19 children, 2 teachers – killed in yet another episode of gun violence that has become all too common. This endless tide of racial hate and gun violence continues to take the lives of innocent Americans across the nation. The shootings targeting communities of color in Buffalo, Dallas, and now Uvalde, Texas must stop. This week’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school – following the Buffalo mass shooting from two weeks ago resulting in deaths of 10 predominantly older victims – is a harsh reminder that our country has failed to protect the most vulnerable among us. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. We demand that our elected officials at all levels of government work together to take immediate action to protect Americans in their daily lives.
Here’s a recap of everything you might have missed!
Looking at social media posts from the Convention, we were pleased to see so many attendees share our feeling that NAPABA is a family, a group of friends and colleagues, and most importantly, a community. No matter the field, the level of experience, or geographic location, we are one NAPABA.
We’re excited to head into 2020 with you all, but first let’s look back at this year’s Convention!
New Year, New Leadership
Bonnie Lee Wolf was sworn in as NAPABA’s president. We are inspired by her vision for NAPABA and look forward to supporting her leadership!
Using History to Inform Our Future
Through a re-enactment and historical materials, we revisited the importance of Korematsu v. United States, when Fred Korematsu challenged Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Individuals who played key roles in the successful effort to overturn Korematsu’s conviction in the 1983 case brought his story to life, connecting his values of equity and human rights to the issues we face today.
During the Saturday plenary, an inspiring group of LGBTQ attorneys reflected on the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that opened the door for inclusion for diverse communities and laid the groundwork for marriage equality to become a right across the country. However, true inclusion is still a work in progress. Panelists offered their look at the future of diversity and inclusion for the LGBTQ community.
Celebrating 31 Years
At our Anniversary Gala, we celebrated 31 years of NAPABA by looking to the future with a swearing-in of the 2019-20 NAPABA Board of Governors. Comedian, actor and writer Sheng Wang hosted the gala and Chef Kristen Kish and food critic Soleil Ho had a great conversation about identity, self-worth and success.
2019 Award Winners
We were honored to recognize this year’s award winners at the 2019 NAPABA Convention. We’re proud to have so many distinguished members, who inspire our work every day.
Affiliate of the Year Award
APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award
Law Firm Diversity Award
Military and Veteran Service Award
Pro Bono Award
Women’s Leadership Award
Best Under 40
Vanessa E. Candelaria | Attorney, Law Offices of Vanessa Candelaria
Christina Chan | Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Nooree Lee | Associate, Covington & Burling LLP
Cindy Lin | Partner, King & Spalding LLP
Laurie Rose Lubiano | IP & Product Counsel, The Climate Corporation
Catherine Y. Lui | Partner, Orrick LLP
Jessica Nguyen | General Counsel, PayScale, Inc.
Marc A. Pilotin | General Counsel, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Sid Shenoy | Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
Christopher Thana Sukhaphadhana | Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property, Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc.
Jerry Vattamala | Democracy Program Director, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Johnny Wang | Partner, Stinson LLP
Jovita T. Wang | Partner, Richardson Wright LLP
Bryant Y. Yang | Assistant U.S Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office
Bilal Zaheer | Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Partners Network In-House Counsel Awards
Diversity Leadership Rising Star Award
Diversity Leadership Award
NAPABA Gives Back
Thanks to everyone who joined us at our Community Service Project and Farewell Breakfast! We assembled over 200 care packages for the Asian Family Support Services of Austin. AFSS Austin is a nonprofit that helps Asian, immigrant and refugee survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault & trafficking.
A Message from NAPABA Law Foundation
The NAPABA Law Foundation thanks everyone who donated during convention to support NLF’s fellowships, scholarships, and the Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition.
Whether by buying a Fred Korematsu or Judge Denny Chin bobblehead, wagering at Casino Night, bidding on silent auction items, or using text-to-give during the Gala, these proceeds will be used to advance access to justice for our communities.
