Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon is pleased to announce the investiture of Peggy Kuo as United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Kuo will be sworn in at the Theodore Roosevelt Courthouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at 5:00 P.M.
Judge Kuo is the first Taiwanese-American federal judge in New York. Before her appointment, Judge Kuo was the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, the largest municipal tribunal in the country. Previously, she was Chief Hearing Officer at the New York Stock Exchange, where she was in charge of disciplinary matters involving violations of federal securities laws. She was also litigation counsel at WilmerHale, LLP.
From 1998 to 2002, Judge Kuo prosecuted war crimes at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Her historic trial regarding mass rape in Bosnia later became the topic of the documentary film “I Came To Testify.”
After clerking for the Honorable Judith W. Rogers, then Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, Judge Kuo worked as a federal prosecutor, first as an Assistant US Attorney in the District of Columbia, prosecuting general crimes. She then became a trial attorney and Acting Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division Criminal Section at the US Department of Justice, where she investigated and prosecuted hate crimes and allegations of police misconduct.
Judge Kuo was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States at the age of three. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Once again, congratulations to Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, who was sworn in on October 9, 2015. Her appointment was featured in World Journal, a prominent Chinese language newspaper. To read a translation of the article, “EDNY Adds Another Asian Female Judge,” which mentions AABANY President William Wang, read below. To read the article, click on the link in the title.
Thank you to AABANY Member Lucia Yang for the translation.
Peggy Kuo was appointed to be the third Asian American judge in the United States District Court, Eastern District Court of New York. Kuo graduated from Harvard Law School, used to work as the Deputy Director of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings of New York City and the Chief Hearing Officer of NYSE.
Peggy Kuo, 51, graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. She used to clerk for Judge Judith Rogers at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, worked as the Assistant U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia and the Acting Deputy Chief of U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. In addition, she worked as a prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague from 1998 to 2002, where she was in charge of investigating and prosecuting the war criminals in former Yugoslavia and crimes against humanity.
Kuo served as the Chief Hearing Officer at the NYSE for six years since 2005, and then served as the Deputy Director and General Counsel of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings of New York City since February, 2011. Kuo’s appointment to be the Magistrate Judge of the Eastern District Court of New York was approved on July 21, 2015. She was sworn in recently. Meanwhile, Kuo is a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York and served as the vice president of Manhattan Legal Services and on the board of the Federal Bar Council.
Kuo’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was three and hence she can speak fluent Taiwanese. Her father works as civil engineer in New York, while her mother takes care of the family. Kuo is second of four sisters in her family, all her sisters become doctors or lawyers. Kuo said that she never thought about becoming a law enforcer when she was a child, “because at that time, there was basically no female judges or district attorneys.” But after graduating from law school, she decided to give it a try and now has become one of the few Asian American judges in federal courts.
The Asian American Bar Association of New York applauded her appointment and congratulated on her selection. President William Wang pointed out that Kuo’s appointment represented an increasing number of Asian American judges in federal courts, and reflected the efforts of federal courts to appoint judges from diverse background. Wang also stated that the number of Asian American judges in all levels of U.S. courts is disproportionate with the number Asian American members in the community. AABANY will make continuous efforts to have more qualified Asians serve in the judicial branch.
Peggy Kuo’s appointment made her the third Asian American judge in Eastern District of New York. The other two are Judge Pamela Chen and Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go. All of the three judges are female.
Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director (718) 228-7206
NEW YORK – October 14, 2015 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that Peggy Kuo has been appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Ms. Kuo was sworn in on October 9, 2015.
Before her appointment as United States Magistrate Judge, Peggy Kuo was Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Before that, Ms. Kuo was Chief Hearing Officer at the New York Stock Exchange, counsel at WilmerHale, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and Acting Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division Criminal Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1998 to 2002, Ms. Kuo was a prosecutor with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where she investigated and prosecuted war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ms. Kuo is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. She clerked for Hon. Judith W. Rogers, then Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals. She is President-Elect of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court. In 2010 she was honored by AABANY at its Annual Dinner.
