The In-House Counsel Committee and the Corporate Law Committee of AABANY held the 2024 Winter Soiree on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at Le Chalet in Saks Fifth Avenue. This annual event was set against the stunning backdrop of an elegant indoor space and the breathtaking midtown skyline from the balcony, providing a perfect setting for a night to remember.
This Winter Soiree marks the first time we held it in-person, having held a virtual Winter Soiree during the pandemic in 2022. We also moved this event from summer to winter during AABANY’s 2024 fiscal year, so that we did not follow the AABANY dinner in May 2023 with another major event in June, the traditional time when we held our annual soiree for in-house counsel and law firm attorneys.
The Winter Soiree was an invite-only event, open to in-house counsel, law firm attorneys and sponsors of AABANY’s 2023 Annual Dinner and the 2024 Winter Soiree. The event enjoyed the attendance of numerous senior in-house lawyers, including many General Counsels, as well as senior attorneys and partners from law firms, making it an ideal opportunity for networking, reuniting with friends, and making new connections. The diverse group of attendees represented several companies across various industries and top global and regional law firms. We are grateful for the participation of many companies, including the following non-exhaustive list, encompassing a broad range of industries:
Christian Dior Couture
Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp.
The Walt Disney Co.
Tiffany & Co.
Zurich American Insurance Co.
The event began at 6:30 pm. Guests enjoyed an array of hors d’oeuvres, drinks, wines, and cocktails, accompanied by engaging conversations. Discussions at the soiree covered a wide range of topics, from potential referrals and collaborations to personal interests and hobbies. About an hour into the event, AABANY’s In-House Counsel Committee Co-Chairs Anushree Bagrodia, David Sohn, and Kazuko Wachter, gave welcoming remarks and spoke about the work of the In-House Counsel Committee and AABANY to advance the legal profession and the AAPI community. Dennis Hopkins, Partner at Perkins Coie, a Platinum sponsor of the Winter Soiree, also addressed the crowd and spoke about the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the long relationship Perkins Coie has had over the years with AABANY.
AABANY thanks all the Winter Soiree sponsors for helping to make the event possible:
Baker & McKenzie LLP
Davis + Gilbert LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Haynes and Boone LLP
Jenner & Block LLP
Littler Mendelson P.C.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP
Herrick Feinstein LLP
Rupp Pfalzgraf LLP
Wilson & Chan LLP
AABANY also thanks our 2023 Annual Dinner sponsors that make our year-round programming, including marquee events like the Winter Soiree, possible. For a full listing of all our 2023 Annual Dinner sponsors, go here.
We also appreciate the efforts of the Corporate Law Committee’s Co-Chairs Tracy Feng, Alice Hsu, Edward J. Lee, Vice Chair Ashley Wong, and the student volunteers for their invaluable assistance in helping us before and at the soiree.
On September 23, 2023, AABANY hosted its 14th annual Fall Conference, “Embracing Wellness and Well-being,” at the Fordham University School of Law. This year’s conference was co-sponsored with Fordham Law School’s Center on Asian Americans and the Law. AABANY was also honored to co-host the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association (NAPIPA) 4th Annual Conference. AABANY thanks NAPIPA for contributing many excellent programs to the Fall Conference, including the Plenary Lunch Session.
Credit: Rosa Margarita McDowell
The conference kicked off with breakfast, which welcomed legal professionals from around the country to Fordham Law School. Attendees chatted over coffee, pastries and other breakfast fare, sharing their excitement and anticipation, before heading off to attend the morning’s CLE programs.
The morning session of the conference offered a variety of topical programs to choose from, including:
The sessions ran concurrently, in two 90-minute blocks in three parallel tracks.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Embracing Wellness and Well-being,” which was well- reflected in this year’s diverse lineup of programs. The morning’s panels laid a strong foundation for the rest of the event, addressing complex and evolving challenges within the legal profession, while emphasizing the importance of well-being and community engagement. This thematic emphasis on well-being resonated throughout the event, encouraging attendees to reflect on their roles as legal professionals while nurturing their personal and collective wellness. To see photos from the morning session go here.
During the first part of the morning session, AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force premiered their video, “Voices against Anti-Asian Hate.” The documentary featured survivors of anti-Asian hate attacks and community supporters, followed by a panel discussion among members of the Anti-Asian Violence Task Force involved in the production of the video. For more information about the screening, click here.
