Join NAPABA at the Unity March in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 12:00 – 3:00 pm ET

NAPABA is a proud co-sponsor of the first-ever Unity March, an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. The Washington, D.C., mobilization aims to bring together the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander diaspora with multicultural partners across the LGBTQ+, Muslim, disability communities, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Arab American communities. The goal is to gather more than 25,000 advocates and allies to the National Mall and we need your help to form a robust NAPABA contingent!

Volunteers and Attendees Needed for March

The Unity March is seeking volunteers to serve as rally marshals for the event to ensure everyone’s rights are respected. Rally marshals are responsible for monitoring crowds, reporting any disturbances, directing attendees, and helping ensure the health and safety for all. By signing up for the NAPABA Community Service Corps, a new platform for NAPABA members to take action for impact locally and nationally, you can register for the march as an attendee or a volunteer, and view our other opportunities to be part of a national infrastructure of trained members committed to being AANHPI lawyers in action. Click the Volunteer Now button below and navigate to the “Volunteer Now” tab to sign up.

Events and Travel Details

Reception | Friday, June 24 | 7:00 -9:00 pm

Kick off the Unity March with APIAVote, the host committee organizers, partners, and other special guests at a reception in the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center. RSVP here.

Poster-Making | Saturday, June 25 | 9:00 – 11:00 am

Join APIAVote for a poster-making session before the Unity March! Stop by the Capital Hilton hotel to make a poster and then head to the Unity March with a large group.

NAPABA Networking Reception | Saturday, June 25 | 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Following the Unity March, there will be a NAPABA networking reception and karaoke in D.C.’s Chinatown at Wok and Roll.

Travel and Stipend

Buses will be made available from New York City, New Jersey (city TBD), Philadelphia and Raleigh/Durham, NC. Buses will leave early morning and arrive in D.C. by 11:30 am. The buses will leave D.C. late afternoon so you can arrive back home that same evening. Complete this form and they will reach out to you for instructions on next steps. To help make our group as large as possible, NAPABA is offering a $250 travel stipend to those who sign up to volunteer. The purpose of the stipend is to assist with travel and/or stay in D.C. for volunteers traveling from out of state.  **You must sign up to volunteer for the march through the NAPABA form to be eligible for reimbursement.**

Thank You to Our April Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

PBCS was extremely active in April! We ran the pro bono clinic in Manhattan for the first time this year on April 9, 2022. We couldn’t have run our clinics without the dedicated help from AABANY, the Pro Bono & Community Service (PBCS) Committee, Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York (CCCNY), and volunteers. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all volunteers for participating!

Thank you to all the following volunteers:

Francis ChinAaron Fong^
Jackson ChinTeresa Wai Yee Yeung^
Karen Kithan YauYvette Adiguzel^
Kelly Tang (CCCNY)^Kwok Kei Ng
Min Jung Esther ChoiMay Wong
^ = non-attorney volunteer

On April 9, we met with 17 clients – 3 spoke English and 14 spoke a second language (i.e., Mandarin or Cantonese). Many clients had mostly housing-related questions, as housing has always been a popular issue given the lack of resources and information available. 

In fact, many legal services have stopped taking cases due to the shortage of staffing and heavy workloads. Unfortunately, due to space issues, we too will be suspending our Manhattan clinics until further notice. 

However, we are continuing the Queens Pro Bono Clinics. In fact, on April 23, we had 14 AABANY volunteers present at our pro bono clinic! These volunteers assisted 13 clients who had questions related to immigration, torts, wills, trusts and estates, and referrals. 

Thank you to all the following volunteers:

Beatrice LeongJackson Chin*
Eugene KimAmanda Yang^*
Haoxu LiKwok Ng
Jennifer ParkJohnny Thach
May WongRuihan (Yvette) Wang
Justina Chen^Meng Zhang
Yewei “Alex” Feng^*Kevin Hsi
^=non-attorney volunteers
*=attended remotely

Please feel free to volunteer with us at Flushing, Queens by signing up at this link [https://airtable.com/shrsLuv7MQN8Gtc0B]. We hope to see you there!

Our next clinic dates are –  

6/25/2022, 12:30pm – 3:30pm [deadline to register 6/22/2022, 12pm]

7/23/2022, 12:30pm – 3:30pm [deadline to register 7/20/2022, 12pm]

To learn more about the Pro Bono Committee and what they do visit probono.aabany.org.

Thank you to our Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan!

