AABANY Fall Conference: APA Women in the Legal Profession Panel

“Stronger Together: APA Women in the Legal Profession – Strategies to Support, Lead, and Advance” was one of the many panels presented at AABANY’s Fall Conference this year. Held on Saturday, September 26 from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm, the panelists consisted of:

Moderators:

  • Connie Montoya, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson
  • Sandra Yamate, CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Speakers:

  • Anna Mercado Clark, Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP
  • Judy Lam, Partner, Maynard Cooper & Gale
  • Honorable Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge, State of New York
  • Sandra Leung, General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Sapna Palla, Partner, Wiggin and Dana

The panel was not recorded to create a safe environment for panelists as well as listeners so that there could be a candid conversation about race and the experiences APA women have had to face throughout their legal careers.

The panel started off with discussing the challenges and barriers of being an APA woman in the legal profession. Shared experiences among the panelists were that they were often overlooked in the courtroom, being perceived and mistaken as the court interpreter or court reporter rather than as the lawyer or judge. Even when they were correctly perceived as the lawyer, the panelists were still treated differently compared to their white male counterparts. In response to these challenges, the panelists discussed how it was okay to feel uncomfortable about these topics and it is important to focus on the microaggressions. If people are more vocal about the uncomfortable situations and share their experiences with the community, it creates a greater ability to mobilize and create change.

The panelists stressed the importance of seeing more APA women in higher positions and one way of achieving that is through having role models and mentors for rising APA lawyers. Current AABANY President, Sapna Palla, highlighted the AABANY Leadership Development Program which has been successful in teaching participants the skills to advance into executive positions, and she hopes to see more programs that do the same.

The panel ended with each panelist going over one action item they were willing to commit to within the next year that will help support and advance APA women in the legal profession. The general consensus among the panelists was to start a mentoring circle. Not only do the panelists want to be an available resource for people who come up to them and have questions, but also they want to be active in following up with mentees and seeking feedback from them.

The panelists also vow to use their positions as a platform to continue this dialogue. Advancing APA women in the legal profession is an ongoing conversation and hopefully, listeners of the panel are inspired to continue the dialogue with their friends, peers, and colleagues.

Thank you to the panelists, Anna Mercado Clark, Judy Lam, Honorable Grace E. Lee, Sandra Leung, and Sapna Palla, and moderators, Connie Montoya and Sandra Yamate for sharing their experiences and leading an important discussion about supporting APA women in the legal profession.

Fall Conference 2020: Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic

On September 26, 2020, as part of the second day of the 2020 Fall Conference, AABANY hosted a program discussing Anti-Asian Violence and Hate Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic, which focused on trends and newly compiled statistics related to this discrimination. The panel included:

  • Karen King, Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (Moderator)
  • Joe Gim, Deputy Chief of the County Court Trial Bureau in Nassau County
  • Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and Member of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
  • Stewart Loo, Deputy Inspector of the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force
  • John C. Yang, President and Executive Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at the Asian American Federation

First, Professor Jeung introduced “Stop AAPI Hate,” an online reporting center organized by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. Since March 19, 2020, the reporting center has been tracking and responding to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California and where possible throughout the United States. In California, there have been over 300,000 reported incidents over the eight month period. There was a major uptick in March when President Trump started calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and in late June when Trump started using the term “Kung Flu.” Although most of the reported incidents have been verbal, there have been an alarming number of incidents where Asian Pacific Americans (APA) were coughed or spat on.

Jo-Ann Yoo then discussed the situation in New York and emphasized that reporting is only as good as its outreach. Joe Gim specified that legally, a hate crime in New York must both involve a person selected to have a crime against them because of their identity and have that factor be a substantial part of the crime.

Next, Stewart Loo introduced the NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force, which gets involved with incidents of hate and discrimination when they become crimes. The task force assists victims who cannot speak English but want to report an incident. Due to cultural differences and the length and complexity of reporting a crime to the NYPD, the criminal process can be very daunting. Yoo added that many people are shy or afraid to report, regardless of a language barrier, especially to the media. John Yang then discussed the importance of media pieces in humanizing the statistics and building community strength.

Professor Jeung and John Yang also discussed how APA social status has historically been very conditional. As many APA individuals still toggle between being part of a Model Minority or a Yellow Peril, they are seen as perpetual foreigners, which adds to the rising anti-Asian hate.

The panel concluded with talking about the rise in APA youth supporting Black Lives Matter. In order to be heard on a nationwide scale, everyday citizens must fight for the respect that their communities do not already receive, whether by serving as a poll worker, speaking up in organizations, or simply voting. The panel ended with discussing how APA culture is stereotypically seen as quiet, but in order to see change now, people need to speak up and speak out.