Credit: Qijun (Simon) Ma
In a fourth track, the Fall Conference’s Trial Advocacy Program (TAP) was held. TAP offered junior lawyers a unique opportunity to hone their trial skills under the guidance of experienced mentors. This year’s TAP program was particularly noteworthy for conducting the first two segments over Zoom, in the weeks leading up to the Fall Conference. The program unfolded over two virtual sessions on specific dates. The first segment, held on September 13th, delved into Opening Statements and Direct Examinations. The second session, which took place on September 20th, covered Cross Examinations and Closing Statements, further enriching participants’ trial skills and knowledge.
The culmination of the TAP program occurred in-person, at the Fall Conference, kicking off with an engaging keynote speech delivered by Brian Lee, Executive ADA at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. His insights and expertise added tremendous value to the program. Following the keynote address, TAP participants conducted a mock trial, where participants had the chance to put their newly acquired skills into practice. Seasoned trial lawyers graciously served as mentors during this mock trial, providing invaluable feedback and guidance to help participants refine their trial advocacy skills. Thanks to all the TAP mentors and participants who made this year’s TAP a success.
Starting at 10:30 am, the Fall Conference offered a Diversity Career Fair, featuring a range of public and private sector organizations eager to network and connect with passionate young professionals. Participating employers included Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society, the U.S Department of Justice, and several District Attorneys’ offices. Attendees were able to converse with representatives, receiving answers to questions and learning more about working at the various agencies, organizations and companies. Some employers collected resumes and held on-site interviews, providing the opportunity for candidates to express their interest in working for participating employers.
To see photos from the Diversity Career Fair, go here.
Attendees convened in the Costantino Room for the Plenary Lunch Session, featuring the program “Prosecution in the 21st Century: Discussion with Four Trailblazer District Attorneys.” The panel featured four renowned District Attorneys, including:
Eric Gonzalez, District Attorney, Kings County
Alvin Bragg, District Attorney, New York County
Darcel Clark, District Attorney, Bronx County
Thien Ho, District Attorney, Sacramento County
Participants listened intently as the DAs discussed their unique journeys and challenges as diverse attorneys and prosecutors. They talked about their roles as advocates for future diverse prosecutors and shared their visions and policies for the short- and long-term future of prosecution. Additionally, the DAs addressed the crucial issue of prosecuting anti-Asian bias incidents and hate crimes, emphasizing the importance of combating prejudice and protecting marginalized communities.
The Fall Conference also featured the Corky Lee photo exhibit, featuring six photos taken by the renowned photographer. The exhibit highlighted Corky’s legacy of photographing every aspect of the Asian American experience. The works on display included a 2003 photo of Asian American judges from both the Federal and State judiciary, with Hon. Denny Chin and Hon. Marilyn Go (Ret.) featured in front, and a photo of Vincent Chin’s mother, illustrating the long legacy of anti-Asian hate crimes. AABANY honored Corky with an award in 2017 recognizing his invaluable contributions to society and especially the AAPI community. We continue to carry forth his legacy of activism through the work of AABANY and its partners at the 2023 AABANY Fall Conference, NAPIPA (National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association) and the Center on Asian Americans and the Law at Fordham Law School.
The afternoon session featured more engaging and impactful programs:
These panels covered a range of topics, including work-life balance, affordable housing, hate crimes prosecution, and mental health well-being. Additionally, they discussed the importance of embracing wellness in the legal profession and promoting diversity in appellate courts. Overall, the panels provided insights and strategies for addressing these pressing issues in the legal profession. Attendees were exposed to a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and opportunities for professional and personal growth. To see photos from the afternoon session go here.
After a full day of CLE programs, TAP, and DCF, the conference closed with a cocktail reception, where panelists and attendees connected over drinks and light bites.
Credit: Qijun (Simon) Ma
“It was such an honor to be surrounded by so many different law students and lawyers from so many different areas of law, and learn more about the Asian legal community,” said volunteer Alyzah Ziga, part of the large Syracuse Law School contingent. A special thanks goes out to the dedicated student volunteers from:
Brooklyn Law School
Cardozo School of Law
Columbia Law School
Fordham Law School
New York Law School
New York University
NYU School of Law
Pace School of Law
Seton Hall School of Law
St. John’s University School of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
Touro Law Center
Thank you for generously contributing your time to assist with registration, address attendee inquiries, and handle attendees check-in/check-out for CLE credits. The Fall Conference would not have run as well and as smoothly without your assistance throughout the day. To see some photos of our dedicated volunteers, go here.
