In the News: Karen King Writes on her 9-0 Victory at the United States Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada

On October 7, 2022, Law360 published a piece written by AABANY Member Karen King titled “Key to a 9-0 Court Win: Look for a Common Ground.” Karen argued before the Supreme Court in March 2022 in Golan v. Saada, in which the Court decided in favor of Karen’s client in an unanimous 9-0 decision. Karen is a Partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, Co-Chair of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and an active member of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force. 

Karen has had an impressive and storied career, with accomplishments reaching back to before her time as a litigator. She was president of the debate team in high school and at Yale University, where she majored in philosophy and political science. After Yale, Karen received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and started her career at Cravath. Two decades later, Karen continues to appear in federal and state courts on behalf of corporate clients while also taking on pro bono clients, being named a “Notable Woman in Law” by Crain’s New York Business and receiving both the Federal Bar Council’s Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service and the National Asian Pacific Bar Association’s Pro Bono award. Her pro bono clients include victims of discrimination, survivors of domestic violence, students with learning disabilities, victims of gun violence, and prisoners in civil rights issues. 

In the article, Karen writes about the strategies and steps her team undertook to prepare for arguing Golan v. Saada before the Court. 

The case concerned an Italian citizen who filed a petition with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to return his child to Italy through the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Narkis Golan, the child’s mother, petitioned the court to prevent the child’s return to Italy, as the father’s history of abuse would put the child at a risk of psychological harm. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the District Court for the Eastern District of New York agreed that the child could be required to return to Italy by finding “ameliorative measures” to prevent such harm to the child. When Karen brought the case to the Supreme Court for Golan, the issue was whether, under the Hague Convention, courts must consider all possible “ameliorative measures” which would lead to the return of a child to their country of habitual residence. The Court ruled in favor of Karen’s client, finding that courts are not obligated to find options that will enable the child’s safe return before denying return based on a risk of harm. Karen describes in her article how she and her team navigated the diverse judicial philosophies of the Court’s justices to achieve a 9-0 victory. 

Karen and her team took a keen interest in the judicial philosophies and oral argument preferences of justices on the Court to draw broad support from the bench. For example, Karen argued that the Second Circuit’s requirement to consider “ameliorative measures” which would favor return was an outcome not grounded in the text of the Hague Convention—an approach smartly tailored for textualist justices. Karen also writes that this case demonstrated how oral arguments offer not just opportunities for petitioners and respondents to emphasize certain legal points, but also chances to shape the justices’ thinking on the case. 

In addition to demonstrating shrewd foresight through a textualist argument, Karen also underscored the importance of children’s interests in the Hague Convention text. These approaches to Karen’s oral argument performance were reflected in the Court’s opinion, where Justice Sotomayor remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The justice drew upon the textualist ideas and child interest issues which Karen had brought forth during oral argument. 


Karen’s article also reflected on the challenges she faced in preparing for oral argument at the Court for this case, as COVID-19 restrictions and partisan tensions reached new heights during preparations. 

Lastly, Karen’s presence alongside two other Asian American litigators at oral argument before the Court places this case in Asian American legal history. The strategies Karen outlined for stellar advocacy go far beyond Golan v. Saada. As an Asian American community leader, Karen advocates for greater diversity in courtrooms and law firms, guides young litigators, and gives back to communities through pro bono work. AABANY is proud to see the inspiring work Karen King has done inside and outside of her role as a litigator, and we are excited to see how else she will continue to be a leading example for the Asian American community. 

The full article can be found at:

https://www.maglaw.com/media/publications/articles/2022-10-07-morvillo-abramowitz-partner-karen-king-mentioned-in-law360-article

Thank You to Our Dec. 3 Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic 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 probono@aabany.org. Thanks again for attending, and happy holidays!

Volunteer AttorneysInterpreters & Observers
Beatrice LeongAlexander Hwang
Francis ChinConnor Li
Grace PyunXiaoli Qin
Jackson ChinYuichi Hayashi
Jayashree MitraYuting Xie
May Wong 

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.

AABANY’s Prosecutors’ Committee and Student Outreach Committee Open Doors for Law Students to Meet Assistant District Attorneys

On October 13, over two dozen law students and New York Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) braved the pouring rain for the Prosecutors’ Committee and Student Outreach Committee’s first-ever mixer. Pizza slices in hand, ADAs from across the five boroughs and Nassau County shared their wealth of experience and helpful advice with law students interested in following them into prosecutors’ offices.  