Speaking of the text-to-give, congratulations on breaking the system! It appears that so many people were jumping on their smartphones to donate that our vendor’s system crashed!
If you were unable to make a gift at Convention, you may donate via NLF’s website by clicking here. Remember, Harry Gee, Jr., and his family are matching the first $150,000 raised! Every dollar you donate will have double the impact!
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Thank you to the amazing sponsors who supported the 2019 NAPABA Convention.
Comcast NBC Universal
For a full list of our 2019 sponsors, click here.
Save the Date
Join us for the 2020 NAPABA Convention
November 5 – 9, 2020
Los Angeles, California
On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, AABANY celebrated its 30th birthday at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, just around the corner from the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, at which the NAPABA Convention was taking place. AABANY members who were attending the Convention came out in force and brought friends from various affiliates from around the country. Over 60 attendees filled a section of one of the event rooms on the second floor. Among the attendees were members who were there at the start of AABANY, including Rocky Chin, Hon. Marilyn Go, Hon. Denny Chin (who served as President from 1992-93) and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin. Past Presidents Vincent Chang, James Chou, and Dwight Yoo also attended, as did current President Brian Song. Membership Director Beatrice Leong organized the celebration; she secured the venue and placed the food order, and she also ordered the cake. The authentic
Texas barbecue fare was a big hit, and the cake came out with sparklers.
Thanks to all our members and friends for coming out to celebrate with us in Austin!
Congratulations to NAPABA on a successful National Convention in Austin, Texas. Affiliates from around the country gathered to celebrate with NAPABA at its 31st Anniverary Gala Dinner held on Saturday night, Nov. 9, in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott in Austin. Comedian Sheng Wang hosted the evening, and the Keynote Speaker was Chef Kristen Kish, owner of Arlo Grey, in conversation with restaurant critic Soleil Ho. Congratulations also to all the honorees who were presented with awards at the Gala:
- Military and Veteran Service Award – Capt Lia Mitoko Reynolds
- APA Owned Law Firm Award – Willenken LLP
- Law Firm Diversity Award – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
- Pro Bono Award – Karen King
- Women’s Leadership Award – Debbie Shon
- Presidents Award – Dale Ho
AABANY was honored to be presented with the Affiliate of the Year Award. Read more about that here.
AABANY members could be found filling a few tables at the Gala Dinner … but where was Executive Director Yang Chen? He was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. That did not stop Membership Director Beatrice Leong from creating a cardboard version of our ED to attend the Gala and then join the AABANY group photo at the NAPABA Convention. Thank you, Beatrice!
NEW YORK – November 5, 2019 – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) as its Affiliate of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding NAPABA affiliates that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the greater Asian Pacific American (APA) community. AABANY will be presented the Affiliate of the Year Award during the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, taking place November 7-10, 2019. AABANY President Brian Song will accept the award on behalf of the association at NAPABA’s Gala Dinner to be held on Saturday, November 9.
AABANY was formed in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation to represent the interests of New York Asian American attorneys, judges, law professors, legal professionals, legal assistants, paralegals and law students. The mission of AABANY is to improve the study and practice of law, and the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.
Over the past three decades AABANY has worked tirelessly to accomplish its mission. For example, we have regularly conducted student outreach and held workshops throughout the year on resume writing, interviewing and networking skills to help law students succeed. We are also into the ninth year of our Mentorship Program that provides individual professional development specifically tailored to the needs of mentees, many of whom are law students. In addition, now in its second year, the AABANY Leadership Development Program assists and guides senior APA law firm associates and in-house counsel through an interactive leadership training program designed to develop and promote qualified APA attorneys for partnership at law firms and leadership positions at companies.
AABANY also plays an integral part in creating diversity on the bench through our Judiciary Committee’s initiatives. AABANY’s Judiciary Committee assisted dozens of judges of Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander heritage in ascending to the bench.