The informal and relaxed atmosphere during the reception allowed attendees to actively converse and forge professional connections, a testament to the sense of camaraderie and community that had been prevalent throughout the day. “It was amazing to meet all of these like-minded and passionate Asian American lawyers. It’s always very inspiring to be around such driven, and accomplished individuals who really just want to help each other succeed. Though this was my first Fall Conference, it’s definitely not going to be my last,” said Kwonsun Jung, Young Lawyers Committee Co-Chair and associate at Lowenstein Sandler.
Credit: Qijun (Simon) Ma
While the reception was still going on, some of the attendees departed Fordham Law School to attend NAPIPA’s 9th Annual Scholarship Banquet & Trailblazer Award Presentation, hosted at Seng Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown. AABANY congratulates Paul Jhin, President of NAPIPA, for winning the Award of Excellence. Paul has not only been a prominent leader but also a catalyst for change within the AAPI law community, serving as an inspiration to all. Judge Chin received NAPIPA’s Trailblazer Award. Judge Denny Chin’s illustrious career and commitment to justice have not only left an indelible mark on the legal community but have also inspired countless individuals. We would also like to recognize Hugh Mo, who was honored with NAPIPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Hugh’s lifelong pursuit of legal excellence and AAPI advocacy serves as a testament to his commitment to justice and equity for all. Lastly, AABANY extends its warmest congratulations to James Lin, this year’s recipient of AABANY’s Trailblazer Award. James has been a powerful and dynamic presence in the criminal justice and law enforcement community for over thirty years, and we are excited to formally recognize his considerable achievements over a long career. The evening was a true celebration of outstanding individuals dedicated to making a positive impact in our legal community, and AABANY is proud to have been a part of it. To see photo from the NAPIPA Scholarship Banquet, go here.
AABANY wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors who contributed to the success of the 2023 Fall Conference. We extend our sincere thanks to the following sponsors:
Broadridge Financial Solutions (Elite Sponsor)
ConEdison (Elite Sponsor)
Fish and Richardson (Elite Sponsor)
Perkins Coie (Gold Sponsor)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Bronze Sponsor)
Goldstein Hall (Bronze Sponsor)
Hudson Court Reporting (Bronze Sponsor)
Kensington Vanguard (Bronze Sponsor)
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati (Bronze Sponsor)
In addition, we acknowledge and thank the Annual Dinner 2023 Sponsors for their generous year-round support of AABANY. We extend special recognition to Morrow Sodali, our After-Party Sponsor; Broadridge Financial Solutions, our Diamond Sponsor; and Kirkland & Ellis, our Pre-Dinner GC Reception Sponsor. To view a full list of our generous sponsors, please visit our sponsors page here. Your continued support empowers us to pursue our mission and create meaningful events like the Fall Conference. Thank you for your commitment to AABANY as well as its numerous programs and activities.
Furthermore, AABANY thanks all our esteemed panelists and moderators for sharing their valuable insight and time with our members and community. We express our sincere gratitude to all the Program Chairs who organized an excellent slate of programs. We are deeply grateful for their vital role in making this event an enriching and enlightening experience for all attendees. Finally, thank you to the attendees and volunteers who gave us their valuable time this weekend. The Fall Conference thrived through your participation, and we hope that we will see you again at upcoming AABANY events.
For more information about this year’s Fall Conference, you can visit our website here.
On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, AABANY hosted its 2023 Annual Dinner with the theme “Embracing Wellness and Well-Being: Strengthening the Legal Profession by Investing in Ourselves” at Cipriani Wall Street. Celebrating AABANY’s 34th anniversary, this was our first Annual Dinner during Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month! The dinner attracted over 900 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 50 law firms and corporations.
The event commenced with the Pre-Dinner General Counsel Reception, a gathering of GCs from companies representing a wide variety of industries, including biotechnology research, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion, financial services, insurance, internet privacy and security, medical, real estate, and more.
Attendance at the reception was exclusive to sponsors and invited guests, with a successful turnout of more than 55 GC attendees. We thank our Reception sponsor, Kirkland & Ellis, for helping us kick off the night with this well-attended program. For the full list of general counsels who accepted AABANY’s invitation, please click here.
AABANY was proud to honor:
Michael Wu, Chief Legal Officer, Bath & Body Works, Inc. with AABANY’s Corporate Leadership Award
Prisca Bae, Chief Partnerships Officer, The Asian American Foundation with AABANY’s Women’s Leadership Award
Hon. Charles Ellis Schumer, U.S. Senator of New York with AABANY’s Impact Leadership Award
AABANY Corporate Leadership Award honoree Michael Wu delivered a powerful speech on the importance of resilience. He shared the inspiring story of his mother, a Hong Kong orphan and homeless refugee who overcame adversity to achieve the American dream. If she could do it, Michael declared, then “anyone in America can become a success.”