AABANY hosted for the second time the Columbia Law School’s Spring Break Caravan. This year, Caravan representative Angel Li (CLS ’23) reached out to the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee (PBCS) and Student Outreach Committee (SOC) to supervise six students during the week of March 14, 2022. During this program, students shadowed volunteer attorneys at the Queens pro bono clinics held on Saturdays, researched and drafted legal training materials for the pro bono clinics, attended a legal community presentation about bankruptcy, and met with various mentors from law firms and SOC graduates.    

On behalf of PBCS, we want to thank these law students for creating much-needed training materials to help volunteer attorneys in recognizing common issues in housing, family, wills and estates, and immigration law with flowcharts and outlines. These pro bono clinics act like triages in which attorneys spot issues for the individuals and provide legal information and referrals within a 30-minute session. We’ve been quite fortunate to have the support of our volunteer attorneys who are willing to teach each other and to open the eyes of these young law students about the problems many indigent and limited English proficient clients face daily.

On behalf of SOC, we are grateful for the not-for profit and biglaw corporate attorneys coming together to mentor these law students. Despite their different backgrounds and areas of practice, members of AABANY are always generously contributing their time, resources, and efforts to aid the AAPI community and leading these law students to a career of their own choosing.

Rather than picking just one essay from the Caravan, we believe it’s best to share with you all a snippet of these law students’ thoughts about the Caravan. We wish them the best in completing their studies and continue the AABANY’s spirit of giving back to the community.  

Regards,

Eugene Kim, PBCS

William Lee, SOC

May Wong, PBCS

Supervisors of the Caravan

“In the first instance, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the texts that were assigned preparatory to the start of the Caravan. The excerpt from How Do You Live? was especially memorable as a means of getting me into the right mindset before the program even formally began. It goes without saying that behind every law student and lawyer lies a sizable aggregation of resources: years of schooling, various internship opportunities, and votes of confidence from a network of supportive people. Law students and lawyers are the products of considerable societal investment; as such, it is incumbent upon them to give back and to give generously.”

-Andrew Chang –

“While I knew that our society had those problems, I realized that knowing problems is different from helping people facing the problems. I also understood that volunteer attorneys need to deal with various issues in different legal areas in a limited time in the clinic. Therefore, clients’ problems are not entirely solved there, but clients are given helpful advice on the following steps to solve the problems.”

– Nobuko Ikeda –

“Overall, I really valued not only peeking into the issues faced by the community, but also into how Asian American attorneys are helping combat those issues through the clinic. This caravan has inspired me to participate in the pro bono clinic as a future attorney, and I look forward to exploring even more ways to make the sessions efficient and to help the clients legally and emotionally.”

-Angel Li –

“What I found during the research was that massive amounts of materials and resources are already provided by municipal bodies, government officials, and private law firms on the internet. However, people who are not legal professionals would have difficulty utilizing these public resources. The difficulty arises from a language barrier and complexity in understanding and applying legal standards to one’s own situation.”

– Shota Sugiura-

“I appreciated all the genuine and candid advice I received from our Caravan supervisors, and am especially grateful for the wisdom from my AABANY mentor. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from lawyers from a range of backgrounds: those working in public service, those at firms, those who have transitioned to in-house. It was an equally exciting chance to build bonds with other Columbia APALSA members who felt passionate about giving back to our community.”

-Amanda Yang –

Thank You to Our March Queens Pro Bono Clinic Volunteers!

On March 26, 2022, the Pro Bono and Community Service (PBCS) Committee held its Pro Bono Clinic in Flushing, Queens at the offices of the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). We couldn’t have run our clinics without the dedicated help from AABANY, the PBCS Committee, AAFE, and volunteers. We are extremely grateful for our volunteers who traveled all the way from Manhattan and Brooklyn during the torrential rain and MTA’s weekend schedule to meet with clients who needed legal assistance.

Thank you to all the following volunteers:

Ashley ShanAshley Han^
Beatrice LeongMeng Zhang
*Karen Lin (on-call)*Phillip Pang*^
Eugene KimXinyi Shen*^
Johnny ThachAndrew Chang*^
May WongVivian Lee*^
Ruihan (Yvette) WangJennifer Park (not admitted)
Shengyang WuZulma Vazquez (AAFE)^
Evelyn Gong*Chen Yo (AAFE)^
Judy (Ming Chu) Lee*Yini Fang (AAFE)^
Thomas RileyMaria del Carmen Cruz (AAFE)^
Tong WuGabriel Hisugan (AAFE)^
Wen-Hsien (Wendy) Cheng 
  
^ = non-attorney volunteers 
* = remote 

On March 26, we met with 14 clients – 3 spoke English and 11 spoke a second language (ie: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, or Korean). While a majority of the cases related to housing, we had a few cases involving torts, trusts and estates, family law, and immigration law. 