In addition, we collaborate with the South Asian Bar Association of New York, the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York and Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York to further the interests of APAs in the legal profession by offering CLE accreditation, co-sponsoring networking events, and supporting each other’s programs and activities.
Furthermore, we serve the APA community by holding a monthly Pro Bono Clinic in partnership with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of NY. We mobilize the expertise and language skills of AABANY’s diverse membership to provide high quality and accessible legal assistance to the Asian community on the second Wednesday of every month, at Confucius Plaza in Chinatown. In 2018-19, the Clinic served between 21-51 clients with the help of 11-21 volunteer attorneys and 5-12 interpreters each month.
Moreover, in addition to providing free legal assistance to the Asian community, we promote APA history and awareness through our historic trial reenactments. The Hon. Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin have spearheaded this project for twelve years. The most recent reenactment, “Alice in Chinatown: Chol Soo Lee and His Fight for Freedom” retold the story of Chol Soo Lee, a young Korean American who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a gangland murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1970s. AABANY has made these reenactment scripts available to schools, community groups, other bar associations and anyone who wishes to perform them. AABANY’s reenactments project has become a template for other groups to encourage civic education and engagement in our communities.
Each new historic trial reenactment premieres at the annual NAPABA Convention, but this year, the AABANY Trial Reenactment Team will be reprising “Korematsu v. United States: Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice” in celebration of Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday. The cast will include luminaries such as Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel (Ret.), the judge who decided the coram nobis proceeding that overturned Korematsu’s wrongful conviction, and Dale Minami, the iconic attorney who led the team that brought about this historic outcome. Judge Patel and Dale Minami will be playing themselves, as will Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, in the reenactment, which will be performed on November 8, at Friday’s Plenary Lunch Session during the NAPABA Convention.
Because of these significant contributions and achievements over the decades, AABANY has become one of the most prominent bar associations in New York and has been selected to receive the Affiliate of the Year Award from NAPABA for a second time. AABANY first received this prestigious honor in 2008 under the leadership of then-President and now Executive Director Yang Chen.
“AABANY thanks NAPABA for this important award and its recognition of our innovative efforts to engage our membership and the community,” states AABANY President Brian Song, a Partner at BakerHostetler in New York. “We are grateful for the leadership and dedication of our current and past Board Directors and Officers for bringing AABANY to this point. We especially thank and acknowledge our sponsors and our members for their support of our mission to promote the interests of APA lawyers and legal professionals and the larger community they serve. AABANY could not be NAPABA’s Affiliate of the Year without the involvement and participation of everyone in the legal profession and community who have been integral to our growth and success over the last thirty years.”
For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to email@example.com.
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 a New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org
Follow our blog at www.blog.aabany.org
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aabany
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aabany
NAPABA congratulates the newly-elected officers, regional governors, and at-large members of the 2019-20 NAPABA Board of Governors. They will be sworn into office during the 2019 NAPABA Convention in Austin, TX.
- President I Bonnie Lee Wolf, Nationwide
- President-Elect I A.B. Cruz III, U.S. Navy, Retired
- Vice President for Finance and Development I Bruce Ishimatsu, Ishimatsu Law Group
- Vice President for Membership I Bridgette Ahn, Law Office of Bridgette Ahn
- Vice President for Programs and Operations I Charles Jung, Nassiri & Jung LLP
- Vice President for Communications I Avanti Bakane, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP
- Treasurer I Gary Zhao, SmithAmundsen
- Secretary I Jeffrey Javinar, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
- Immediate Past President I Daniel Sakaguchi, Alto Litigation
- NE Regional Governor I Brendan Wong, Bordner Ladner Gervais LLP
- NE Regional Governor I David Sohn, Kings County District Attorney’s Office
- Central Regional Governor I Gregory Schwartz, Billion Armitage
- SE Regional Governor I Christine Han, U.S. Department of Labor
- SW Regional Governor I Lance Ream, Xcel Energy
- NW Regional Governor I Craig I. Nakanishi, Cades Schutte LLP
- Central California Regional Governor I Christopher Sukhaphadhana, Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc.
