On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, AABANY’s In-House Counsel Committee held its annual Summer Soiree at the Castell Rooftop Lounge located atop AC Hotel New York Times Square. The beautiful midtown skyline served as the perfect backdrop to a memorable night filled with hors d’oeuvres, a variety of drinks, wines, cocktails, and many conversations. Around 100 senior in-house lawyers and senior law firm attorneys and partners attended the networking event. This was the first Summer Soiree held in person since 2019, with the 2020 soiree being canceled due to COVID-19, and the 2021 soiree held over Zoom at the beginning of 2022 as the Winter Soiree. Everyone seemed happy to be gathering in person again for this popular event.
Attendees discussed various topics ranging from career pivots during the pandemic to favorite pastimes and hobbies. While munching on mini lobster rolls and sipping curated cocktails, attendees also heard from AABANY’s Co-VP of Programs and Operations, Beatrice Leong, In-House Counsel Committee Co-Chair, Blossom Kan, and Immediate Past President, Terry Shen. Some spectacular photographs from the night taken by Karen Zhou can be found linked here.
The attendees formed a diverse cohort, representing 74 companies across industries, including Apple, Meta, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, Inc., and top global and regional law firms.
We thank and acknowledge the following sponsors for helping us make this event possible:
AABANY President, William Ng, and AABANY Immediate Past President, Terry Shen, spoke with, Ashley Wong, an Associate at Sidley Austin LLP, for the New York City Bar Association podcast posted on May 26, 2022, to comment on AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Professional Career Trajectories.
Associate Ashley Wong began the conversation by examining the present landscape for AAPI advancement in their careers. She notes that while the US AAPI population is the “fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the country,” growing by 88% in the past two decades, “many AAPI employees are still portrayed as ineffective or weak managers, resulting in AAPIs leaving companies at higher rates and not reaching senior positions.”
Commenting on his career path and success in reaching leadership positions, AABANY President Will Ng spoke to the support he had received from colleagues and members of the AAPI community as integral factors to his success. Similarly, Immediate Past President Terry Shen also detailed the effective alliances that had helped him progress dynamically from the field of STEM to Corporate Law and even to Investment Banking. Common to their responses, both AABANY leaders spoke to the importance of having strong role models that formed their support network and the foundation for their success.
In recognizing the work that AABANY does to ensure that future leaders in the field of law have access to more diverse role models, Will and Terry spoke about both the local and systemic changes that AABANY has put forth. From organizing pro bono clinics for LEP communities to facilitating legislative change toward the protection and promotion of AAPI communities, AABANY has advocated for meaningful participation and leadership of and for AAPI communities. Within AABANY, Terry spoke to AABANY’s Leadership Development Program, which seeks to “address the continued under-representation of [AAPI] attorneys in leadership positions in the legal field.”
To conclude the interview, Ashley asked both leaders to share any advice they had for aspiring lawyers and AAPI individuals interested in pursuing the legal profession. Will encapsulated his advice into three key points: “Think strategically, speak to others, and plan ahead.” Terry reiterated the importance of forming solid alliances with mentors and colleagues.
On November 30, 2021, the New York State Bar Association presented the Bar Leaders Innovation Award in the Large Bar Association category to AABANY for its report A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence Against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19. The award is presented to “recognize Bar Associations for adapting to the needs of their members and the community at large by introducing innovative programs, ideas, and methodologies that benefit everyone involved.”
The Dominican Bar Association (DBA) received an award in the Small Bar Association category in recognition of donating and delivering $10,000 worth of essential foods to at-risk families in the South Bronx. The award was accepted on behalf of DBA by the President, Doralyn De Dios.
A joint award was presented to the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY), in the Small Bar Association category, and Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), in the Medium Bar Association category, in recognition of program collaboration for members and communities most affected by COVID-19. MuBANY and MMBA started an Affinity Bar Collective which brought together a coalition of about twenty affinity bars (including AABANY) to collaborate on assisting members and communities most affected by COVID-19. President of MuBANY, Sania Khan, accepted the award on behalf of MuBANY and President of MMBA, Anta Cisse-Green, accepted the award on behalf of MBBA.