One noteworthy case highlighted the point that not all matters need to be resolved through the courts. One of our volunteers was able to direct an individual who had a problem with a store purchase to seek recourse through filing complaints with NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, or maybe even the media: 

This was a great “think-out-of-the-box” approach and allowed the individual to consider other cost-effective options. Great job to everyone!

We hope to see more volunteers at our next clinic on May 14, 2022.  Please sign up by May 11 at: https://airtable.com/shrsLuv7MQN8Gtc0B

Thank you, 

PBCS Team

Volunteer to be a Judge with Empire Mock Trial on September 24-27 or October 29-November 1

Empire Mock Trial is a nonprofit that brings together extraordinary high school students. It started as a response to COVID-19 and has grown into a robust online mock trial competition program, accessible to any school with an internet connection. This fall, Empire Mock Trial is bringing together 750 high school students for both online and in-person programs. These remarkable young people need the support of the legal community. 

Volunteer to serve as judges or jurors on September 24-27 or October 29-November 1 in the cloud (attorneys can judge one trial or multiple). Over the past year, they’ve worked hard to develop programs for their students that are fun, safe, and educational. 

Attorneys can learn more about the competitions and sign-up to judge here

The format of each trial depends on which competition an attorney signs-up to judge. Here is a description of each:

  • Empire Orbit on September 24-27 – students compete from separate devices (i.e. you’ll see 12-14 students separately connect to your virtual courtroom); 
  • Empire Galaxy on October 29-November 1 – one mock trial team assembles in one room to compete against another team (i.e. you’ll see only 2 teams separately connect to your virtual courtroom);
  • Note: Empire Mock Trial has previously hosted in-person competitions in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Attorneys can earn up to 3 CLE credits for judging. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Empire Mock Trial’s Executive Director, Justin Matarrese via phone: 646.481.2332 or email: Judge@empiremocktrial.org.

AABANY Members: Pro Bono Opportunity – Help Close Civil Justice Gap through New York State Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP)

AABANY encourages its members to participate in the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program (AEP), a New York State Court system initiative through which senior attorneys offer pro bono civil legal service. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers are in urgent need of legal assistance. Our membership is acutely aware that COVID-19 has not only severely exacerbated anti-Asian hate but also highlighted the reluctance to prosecute anti-Asian hate crimes; more broadly, COVID-19 has widened and drawn attention to the civil justice gap in New York State. Volunteering through AEP could be life-altering for New Yorkers in need, whether they are struggling with housing, consumer debt and bankruptcy, access to unemployment and subsistence benefits, end-of-life planning, and domestic matters, among other issues. AEP, helmed by former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and endorsed by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, presents a substantive opportunity for AABANY members to give back and look out for its New York community.

To volunteer, AEP seeks lawyers aged fifty-five or older, retired or still in practice, in good standing, and with ten years experience. Attorney Emeritus volunteers commit to performing 60 hours of pro bono work with an approved legal services organization or court program over the two-year attorney registration period.

Attorney Emeritus volunteers also receive benefits including up to 15 CLE credits and special recognition from Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives Edwina G. Mendelson.

More information on the AEP can be found at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/volunteer/emeritus/.

The application for participating in the AEP can be found here.

Legal Outreach Invites You to Become a Mentor for High School Students

Now, more than ever, students at New York City’s public schools are grappling with questions of inequality and whether the law is the same as justice. Legal Outreach’s Mentoring Program allows attorneys and law school graduates to directly impact high school students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds by guiding them through high school and modeling what it means to be an attorney and to engage with the law – and allows attorneys to consider these questions, too! You and the members of Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) are invited to apply now to volunteer to be a Mentor, starting the 2021-22 academic year!
Attorneys meet with their students once a month to get to know each other and discuss any issues and obstacles students are facing. Mentors, with materials provided by Legal Outreach, also help students through Legal Outreach’s Constitutional Law Debate Program. In Debate, students learn and apply Supreme Court precedent to issues directly affecting the country, such as qualified immunity, political apparel at polling sites, education rights for undocumented students, gerrymandering and voting rights, discrimination in housing developments, and more. 
To be a Mentor, a volunteer needs just their JD and the ability to commit to 4-6 hours a month to meet and communicate with their student. It is a low-time, high-impact program that will help shape the course of a young person’s life and make the legal profession a more inclusive one. It is so important for our students to be able to see a model of what they can do with a law degree and see themselves represented in the profession. 
Apply here by August 15, 2021 to be a Mentor starting the 2021-22 academic year!

