On February 21, 2023, AABANY’s Student Outreach & Bankruptcy Committees hosted a virtual panel discussion to inform students about different career pathways for bankruptcy attorneys. The event ran from 6-7pm virtually on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Student Outreach Committee Co-Chairs Sharon Yang and Charlene Hong and featured the following panelists:
· Courina Yulisa (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)
· Patrick Chen (Morgan Stanley)
· Jacqueline Tran (Law Clerk to SDNY Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane)
· Annie Wells (U.S. Trustee Program, Department of Justice)
Panelists discussed the difference between bankruptcy and restructuring and the unique characteristics of bankruptcy as a legal practice. In particular, the panelists highlighted how litigation and transactional skills overlap within a bankruptcy practice group at a firm. The discussion also covered the day-to-day of a bankruptcy law clerk, the various hats an in-house counsel must wear, and the role of a government attorney in the U.S. Trustee Program. The main takeaways included the importance of seeking various internships and opportunities to gain exposure to bankruptcy practice, and the value of networking with bankruptcy attorneys to understand their various roles.
AABANY thanks the Student Outreach and Bankruptcy Committees for organizing the event and all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please click here. To learn more about the Commercial Bankruptcy and Restructuring Committee, please click here.
Again showing AABANY’s commitment to raising up the next generation of Asian American lawyers, the Government Service and Public Interest (GSPI) committee teamed up with the Student Outreach Committee (SOC) and Mayer Brown LLP to host the first ever “AABANY Students Meet Government and Public Interest Lawyers” event. The program was held on the evening of February 23 and was very successful, featuring a room packed with students and mentors, and two professional panels, followed by a networking reception.
The panels showcased how Asian Americans have succeeded as lawyers in government service and in the public interest. The panels featured:
Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief Counsel from the Office of Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall;
Sofia Khan, Director of the Family Law Unit from Legal Services NYC (LSNYC);
Belinda Luu, Staff Attorney from Mobilization for Justice’s (MFJ) Special Litigation Project;
Frank Ng, Deputy General Counsel from the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH);
Kwok Ng, Associate Court Attorney from New York City Civil Court;
Nakeeb Siddique, Director of Housing from the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office;
Marti Weithman, Assistant Commissioner from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (DHPD); and
Annie Wang, Director of Immigrant Justice Project from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education (AALDEF).
The panels showed students what it is like to work in a variety of fields in government and public interest and what it takes for students to get a foot in the door.
The panel discussions were followed by a networking reception with more government service and public interest lawyers. In attendance were, Ernie Collete from MFJ, Kevin Hsi from DHPD (also GSPI Committee’s Co-Chair), Jonathan Rosen from New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), May Wong (Pro Bono & Community Service Committee Co-Chair) from DC 37 Legal Services. Also, in attendance were AABANY’s Executive Director Yang Chen, Vice President of Programs and Operations Beatrice Leong, and Treasurer and Co-Chair of the GSPI Committee Evelyn Gong.
Thank you to AABANY student leaders Stephanie Sun (Fordham Law) and Alex Lao (Pace Law), SOC Vice Chair Justin Lee (NYU Law), SOC Co-Chair William Lee (Associate, Mayer Brown LLP) and GSPI Committee Co-Chair Rina Gurung (Associate Court Attorney, Housing Court) for leading the charge.
Special thank you to Mayer Brown LLP for sponsoring and hosting this event.
To learn more about the GSPI Committee, click here. To learn more about the SOC, click here.
After all guests arrived, each attendee gave a one-minute self-introduction, which gave the guests a good opportunity to learn more about each other. While enjoying the delicious fare, attendees played Two Truths and a Lie, a fun icebreaker.
After everyone ate, the Christmas gift exchange took place, with order determined by lottery. To receive the gift, the recipient had to repeat the self-introduction of the gift giver.
After Christmas dinner, some attendees went on to enjoy an after-dinner karaoke party.
The event welcomed a wide range of attendees, including law students, corporate and tax law practitioners, retired professors and their significant others, who gathered to celebrate Christmas even though they do not have family around in New York, finding home and family among their AABANY friends.
Thanks to the Co-Chairs and Vice Chairs of all the co-sponsoring Committees for helping to organize and promote this enjoyable event and to everyone who came. We look forward to more fun events from these Committees in 2023 and hope you can join them!
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.
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 .
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!
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.