Prisca Bae, AABANY’s Women’s Leadership Award honoree, shared her initiatives aimed to uplift our AANHPI community. She emphasized the importance of collective improvement, motivating the audience to “[aspire] to be better” and to “aim to [become] CEOs.” Her heartfelt sentiments served not only as a beacon of encouragement, hope and optimism but also an affirmation of the possibility that our aspirations are attainable.
We were joined by New York Senator Charles Ellis Schumer, AABANY’s Impact Leadership Award recipient, who delivered remarks on the strength of the AANHPI community as we “[embody] what the American dream has always been about, coming to this country, working hard building a better life for yourself and your children.” His speech resonated with those who are paving the way for our families and fellow community members. We thank Senator Schumer for his continuous efforts in providing opportunities and resources for the AANHPI community so we can keep pursuing the American dream.
This year, we had the privilege of having Kate Siahaan-Rigg, a remarkable actress, comedian, and activist, as our Master of Ceremonies (MC). She was our MC during our 2022 Annual Dinner, and we were delighted to have her host this year’s event. To read a post-Annual Dinner letter from our MC, read the blog post here.
We were proud to honor Debevoise & Plimpton with the Law Firm Diversity Award for its commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession. To read more about the award, read the press release here.
In addition, we presented the 2023 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Samuel S. Kim, Kristie-Valerie Hoang, and Emily Yan. Read more about the program here.
We extend our sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to our cause and helped us raise more than $20,000 for AABANY-AALFNY’s Turn the Tide (T3) Project to fight anti-Asian hate and violence. Special thanks to MC Kate Siahaan-Rigg for her unwavering humor and compassion in helping us reach our fundraising goal. We also acknowledge the survivors of anti-Asian hate and violence for sharing their stories in the AABANY Anti-Asian Violence Task Force’s “Voices Against Anti-Asian Hate” video, produced by Peter Chin. We were privileged to host survivors of anti-Asian violence, their families and friends at the Annual Dinner.
We thank all of the AABANY 2023 Annual Dinner Planning Committee members and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a huge success. Thanks to President Karen Kim for her leadership of the 2023 Annual Dinner Planning Committee which started during her year as President-Elect in the prior fiscal year. In support of AABANY’s theme, Karen announced AABANY’s inaugural Wellness Day, to take place in July, during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
Lastly, we thank everyone who attended the 2023 Annual Dinner and for helping make it a memorable and momentous celebration. Please save the date for the 2024 Annual Dinner: it will take place on May 22 at Cipriani Wall Street! For now, look back at these photos to reminisce, captured by Karen Zhou and Victor Suwatcharapinun. Videos from the 2023 Annual Dinner can be viewed on the event’s webpage here.
On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, AABANY hosted its 2020 Annual Dinner with the theme “Stronger Together: Unity in Diversity” at Cipriani Wall Street. The dinner attracted over 800 attorneys, judges, prosecutors, in-house counsel, government officials, and dignitaries and sponsorships from more than 60 law firms and corporations.
This year AABANY was proud to honor:
Hon. Sri Srinivasan, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with the Public Interest Leadership Award.
Alan Tse, Global Chief Legal Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., with the Corporate Leadership Award
Yen Chu, Chief Legal Officer, Equinox Holdings, Inc., with the Women’s Leadership Award
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with the Law Firm Diversity Award
To read more about our extraordinary honorees, read the press release here.
This year, Spectrum NY1 News Anchor Vivian Lee served as MC and was joined on stage by Immediate Past President James Cho.
James presented each of the honorees with special gifts from AABANY. Noting that Alan Tse was considered by his peers to be “The Closer,” James presented him with a bottle of McCallan, a nod to Attorney Harvey Specter from “Suits,” another well-known “Closer.” However, because Alan had to fly back to Chicago, the full-size bottle was replaced with a miniature size, with a ziploc bag that will ensure the bottle gets through security. (We have a feeling that the bottle was consumed well before Alan made it to the airport.)
