand up for ourselves.” Certainly, through his career as a litigator, leader, and advocate, Andy has never ceased to stand up for himself, the legal profession, and the Asian American community. His achievements and accomplishments demonstrate his endless “vision, courage, and tenacity” needed to become a pioneer, as well as his willingness to break barriers and stereotypes in his career path.
NAPABA will hold a reception on Friday evening, December 10, for all the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award honorees at the Convention in Washington, D.C., and the awards will be presented at the Gala Dinner on Saturday evening. Please join AABANY in congratulating Andy Hahn on this well-deserved honor and recognition!
Every year, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) presents its Best Under 40 Awards to honor exceptional Asian American Pacific Islanders (“AAPI”) attorneys under the age of 40 from across the country who have excelled in their respective fields and have demonstrated a strong commitment to the AAPI community. Among those being recognized for this year’s award is Grace Fu, General Counsel of KAYAK/OpenTable, and a Co-Chair of AABANY’s In-House Counsel Committee. Grace has achieved much success as a senior executive and in-house leader in various companies such as Barneys New York, Tiger Management, and KAYAK/OpenTable.
Grace has also demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the AAPI community. At Skadden, she was a co-lead of the Asian American Affinity Group Steering Committee, and was committed to increasing awareness of the Asian American experience at Skadden and within the legal profession. Additionally, as Co-chair of the In-House Counsel Committee at AABANY, Grace worked hard to recruit new members to the committee and to AABANY. She also currently serves as the UVA School of Law’s Dean’s Alumnae Council and the Alumni Advisory Council, where she has worked on DE&I initiatives, including AAPI recruiting.
Grace personally chose to become more deeply involved with AABANY because she wanted to gain new perspectives and be part of a community of people who have a collective interest in furthering the AAPI legal community. She is thankful for her experiences with AABANY, where she has had the opportunity to meet many talented lawyers and individuals who are passionate about the AAPI legal community. Grace also emphasizes the importance of engaging with organizations that also promote diversity beyond AAPI diversity, because she believes that diversity encompasses much more than simply race or ethnicity.
When asked to give advice to students and aspiring lawyers, Grace emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships and networking with other professionals. Grace also believes that doing excellent work and thus building a solid reputation for oneself is a must. In terms of job searching advice, Grace encourages those still exploring careers to consider their strengths and interests while being open-minded about opportunities that present themselves.
When asked what being nominated for the Best Under 40 Award means to her, Grace stated that she is truly flattered and surprised to have been recognized given that there are so many other outstanding potential candidates. She feels very honored to be able to represent the AAPI community because it is a community filled with so many accomplished professionals, and she is extraordinarily grateful for being awarded this honor.
NAPABA’s National Convention takes place in Washington, D.C., this year, and Grace will be honored at a reception for the Best Under 40 honorees on the evening of December 9th, 2021 and she will be presented the award at the Gala Dinner on Saturday night, along with the other BU40 awardees. Please join AABANY in congratulating Grace on this well-deserved recognition and honor.
This December, the Best Under 40 Award will be presented at the 2021 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) Convention in Washington, D.C. to honor outstanding attorneys and organizations that have made an impact within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) community. Every year, NAPABA recognizes talented AAPI attorneys under the age of forty from around the country who have achieved prominence and distinction in their fields of endeavor. Recipients are selected on the basis of two factors: first, demonstrated success and professionalism in the practice of law; and second, a commitment to the AAPI community. Among those being honored will be David Sohn, a Deputy Bureau Chief at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and a valued member of AABANY’s Board of Directors, who has been named one of NAPABA’s Best Under 40 for 2021.
A prosecutor, father, and husband, David has not only taken an exceptional career path but has also shown a continuous and inspiring dedication to the AAPI community. David has achieved the first criterion of consideration for this award, a demonstrated success and professionalism in the practice of law, in various ways. David attended The George Washington University where he studied international affairs and interned for government agencies throughout his undergraduate career. After graduating from The George Washington University, David went on to receive his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and developed an interest in criminal law after taking the class in law school. Upon graduating, he briefly worked at a law firm that represented plaintiffs in an antitrust case. With the help of AABANY’s network, David later joined the Kings County District Attorney’s Office where he enjoys the process of finding out the truth and representing the interests of all constituents. As a prosecutor, David is able to find a sense of achieving justice for everyone which includes the defendants and the community and not just the victims.