Thank you to the panelists, Joe Gim, Russell Jeung, Stewart Loo, John C. Yang, and Jo-Ann Yoo, and moderator Karen King for leading such an inspiring and important discussion on anti-Asian violence and hate during the pandemic. And thank you to the AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service, and Government Service and Public Interest Committees for hosting the event.

Click here to access the Stop AAPI Hate website.
Click here to access AAF’s COVID-19 Safety Resources.

To view a recording of this program, please click on the video image at the top of this blog post.

Fall Conference 2020: Enforcement in a Fragmented World

On September 26, 2020, as part of the second day of the 2020 Fall Conference, AABANY hosted Enforcement in a Fragmented World, a panel on unique challenges currently facing attorneys representing clients in white collar and enforcement matters. On the panel were:

  • Edward Y. Kim, Co-Founder of Krieger Kim & Lewin LLP (Moderator)
  • Charu Chandrasekhar, Assistant Regional Director of the Division of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Una Dean, Partner at Fried Frank LLP
  • Joon H. Kim, Partner at Cleary Gottlieb (and former Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York)
  • Leo R. Tsao, Chief of the Bank Integrity Unit at the U.S. Department of Justice

The discussion started with the panelists talking about how their work has been affected by the pandemic. They discussed how a lot of the work they do — interviewing witnesses, talking and negotiating with the authorities, and gathering information — relied on in-person work. However, they agreed that justice delayed is justice denied, especially for the people and companies they are investigating. With statutes of limitations and fading memories, enforcement attorneys have been interviewing people over video and phone calls. Despite many successful interviews, they still have the obstacle of building relationships and rapport with potential cooperators over the phone. All in all, they agreed that enforcement has been very active recently and will continue to be for years to come.

Then, each of the attorneys discussed their personal experiences in enforcement. Although the attorneys each had different career paths, they agreed that they all loved their jobs because they are able to focus on doing justice, not winning cases. They discussed how their job is also an incredible honor and responsibility to be able to serve their community and country.

Next, the speakers talked about challenges they have encountered as Asian Pacific American (APA) practitioners. While dealing with drastic underrepresentation in their fields, as well as the ever persistent Model Minority Myth and the Perpetual Foreigner stereotype, the attorneys often faced overt and subtle racism in their work. However, they see a strong trend in many organizations towards actively diversifying the workplace to create a base of attorneys who actually reflect the communities they serve. Additionally, Chandrasekhar and Dean discussed the added challenges of being female APA practitioners. They discussed how government work can actually be a great equalizer. Although there are still many difficulties that come with many sacrifices and compromises, women in government service are taught to stand up and speak out in court about their cases, which builds confidence.

The panel concluded with some of the attorneys discussing the importance of separating the system from the service. They agreed that there are many serious injustices and inequities in the justice system, and the justice system must be reformed and improved by educating people within the justice system. The speakers acknowledged that many of the people working and handling individual cases within the system are genuinely passionate about upholding justice. And these attorneys will continue to do so proudly for the rest of their careers.

In these uncertain times, it is incredibly inspiring to hear from leading practitioners and enforcers in the field of white collar enforcement. Thank you to the panelists Charu Chandrasekhar, Una Dean, Joon H. Kim, and Leo R. Tsao and moderator Edward Y. Kim for sharing their experience and insights in the field of justice.

To view a recording of this program, please click on the video image at the top of this blog post.

The New York City Bar Association Releases Report “The Diversity Gap: Black and Latinx Representation Disparities in the Legal Pipeline” and Follow-Up Program

The New York City Bar Association announced that their report The Diversity Gap: Black and Latinx Representation Disparities in the Legal Pipeline has been released with overwhelming support from the legal community. To determine the effectiveness of pipeline programs for Black and Latinx students who seek to enter the legal profession, they polled over 800 students from the 15 New York State Law Schools. They thank Ashley Bernal, Professor, York College and author of the report, and The New York Community Trust for funding this important work.

You can read their press release here.

Additionally, they will be hosting a two-part panel presentation entitled, “The Diversity Gap: Black and Latinx Representation Disparities in the Legal Pipeline.”  Details below:

Part I: Pipeline Leaders

Part II: Pipeline Participants

To register for any of the events, please click on the registration link (you will need to create a free account if you are not a city bar member) or email Customer Relations at [email protected]. The series is free for everyone.

AABANY Presents “How to Network” Panel at Cardozo School of Law

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

Second Circuit Pro Bono Panel Announcement

The Criminal Justice Act/Pro Bono Committee is accepting applications for the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Panel. The deadline to be considered for appointment in 2020 is April 30, 2020.

Pro Bono Panel members will, at the Court’s invitation or on a litigant’s motion for appointment of counsel, represent pro se litigants in civil appeals that present issues of first impression, complex issues of law or fact, or potentially meritorious claims warranting further briefing and oral argument. Pro bono representation will be provided to litigants who would otherwise be unable to pay for counsel and are ineligible for the appointment of counsel pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act.