Prosecutors’ Committee Co-Chair David Chiang made clear that the Asian American prosecutors at this meeting, whose roles ranged from bureau chiefs to brand-new ADAs, were there on a mission. “Asian Americans are incredibly underrepresented” in the prosecution field, Chiang told the room. While many prosecutors have mentors and networks that help them get ADA positions and rise up the ranks, Asian Americans may not have the same breadth of resources for doing so. Building support networks for career advancement in the ADA space was the reason why ADAs and Prosecutors’ Committee members met with law students that night. 

“I want aspiring prosecutors to learn what it’s like to be in the office,” Devin Ly, a Kings County ADA, said. While the workload could be heavy and the demands sky high, he and his colleagues stressed that it’s worthwhile because of the good they were doing for their communities. For many of the prosecutors in attendance, their jobs felt meaningful not through tallying convictions or locking up their fellow borough residents. Rather, many AAPI prosecutors see their job as an opportunity to seek justice more holistically. Talking to students, these prosecutors shared stories, the philosophies of their offices, and how they work hard to do right by defendants and their communities. While the problems of incarceration should still be considered by prosecutors, a prosecutor’s job is ultimately to look beyond someone’s criminal record and the circumstances of the case and ask whether justice is best served by alternatives like social services or other pretrial interventions that would better serve the defendant and the community.

“It was awesome to meet all these prosecutors from all these bureaus!” Andy Xu, a second-year law student from Cardozo exclaimed. “It’s great that AABANY opens things like this up for us!” Justin Lee, a third-year law student from NYU, added.

The event was co-hosted by the AABANY Student Outreach Committee and the Prosecutors’ Committee. We would like to thank Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Cleary’s DE&I team for providing us with space as well as food and drinks for the event. 

With these lessons in mind and with so many connections made between these future lawyers and mentors, and maybe even future colleagues, we can’t wait to see where this collaboration goes from here.

To learn more about the Prosecutors’ Committee please click here. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee please click here.

Thank You to Our 7/23 Queens and 7/30 Manhattan Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

Just in the month of July, we met with 50 clients!!! There were so many positive and a few negative feedbacks from the clients.

Based on the feedback, many clients were grateful for our services and noted that “this is a much needed service in the Asian community.” Many clients cannot afford to speak with an attorney, do not understand the legal system, and are limited English proficient. A few clients complained that the time was too short or that the attorney couldn’t answer their questions.

Many clients asked questions about immigration, housing, contracts and fraud, wills, trusts, and estates. We also met with pro se litigants who have questions about liens, wage garnishment, judgment proof, and the New York State Exempt Income Protection Act.

Thank you AABANY, our volunteers, the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY). In fact, we were amazed to have dedicated law students joining us on July 30 even though they just finished their NYS Bar exam that week. 

So…if anyone’s interested in the next round of mini-bar exams, please come join us at our next Pro Bono Clinics! To volunteer or to learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Services Committee, please visit probono.aabany.org.

From Flushing, Queens (7/23): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 19 clients. These cases covered various areas including immigration, housing, contract, and fraud. Of the 19 clients, 5 spoke Spanish, 11 spoke mandarin, 2 spoke Cantonese, and 1 spoke English.

Volunteer AttorneysInterpreters & Observers
Beatrice LeongAlexandra Lao^
Eugene KimJoy Fan^
Evelyn Gong*Nicole Morikawa^
Hooney HeohReni Axelrod^
Jackson Chin*Sharmie Azurel^
Johnny ThachYvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Kyoung JungWeiqiao Lin^
Shirley Luong 
Duane Morikawa 
Yaoyu Liu 
Yvette Wang 
Zhaohua (Josh) Huang 
John Hwang (licensed out-of-state) 
May Wong 
Theresa Yuan 
^ = non-attorney volunteers
* = remote

From Chinatown, Manhattan (7/30): Thank you, volunteers, for helping us meet with 31 clients. Majority of these cases were related to housing, contracts and fraud, and wills, trusts, and estates. Of the 31 clients, 16 spoke mandarin, 7 spoke Cantonese, 7 spoke English, and 1 n/a.