- Southern California Regional Governor I Thy Bui, Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP
- Eastern California/Nevada Regional Governor I Gino Barrica, Barrica Law LLP
- Northern California Regional Governor I Hogene Choi, Baker Botts LLP
At-Large Board Members:
- Kristy Gonowon, Allstate
- Kristin Haugen, KC Haugen Law LLC
- Peter Sabido, Chernoff Vilhauer LLP
- Jen Won, Larson O’Brien LLP
Register for the 2019 NAPABA Convention
The advance rate deadline is just around the corner! Save up to $150 when you register in advance. Advance rates will only be available until Oct. 28 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
To register, click here.
For Immediate Release
Sept. 7, 2017
WASHINGTON — Today, President Trump nominated Judge Karen Gren Scholer to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. If confirmed, Scholer will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as a federal district court judge in Texas or any of the courts encompassed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — which includes Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
“Judge Karen Gren Scholer has had a distinguished legal career and will serve admirably on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas,” said Cyndie M. Chang, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “She is an accomplished judge, lawyer, and community leader with a record of bipartisan support, and we urge the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Scholer to the bench.”
Judge Scholer is currently a partner at Carter Scholer Arnett Hamada Mockler PLLC, in Dallas, Texas. She is an experienced litigator and former judge who has presided over 100 trials. Her judicial experience includes eight years as a state district judge on the 95th Judicial District Court, Dallas County, Texas. She has also served as the presiding judge for Dallas County Civil District Court Judges. Judge Scholer has been a partner at a number of firms in Dallas, including Jones Day, Andrews & Kurth LLP, and Strasburger & Price LLP. Active in her community, Judge Scholer has served in leadership positions in the Dallas Bar Association and Asian Pacific American community organizations. The State Bar of Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, and Superlawyers have all recognized Judge Scholer for her legal excellence and achievement.
In March 2016, Judge Scholer was nominated by President Obama to serve as a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, with the support of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
NAPABA commends President Trump for nominating Judge Karen Gren Scholer to the bench and thank Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas for recommending Judge Scholer to the White House.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.
NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.
For Immediate Release
March 15, 2016
— Today, President Obama nominated Judge Karen Gren Scholer to the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. If confirmed, Scholer
will be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as a federal district
court judge in Texas or any of the courts encompassed by the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — which encompasses Texas, Louisiana,
Karen Gren Scholer has had a distinguished legal career and will serve
admirably on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas,”
said Jin Y. Hwang, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar
Association (NAPABA). “I urge the Senate to ensure a speedy
confirmation for Ms. Scholer.”
is currently a partner at Carter Scholer Arnett Hamada Mockler PLLC, in
Dallas, Texas. She is an experienced litigator and former judge who has
presided over 100 trials. Her judicial experience includes eight years
as a state district judge on the 95th Judicial District Court, Dallas
County, Texas. She has also served as the presiding judge for Dallas
County Civil District Court Judges and, on one occasion, as a Justice on
the Tenth Court of Appeals by appointment of Governor Rick Perry.
has been a partner at a number of firms in Dallas, including Jones Day,
Andrews & Kurth LLP, and Strasburger & Price LLP. Active in her
community, Scholer has served as co-chair of Attorneys Serving the
Community and in leadership positions in the Dallas Bar Association and
Asian Pacific American community organizations. She is a speaker on
trial practice and was a visiting faculty member at the Notre Dame Law
School. The State Bar of Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, and
Superlawyers have all recognized Scholer for her legal excellence and
achievement. Scholer graduated from Rice University and the Cornell
University School of Law.
In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. When the news media reported on election results, Asian Americans were overlooked. In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund along with several partners will monitor the elections for bilingual ballots under the federal Voting Rights Act and to document instances of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement.