David has exemplified the second criterion for the award by demonstrating a commitment to the AAPI community through his leadership and passion outside of his professional pursuits. Since joining AABANY, David has become a dedicated driver of meaningful participation of AAPIs in the legal profession. Over the years, he has held multiple leadership positions at the committee and board level. David joined AABANY where he planned many social events to facilitate networking and followed this trend at KALAGNY where he worked with and later led the gala-planning committee. David is vocal about the need for more government attorneys in the AAPI community. AAPI attorneys are prominent at entry-level positions but there is a need for more representation at supervisory levels. As Regional Governor at NAPABA, David has actively advocated for making the convention more affordable for government attorneys.
David attributes much of his success to the mentors and people he has met along his journey. Early in his career, David adopted a “work hard” mentality. He eventually realized the importance of networking and asking for advice. David always aspired to work as a prosecutor but never received a response until he began to network through AABANY. When asked what advice he has for aspiring lawyers, David said his best recommendations are to listen to people’s successes, but more importantly, listen to people who share their failures. David provided an anecdote about how he got dropped after a round of interviews for jobs after his 3L year of law school, but remained positive. He states, “Be positive, work your ass off, don’t complain.” David strongly encourages law students and young attorneys to join bar associations like AABANY and to become active members of the legal community.
Outside of his career, David and his family love to travel. His favorite places to visit are Seoul and Paris. David tends to go to Korea every year to see family and also enjoys going to the beaches on Jeju Island.
AABANY congratulates David on receiving NAPABA’s Best Under 40 Award. The Best Under 40 Award reception will be on December 9th at the 2021 NAPABA Convention. The award will be presented during NAPABA’s 33rd Anniversary Gala on December 11.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) will be holding their Annual Convention this December in Washington, D.C. Among those being honored by NAPABA with their 2021 Best Under 40 Award will be William Ng, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C. and the President-Elect of AABANY. Every year NAPABA selects a group of talented young Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) attorneys who are under the age of 40 from across the United States. Recipients of the award are judged on two factors: first, excellence and professionalism in the field of law and second, a commitment to impacting the AAPI community for the better. Will has demonstrated both throughout his illustrious career.
Will has fulfilled the first criteria of the award by demonstrating excellence in the legal profession in a variety of ways. After graduating from St. John’s University School of Law, Will began his career by working for the New York City Law Department’s Tort Division where he represented numerous city agencies including the police and fire departments in personal injury and civil rights cases. Will then transferred to the Labor and Employment Law Division, which provided him invaluable federal court litigation experience defending the City of New York, one of the largest public employers in the nation. In his current practice at Littler, Will focuses on defending private and public employers in employment litigation matters as well as wage and hour class actions. In addition to his litigation practice, Will regularly counsels employers on their workplace policies and practices for compliance with federal, state and local employment laws.
Will has fulfilled the second criteria of the award through his work in AABANY as well as working to help AAPI-owned companies in the hospitality, financial services, health care, retail, real estate, and transportation industries at Littler. Furthermore, Will has continued to drive AABANY’s mission and has held numerous leadership positions for the past 10 years within AABANY including founding the Labor and Employment Law Committee and serving as Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers, Government and Public Sector (now Government Service and Public Interest), and Student Outreach Committees.
Will’s drive for professional excellence as well as support of meaningful participation by the AAPI community stems from his parents who owned a local business. As a native New Yorker, Will has been around local business owners throughout his life. Will saw the hardships that minority-owned businesses faced and believed that the best way he could contribute to the AAPI community was to give back through his work with AABANY and other nonprofit organizations. He is proud to represent a large number of AAPI local businesses as part of his regular practice. Most recently Will, as a panel member of AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service, has defended Chinatown businesses that have been sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These lawsuits have targeted landlords and small business owners in Chinatown and have the potential to shut down these local businesses. Will is committed to helping these merchants and property owners defend against these ADA lawsuits while also providing advice on how to comply with various laws and regulations.
When asked what advice he has for aspiring lawyers, Will responded that they should focus on the potential areas of law that might fit their interests and strengths but they should also take opportunities to meet people and learn about their work in industries and fields “that might not be in [their] comfort zone.” Will also highly recommends getting involved in organizations such as AABANY which he describes as an “umbrella group that is home to so many different people from all walks of life.” Will believes that being part of an organization like AABANY teaches you “how to interact with different people at different stages of their career.”
The BU40 Award will be presented on December 11 during the Gala Dinner at the NAPABA Convention. Please join AABANY in congratulating Will on this well-deserved honor and recognition.
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.
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 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.
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.