In the April 26 article “Columbia Law Students Participate in 2021 Virtual Spring Break Caravans,” Columbia Law School highlighted a few of the remote spring break pro bono caravans students participated in this year. One of the virtual caravans featured was the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Remote Clinic. During the spring break caravan, Columbia Law students helped update AABANY’s COVID-19 webpages, participated in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and did research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. AABANY Student Leader Jenny Park (CLS’21) organized the caravan with AABANY “because it allowed students to become directly involved with COVID-19 relief efforts and address a specific need in a short period of time.”
To read more about participants’ experiences with the AABANY Spring Break Caravan and to read about other virtual caravans, click here. Thanks to Jenny Park for bringing AABANY and the Columbia Law School community together for this opportunity to provide pro bono resources for the community.
NAPABA is proud to join the newly established Alliance for Asian American Justice (“The Alliance”) as part of a coalition of leading AAPI advocacy organizations, Fortune 1000 General Counsel, and over 40 law firms in a national initiative designed to ensure that victims of anti-Asian crime, hatred, and bigotry are able to access pro bono legal services. The work of The Alliance leverages NAPABA’s existing intake efforts on hate crimes and hate incident reporting, and bolsters NAPABA’s leadership in providing victims, community based organizations, and community leaders with the information they need, in the language they understand, through its groundbreaking collection of hate crimes reporting toolkits, which were developed in partnership with the APIA Health Forum and translated into 24 different AAPI languages, the largest collection of its kind. For more on The Alliance, please click here.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American 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 color in the legal profession.
NEW YORK – March 31, 2021 – AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Services Committee (“PBCS”) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (“CCBA”) will launch monthly virtual community presentations and clinic sessions beginning April 2021. This is a joint project to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency by providing free “Know Your Rights” presentations about various common legal issues in housing law, elder law, family law, immigration law, and employment law. Each month will focus on one specific area of law that affects the community, along with a Know Your Rights session on anti-Asian hate and harassment at every virtual presentation. We hope to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence, to inform our audience how to report a hate incident, and to provide helpful resources to victims of hate crime.
AABANY extends its thanks to all members of the Columbia Law School community who participated in the CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan. The Spring Caravan was a weeklong volunteer effort from March 1 through 5 in which law students partnered with AABANY’s remote clinic to update AABANY’s COVID-19 resource pages, participate in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and engage in research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. Through translating both AABANY’s COVID-19 materials and remote clinic intake calls, participating students made COVID-related information more accessible to laypeople, particularly those from minority and low-income backgrounds. The Caravan also offered students many professional development and networking opportunities in the form of an AABANY mentorship program, a meet and greet with the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and lunch with AABANY Student Leaders.
Please see the flyer below for the list of participating students, their reflections on the Pro-Bono Caravan, and the participating attorney mentors. We thank all Caravan participants for their desire to give back to the community and look forward to continuing the fight for equal justice as a team.
During this period of upheaval caused by the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) will be reopening its pro bono legal clinic in a remote capacity to continue aiding the Asian Pacific American community with legal issues including: immigration, housing, employment, family, and elder law. To promote the remote clinic as well as other rich resources relating to the Covid-19 pandemic that AABANY has developed, student volunteers will be going door-to-door this Friday, July 3, to share informational flyers with Asian neighborhood small businesses and residents in Manhattan and Queens.
AABANY’s Pro Bono Legal Clinic opened in 2015 to serve members of the Asian Pacific American community who have limited English proficiency (“LEP”) so that they can have meaningful access to justice. Mobilizing the skills and experience of AABANY’s diverse membership, the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee has spearheaded the Clinic’s effort in helping nearly 2,000 LEP individuals in the vast yet underserved Asian American community in New York through its Clinics in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhoods. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AABANY’s walk-in clinic hours unfortunately had been suspended indefinitely. However, individuals from the Asian Pacific American community can now call and request remote assistance from volunteer attorneys by phone.
Student volunteers from the Asian Pacific American Law Student Associations (“APALSAs”) of NYU, Brooklyn Law, Cardozo, Columbia, CUNY Law, Hofstra, New York Law School, St. John’s, Fordham, Cornell, and Harvard have been working hard to promote the clinic and AABANY’s compilation of Covid-19 related resources via social media and email through their networks and community contacts. On Friday, July 3, they will go into the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Koreatown, Woodside, and Elmhurst to directly get the information out to the community.
