FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2016
Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
NEW YORK – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) is proud to announce that Sylvia Fung Chin is the recipient of the Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award this year at AABANY’s Seventh Annual Fall Conference on September 24, 2016, held at the offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Named for Norman Lau Kee, a revered legal and community pillar of New York City’s Chinatown for decades, this Trailblazer Award honors an accomplished leader in the legal profession who is of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent or has demonstrated dedication to APA issues in the community. This award honors an individual who has carved a path for others to follow, served the community as a mentor and role model, and has made a lasting impact on the APA community through his or her dedication and commitment.
Sylvia Fung Chin, Partner Of Counsel at White & Case LLP, has risen to the summit of the profession and all the while has lifted up others as she rose. Elected to White & Case’s partnership in 1986, Sylvia has created a pipeline of leadership for women and minority attorneys. An accomplished corporate attorney who has practiced for nearly four decades, she has excelled in navigating complicated transactions and proposing creative solutions for unique situations. In addition to her current legal practice at White & Case, Sylvia also teaches as an adjunct associate professor at Fordham University School of Law and frequently lectures on the UCC, legal opinions, ethics and various other corporate finance topics. Sylvia’s continued excellence, perseverance, positivity, and creativity are unparalleled.
Sylvia has continuously given back to the APA legal community in countless ways. Among the founding board members of AABANY in 1991 and President of AABANY from 1994-1996, she led and built AABANY from the ground up and has served as a role model and friend to several leaders in the professional. For decades, Sylvia has opened the dialogue about minority advancement in the legal profession and created training programs for associates and young partners to build business and develop leadership skills. Sylvia has brought to fruition several initiatives to serve the APA community, including the Asian Crime Victims Project, which offered help to crime victims at a time when resources were limited, and the AABANY Foundation, now known as the Asian American Law Fund of New York, which provides scholarships and internship opportunities for APA and South Asian law students in New York. Sylvia founded and co-chairs the White & Case Asian Affinity Group and has been instrumental in producing two videos entitled Kicking Glass from the Courtroom to the Boardroom and Kicking Glass: Two Decades and Counting, which explored the experiences and perspectives of Asian American women attorneys.
Sylvia serves as Co-Chair of the First Judicial District of the New York Bar Foundation, President of the Asian American Law Fund of New York, President-Elect of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers, a director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Law Foundation, a trustee of the Fordham Law Alumni Association and on the governing Council of the ABA Business Law Section and the governing board of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the ABA Legal Opinions Committee, the Tribar Opinions Committee, and the Association Advisory Board of the Working Group on Legal Opinions. She also served as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the ABA Business Law Section, President of the American College of Investment Counsel, President of AABANY, President of the NAPABA Law Foundation, Board Secretary of Women’s World Banking, Treasurer of NAPABA, and a Director of the New York County Lawyers Association.
“Sylvia Fung Chin, a trailblazer, founding Board member and Past President of AABANY, represents the very best of our profession,” says Susan Shin, President of AABANY. “She has achieved tremendous professional and personal success, yet she has never faltered in her loyalty and service to our community. She is a shining example for generations of lawyers to follow and emulate. AABANY, its members and numerous attorneys have benefited greatly from her leadership, guidance and mentorship. We proudly recognize Sylvia Chin as our 2016 Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award honoree.”
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 the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
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Thank you to all those who attended our Fifth Annual Fall Conference: Empowering Unity and Progress, hosted at Morgan Lewis on September 20, 2014.
With over 300 people registered, the full day of CLE programs and Trial Advocacy Program (hosted at Alston & Bird LLP) were highly informative, productive, and engaging with truly something for everyone. We had panels addressing topics from Asian Americans in the Civil Rights Movement to How to Make it Rain and Keep It Raining. The invite-only In-House Counsel and Judicial Forums provided productive environments for candid discussion.
Gurinder Singh, Vice President of Programs and Operations, kicked off the lunch session by introducing Brad Edmister, Partner at Morgan Lewis, who offered welcoming remarks on behalf of the firm. At the lunch, we were excited to present our inaugural awards. We were honored to present the inaugural Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer Award to Hon. Marilyn Go and the inaugural Law Firm Diversity Award to Perkins Coie LLP.
Executive Director Yang Chen presented the Norman Lau Kee Trailblazer award, recognizing Norman Lau Kee who was present at the event, and then introducing Judge Go. When accepting her award, Judge Go spoke on the importance of being at right place at the right time, most notably on how expectations of Asian Americans have shaped her personal journey and the most opportune times to break barriers. As a trailblazer in the Asian American legal community, she is the first Asian American female to serve as a federal judge and is a founding member of AABANY.
President Clara Ohr presented the Law Firm Diversity Award and introduced Dennis Hopkins, Partner at Perkins Coie, who accepted the Law Firm Diversity Award on behalf of the firm. Dennis remarked on how Perkins is perceived as a leader, but noted humbly that they are “just doing what they should do” and are glad to be receiving acknowledgment.
Gurinder then introduced Helen Wan who spoke about her book The Partner Track and she too spoke of Asian Americans in law, specifically navigating the corporate world. Copies of her just-released paperback edition of her book were available for purchase at the event, and many attendees took the opportunity to pick up a copy and have it inscribed by Helen.
President-elect Will Wang offered closing remarks at the lunch. He reminded everyone to save the date for the 2015 Annual Dinner, to be held on February 25 at Cipriani Wall Street.
We hope all those who attended the Cocktail Reception and Committee Dinners enjoyed some well-deserved refreshment in some good company. We were happy to welcome 185 attendees at the Cocktail Reception hosted one block away at Park Avenue Tavern.
This year, there were five Committee Dinners hosted: Government Service & Public Interest/Litigation/Labor and Employment/Young Lawyers Committees Dinner at Aperitivo; In-House Counsel at Izakaya NoMad; Real Estate and Small & Solo Firm Practice Committees at Cibo; Intellectual Property Comittee at Radiance Tea House and Fine Asian Cuisine; and Tax and Bankruptcy & Restructuring Committees at Capital Grille.
We thank all those who made the day possible: Brad Edmister, Morgan Lewis staff, moderators and panelists, our sponsors for their continuing support, honorees, Helen Wan for speaking, volunteers, and especially you for attending.