The Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Commmittee is launching a monthly Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) Sidebar Meeting, on Thursdays. The first one was held over Zoom on September 28. The PBCS Committee thanks Trusts & Estates Committee Co-Chairs Pang-Mei (P.M.) Natasha Chang and Yi Stewart for speaking at the inaugural event.
At the clinics, the PBCS Committee has been seeing more and more clients asking questions about estate planning. The attendees had the opportunity to discuss issues generally asked, such as setting up trusts vs. wills, spousal elective share, advanced directives, guardianships, and intestacy vs. probate.
For this area of practice, one should be familiar with the laws under EPTL and SCPA. To learn more about the Trusts & Estates Committee and how you can get more involved, sign up for their upcoming meeting on October 4 here.
The next BYOL Sidebar is on October 12, 2023 at 1pm. Please sign up here.
The next pro bono clinic is on October 14, 2023 from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Please sign up here to volunteer.
On August 5th, 2023, AABANY held its Brooklyn Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Brooklyn Community Services Center. The clinic met with 25 clients, coming in with questions about housing, immigration, and family law issues. Volunteer attorneys and interpreters patiently addressed client concerns, answering questions and connecting them to lawyers through AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS).
We thank the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) for organizing and hosting the event. Established in 1965, CPC is a social services organization dedicated to helping Asian American, immigrant, and economically disadvantaged communities within New York City to obtain equitable access to essential resources and opportunities, thus fostering Asian American success.
The next Pro Bono Clinic will be on September 6th, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, and located at AAFE One Flushing Community Center, 133-29 41st Ave 2nd Floor, Queens, NY 11355. You can sign up here to volunteer. To add the date and time for this clinic to your calendar, click here. For upcoming clinics, please check AABANY’s calendar and update your email preference in your account to receive our emails.
Thank you to our volunteers for supporting the clinic. Your time and dedication is essential for delivering crucial assistance to individuals seeking legal guidance. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to:
Amber Lee Ashley Shan Gary Yeung Kwok Kei Ng May Wong
Interpreters and Observers:
I-Kai Lee Jihyon Kim Ruo Yang Yini Lai
To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, click here.
On July 15th, 2023, AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) and Immigration Law Committees participated in Immigrant Resource Day, a community event aimed at promoting services for New York immigrants, including those who are newly-arrived in the country. Held in Herald Gospel Plaza in Flushing, nearly twenty New York City government departments and various community organizations came together under the banner of the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades.
The event attracted hundreds of attendees of various backgrounds, coming in for immigration information, legal consultation, social welfare programs, and to apply for the New York Resident Card (IDNYC). At the event, PBCS Committee Co-Chairs, Kwok Ng and Lina Lee, and Vice Chair May Wong, managed the Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the event. At the clinic, AABANY volunteer attorneys generously volunteered their time and expertise to offer guidance, advice, and support to those seeking legal assistance.
The event surpassed all expectations in terms of the number of individuals served in a single day. With 56 registered participants seeking advice, AABANY was able to successfully assist 28 families facing challenging situations. We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support and dedication shown by the volunteers who participated in the event. The tireless efforts of our team, consisting of fourteen AABANY attorneys, four AABANY non-attorneys, and three staff members from Asian American for Equality (AAFE), our community partner, contributed to the overall success of the day.
Furthermore, the Co-Chairs of the Immigration Law Committee, Zhixian (Jessie) Liu and Susan Song, invited former Co-Chair Tsui H. Yee to present a workshop about asylum and immigrant rights. Ms. Yee, an immigration lawyer with over 20 years of experience, discussed the process of applying for asylum, requirements for qualification, the timeline of the application process, and answered questions posed by the audience. Overall, the workshop not only provided valuable insights into the asylum application process, but also gave attendees a platform to receive expert guidance from an experienced legal professional.
The fair also highlighted the urgent need for immigration attorneys that can provide crucial assistance to Chinese migrants and asylum seekers that have arrived at the US-Mexico border in recent months. AABANY lawyers were able to interact with many individuals seeking assistance with asylum and deportation-related matters, who were influenced by misleading information on social media platforms, exploited by unscrupulous agents, or left without legal representation. The Immigration Law Committee hopes to establish a comprehensive network of trusted referrals and legal support for this community, enlisting the help of attorneys on a pro bono basis, through paid representation, or for collaboration in future workshops.
Thank you to the PBCS and Immigration Law Committees for organizing this event. Furthermore, we extend our gratitude to Jessie Liu and Susan Song, the Co-Chairs of the Immigration Law Committee, for their exceptional efforts in conducting the workshop alongside Tsui H. Yee. We appreciate their dedication in assisting clients with immigration issues, even taking on back-to-back cases to address clients’ pressing concerns. We thank Tsui for sharing her valuable legal expertise during the workshop and for generously addressing the concerns of clients even after its conclusion. Her contributions helped drive the success of the event. In addition, we thank our partner organizations, the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades (CCHC), and AAFE.