Volunteer AttorneysInterpreters & Observers
Ailsa ChauAlex Hwang^
Beatrice LeongAlexandra Lao^
Chao-Yung (Kloe) ChiuJoy Fan^
Eugene KimKirin Moy^
Eun Hye (Grace) LeeMeng Zhang^
Francis ChinNandar Win Kerr^
Jackson ChinReni Axelrod^
Kwok Kei NgTeresa Wai Yee Yeung^
Lindsay HaoYvette Adiguzel^ (licensed out-of-state)
Lulu Jing 
May Wong 
Meghan Liu 
Min Jung Esther Choi 
Theresa Yuan 

Please feel free to join us at our upcoming Pro Bono Clinics in August –

Manhattan – August 20 – Cutoff time to register by 12pm, 8/17 to recruit volunteers

Location – 33 Bowery, Community Room at Confucius Plaza, New York, NY 10002

Please sign up here – https://airtable.com/shr1fbjStq7JLSaWY

Brooklyn – August 27 – Cutoff time to register by 12pm, 08/24, to recruit volunteers

Location – United Chinese Association of Brooklyn (UCA), 1787 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Please sign up here – https://airtable.com/shreNdk1DNGzCiHp2

Thank You to Our June Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

On Saturday, June 25, 2022, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee in collaboration with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) organized a Pro Bono Clinic in Flushing, Queens. Thank you to all our volunteers for participating! 

AABANYAAFE
Beatrice LeongGabriel Hisugan (AAFE)
Bei YangKeshari Tuisyan (AAFE intern)^
Evelyn Gong*Lilian Cheung (AAFE intern)^
Kyoung JungMaria del Carmen Cruz (AAFE)^
May WongYichun Liu (AAFE intern)
Shengyang WuZulma Vazquez (AAFE) (Spanish)^
Xue Huang
Yaoyu Liu
John Hwang
Lyubing Teng^
Meg Annamaneni^
Meng Zhang
Nicole Morikawa^
Sharmie Azurel^
Yvette Adiguzel^
^ = non-attorney volunteer

At the clinic, we met a total of 13 clients: 8 Spanish-speaking, 2 Mandarin-speaking, and 3 English speaking folks who had questions related to immigration (6 cases); housing (4 cases – 1 case with criminal context involved); unemployment insurance benefits (1 case); matrimonial (1 case); and wills/trusts/estates (1 case). 

Our volunteers were able to learn from each other and employ useful resources online to help clients look for information. This includes researching how to apply for IDNYC, a municipal identification card for all New Yorkers regardless of their immigration status, compiling information tool kits for a client’s ongoing immigration case, or referring them to other legal service providers. Volunteering attorneys and law students worked closely with AAFE’s interpreters to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. 

Volunteer Yvette Adiguzel stated, “Some clients had issues relating to a case that had already been initiated in court. When advising a client involved with a case, a useful resource to obtain New York case-related information online is eCourts NY. Anyone can use the e-courts information service for free and can search with information such as the party name, case number, type of court. eCourts NY can also be used to look up future date appearances regarding criminal and family cases, and can provide information relating to the active and disposed cases in civil courts and the Supreme Court. A tracking service called eTrack is an option available free of charge on the eCourts NY website so that you can monitor and set reminders relating to cases in civil local, supreme and family courts as well as criminal cases.” Many of the clients were grateful to the attorneys and volunteers, like Yvette, who were able to provide their expertise and provide informed legal advice. 

Thank you again to all our volunteers! 

If you would like to volunteer, our next clinic dates:

7/23/2022, 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Deadline to register 7/20/2022, 12pm.

We hope to see you at our next clinic on July 23! Please sign up!
To learn more about the Pro Bono Committee and what they do visit probono.aabany.org

Thank you to our Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan!

AABANY hosted for the second time the Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan. This year, Caravan representative Angel Li (CLS ’23) reached out to the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) and Student Outreach Committee (SOC) to supervise six students during the week of March 14, 2022. During this program, students shadowed volunteer attorneys at the Queens pro bono clinics held on Saturdays, researched and drafted legal training materials for the pro bono clinics, attended a legal community presentation about bankruptcy, and met with various mentors from law firms and SOC graduates.    

