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.

AABANY SOC & In-House Counsel Committees Present- Pre-OCI Series: How to Get an In-House Job

On July 21, 2022, AABANY’s Student Outreach & In-House Counsel Committees hosted a virtual event to advise on the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process, specifically how to get an in-house counsel position. The event, part of the Student Outreach Committee’s Pre-OCI Series, ran from 5-6pm virtually on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Vivian Lee and Sharon Yang and featured the following panelists:

  • Michael J. Eng (MassMutual)
  • Kelly Koyama-Garcia (Louis Vuitton)
  • Madhu Goel Southworth (AMC)

Panelists discussed their individual career paths, the importance of knowing the business of the company before going in-house, how junior attorneys can best prepare themselves for an in-house role, and potential challenges for marginalized attorneys. The discussion was then followed by a Q&A session.

In advising junior attorneys how they can best prepare themselves for an in-house role, some panelists emphasized the importance of drafting experience and the ability to think and speak on the fly. While discussing the potential challenges marginalized attorneys may face, some panelists stated that things are getting better. Some panelists highlighted the importance of being above the radar by taking high visibility assignments and “knocking it out of the ballpark.”

As general career advice, some panelists advised junior attorneys to expect the unexpected, as many of the panelists never planned on working in-house themselves!

AABANY thanks the Student Outreach & In-House Counsel Committees for organizing the event, along with all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. To learn more about the In-House Counsel Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/149 .

Congratulations to AABANY Student Outreach Committee Co-Chair William Lee on Being Honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates William Lee on being honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year on July 12, 2022. Mayer Brown is an international law firm specializing in the global financial services industry with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centers: New York, London and Hong Kong. William was the sole “Pro Bono Associate of the Year” of the Americas out of three international recipients.

William has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. His experience includes volunteering for AABANY’s pro bono clinic, overseeing Columbia Law School’s Pro Bono Caravan, and supervising a postering campaign to provide AAPI neighborhoods in New York with COVID relief information. He is also Co-Chair of the AABANY Student Outreach Committee.

William, an associate in Banking & Finance, emphasized the importance of pro bono work during these trying times. To William, pro bono work means urgency. He noted how right now is the most important time to engage in pro bono, and if we do not fight, nothing will ever change.

William spoke about his experience with AABANY: “Before COVID, I wasn’t really involved with AABANY. I got involved by raising my hand to help the pro bono clinic as a translator. I’m not smarter or more qualified than anyone else in any other way. All I did was raise my hand, continue to say yes, and always try to do the right thing. A lot of law firm associates think they have no time to do pro bono, but I am a walking example that you can do both.”

How does he make time for Pro Bono work as a BigLaw associate? William highlighted the importance of time management: “Sometimes, you have to sacrifice an hour with family or while on vacation for a meeting, but it is worth it in the end.”

William said that while this award was completely unexpected, he is extremely grateful for this honor. He also emphasized that this award is a big win for AABANY.

Please join AABANY in congratulating William Lee on being honored as Mayer Brown’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year!

AABANY Student Outreach Committee Presents – Pre-OCI Series: How to Get a Small/Mid-Sized Firm Job

On July 20, 2022, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee hosted a virtual panel discussion to provide advice on the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process and how to get a small and mid-sized firm job. The event, part of the Student Outreach Committee’s Pre-OCI Series, ran from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Student Outreach Committee Vice Chair Jay Hawlader (Summer Associate ‘22 – Barasch & McGarry) and featured the following panelists:

  • Carolynn Beck (Partner – Eisner, LLP)
  • Keli Liu (Senior Associate – Greenwald Doherty LLP)
  • Richard Sui (Associate – Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP)
  • James Lee (Associate – Littler Mendelson P.C.)

Panelists discussed the pros and cons of joining a small and mid-sized firm, interview tips, and advice for pivoting into big law. The main takeaways included the increased accountability and resilience built at small and mid-sized firms, networking with associates in addition to partners at law firms to better understand the firm culture, and being proactive in utilizing resources such as mock interviews and the career center. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session, where audience members asked questions about hours, which the panelists stated can vary depending on weekly workload, and recession considerations, to which the panelists mentioned that there exists a demand for a variety of legal services during a recession. 

AABANY thanks the Student Outreach Committee for organizing the event and all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121

AABANY Student Outreach Committee Presents – Pre-OCI Series: How to Navigate Biglaw Firms

On July 5, 2022, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee hosted a virtual panel discussion to provide advice for the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process and biglaw firm recruiting. The event, part of the Student Outreach Committee’s Pre-OCI Series, ran from 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Student Outreach Committee Co-Chair Long Dang (Columbia Law School ‘22, Summer Associate ‘21 – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP) and featured the following panelists:

  • Charlene Hong (Cornell Law School ‘23, Summer Associate – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz)
  • Victor Roh (Harvard Law School ‘21, Consultant – Boston Consulting Group)
  • Sharon Yang (Fordham University School of Law ‘23, Summer Associate – O’Melveny & Myers LLP)

Panelists discussed strategies for structuring a successful bid list, how to ask for interview opportunities, and shared their insights on networking. The main takeaways included prioritizing individual values, building professional relationships early on, and being proactive with respect to reaching out to recruiters and upperclassmen. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session, where audience members asked questions about extracurricular activities and tips on answering common interview questions. Panelists graciously stayed after the event’s end time to answer additional questions from the engaged audience. 

AABANY thanks the Student Outreach Committee for organizing the event and all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. Upcoming events in this series include “How to Get a Small/Mid-Sized Firm Job” on July 20, 2022, and “How to Get an In-House Job” on July 21, 2022. 