Last but not least, thank you to the dedicated volunteers that made the Pro Bono Clinic at Immigration Resource Day a success:
Kwok Kei Ng
Shengyang (John) Wu
Zhixian (Jessie) Liu
Interpreters & Shadowers:
Nuala Naranja (AAFE)
Elton Ye (AAFE)
Xiaodong Zhang (AAFE)
If you have expertise in asylum and deportation matters, or you know someone who does, please reach out to the Immigration Law Committee co-chairs, Zhixian Liu or Susan Song, and help AABANY establish a network of trusted referrals for newly arrived immigrants.
You can also help out by keeping an eye out for future Pro Bono Clinics here, and registering as a volunteer. Click here to view the calendar entry for the next Pro Bono Clinic on August 16th, and fill out the registration form here. Please register as a volunteer by 12pm, August 11th, 2023.
On Wednesday, July 19th, 2023, AABANY hosted a highly successful Manhattan Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the AAFE (Asian American for Equality) Community Center, at 111 Norfolk Street, where compassionate volunteers offered their time and expertise to provide invaluable free legal services to the community. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, AAFE, our community partners, and our dedicated volunteers! Throughout the evening, we had the privilege of meeting with 22 clients, engaging in discussions of various legal issues, including immigration, housing, and family law. This was a vast increase from last month’s clinic when we had 8 clients.
In partnership with AAFE Community Center and other community partners, we recognize that the success of the Pro Bono Clinic would not be possible without our volunteers’ unwavering dedication to serving the community. By offering services in both Mandarin and Cantonese, we aim to continue to provide support for those who may face linguistic or cultural barriers when seeking access to legal services. Together, we continue to make a difference in the lives of our community members.
Pang-Mei (P.M.) Natasha Chang
Menglong (Anthony) Zhu
Interpreters and Shadowers:
MengXi (Claire) Xiong
Doh Yun (John)
Thanks to all the volunteers, AAFE, community partners, and PBCS Committee who made this Pro Bono Clinic possible. Please join the next Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic taking place on August 16th at AAFE Community Center. To volunteer, please register here by August 11th. For more information, please click here.
On June 21st, 2023, AABANY held its Manhattan Pro Bono Legal Clinic at AAFE (Asian Americans for Equality) Community Center where dedicated volunteers came together to provide free legal services to the community. Thank you to the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, AAFE, our community partners, and our volunteers! We met with 8 clients and discussed issues relating to immigration, housing, and contracts.
In partnership with AAFE Community Center and other community partners, the Pro Bono Clinic would not be possible without the volunteers’ dedication to serving all members of the community, in both Mandarin and Cantonese. It provides indispensable support to those who may face linguistic or cultural barriers in attempting to gain access to legal services.
The next Manhattan clinic will be on July 19th located at AAFE Community Center, 111 Norfolk Street, NY, NY 10002. You can sign up here to volunteer for our next Pro Bono clinic. For upcoming clinics, please check AABANY’s calendar and update your email preference in your account to receive our emails.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers who made this Pro Bono Clinic a success:
Thank you AABANY, Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee, VNS Chinatown Community Center, and our dedicated volunteers for volunteering on February 18, 2023 at the Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic! We met 24 clients and discussed issues relating to housing, divorces, and guardianships.
Clients’ surveys included the following feedback:
“These services are much in need for the non-English speaking community.”
“Very happy thx services I got.”
“The lawyers were very nice and professional! Thank you!”
Please consider joining us at our upcoming clinics:
On January 7, 2023, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and dedicated volunteers staffed the Pro Bono Clinic at AAFE’s Flushing Community Center in Queens, New York.
The clinic met with 14 clients who had questions about tort, contracts, and housing laws.
Clients who filled out the clinic’s satisfaction surveys remarked:
“Hope there are more of these activities. Helps the community greatly.”
“Extremely grateful! Thank you guys very much.”
Volunteering attorneys have asked clinic staffers about how to learn more about areas of law in which they do not practice. The best way to learn about new, developing areas of the law is from other attorneys. AABANY’s Pro Bono clinics are a great chance to connect with other attorneys.
For law students and law school graduates seeking to complete the 50 pro bono hours requirement, remember to reach out to clinic staffers to learn about the requirement fulfillment process and other ongoing projects at email@example.com.
Thank you Eugene Kim, co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee, for bringing the wealthy cupcakes (fat go) to share with the volunteers!
On December 3, 2022, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee partnered with the VNS Health staff to hold a pro bono clinic in VNS Health’s Manhattan community center from 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM.