On behalf of PBCS, we want to thank these law students for creating much-needed training materials to help volunteer attorneys in recognizing common issues in housing, family, wills and estates, and immigration law with flowcharts and outlines. These pro bono clinics act like triages in which attorneys spot issues for the individuals and provide legal information and referrals within a 30-minute session. We’ve been quite fortunate to have the support of our volunteer attorneys who are willing to teach each other and to open the eyes of these young law students about the problems many indigent and limited English proficient clients face daily.

On behalf of SOC, we are grateful for the not-for profit and biglaw corporate attorneys coming together to mentor these law students. Despite their different backgrounds and areas of practice, members of AABANY are always generously contributing their time, resources, and efforts to aid the AAPI community and leading these law students to a career of their own choosing.

Rather than picking just one essay from the Caravan, we believe it’s best to share with you all a snippet of these law students’ thoughts about the Caravan. We wish them the best in completing their studies and continue the AABANY’s spirit of giving back to the community.  

Regards,

Eugene Kim, PBCS

William Lee, SOC

May Wong, PBCS

Supervisors of the Caravan

“In the first instance, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the texts that were assigned preparatory to the start of the Caravan. The excerpt from How Do You Live? was especially memorable as a means of getting me into the right mindset before the program even formally began. It goes without saying that behind every law student and lawyer lies a sizable aggregation of resources: years of schooling, various internship opportunities, and votes of confidence from a network of supportive people. Law students and lawyers are the products of considerable societal investment; as such, it is incumbent upon them to give back and to give generously.”

-Andrew Chang –

“While I knew that our society had those problems, I realized that knowing problems is different from helping people facing the problems. I also understood that volunteer attorneys need to deal with various issues in different legal areas in a limited time in the clinic. Therefore, clients’ problems are not entirely solved there, but clients are given helpful advice on the following steps to solve the problems.”

– Nobuko Ikeda –

“Overall, I really valued not only peeking into the issues faced by the community, but also into how Asian American attorneys are helping combat those issues through the clinic. This caravan has inspired me to participate in the pro bono clinic as a future attorney, and I look forward to exploring even more ways to make the sessions efficient and to help the clients legally and emotionally.”

-Angel Li –

“What I found during the research was that massive amounts of materials and resources are already provided by municipal bodies, government officials, and private law firms on the internet. However, people who are not legal professionals would have difficulty utilizing these public resources. The difficulty arises from a language barrier and complexity in understanding and applying legal standards to one’s own situation.”

– Shota Sugiura-

“I appreciated all the genuine and candid advice I received from our Caravan supervisors, and am especially grateful for the wisdom from my AABANY mentor. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from lawyers from a range of backgrounds: those working in public service, those at firms, those who have transitioned to in-house. It was an equally exciting chance to build bonds with other Columbia APALSA members who felt passionate about giving back to our community.”

-Amanda Yang –

AABANY Attends Asian Justice Rally in Manhattan on January 30

Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

On Sunday, January 30th, a group of AABANY members from the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) and Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committees joined a nationwide rally for Asian justice. The AABANY group, led by May Wong, vice-chair of PBCS, and Kevin Hsi, co-chair of GSPI, held vibrant posters to raise awareness on anti-Asian hate and violence. 

The Asian Justice Rally was held on the anniversary of the death of 84-year old Thai grandfather Vicha Ratanapakdee, commemorating him and the many victims of Asian hate. The rally drew attendees in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, and worldwide on livestream. In Manhattan, speakers included Senator John Liu,  Senator Chuck Schumer, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo, NYC Public Advocate Jumanne Williams, the daughter of victim Vilma Kari, the aunt of the late Christian Hall, and Assistant District Attorney and AABANY member Grace Vee. 

A group of AABANY members, including co-chair of GSPI Kevin Hsi (far left), holding colorful printouts brought by AABANY member and event speaker Grace Vee. Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

“Silence is violence, we are not a virus.”

“Get it right the first time, that was a hate crime.” 

The crowd chanted in Foley Square, surrounded by the New York Supreme Court, the Federal Courthouse and the Manhattan Municipal Building. Hundreds of attendees held signs demanding justice and awareness. Around 2:45 pm, a minute of silence was observed in remembrance of the victims of anti-Asian hate. The rally ended with a march through the streets of Lower Manhattan.

