AABANY Hosts its Annual Judges’ Reception on May 25 in Celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Judiciary Committee hosted its annual Judges’ Reception on Zoom. The reception honored newly inducted, elevated and retiring judges in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. 

Will Wang, Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed the judges and the attendees to the virtual reception. Last year’s event did not happen, due to COVID-19, and we were pleased to be able to host judges and attendees virtually via Zoom this year.

The following elevated judges were honored:

Hon. Shahabuddeen Ally, Supervising Judge, New York City Civil Court, New York County

Hon. Katheryn S. Paek, New York City Criminal Court, New York County

The following newly elected judges were honored:

Hon. Wyatt Gibbons, New York Supreme Court, Queens County

Hon. Philip T. Hom, New York Supreme Court, Queens County

Hon. Leigh K. Cheng, New York City Civil Court, Queens County

Hon. Hyun Chin Kim, County Court, Orange County

Hon. E. Grace Park, New York City Civil Court, New York County

Hon. Meredith Vacca, County Court, Monroe County 

Hon. John Z. Wang, New York City Civil Court, New York County

The following newly appointed judges were honored:

Hon. James R. Cho, United States Magistrate Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

Hon. Diane Gujarati, United States District Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

The reception also recognized and honored two judges who had retired from the bench:

Hon. Peter Tom, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department

Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department

The honorees recognized at the event are trailblazers for Asian Americans in the judiciary. Of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, Asians remain the least represented group in positions within the judiciary. Although Asians make up around 6% of the United States population, in 2020, they comprised less than 3% of federal judges. In the state of New York, although Asians make up 9% of the population, Asians represent a mere 2% of state judges. That number raises even more concern when we consider that Asians account for some 14% of the population in New York City, and Manhattan’s Chinatown is literally right around the corner from State and Federal courthouses. In light of current events and the rise in anti-Asian violence, AAPI representation on the bench is more important than ever. AABANY thanks the honorees for their pioneering example.

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, the Judiciary Committee also held a short trivia game where participants would answer questions about the history of Asian American Pacific Islanders in the United States. Questions included: What was the purpose of the Chinese Exclusion Act? Which President signed the joint resolution commemorating APA Heritage Month? What was the reason for boycotting Miss Saigon on Broadway? The winners, who each answered nine out of the ten questions correctly, were Joseb Gim, AABANY Prosecutors’ Committee Co-Chair; L. Austin D’Souza, AABANY Judiciary Committee member and SABANY President-Elect; and the Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, an AABANY Founding Board Member and the AABANY Trailblazer Award honoree from the 2020 Fall Conference. The winners received buttons which had been created to raise funds for AABANY’s Pro Bono Clinic, inscribed with the words “One Humanity against the Virus.”

Congratulations to all the judges who were recognized and honored at this year’s Judges’ Reception, and thanks to everyone who joined us for this event. 

To learn more about AABANY’s Judiciary Committee and its work, click here.

AABANY Wins Third Place at the Battle of the Bars Trivia Night!

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On Tuesday, June
8th, AABANY’s Young Lawyers Committee participated in a Battle of the Bars: Trivia Night, along with thirteen other bar associations in the New York metropolitan area. In a spirited night of pub trivia,
we are proud to announce that AABANY came in third place in the
competition. As a prize for this victorious win, a donation was made to a legal charity
of AABANY’s choice – the Don H. Liu Scholars Program. We are extremely proud of our team effort and thank all the members of AABANY team that night.

Congratulations to LeGal for finishing first and the Brooklyn Bar for winning second place! Thanks to AABANY Young Lawyer Committee Co-Chair Tiffany Miao and Frank Francis of Severance Burko Spalter Masone PC for coordinating the trivia night. 

We would also to thank the following sponsors for making the event possible:


Write-up by AABANY Intern Quentin Wong.

AABANY at the AAJA-NY Inaugural Trivia Bowl

Q. Until 1997 this object was illegal in New York City but legal almost everywhere else.  What was it?

Hint: It has to do with your kitchen.

Did you know the answer? Well, neither did we. And the hint was no help.

Okay, okay … the answer is: A garbage disposal unit for your sink.

How about this one: In which New York neighborhood did the classic 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” take place?  Give up?  Well, it wasn’t Forest Hills, which is what we wrote down as our answer.  The correct answer: Astoria.