For Yen Chu, James presented her with a monogrammed workout head towel for her next session at one of Equinox’s many gyms. That is one way to make sure that AABANY is “top of mind” for Yen in the days to come. Finally, for Chief Judge Srinivasan, we figured that as a jurist, he can never have too many robes, so James presented him a wizard’s robe, bearing his name above the Gryffindor crest. Although we doubt we will see Chief Judge Srinivasan wearing that robe on the bench any time soon, we can imagine him donning the robe in chambers, especially on those occasions where he may need to work some judicial wizardry to decide the most difficult cases.
In addition, we were also pleased to present the 2019 class of Don H. Liu Scholars: Grace Cho, Raymond Magsaysay, and Andrew Tran. To read more about the Don H. Liu Scholars, see our press release here.
Congratulations also to the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. The Pro Bono Clinic was recognized with the New York State Bar Association Bar Leaders Innovation Award. NYSBA President Hank Greenberg attended the Annual Dinner to present the award. To read more about the award, see our press release here.
We thank all of the AABANY Annual Dinner Planning Committee members
and volunteers for their hard work in making this year’s celebration a
We extend sincere thanks to all of our sponsors. Their generous sponsorships make it possible for us to pursue our mission to advance the interests of the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community and the communities we serve and support our many activities and signature events throughout the year.
Lastly, we thank everyone that attended the 2020 Annual Dinner and celebrated with us.
Thanks to Corky Lee for the photos in this blog post. More photos to come. Stay tuned!
Check out Law360′s Top 100 Firms for Minority Attorneys.
The firms on this list have made some headway in shaking up a stubbornly bleak picture of diversity in the legal industry. Law360’s 2016 Diversity Snapshot revealed that less than 15 percent of attorneys at U.S. law firms surveyed by Law360 are minorities. Less than 9 percent of partners at U.S. law firms are minorities.
We’re proud to count quite a few among our sponsors:
White & Case
Ropes & Gray
Morrison & Foerster
Baker & McKenzie
Arnold & Porter
Debevoise & Plimpton
Shearman & Sterling
Hinshaw & Culbertson
Latham & Watkins
Sullivan & Cromwell
For more information, click on the link in the title.
On Tuesday, June 17, the In-House Counsel Committee and Corporate Law Committee held their 7th Annual Winetasting and Networking Reception at La Fonda Del Sol in Midtown Manhattan. Blossom Kan and Austin So, Co-Chairs of the In-House Counsel Committee, kicked off the event by welcoming all the attendees and introducing Dwight Yoo, Larry Wee, and Charlotte Kim, Co-Chairs of the Corporate Law Committee.
Following the welcomes, Clara Ohr, AABANY President, introduced and thanked all the sponsors for the event, especially the anchor sponsors, Planet Depos and Summit Financial Printing.
As part of the event, in-house counsel and corporate attorneys had the opportunity to network over hors d’oeuvres and wine. As an icebreaker, in-house counsel attorneys had an incentive to network with corporate attorneys; they had the opportunity to win an iPad Mini. Austin So, Co-Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee explained that the in-house counsel attorney with the most business cards from law firm attorneys would win the iPad Mini. Congratulations to Jean Lee, who won with a total of 59 business cards! Jean raffled off the iPad Mini amongst the attendees who dropped his or her business card in Planet Depos’ raffle bowl. Congratulations to Francis Chin, who won the raffle! Francis Chin generously raffled the iPad Mini amongst the volunteers who are also law students. Congratulations to Christina Nguyen! [Note: Christina is an AABANY Legal Intern and she wrote this summary – not on her iPad Mini, though, as far as we know.]
Thank you to our anchor sponsors, Planet Depos and Summit Financial Printing, our premier sponsor Perkins Coie, and other Wine Tasting sponsors, Archer & Greiner, Dentons, Haynes and Boone, Mayer Brown, Morgan Lewis, Paul Weiss, Reed Smith, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. We would also like to acknowledge all of our Annual Dinner sponsors, without whom the events throughout the year would not be possible.
The event was a great success and we hope to continue to enjoy the In-House Counsel Committee and Corporate Law Committee’s annual wine-tasting and networking reception. Thank you to all our sponsors, attendees, and volunteers. (Thanks to Kevin Wong for the photos!)
May 21 – In celebration of APA Heritage Month, AABANY collaborated with the New York City Bar Association to present a re-enactment of “22 Lewd Chinese Women.”
Thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible: AIG; Baker Hostetler; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Planet Depos, LLC; and Proskauer Rose LLP.
Thank you also to our Community Partners for spreading the word: Above the Law, AALDEF, Asian American Federation, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Chinese Progressive Association, and Binghamton University Asian and Asian American Alumni Council.