“During these unprecedented times, there is a tremendous need for free legal assistance. Many cannot even afford to meet their basic needs and yet they still face many legal issues with nowhere to turn. I applaud the Asian American Bar Association of New York for offering this much needed service to the immigrant community and the community at large,” says New York Committeewoman Sandra Ung, who in March was set to open the Queens expansion of the Pro Bono Clinic in Downtown Flushing until the shutdown was announced.
“The serious challenges brought on by COVID-19 have severely impacted the APA community in New York,” states AABANY President Sapna Palla. “AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic has served the APA community for many years before COVID-19 with competent legal services and information, overcoming linguistic, cultural and financial barriers. AABANY is pleased to be able to continue the vital work of the Pro Bono Clinic through remote operations, with proper regard for the health and safety of our community members, so that we can continue assisting them with their legal issues during these unprecedented times.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the walk-in Pro Bono Clinics have been suspended until further notice. However, our Pro Bono Clinic remains in operation, in a remote capacity. See the flyer below for details.
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.
On Friday, January 17, 2020, thirty AABANY members and friends braved the cold weather to enjoy a mixer at Citifield for the Hello Panda Lantern Festival.
Members were able to walk around the beautifully crafted structures, lit in colorful lights against the black night sky. Members also took a break from the cold and warmed up with hot cocoa and food while networking.
We thank AABANY’s Government Service & Public Interest, Pro Bono and Community Service, Young Lawyers, and Membership Committees for co-sponsoring this event.
GivingTuesday is being held this year on December 3. It is a global movement that began in 2012, and the idea behind it is simple: Do good and help transform your community with your generosity. During this holiday season, we ask that you support our Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic, a project of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY).
The Pro Bono Clinic began in December 2015 and has since served thousands of low-income clients facing various legal hardships. The Clinic has been held in Manhattan’s Chinatown on the second Wednesday of each month since that time. The success of our Clinics in Manhattan has led to an expansion into Brooklyn, which started this fall on a bimonthly basis. We work with local elected officials and community organizations to reach Brooklyn’s Asian American community and draw upon the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s active and diverse membership to serve them. Clients have been coming not only from the five boroughs but from as far as Yonkers, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Our Clinics provide high-quality legal services that are culturally sensitive and linguistically competent. Language and culture pose serious barriers for low-income Asian American community members to receive reliable legal advice. Our Clinics help community members overcome these barriers and seek to widen their access to justice. The Clinics now include mental health professionals and benefits counselors to help community members with their non-legal problems.
Hundreds of volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours for the Pro Bono Clinics. Month after month, they freely donate their time, expertise and legal knowledge to help community members who otherwise would not get the help they need.
Our Pro Bono Clinics can only continue to operate with the generosity of our donors. In September, we announced our goal to raise $25,000 to support the Clinic’s growing operations. We ask that you stand with us and support this vital project. Help us not only to reach our goal of raising $25,000 — through your donations on GivingTuesday – but exceed it! Your donations will support our ongoing expansion efforts and pay for much needed administrative support and supplies.
To make it easier for our members and our community to donate to the Pro Bono Clinic, you can text APAPROBONO to 44321 on your phone. That will send you to our Give Lively page, and you can follow the simple instructions there to make your contribution. You can also donate via the AALFNY website at https://www.asianamericanlawfund.org/donate/ (make sure to indicate that you are donating to the Clinic). Any amount, large or small, will go a long way towards helping us meet our $25,000 goal.
With our best wishes to you all during this holiday season,
Karen Kithan Yau Pauline Yeung-Ha Judy Ming Chu Lee Asako Aiba Co-Chairs, AABANY Pro Bono and Community Service Committee
A copy of AALFNY’s latest annual report may be obtained from AALFNY at donations@AsianAmericanLawFund.org or from the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website www.charitiesnys.com. Information may also be obtained from the NYS Attorney General at 212-416-8686.
We congratulate Karen King, AABANY Member and Counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, on being presented NAPABA’s Pro Bono Award during the Gala at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 9, 2019.
This award recognizes an attorney for outstanding achievement in Pro Bono service that involves impact litigation to advance or protect civil rights and provides direct legal services to individuals in furtherance of the administration of justice.
One of the pro bono cases that Karen was recognized for lasted for over 10 years and involved bias and discrimination in the promotion practices of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority against Asian American Police Officers. Karen found her work on the case to be very important for Asian Americans and rewarding for herself. In her video accepting the award, Karen remarked that young lawyers need to look for and seize opportunities to advance their careers “… and pro bono is an excellent way to do that.”
We are extremely excited and pleased that Karen received this prestigious honor. Please join us in congratulating her.
We commend Paul, Weiss on emphasizing, supporting, and encouraging their lawyers to engage in Pro Bono work and for being a Gold Sponsor.