Thank You to CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan Participants

AABANY extends its thanks to all members of the Columbia Law School community who participated in the CLS-AABANY Pro-Bono Caravan. The Spring Caravan was a weeklong volunteer effort from March 1 through 5 in which law students partnered with AABANY’s remote clinic to update AABANY’s COVID-19 resource pages, participate in client consultations with volunteer attorneys, and engage in research on consumer debt/foreclosure, immigration, housing, employment, and family law in New York. Through translating both AABANY’s COVID-19 materials and remote clinic intake calls, participating students made COVID-related information more accessible to laypeople, particularly those from minority and low-income backgrounds. The Caravan also offered students many professional development and networking opportunities in the form of an AABANY mentorship program, a meet and greet with the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and lunch with AABANY Student Leaders. 

Please see the flyer below for the list of participating students, their reflections on the Pro-Bono Caravan, and the participating attorney mentors. We thank all Caravan participants for their desire to give back to the community and look forward to continuing the fight for equal justice as a team.

One Case, Many Takeaways: Bei Yang’s Experience with AABANY Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic

By Bei Yang

As an out-of-state law graduate from Tennessee, I was not familiar with any specific New York practice rules. While waiting for my bar exam results and preparing for my legal career in New York, and with the encouragement of my mentor Mr. Rocky Chin, I participated in the AABANY Remote Pro Bono Legal Clinic. The Clinic provides legal information and referrals to individuals, particularly those with limited English proficiency, with legal issues such as immigration, housing, employment, family, elder law, anti-Asian violence, and those pertaining to small businesses.

After registration, I received an email with a list of cases that was sent to all volunteers. Volunteers can choose to take on one or more cases based on interests or experience, and if you are not licensed or not experienced in a specific area, the Clinic partners you with a more experienced attorney to remotely shadow and learn from. Since I have not yet been admitted and this was my first time volunteering, I decided to shadow Ms. May Wong, an experienced volunteer attorney, on a contract law case.

Before making a callback, Ms. Wong and I knew that our client only spoke Mandarin and had been recently served with a Summons. With this limited information at hand, we discussed the legal matters that we needed to inform the client of. These matters included the risk of a default judgment if the clinic client did not respond to the service in a timely fashion (CPLR §3215: default judgment), the possible defenses the client might take, like defects in the service of process (§CPLR 308: Methods of personal service upon a natural person), and the statute of limitations (CPLR §213(2): 6 years for a breach of contract claim in New York). Ms. Wong then patiently went over the normal calling process and basic civil procedure in New York with me. Only after making sure that I did not have any more questions and was comfortable to make the call, she started our three-way phone call with the clinic client.

On the call, we explained our limited roles and asked the client to elaborate on the facts of his case. While acting as a language interpreter, I was able to ask the caller questions about his case to narrow down the issues, thus gaining useful intake skills. I learned that this case was about a family business dispute worth $25,000. The caller was not represented by an attorney and we strongly encouraged him to engage one rather than risking a default judgment, which is enforceable for 20 years and would cost him more money to vacate.

Not only did the client receive useful legal information regarding his case, but he also felt like his voice was finally heard. Volunteering with the pro bono clinic was a great experience, as I was able to learn so much about New York civil procedure rules and gain a lot of important legal experience from just one case. I look forward to continuing my volunteering experience to become an advocate to help those with limited resources and language skills.

To volunteer for the Remote Pro Bono Clinic, please email: clinic.volunteer@aabany.org.

For more information about AABANY Pro Bono Resources, please visit: https://probono.aabany.org/

Volunteer to be a Judge with Empire Mock Trial

Empire Mock Trial is a nonprofit that brings together extraordinary high school students from across the U.S. plus 6 countries. Over the past 6 months, the nonprofit has worked hard to plan a mock trial program for them that is fun, safe, and educational during the age of COVID-19 — this fall, it is finally happening.

Volunteer to judge a mock trial on October 28-31 or November 14-16 (attorneys can judge one trial or multiple). All trials will be held online via Zoom. For most of the students, this is the first time they’ve been able to participate in mock trial in 2020, with COVID having canceled their last season. 

Attorneys can learn more about the competitions and sign-up to judge here

The format of each trial depends on which competition you sign-up to judge. Here is a description of each:

  • Empire @ Home on October (28-31) –  students compete from the comfort of their own homes (i.e. you’ll see 12-14 students separately connect to your virtual courtroom). It’s called ‘Empire Chicago’ because we are hosting Chicago themed events for the kids;
  • Empire One (November 14-16) – one mock trial team assembles in one room to compete against another team (i.e. you’ll see only 2 teams separately connect to your virtual courtroom). It’s called ‘Empire New York’ because we are hosting New York themed events for the kids.

Attorneys can earn up to 3 CLE credits for judging. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Empire Mock Trial via phone or email on their website.