In the Medium Bar Association category, the Immediate Past President, Paula Engel, accepted the award presented to the Onondaga County Bar Association for the Bond, Schoeneck & King Series on Race and Justice in Central New York. The series was created to provide legal and non-legal programming aimed at opening a respectful, constructive and healthy dialogue about systemic racism and unequal access to justice in the community.
Terry discussed AABANY’s journey on writing the report. In 2020, AABANY embarked on this report in response to the increase in anti-Asian racism and violence. AABANY began to take measures to combat these issues which included a call for local and national leaders to denounce hate crimes and putting on programs to teach attorneys about hate crime. AABANY started the report in mid-2020 and published the report in February 2021. The proposals for change included more education on the history of anti-Asian violence, discrimination, hatred and xenophobia; increased diversity and inclusion in law enforcement and government; and improved collection and classification of data on hate crimes. To advance the implementation of the Report’s proposals, AABANY has formed an Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, which remains active and involves participation by numerous AABANY Committees. Although anti-Asian violence accounts have faded from the media, the Task Force is continuing the fight to turn the tide of hate and violence against the AAPI community.
Terry thanked MuBANY and MBBA for reviewing early drafts of the report. He also gave thanks to Paul, Weiss for co-authoring the report. Yang urged attendees to donate to the Turning the Tide (T3) Project, a joint initiative with AALFNY.
The New York County Lawyers Association also received an award in the Large Bar Association category in recognition of the COVID-19 Resource Center for lawyers. In March 2020, NYCLA announced the launch of their COVID-19 Resource Center which provided new content on a daily basis, expanded CLE Tuition Assistance Program, and offered low cost and no-cost online CLEs. The award was accepted by NYCLA President, Vincent Chang, a former AABANY President (2007).
AABANY previously received the Bar Leaders Innovation Award three times. In 2019, AABANY was recognized for its Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic program, a collaboration with AALFNY. In 2016, AABANY received the award for its Seventh Annual Fall Conference: Speak Up / Rise Up / Lift Up. In 2013, AABANY was recognized for its trial reenactment, IVA: The Myth of Tokyo Rose, Allegiance on Trial.
AABANY congratulates all recipients of the award and thanks the New York State Bar Association for this honor and recognition.
AABANY is excited to announce that President Terrence (Terry) Shen was featured in the 2021 Power of Diversity list of New York’s Top 100 Asian American Leaders published by City & State on July 19, 2021. Terry was recognized as 53rd on the list.
City & State wrote:
As partner at the law firm Kramer Levin, Terrence Shen represents New York’s top corporate interest clients like MVC Capital in its merger with Barings BDC, which represents more than $1.5 billion of assets. Shen is also the president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. Under his leadership, the association released Know-Your-Rights literature, hosted public forums on rising anti-Asian hate crimes and organized candidate forums for New York’s district attorney races.
Congratulations and thank you to Terry for representing AABANY among New York’s most influential Asian American leaders.
In addition to Terry, several others featured on City & State’s list have worked with or been associated with AABANY, as members, community partners, or sponsors. We extend our congratulations to them as well.
Among the others in the top 10, AABANY has worked with Ron Kim (2), State Assembly Member; John Liu (3), State Senator and first Asian American to serve on the City Council; and Margaret Chin (9), New York City Council Member.
AABANY also congratulates:
Sandra Ung (16), New York City Council Primary Winner for District 20 and former AABANY treasurer;
Shekar Krishnan (16), New York City Council Primary Winner for District 25 and former AABANY member;
Faiza Saeed (34), a Presiding Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a Gold Sponsor of AABANY for many years;
John Park (35), Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, one of our longtime community partners;
Margaret Fung (38), Co-founder and Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, one of our longtime community partners;
Preet Bharara (52), as the first AAPI United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a regular speaker at our annual Prosecutors Reception and an honoree at our Annual Dinner in 2015;
My Chi To (54), Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services and former AABANY member;
Ruchi Shah (65), President of SABANY, a sister bar association and longtime collaborator with AABANY;
Justin Yu (80), Chair of the New York Chinese Chamber of Commerce, an AABANY partner of many years for our walk-in Pro Bono Clinic; and
Thomas and Jill Sung (88), Chair and President/CEO, respectively, of Abacus Federal Savings Bank. Thomas’s daughter and Jill’s sister, Vera, is currently an AABANY member.