Thank you to everyone who attended this event to denounce the hatred and violence faced by the AAPI community. To learn more about the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/117. To learn more about the Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI) Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/113. To view more pictures of the event taken by AABANY leaders Kevin Hsi and May Wong, please visit https://photos.app.goo.gl/nnxQ33UugR21NrNh6

Photo by Han Wen Zhang.

In The News: AABANY’S Karen King Co-Authors New York Law Journal Article in DOJ’s China Initiative

On November 8, 2021, the New York Law Journal published an article co-authored by Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Co-Chair Karen King, together with fellow Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Telemachus Kasulis. The article is entitled “DOJ’s China Initiative’s Three-Year Anniversary: Growing Pains and Uncertainty.” 

The article discussess how the Department of Justice’s “China Initiative” encourages discrimination and racial profiling against Asian Americans. The China initiative was started three years ago to combat economic and national security threats from the Chinese government. The article reveals how in reality only a small portion of cases involved actual charges of economic espionage or conspiracy. In one instance, a Chinese Canadian engineering professor, Anming Hu, was wrongly prosecuted for being a Chinese spy and was acquitted of all charges this past September. 

The authors note a parallel of the China Initiative to other discriminatory acts: “Critics continue to liken the China Initiative to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, McCarthyism, and racial profiling against Muslims in the wake of the September 11th attacks.” 

The article relates that the Biden administration has only made five new cases public. The authors note that the Biden administration appears to be stepping away from non-disclosure cases in which ties to the Chinese government appear weak. 

To read the full article, click on the following link: 

https://files.constantcontact.com/d6baf1e7801/f2add8b0-8343-4378-956c-6826d2ca9289.pdf

Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and Government Service & Public Interest Committee Launch First Hybrid Pro Bono Clinic on Aug. 14

On August 14, AABANY’s Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee and Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) Committee hosted a hybrid legal clinic and provided a “Know Your Rights” presentation for residential and commercial tenants on the topic of rent arrears and evictions. The event was held at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in Manhattan’s Chinatown and was co-sponsored by AABANY, CCBA, Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY).

During the presentation, which was shown on Zoom and screened in-person at CCBA, Rina Gurung, an associate court attorney at the New York State Unified Court System and co-chair of the GSPI Committee; Kensing Ng, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in East Harlem; and Meghan Liu, a Cleary Gottlieb pro bono fellow at Legal Services NYC, discussed different types of cases that are brought in housing court, such as nonpayment, holdover, and housing part cases. They also explained which eviction moratoria are in effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized that these laws can change at any time. This was especially relevant, given the imminent expiration of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act on August 31, 2021; the expiration of the CDC’s moratorium on October 3, 2021; and the U.S. Supreme Court’s August 12, 2021 opinion striking down part of the New York moratorium.

Gurung, Liu, and Ng also provided resources that tenants could contact to file hardship declarations and explained the basics of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides rental arrears, temporary rental assistance, and utility arrears assistance to low- and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. They also explained that landlords seeking to sue their tenants should hire a lawyer and for those who received a marshal’s notice to go to court. In addition, the presenters explained differences in procedures for cases involving commercial tenants and provided resources for both landlords and tenants, phone numbers for free consultations for income-eligible individuals, and a guide to landlord disputes. Bei Yang, a contract attorney at On Call Counsel, interpreted the presentation live into Mandarin Chinese.

Eighteen clients attended the clinic for one-on-one legal consultations with AABANY volunteers, including 12 who had registered beforehand, one virtual caller, and five walk-ins. Topics ranged from housing and matrimonial law to immigration, fraud, medical malpractice, and personal injury. All available client consultation slots were successfully filled.

One client, an older man who only spoke Cantonese, came to the clinic because he had been scammed by a woman who claimed to be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him online. She then asked him to send her a significant sum of money, and he did so before realizing that she was a fraud. Such occurrences are not uncommon, especially among elders, and individuals who have been or who know victims of similar types of fraud should not feel ashamed to tell their stories or speak to an attorney. Sharing these stories promotes awareness of these types of scams and helps others avoid them.

While AABANY volunteers were conducting one-on-one consultations, several clients watched the presentation in the CCBA sitting area. One client asked for the PBCS email to see if she could get a recording of the presentation and re-watch it, as she missed a portion of the live presentation. She also was impressed by clips from the Anti-Asian Violence PSA that explained what hate crimes were and how they can be reported, and asked for the link to the YouTube video, even though she spoke no English. After the one-on-one consultations concluded, volunteers debriefed the clinic and got to know each other over a post-clinic meal at Canton Lounge.

