On June 24, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee hosted a virtual discussion on how to become an administrative law judge (ALJ), as part of the Committee’s Road to the Bench series. Panelists included Hon. Kenneth Chu, Administrative Law Judge at the National Labor Relations Board; Hon. Grace E. Lee, Administrative Law Judge at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Hon. Christopher P. Lee, Retired Administrative Law Judge of the Social Security Administration; and Rena Malik, Principal Law Clerk at the New York State Supreme Court and Co-Chair of AABANY’s Judiciary Committee. The panel was moderated by Mark Son, Associate Court Attorney at the Bronx County Criminal Court.
The roundtable discussion began with a question from Mark asking the panelists to describe their path towards becoming an ALJ. Judge Grace Lee shared how her passion for justice and public service inspired her to take on various roles in government and public policy, which ultimately led her to taking the Civil Service Exam and landing her current position as an ALJ at the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Judge Chu spoke about his longtime interest in employment and labor law and how he applied for the ALJ position at the National Labor Relations Board while serving as an administrative judge at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Judge Chris Lee detailed the seven year process he underwent when applying for the ALJ position because he missed the deadline to apply in 1987 and had to wait until 1994 for a new position opening.
The remainder of the roundtable discussion focused on questions about the ALJ application process. Previously, all applicants applied through the Office of Personnel Management, but after changes enacted under the Trump Administration, applicants now apply through individual agencies’ vacancy announcements. Judge Grace Lee explained the process of completing the Civil Service/Legal Specialities Exam, a questionnaire where applicants can explain their skills and experiences for agencies to review. Asked about the skills and experiences ALJ applicants should have, the panelists agreed that it is important to be able to process a lot of information quickly, while also being detail-oriented and conscientious about due process. It is also helpful for applicants to have litigation experience.
The discussion concluded with Rena sharing how the AABANY Judiciary Committee can assist interested candidates. A main goal of the Judiciary Committee is to advance Asian American and Pacific Islander attorneys onto judgeship positions in all levels of the benches, and the Committee can assist applicants by providing a recommendation letter or connecting applicants with current employees at agencies. To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee, click here.
Join a Town Hall on Thursday, April 8, 2021 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm featuring selections from the documentary film Down a Dark Stairwell just days before the national April 12th PBS premiere on Independent Lens.
The roundtable conversation among national community leaders will explore the themes of the film and the broader cultural and historical context of today’s tragic headlines. The roundtable will be moderated by celebrated author Jeff Chang and will feature panelists Cynthia Choi (Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action), Robeson Taj Frazier (Associate Professor of Communication, USC Annenberg), Hua Hsu (Staff Writer, The New Yorker and Associate Professor of English, Vassar College), Bo Thao-Urabe (Executive Director, Coalition of Asian American Leaders), and Down a Dark Stairwell filmmaker Ursula Liang.
The film follows the events that occurred after Peter Liang, a Chinese American police officer, shot and killed an innocent, unarmed black man named Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project in 2014. It examines the aftermath of the shooting, and how it thrust two marginalized communities into the uneven criminal justice system together. AABANY Issues Committee Chair Chris Kwok appears in the film.
For more information about the Town Hall and to register for this event, click here.
On March 5, 2019, the AABANY LGBT Committee held a roundtable discussion titled: “Transactional Identities: Navigating the various contexts of coming out for Asian American lawyers.”
Presenting were Connie Montoya, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP; Janice Jabido, IP Counsel, Pratt & Whitney; and Tony Thomas, Chief Legal & Labor Relations Officer, City University of New York – Brooklyn College.
Dennis M. Quinio, Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Milbank, LLP, moderated the discussion.
Our esteemed presenters jump-started the conversation, sharing their experiences being LGBT and Asian American within the legal profession, their families and their communities at large. They discussed the struggles of being in the closet; the dynamics of coming out to colleagues, clients, and family members; and strategies for overcoming day-to-day challenges such as microaggressions. Several Asian American LGBT attorneys from private practice, government and the nonprofit sector attended the discussion and shared their experiences in this confidential space, meant to foster a candid and supportive dialogue. We heard about others’ experiences harmonizing identities that may seem to be in conflict and explored how living our “authentic” selves can impact our effectiveness at work.
The law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton graciously hosted the event. At the beginning of the roundtable, Sandra Flow, Partner and Chair of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion at Cleary, delivered warm welcoming remarks, affirming the firm’s commitment to supporting diverse attorneys.
If you would like to join the AABANY LGBT Committee or learn more, email John Vang at firstname.lastname@example.org.