We need your help. In the 2012 elections, 850 volunteers polled 9,096 Asian American voters in 14 states and Washington, DC. Volunteers work in 3-hour shifts. There will be a 90-minute training session for all volunteers. (Attorneys can receive 1.5 CLE credits including 0.5 ethics credit.) Sign up online here. Thank you!
AALDEF 2014 Poll Monitoring Trainings
Lite Lunch/ Dinner will be provided.
Advanced Registration required. Sign up here.
Tues., Oct. 14 – Boston
8:30 a.m. – Mintz Levin, 1 Financial Center, Boston, MA 02110
12 noon – Ropes & Gray, 800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
6 p.m. – Edwards Wildman, 111 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02199
Wed, Oct. 15 – New York City
12 noon – Shearman & Sterling, 599 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022
Thurs, Oct. 16 – New York City
12 noon – Weil Gotshal, 767 5th Ave, New York, NY 10153
6 p.m. – Wilson Elser, 150 East 42nd Street New York, NY 10017
Fri, Oct. 17 – Las Vegas
12:30 p.m. – Ballard Spahr, 100 North City Parkway, Suite 1750, Las Vegas, NV 89106
6 p.m. – Location TBD
Mon, Oct. 20- Washington DC
12 p.m. – Finnegan, I St NW # 700, Washington, DC 20005
6 p.m. – Crowell & Moring, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Tues, Oct. 21 – Atlanta
12 noon – Ballard Spahr, 999 Peachtree Street, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30309
6 p.m. – CPACS, 3510 Shallowford Rd NE, Chamblee, GA 30341
Wed, Oct. 22 – Houston
12 noon – Fullbright & Jaworski, 1301 McKinney St #5100, Houston, TX 77010
6 p.m. – OCA-Greater Houston, 9800 Town Park #142, Houston TX 77036
Thurs, Oct. 23- New Orleans
2 p.m. – Cotton, Schmidt & Abbot, 650 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130
6 p.m. – VAYLA, 13235 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129
Thurs., Oct, 23 – Ann Arbor/Detroit
12 noon – Detroit, location TBD
6 p.m. – University of Michigan Law School, 625 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (tentative location)
Mon, Oct. 27 – Newark, NJ
12 noon – McCarter & English, 100 Mulberry St, Newark, NJ 07102
Tues, Oct. 28 – Manhattan
12 noon – Baker Hostetler, 45 Rockefeller Plaza #10, New York, NY 10111
6 p.m. – Debevoise & Plimpton, 919 Third Ave, New York, NY 10022
Wed, Oct. 29 – Philadelphia
12 noon – Ballard Spahr, 1735 Market St #5100, Philadelphia, PA 19103
6 p.m. – BPSOS – South Philly, 600 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (tentative location)
Wed, Oct. 29 – Brooklyn
12:45pm – Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon St, Room 500, New York, NY 11201
AALDEF 2014 Poll Monitoring Co-Sponsors
List as of September 17, 2014.
Alliance of South Asian American Labor
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
North American South Asian Bar Association
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates
South Asian Americans Leading Together
APIA Vote – Michigan
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Boat People SOS Delaware Valley – PA
Center for Pan Asian Community Services – GA
Chhaya CDC – NY
Chinese Community Federation of Atlanta – GA
Chinese Progressive Association – MA
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program – NY
Korean American Civic Empowerment of NY/NJ
MinKwon Center for Community Action – NY
OCA Georgia Chapter
OCA Greater Houston Chapter
OCA Las Vegas Chapter
Princeton Asian American Students Association – NJ
University of Maryland, College Park, Asian American Studies Program
University of Massachusetts Boston, Asian American Studies Program
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans – LA
Asian American Bar Association of Houston
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia
Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas – NV
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Washington, DC
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of New Jersey
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center – DC
Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit – MA
Korean Amer. Bar Assoc. of the Washington DC Area
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY
Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Pace Law School, Public Interest Law Center – NY
Suffolk U. Law School, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service – MA
and Asian Pacific American Law Student Association chapters across the country.