From the Historical Society of the New York Courts:

Hon. Randall T. Eng shares his experience as the first Asian-American judge in New York State. At the time of the filming of this interview, he was also the first Asian-American Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, appointed in the fall of 2012. Watch as Justice Eng talks about his family background, career in the law, how he handled discrimination and racism, and the people in his life that served as inspiration.



NEW YORK – Sept. 8, 2017 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) is proud to announce that the Hon. Randall T. Eng, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department, will be the recipient of the Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award at AABANY’s Eighth Annual Fall Conference on September 23, 2017, to be held at the Fordham University School of Law.

Named for Norman Lau Kee, a revered legal and community pillar of New York City’s Chinatown for decades, this Trailblazer Award honors an accomplished leader in the legal profession who is of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent or has demonstrated dedication to APA issues in the community. This award honors an individual who has carved a path for others to follow, served the community as a mentor and role model, and has made a lasting impact on the APA community through his or her dedication and commitment.

Hon. Randall T. Eng was a groundbreaker long before he was appointed by Governor Cuomo to be the first APA Presiding Justice of an Appellate Division in New York. A graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, Justice Eng served as New York’s first APA Assistant District Attorney in 1973. He later became the first APA judge in New York in 1983, when Mayor Edward Koch appointed him to the Criminal Court of the City of New York.

Justice Eng was elected to two terms as Justice of the New York Supreme Court in 1990 and 2004, and in 2007 became the first Asian American Administrative Judge of the Queens County Supreme Court, Criminal Term. A former colonel of the New York Army National Guard, adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law, and Inspector General of the New York City Correction Department, Justice Eng’s career shines brightly as an exemplar of both service and groundbreaking pioneering ability.

Born in China, Justice Eng moved to the United States with his family when he was just six months old. His father, an Air Force veteran of World War II, opened a laundry and cleaning store in Queens—one of the few options available for Asian and immigrant families during that time. Aware from an early age of the barriers that awaited him if he tried to pursue law, Justice Eng remained, in his own words, “undaunted…because that was the era of civil rights.” It is that undaunted spirit of Justice Eng’s that has made him a trailblazer and an inspiration for Asian Americans in the legal community and throughout the country.

Today, Justice Eng plays a key role in the development of jurisprudence and judicial policy in New York as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department. The ten counties under its purview make Justice Eng’s Appellate Division one of the nation’s busiest. From supervising the court’s various agencies to being the Second Department’s Chief Administrator, Justice Eng has significant responsibilities at one of the highest levels of the state’s judiciary system. All the while, he has helped to pave the way for generations of APA lawyers in government, and remains an uplifting example for the APA community.

“At a time when the obstacles that face APAs in the law seem innumerable, Justice Randall T. Eng through his career has blazed a trail toward a more promising future for APAs in the legal profession and inspired generations of lawyers,” states AABANY President Dwight Yoo. “AABANY is honored to present Justice Eng the Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award at its Eighth Annual Fall Conference.”                                    

For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].

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).


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On January 31, AABANY’s Judiciary Committee co-organized a community celebration in New York’s Chinatown in honor of the Hon. Randall T. Eng to recognize his historic elevation to Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department, the first Asian American to be appointed to this position. About 250 attendees filled Delight 28 located at 28 Pell Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown, next door to the building that Presiding Justice Eng and his family first moved into upon arriving in the United States from Hong Kong.

Many AABANY members were present, including President Jean Lee, Immediate Past President Linda Lin and past presidents James Chou, Vincent Chang, Yang Chen and Glenn Lau-Kee. The Prosecutors’ Committee also turned out in force, having honored Presiding Justice Eng as a trailblazer in 2011. Rosemary Yu, ADA from the New York County DA’s office, was one of the organizers of the event, together with Mark Fang, who came to know Justice Eng through the JAG Corp.

Presiding Justice Eng’s parents, wife, sister and in-laws also came out to celebrate along with many community members and leaders, not just in Chinatown but from Westchester as well.

We thank everyone who attended for making this a truly memorable and special occasion.

AABANY Applauds the Appointment of Randall T. Eng as Presiding Justice, App. Div., 2nd Dept.

AABANY Applauds the Appointment of Randall T. Eng as Presiding Justice, App. Div., 2nd Dept.