AABANY is privileged and honored to have worked closely with so many of New York’s most influential AAPI leaders. Congratulations to everyone who made the list, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations and partnerships in the future.
The full City & State article can be found here, starting on page 17.
On May 20, 2021, City & State published an Op-Ed written by President Terry Shen and Past President Linda Lin of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
In the Op-Ed, President Shen and Past President Lin describe how a wave of Anti-Asian violence swept across New York City in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the city government’s lackluster response to these incidents has not been enough to protect the AAPI community. According to the article, stronger Asian-American representation in New York’s courts can help to solve these issues. The article also highlights Kathy Hirata Chin, the only Asian-American candidate for the New York Court of Appeals, arguing that her appointment would be a landmark step towards greater racial diversity, justice, and equity. As stated by President Shen and Past President Lin: “Our government must be diverse to fulfill Lincoln’s vision of a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ The need in our city and state is urgent and necessary.”
AABANY President Terry Shen was quoted in a New York Law Journal article published on April 6, 2021 titled “Former Federal Prosecutor Named US Magistrate Judge in Brooklyn.” The article highlights AABANY Past President James Cho, who was sworn in on Monday, April 5 as the Eastern District of New York’s newest magistrate judge and the district’s first Korean American judge.
In the article, Terry Shen was quoted praising the appointment as “another important step” toward more diversity on the bench. Speaking more about Judge Cho, Terry said: “In his time as president of AABANY, Judge Cho displayed a combination of insightful leadership, work ethic, and commitment to public service that will undoubtedly equip him to be an exceptional federal judge. We congratulate Mr. Cho on this outstanding achievement.”
To read the full article on Law.com, please click here (subscription may be required).
On March 21, 2021, incoming AABANY President Terry Shen spoke at a Summit Community Programs event in Summit, NJ regarding AABANY’s recent Asian hate crimes initiatives. Incoming AABANY Vice President of Programs and Operations Joe Eng also attended the event. At the gathering of over 400 people, Mr. Shen discussed the causes and impact of the surge in Asian hate crimes since March 2020 alongside Summit Mayor Nora Radest, Summit Chief of Police Andrew Bartolotti and six City Council Members. Mr. Shen also discussed the solutions being actively pursued by AABANY to address this national crisis. The flag of the United States was flown at half-staff over Summit Village Green during the event.
On July 10, 2020, the Membership Committee hosted their weekly Zoom Membership Mixer, with 27 participants in attendance. Dressed as Holly Golightly from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Membership Director Beatrice Leong posed the icebreaker question: “What is your favorite breakfast food?” Members shared their favorites, including congee, Taiwanese breakfast foods, jian bing, rice roll, soy milk, corned beef hash, Belgian waffles. The second half of the mixer we featured President-Elect Terry Shen and heard him recount his journey from associate to partner, and from member to President-Elect of AABANY.
The Membership Committee previously hosted Monthly Mixers at bars, ballparks, stadiums, operas, etc, but due to COVID, we have moved online to offer members a weekly outlet to share their feelings, see old friends, and make new connections. Mixers start at 6:30pm on Friday and the main event ends at 7:30pm but people stay on after 7:30pm for smaller breakout groups.
The Membership Committee will continue to host weekly Zoom mixers until it is safe to gather together again in person.
We have been giving away door prizes at most of the mixers. In order to win, you must be a member and must RSVP on the calendar entry at aabany.org to get a raffle number. Non-members can join the Zoom mixer but won’t be eligible to win a prize.
Mixers are not recorded and are LIVE, so don’t miss out.
Watch out for the AABANY Talent Show coming on Friday, July 17! If you have a talent, such as singing, dancing, playing a musical instruments. demonstrating karate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be running the talent show as part of Friday’s mixer on July 17. To register by July 16, go here: https://www.aabany.org/events/event_details.asp?legacy=1&id=1393375