At the 2013 NAPABA Northeast Regional/AABANY Fall Conference hosted by Weil Gotshal, a plenary session was held during the luncheon to explore the recent United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

The luncheon was sponsored by Kobre & Kim. Welcome remarks were given by Mike Huang, President of AABANY, Fred Green, Management Committee Member, Mergers & Acquisitions Partner and Sponsor to the Asian Attorney Affinity Group at Weil, and Wendy Shiba, President of NAPABA. Board member and past AABANY President Robert Leung presented brief remarks about AABANY’s newest committee, the Career Placement Committee, and invited broad participation in it.

The Program Chair for the plenary session was Sarah Seo, Co-Chair of the Academic Committee. She introduced the Hon. Pamela K. Chen, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, moderator of the panel.

Panelists included Khin Mai Aung, Director of the Educational Equity Program at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), who submitted an amicus brief in the Fisher case, and Hemmie Chang, Partner at Foley Hoag, who led her firm’s efforts in supporting AALDEF’s amicus filing in Fisher. Also on the panel were Michael Park, Partner at Dechert, and William Consovoy, Partner at Wiley Rein, who submitted briefs on Fisher’s side of the case before the Supreme Court.

The room was filled to capacity and many of the attendees had to go to the overflow room next door to watch the panel discussion on video.

The panel took several thoughtful and pointed questions from the audience during the Q&A portion.

Thanks to our Key Sponsor Hudson Court Reporting and Video for taking video and transcription of the plenary session.

CBAC Reassured by Supreme Court’s Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin


June 24, 2013

HNBA Contact: Erika Lopez (202) 223-4777 
NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555 
NBA Contact: Erika Owens (202) 842-3900 
NNABA Contact: Mary Smith (405) 761-1723 

Coalition of Bar Associations of Color 
Reassured by Supreme Court’s Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

WASHINGTON – The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) – the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA) and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) – is reassured by the Supreme Court’s decision today to reaffirm the principle that diversity in higher education is a compelling national interest. We remain cautiously optimistic about the Court’s decision to send the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court partially vacated a lower court ruling that had upheld the right of the University of Texas at Austin to partially consider race in its admissions’ policy. However, in deciding Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, it left intact the precedent it set in Grutter v. Bollinger, which allows schools to consider racial diversity as an admissions factor.

Last summer, CBAC filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case. The brief highlights the progress made in diversifying the legal profession since the Court’s ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, while discussing the continued need for race-conscious admissions programs to further the diversification of the legal profession.

“We are encouraged that the United States Supreme Court’s ruling affirmed the Grutter v. Hollinger decision which allows racial and ethnic diversity to be considered as one of many factors in a carefully crafted admissions policy,” stated HNBA National President Peter M. Reyes, Jr. “These are important factors to consider when taking a holistic admissions approach, and the Court in a 7-1 strongly supports our position.”

“We are encouraged by the Court’s decision today in Fisher,” said Wendy C. Shiba, president of NAPABA. “A strong majority of the Court has stood in support of diversity as a compelling interest, and members of the Asian Pacific American community are heartened by this outcome. We see evidence of the importance of a diverse workforce every day in the legal profession, and are thankful that our nation’s commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion has been ratified today.”

“Today’s decision underscores diversity as a compelling interest for all institutions of education and higher learning,” stated John E. Page, President of the National Bar Association. “Even with strict scrutiny of the methods used to achieve such diversity, the US Supreme Court continues to agree that many factors, including race, can be a factor in an admissions program.”

“Diversity is important to educational opportunities for all and furthers classroom discussion and understanding,” said Mary Smith, President of the National Native Bar Association. “We are heartened that the Supreme Court has recognized the importance of diversity.”