The PBCS Committee thanks Rina Gurung, Kensing Ng, and Meghan Liu for lending their expertise in rent arrears, eviction moratoria, and landlord and tenant rights and Bei Yang for providing a live interpretation of the presentation. The Committee would also like to thank Beatrice Leong, Francis Chin, Guiying Ji, Jae Hyung Ryu, Judy (Ming Chu) Lee, Karen Kithan Yau, Kwok Ng, Samantha Sumilang, and Shengyang Wu for providing clients with legal information and resources during one-on-one consultations; Kloe Chiu and Esther Choi for providing language interpretation during one-on-one consultations; Luna Fu and Wai Yip from AAFE for language interpretation and other assistance; Zhixian (Jessie) Liu and Poonam Gupta for acting as standby consultants for immigration-related questions; and Asako Aiba, Karen Lin, Kevin Hsi, Kwok Ng, May Wong, Megan Gao, and Olympia Moy for coordinating and staffing the clinic.   AABANY would also like to thank CCBA, CCCNY, and AAFE for co-sponsoring this event. We are also grateful to the staff at Charles B. Wang for providing video resources on mental health and anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the PBCS Committee and its work, click here and here. The PBCS Committee is tentatively planning to hold its next hybrid legal clinic on Saturday, September 18, 2021 between 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM. For up-to-date details about the clinic and registration information, please click here.

AABANY Hosts its Annual Judges’ Reception on May 25 in Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Judiciary Committee hosted its annual Judges’ Reception on Zoom. The reception honored newly inducted, elevated and retiring judges in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. 

Will Wang, Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed the judges and the attendees to the virtual reception. Last year’s event did not happen, due to COVID-19, and we were pleased to be able to host judges and attendees virtually via Zoom this year.

The following elevated judges were honored:

Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally, Supervising Judge, New York City Civil Court, New York County

Hon. Katheryn S. Paek, New York City Criminal Court, New York County

The following newly elected judges were honored:

Hon. Wyatt Gibbons, New York Supreme Court, Queens County

Hon. Philip T. Hom, New York Supreme Court, Queens County

Hon. Leigh K. Cheng, New York City Civil Court, Queens County

Hon. Hyun Chin Kim, County Court, Orange County

Hon. E. Grace Park, New York City Civil Court, New York County

Hon. Meredith Vacca, County Court, Monroe County 

Hon. John Z. Wang, New York City Civil Court, New York County

The following newly appointed judges were honored:

Hon. James R. Cho, United States Magistrate Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

Hon. Diane Gujarati, United States District Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

The reception also recognized and honored two judges who had retired from the bench:

Hon. Peter Tom, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department

Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department

The honorees recognized at the event are trailblazers for Asian Americans in the judiciary. Of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, Asians remain the least represented group in positions within the judiciary. Although Asians make up around 6% of the United States population, in 2020, they comprised less than 3% of federal judges. In the state of New York, although Asians make up 9% of the population, Asians represent a mere 2% of state judges. That number raises even more concern when we consider that Asians account for some 14% of the population in New York City, and Manhattan’s Chinatown is literally right around the corner from State and Federal courthouses. In light of current events and the rise in anti-Asian violence, AAPI representation on the bench is more important than ever. AABANY thanks the honorees for their pioneering example.

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, the Judiciary Committee also held a short trivia game where participants would answer questions about the history of Asian American Pacific Islanders in the United States. Questions included: What was the purpose of the Chinese Exclusion Act? Which President signed the joint resolution commemorating APA Heritage Month? What was the reason for boycotting Miss Saigon on Broadway? The winners, who each answered nine out of the ten questions correctly, were Joseb Gim, AABANY Prosecutors’ Committee Co-Chair; L. Austin D’Souza, AABANY Judiciary Committee member and SABANY President-Elect; and the Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, an AABANY Founding Board Member and the AABANY Trailblazer Award honoree from the 2020 Fall Conference. The winners received buttons which had been created to raise funds for AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic, inscribed with the words “One Humanity against the Virus.”

Congratulations to all the judges who were recognized and honored at this year’s Judges’ Reception, and thanks to everyone who joined us for this event. 

To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee and its work, click here.