Cases in which pro bono counsel will be appointed cover a broad range of legal issues, including prisoner civil rights, labor and employment, discrimination, social security, immigration, and tax law.

Applicants must be admitted to and members in good standing of the Bar of the Second Circuit or have an admission application pending before this Court, and have at least three years of appellate litigation experience. Pro Bono Panel members will serve for a three-year term.

Pro Bono Panel members who were appointed by the Court in 2017 for a three-year term must submit a new application if they wish to remain on the Panel.

An application package must contain a resume, a written application (available on the Court’s website at http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov) and three writing samples, preferably appellate briefs on which the applicant was the primary author. These materials must be submitted to David Bober, Director of Legal Affairs, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY 10007, by April 30, 2020.

The Plan for the Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel and the application form are available click here.  

New CJA Panel Applications Being Accepted

The Criminal Justice Act Committee of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is soliciting applications from highly qualified and experienced criminal defense attorneys for membership on the CJA Panel for the District.

Applications will be accepted from attorneys who are available for case assignments in either the Brooklyn or Central Islip Courthouses, or both. The Committee is also seeking applications from practitioners whose experience is uniquely suited to handling petitions for post-conviction relief.

Assignments to the Panel will be for a three-year period, beginning January 1, 2020.

Applications are available at the Clerk’s Offices at the Courthouses in Brooklyn and Central Islip. The form of the application has also been posted at the Court’s website at:

https://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/forms/cja-panel-application-form

Your application must be received by October 11, 2019. Please mail it to:

Douglas C. Palmer, Clerk of Court
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
225 Cadman Plaza
East Brooklyn, NY 11201

Or submit via E-Mail at: [email protected]

AABANY Hosts Screening of the Documentary “Blowin’ Up”

On Thursday, April 11, AABANY hosted a screening of “Blowin’ Up,” a feature documentary that explores the complex realities of sex work in New York City and the compassionate approach of a human trafficking court in Queens County. The film features AABANY member Honorable Toko Serita, Queens Supreme Court, as well as other heroines of the Human Trafficking Intervention Court, that work with victims of sexual exploitation who face prostitution-related charges.

After the screening, Beatrice Leong, AABANY Government Service and Public Interest Committee Co-Chair, led a panel discussion featuring speakers from the NYPD/FBI Joint Human Trafficking Task Force and a Queens Assistant District Attorney who prosecutes human traffickers. The panelists talked about how they worked together to prosecute the traffickers and how one can identify and help a suspected trafficking victim. The panel gave important insight into how gangs and traffickers target their victims, and the audience learned that many victims are new immigrants, local high school students or children in the foster care system. “Drugs can only be used once, but a person can be used over and over.”

If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking,  you can email New York Police Department, at [email protected] or visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/acs/youth/identify.page to report them.

We thank Beatrice Leong and Emily Arakawa for providing the photos and write-up for this blog post.

Western District of New York (WDNY), Rochester Division Recruiting Chapter 7 Panel Trustees

The United States Trustee seeks resumes from persons wishing to be considered for appointment to the panel of trustees who administer cases filed under chapter 7 of title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code). The appointment is for cases filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York, primarily in the Rochester Division. Chapter 7 trustees receive compensation and reimbursement for expenses, in each case in which they serve, pursuant to court order under 11 U.S.C. §326 and §330.

The minimum qualifications for appointment are set forth in 28 C.F.R. § 58.3. To be eligible for appointment, an applicant must possess strong administrative, financial and interpersonal skills. Fiduciary and bankruptcy experience is desirable but not mandatory.

A successful applicant will be required to undergo a background check, and must qualify to be bonded. Although chapter 7 trustees are not federal employees, appointments are made consistent with federal Equal Opportunity policies, which prohibit discrimination in employment.

All resumes should be received on or before Friday, May 17, 2019.

Forward resumes to: Kathleen Schmitt, Assistant U.S. Trustee, Office of the United States Trustee, 100 State Street, Room 6090 Rochester, NY 14614.

If you have any questions email [email protected]

Second Circuit Accepting Application for Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is accepting applications for the Court’s Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel. The Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel is authorized by Local Rule 33.1, and is governed by the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel Plan. Members of the Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel serve as volunteer mediators for counseled, civil appeals.

All applicants must be attorneys admitted to, and in good standing with, the Bar of the Second Circuit or the bar of a state within the Second Circuit. Applicants must have 10 years of legal experience and substantial mediation experience.

As explained in the Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Plan, the Panel’s size is limited; therefore, the Court cannot appoint every qualified applicant. Membership will be on a three-year rotational basis, subject to a limit of two consecutive terms.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and this application to the Director of the Office of Legal Affairs and the Chief Circuit Mediator via email to [email protected]. Applications must be received by May 1, 2019. Please use the subject line: Appellate Mediator Panel.