And as long as we’re on the subject of New York trivia, which constructed building is the second highest in New York City after the Empire State Building?  If you said the Bank of America building on 42nd and 6th, you would have been correct.  Most of us on the AABANY Trivia Bowl team thought for sure it was the Chrysler.  (We should have listened to you, Rio!)

On Friday, May 18, AABANY joined fourteen other teams for the inaugural Trivia Bowl organized by the Asian American Journalists Association, New York Chapter (AAJA-NY). It was held at ABC studios on the Upper West Side, near Lincoln Center, in the same soundstage used for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

Our team of nine included me, Rio Guerrero, Tsui Yee, Francis Chin, Karen Lim, Linda Lin, Will Ng, Steve Shapiro and Gary Malone.  We had a 10th member who had to drop out at the last minute, and the event organizers were strict about applying their “no substitutes” rule. (Photo below of Francis Chin, Will Ng and Linda Lin, courtesy of Julie Huang.)

Trivia Bowl AAJA-NY Francis Chin Will Ng Linda Lin

The judging panel consisted of six sitting APA judges from New York: Hon. Marilyn D. Go, Hon. Doris Ling Cohan, Hon. John Lansden, Hon. Lydia Lai, Hon. Laurie Lau and Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing.  This panel checked each response against the answer key, marked the sheets and tabulated the scores at the end of each round.

The MCs for the evening were JuJu Chang and Ti-Hua Chang.  They read the questions for each round, and under the rules, they were only supposed to read each question twice (although for a few of the harder ones, they had to read it one or two more times).  The questions were only read, so all the teams had to pay close attention and take notes, jot down answers which were then transferred to the answer sheets.  Linda Lin, who has much better handwriting than me, did the honors of transcribing our responses.

The Trivia Bowl consisted of five rounds: first, entertainment; second, geography/science/literature; third, current events/sports; fourth, history/elections/Presidents; fifth, New York.  After the end of each round, the MCs conducted raffles or auctions while the judges scored the rounds.  Once the scores were in, the MCs read the answers, and after the answers were given, we moved to the next round, repeating the sequence until all the rounds were completed.

After the first two rounds, the AABANY team was in the lead, but our downfall turned out to be round three, current events and sports.  I think we might have gotten half the answers right.  I guess we didn’t have enough people on our team who kept up with current events or followed sports.

The standings were projected on a screen, and going into the final round, AABANY found itself in a four-way tie for 1st place.

We were hopeful that, as a team of New Yorkers, the fifth and final round of New York trivia would be a breeze.  It turned out to be anything but.  Our team struggled with the questions (some are repeated above).  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to partake in the free-flowing wine and beer on offer while the game was in progress? I dunno … ya think?  They say alcohol kills brain cells; I didn’t expect that the effect would be so immediate.

By the end of the evening, AABANY landed in second place, falling to the team from the New York Times.  Congrats, NYT journalists, for being the winners of the inaugural AAJA-NY Trivia Bowl!

Trivia Bowl AAJA-NY Results

Congratulations to the organizers for raising more than $23,000 for scholarship, stipends and fellowship programs to benefit journalism students and professionals.  We were glad to be part of the fun and excitement.  And there’s always next year – watch out, here comes Team AABANY!

Click here to see some photos shot by Francis Chin.

Are You Good at Trivia?

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), New York Chapter, will be hosting a Trivia Bowl on Friday, May 18, at ABC News studios in New York City.  The MC will be JuJu Chang.  The proceeds from the event “go toward supporting students who pursue the journalism profession; providing increased training to AAPI journalists (through stipends/scholarships) so they can be effective leaders for positive change in the industry with a commitment to diversity in the newsroom, and forging stronger ties within the AAPI communities.”

AABANY is taking a table and we are looking for some fellow team members whose minds are filled with useless knowledge that comes in handy during Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and events like this Trivia Bowl.  Maybe you have knowledge in certain categories, like sports, music, history, film or science.  That’s fine; we can pool our trivial knowledge together to form a winning team. 

I don’t think we get anything other than bragging rights if we win, but I’ve been told that when this event was held by AAJA in other parts of the country, the lawyers’ teams tended to do well, so I feel like our New York lawyers should do no less.  Come on, New York attorneys – let’s represent!

Also, AABANY is helping to get APA judges to participate as judges for the event, scoring the answers submitted by the teams entered.

More information can be gleaned from the event website: http://chapters.aaja.org/NewYork/?page_id=2194. If you are interested in joining, contact yang.chen@aabany.org.