“AABANY congratulates Ms. Kuo on her selection as a Magistrate Judge of the Eastern District of New York and is proud to have supported her candidacy,” states AABANY President William Wang. “With her appointment, Ms. Kuo joins the growing number of distinguished Asian Pacific Americans who are serving in our Federal courts. Although Asian Pacific Americans remain under-represented at all levels in the judiciary, AABANY commends the Eastern District of New York for its efforts to increase diversity on the Federal bench. Ms. Kuo’s appointment represents a step forward in creating a judiciary that reflects the diversity of the communities that it serves.”
For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
In honor of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the Diversity Committee hosted a dialogue and lunch reception last week with Peggy Kuo, General Counsel for the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, and Alan Chang, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for the New York Yankees.
Mr. Chang, who grew up in Queens, began his legal career as a litigator in Los Angeles before joining cable sports giant ESPN. A longtime Yankees fan, he recalled telling his wife that ESPN was his “number two dream job,” with the Yankees occupying the top spot. Two years into his role at ESPN, Mr. Chang learned that the Yankees were seeking an attorney with cable sports news experience. He had just bought a home and was feeling settled, but the job was an opportunity he felt he couldn’t pass up.
“And 13 years later, they can’t trade me,” he joked. “I feel like I found my dream job.” When he joined the team, Mr. Chang was one of just four Asian-American attorneys in Major League Baseball (one of whom worked for the Mets). He has done significant work on a Yankees cable television venture and the team’s new Bronx stadium. “It’s never boring,” he said.
Ms. Kuo cited the importance of her City roots. Her father, an immigrant from Taiwan in the 1960s, worked for the Department of Environmental Protection for 44 years, where he designed sewers for the City, and Ms. Kuo was a product of the City’s public school system. Unlike her father, however, she was eager to explore many different careers.
“I have a curious mind, a restless spirit, and no aversion to risk taking,” she said. “Opportunities come up, and you have to be ready to take them.”
Following law school, she pursued trial work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “It’s a job I would have done for free,” she said. Years later, she was getting settled into Washington, D.C. and about to buy a home, when she learned of the chance to prosecute crimes stemming from the war in Yugoslavia. Ms. Kuo journeyed to The Hague, where she prosecuted the only mass-rape case in Bosnia, as well as a torture and murder case against a camp commander.
Her return to New York four years later felt like a homecoming. “I always think of the City like a family,” she said. After work in private practice and with the New York Stock Exchange, she took her present role at OATH (which involved an interview with the Corp. Counsel.)
During the Q&A, Mr. Chang and Ms. Kuo were asked what qualities they feel their cultural and ethnic backgrounds contribute to their respective legal careers.
Mr. Chang said that he felt his background lent him an increased sense of cultural sensitivity and understanding that could be applied to the Yankees’ diverse fanbase.
Ms. Kuo noted, “I can see things from more than one viewpoint. My mom struggles with English, and when I was making arguments to the jury, I’d, in my mind, be making those arguments to my mom. I’d say, ‘Would my mom understand this?’”
Thanks also to Andrea Chan, William Ng, Tanisha Byron, Stuart Smith, Michael Wasser, and Raju Sundaran of the Diversity Committee – and Lisa Forrester-Campos, Stephen Kim, Keith Miloscia, Connie Pankratz, Madhu Parthasarathy, Liza Sohn, Peter Tsai, and Gloria Yi.
AABANY member and 2010 honoree Peggy Kuo, General Counsel to OATH (Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings) and former Chief Hearing Officer for the New York Stock Exchange, was a prosecutor at the Hague. She prosecuted Serb soldiers who repeatedly raped Muslim women in Bosnia during the war in the former Yugoslovia and helped to create law that defined rape as a crime against humanity. She talks about her involvement in the case in part 1 of the PBS 5-part series “Women, War & Peace." The first part is entitled "I Came to Testify,” and it airs tonight, October 11, on Channel 13. Be sure to tune in for what should be a compelling series on an important and topical subject. Click on the link in the title for further details.
Peggy was also interviewed by Ms. magazine’s blog about her role in the landmark international war crimes tribunal case. Click here to read the interview.