Overall, we met with 11 clients who had questions about topics such as immigration, housing, and divorce. With help from our many clinic attorneys and volunteers, AABANY’s PBCS attorneys were able to connect clients with AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service, a program that connects prospective clients from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with qualified lawyers who are both linguistically and culturally competent.
AABANY’s PBCS intern Connor Li spoke about his experiences at Saturday’s clinic with great reverence for the work PBCS is able to do through these clinics. He said, “It’s always a pleasure to help out at the clinic. Whether it’s meeting members of the community or listening to experienced legal professionals, I always feel like I’m learning something at every point. And with the help of the amazing VNS staff, clients with urgent needs for legal advice regarding housing, immigration, and familial issues were checked in and assigned to attorneys with great expediency. We were even able to provide Cantonese and Mandarin interpreters at nearly every client meeting, though we could definitely have used the assistance of more Cantonese interpreters. I would definitely encourage more AABANY members or willing individuals from the general public who know Cantonese to come to these clinics. Your help would be appreciated!”
As with every clinic, free lunch was provided for all attorney and non-attorney volunteers by PBCS. We thank all 11 of our volunteers for coming to provide their invaluable assistance! As always, if you have any questions about upcoming clinics, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for attending, and happy holidays!
Interpreters & Observers
Please make plans to join us as a volunteer at the next Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic on January 14, or please help us spread the word. More details here.
On November 19, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Services Committee and Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) joined forces to hold a pro bono legal clinic at AAFE’s One Flushing Community Center in Queens.
This Saturday’s clinic used a multitude of digital and analog resources to provide top-notch services. We creatively used a hybrid Zoom call setup to bring in immigration attorneys (Jackson Chin and Judy Lee) and maintain a non-stop stream of consultations. One group of attorneys helped a client find actionable steps forward from his complex legal status, providing him with additional resources and referrals. AAFE generously made its printer and xerox machines available, which were critical in handling the larger-than-usual volume of Spanish-speaking clients we saw on Saturday. We were able to print out Spanish-language brochures about asylum, immigration eligibility for public benefits in New York State, and pro bono referrals.
AABANY Legal Intern Daniel Kang reflected on the work he witnessed at the Clinic: “Every attorney who volunteered their time on Saturday was deeply and professionally invested in the problems facing clients. I had the opportunity to shadow and complete intake forms for consultations held by Jackson Chin and Judy Lee. It was incredible seeing Jackson and Judy drill to the legal substance of each client’s case by asking the right questions and bringing their own legal expertise to the fore. I was also heartened by the presence of Spanish-speaking volunteer interpreters who successfully broke through the language barrier between volunteer attorneys and locally based clients.”
Not many of the attorneys who attended Saturday’s clinic practice immigration law or speak Spanish. Immigration law is a complicated practice area which changes with each Presidential administration. A 30-minute legal consultation may not help those in dire need of immigration legal services, but clinics like AABANY’s may be a client’s best hope. Immigrant clients come to AABANY consultations in their attempts at acquiring information about the legal process, updates in immigration policy, how to survive in New York, and legal referrals. As usual, AABANY welcomes any and all practicing attorneys across the city to sign up for future clinics—as well as non-attorney volunteers who can speak Spanish or Chinese. Free lunch is provided to all volunteers at our clinics.
AABANY thanks everyone again for coming to volunteer at Saturday’s clinic! Please join us at our upcoming clinics:
On October 21, 2022, Adhikaar, a community organization for New York’s Nepali-speaking community, hosted its sold-out Fall Utsav at the Queens Museum. Rina Gurung, Board Chair of Adhikaar (and one of the co-chairs of AABANY’s Government Services and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee), opened the ceremony by thanking the Adhikaar Board and its staff for spearheading a wonderful organization that empowers the Nepali-speaking community by addressing social rights, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. Gurung also gave a shout-out to her work colleagues and AABANY.
Kevin Hsi, co-chair of GSPI, and May Wong, co-chair of the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, were also in attendance at Fall Utsav to support Rina and Adhikaar. AABANY’s GSPI and PBCS Committees wish the best to Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar, who steps down from her leadership role at the end of October.
Moving forward, PBCS hopes to bridge a partnership with Adhikaar to secure Nepali-speaking clients for PBCS upcoming legal clinics! For more information about AABANY’s PBCS, please contact email@example.com.
In other news, AABANY’s ties with other Asian American community organizations are as strong as ever. AABANY member and Prosecutors Committee co-founder Kin Ng attended the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn’s (UCA) 20th Anniversary Gala to accept the Community Leader of the Year Award. PBCS partners with UCA to host its pro bono clinics. Register for the December 10th Brooklyn PBCS pro bono clinic here. Read more about AABANY members celebrating with Kin at the UCA Gala here.
Next event coming up that supports AAPI Community-Based Organizations: 11/17 – MinKwon hosting its Virtual Anniversary Gala with NAKASEC