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 Presents: What Do Labor & Employment Lawyers Do?

On April 7, AABANY’s Student Outreach and Labor & Employment Committees hosted a panel on careers in Labor and Employment law. Topics included the types of lawsuits affecting employers and employees, the role of related government agencies and the impact of COVID on employment law. The panelists were: 

William Ng, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C.;

Chris M. Kwok, JAMS Mediator and Arbitrator;

John S. Ho, Chair of Cozen O’Connor’s OSHA Practice;

Yoojin DeNiro, Associate at Goodwin Proctor LLP; and 

Jennifer S. Kim, Associate at Jackson Lewis.

The event was moderated by Jay Hawlader, AABANY Student Leader and a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. 

The panelists provided a wide range of perspectives based on their different experiences. Students learned about career tracks at labor and employment law firms, companies with in-house practices, regulatory agencies and the courts. Panelists also concurred that labor and employment law is a downturn-proof industry with increasing demand and thus offers great opportunities for eager young lawyers. 

Thank you to the panelists, moderator and attendees. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. To learn more about the Labor & Employment Law Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/398

SOC and NOBL Present: Experiences and Tips to Sustain your Legal Career

On March 31, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee and the Network of Bar Leaders hosted a mentoring session for law students. The event was titled “Experiences and Tips to Sustain Your Legal Career” and featured five distinguished bar leaders: 

  • Vincent Chang, President, New York County Lawyers Association and Past President, AABANY (2007)
  • Jean Dassie, Treasurer, Federal Bar Association SDNY Chapter
  • Austin D’Souza, President, South Asian Bar Association of New York
  • Karen Kim, President-Elect, Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Meredith Miller, Past President, Network of Bar Leaders and LeGal 

The moderators were Margaret Ling, Vice President of the Network of Bar Leaders, and William Lee, Vice Chair of AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee. 

Reflecting on their career paths, the speakers agreed on the importance of setting professional goals with an open mind. Both Karen and Margaret encouraged students to explore broadly, get to know their classmates and warned about tunnel vision in law school. Meredith shared that membership in a bar association has been important to her career as it helped her form many meaningful connections. Vincent added that many bar associations host mentorship programs that are especially beneficial to students and young attorneys. 

In the second part of the event, attendees had the opportunity to talk informally with the speakers. Attendees introduced themselves and received advice tailored to their areas of interest. The conversation ranged from law practice in real estate to how COVID is changing legal academia. 

Thank you to the speakers, moderators and attendees for a festive and informative event. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. To learn more about the Network of Bar Leaders, go to https://www.networkofbarleaders.org/

AABANY Student Outreach Committee and Bankruptcy Committee Present: What Do Bankruptcy Lawyers Do?

On February 9, AABANY’s Student Outreach & Bankruptcy Committees hosted a virtual panel discussion on legal careers in bankruptcy and restructuring. The event, part of the Student Outreach Committee’s Students Meet Mentors Series, ran from 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Student Outreach Committee Co-Chair Long Dang (Columbia Law School ‘22) and AABANY Student Leader Sharon Yang (Fordham Law School ‘23) and featured the following distinguished bankruptcy attorneys: 

Panelists discussed their day-to-day lives as bankruptcy attorneys, recommended classes for interested law students (e.g., Secured Transactions, Basics of Bankruptcy), and shared their perspective on the bamboo ceiling in the industry. The discussion was followed by a participant Q&A, where audience members asked questions about the use of technology in bankruptcy law. The evening ended with a gift card raffle for attendees. Congratulations to Maggie Fang of the University of Pennsylvania Law School for winning the raffle! 

AABANY thanks the Student Outreach & Bankruptcy Committees for organizing the event and all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. To learn more about the Commercial Bankruptcy and Restructuring Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/353

Student Outreach Committee, Pro Bono Committee & AABANY Volunteers Promote Pro Bono Legal Clinic, Know Your Rights Resources, and AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service in Asian and Asian American Communities

On Saturday, September 4, 2021, the Student Outreach Committee and the Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) returned to Asian and Asian American communities across New York City to promote PBCS’s newly-back in person Pro Bono Clinic and AABANY’s COVID-19 Legal Know-Your-Rights Resources as well as AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS). 

The Brooklyn Chinatown volunteers were led by May Wong, Judy Lee and Kwok Ng of the PBCS Committee, the Koreatown volunteers were led by Victor Roh and Will Lee, a key leader and organizer of last year’s event, and the Manhattan Chinatown volunteers were led by Nicholas Loh and Dianna Lam, another key leader and organizer of last year’s event.

This campaign built off the energy and momentum of the initial flyering campaign held last year over the July 4 holiday weekend, during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  This year’s campaign saw the addition of another community, Brooklyn Chinatown, and included over 40 volunteers from AABANY and law schools across the Greater New York area.

The results were impressive. Over 1,000 flyers in Chinese, Korean and English were distributed to local small businesses promoting AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic, Know-Your-Rights information, and the LRIS. Our student volunteers had meaningful opportunities to interact with small business owners who have been hit hard by a staggering two years of anti-Asian hate and violence, COVID-19 business disruptions, and the devastating impact on Asian businesses as a result of xenophobia and racism. 

This event would not have been possible without the co-sponsorship of AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee, AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, AABANY’s Young Lawyers Committee, Asian Americans for Equality, APALSAs from all across the Greater New York area and Mayer Brown.

Read more about AABANY’s PBCS Committee and Pro Bono Clinic, about AABANY’s LRIS service here, HEART here, and Know Your Rights info here. Thanks to all the organizers, co-sponsors, and — especially — all the student volunteers.