AABANY’s Pro Bono Committee Hosts a Remote Clinic Introduction Meeting

On Thursday June 4th, AABANY held a virtual introduction meeting for its Pro Bono Legal Advice and Referral Clinic. Since 2015, the Clinic provided in-person consultation to those with legal questions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Due to COVID-19, these operations have been suspended.  In order to continue serving community needs, the Pro Bono Clinic is transitioning to a remote clinic by setting up a telephone hotline for volunteer attorneys to provide legal information and referrals to all individuals. 

Judy Lee, Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair, and May Wong, a Pro Bono Clinic volunteer, led the meeting and discussed logistical concerns, such as how attorneys will be paired with the callers, the intake forms to maintain records, and the coordination of language interpretation. This will be a challenge during unprecedented times.

Judy and May also focused on confidentiality, how volunteers can best assist callers by being understanding and respectful, and how to use IRAC to answer the questions. They posed a housing and COVID-19 related hypothetical of whether a tenant who moved out from the apartment without providing 30 days’ notice to the landlord can recover his or her security deposit. After presenting the question at hand, they provided sample responses to show that many attorneys may have different approaches in solving the problem but at the same time the tenant is directed to the proper forum to seek relief.

The volunteers may not always know the answers to the caller’s issue but AABANY provides experienced coordinators, training materials, and CLEs to help. For example, such information can be found at: 

Anti Asian Violence – Know Your Rights:

COVID-19 Small Business Relief:

AABANY Covid-19 Resources: https://www.aabany.org/page/648

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view the recorded session at https://youtu.be/9FSmNG_Vfxw. We strongly encourage you to consider joining the Remote Clinic.

Please contact probono@aabany.org for more information. To learn more about the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee visit https://www.aabany.org/page/117.

AABANY Member Profile: Hon. John Z. Wang Runs for New York City Civil Court

https://www.instagram.com/judgewang4civilcourt/

Hon. John Z. Wang, a proud member of AABANY, has launched his own campaign to run for New York City Civil Court in the First Municipal Court District, which covers Battery Park, Chinatown, FiDi, Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, and Two Bridges. An active contributor to the Judiciary Committee of AABANY, Judge Wang has organized panels on how to become an appointed and elected judge in hopes of encouraging more Asian American and Pacific Islander lawyers to pursue this path. Now, he hopes to make his community proud by becoming the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First District.

Judge Wang immigrated to the United States at five years old and grew up in a predominantly working-class Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn. As one of very few Asian Americans in his community, he recognized the dangers of racism and bigotry and the importance of respecting other cultures and races.

The Judge has devoted his entire career to public service. After graduating from Vassar College and Brooklyn Law School, he received a six-month fellowship to work at Legal Services, where he advocated for claimants of unemployment insurance. Subsequently, he served as a court attorney in Brooklyn Family Court and the Bronx and Manhattan Civil Courts, and clerked for Hon. Anthony Cannataro, a New York State Supreme Court Justice and the Administrative Judge of the New York City Civil Court. Last year, Judge Wang was appointed as a Brooklyn Housing Court Judge. In all his years serving in New York’s courts, he has also contributed to policy-making by helping to restructure parts of the Manhattan Civil Court.

Now, Judge Wang hopes to serve as the first Asian American Civil Court Judge elected to the First Judicial District. Judge Wang views the Civil Court as the people’s court–it serves everyday people with real, working-class issues. He is moved by the stories and individuals that these small claims and credit card disputes represent, and hopes to do his part to deliver justice to everyday people.

Judge Wang also maintains a reputation for treating individuals that come before him with dignity, compassion, and fairness. As the only sitting judge in this contested race, Judge Wang understands the weight of making difficult decisions regarding people’s livelihoods.

AABANY’s Judiciary Committee vetted Judge Wang for his appointment to Housing Court in 2017 and found him highly qualified and well-suited for the role. The Committee noted that “[t]he advocates and judges that encounter Mr. Wang in the courthouse uniformly praise his intellect, work ethic and demeanor.” After more than two years on the bench, Committee Co-Chair Will Wang (no relation) observed: “It is somewhat uncommon for a relatively recent judge to have published the number of opinions Judge Wang has published. To me, this demonstrates both Judge Wang’s work ethic and overall writing ability.”

Judge Wang believes he faces a tough but winnable campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic has created serious challenges, including uncertainty in voter turnout and participation, but he hopes that his experience working in Civil Court will inspire individuals to volunteer and vote for him.

For more information on Judge Wang’s campaign, including how you can volunteer or support his candidacy, visit https://www.judgewang4civilcourt.com/ or email judgewang4civilcourt@gmail.com.

This member profile has been published for informational purposes only and does not constitute and should not be construed as a campaign endorsement.

https://www.instagram.com/judgewang4civilcourt/

Second Circuit Accepting Application for Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is accepting applications for the Court’s Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel. The Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel is authorized by Local Rule 33.1, and is governed by the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel Plan. Members of the Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Panel serve as volunteer mediators for counseled, civil appeals.

All applicants must be attorneys admitted to, and in good standing with, the Bar of the Second Circuit or the bar of a state within the Second Circuit. Applicants must have 10 years of legal experience and substantial mediation experience.

As explained in the Pro Bono Appellate Mediator Plan, the Panel’s size is limited; therefore, the Court cannot appoint every qualified applicant. Membership will be on a three-year rotational basis, subject to a limit of two consecutive terms.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and this application to the Director of the Office of Legal Affairs and the Chief Circuit Mediator via email to volunteer_mediation@ca2.uscourts.gov. Applications must be received by May 1, 2019. Please use the subject line: Appellate Mediator Panel.

Judges Needed for Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition

If you are an attorney attending the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Convention in Chicago this year, we request that you volunteer to serve as a judge in the preliminary and/or quarterfinal rounds of the 2018 Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition (Competition).  The Competition is an appellate advocacy competition sponsored annually by the NAPABA Law Foundation, an IRC § 501( c )(3) non-profit, charitable and educational affiliate of NAPABA.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Competition!  The Competition honors the late Judge Thomas Tang, a champion of individual rights, an advocate for the advancement of minority attorneys, and an ardent supporter of NAPABA.  Judge Tang served on the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1977 until his passing in 1995. To learn more about the competition, click here.

This year’s problem addresses the following issues:

  1. Whether a state university may impose disciplinary sanctions on a student for non-curricular expressive conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment in order to protect the expressive rights of other.
  2. Whether a state university may expel a law student based on university officials’ determination that her off-campus expressive activity, otherwise protected by the First Amendment, violates the professionalism standards governing attorneys.

The information for the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds is as follows:
Date:  Friday, November 9, 2018
Time:  Preliminary Round One (9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.), Preliminary Round Two (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.), and Quarterfinal Round (2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Place:  Sheraton Grand Chicago (301 E. North Water St., Chicago, IL 60611)

Please register online at https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/dicpm to judge one or both of the preliminary rounds and/or the quarterfinal round.  Although the sign-up sheet is getting full, please consider signing up to be an alternate in the event someone needs to make a last minute cancellation. Once you register, you will be emailed the problem, the bench brief, the rules and the oral argument scoring sheets.  Please report to the Tennessee meeting room located on the second level at least 20 minutes before your scheduled round to obtain your room assignment.  We ask that alternates also report to the Tennessee meeting room 20 minutes before your scheduled room to determine if your services are needed for the Competition.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Linda Tran (linda.tran.m37t@statefarm.com) or Leah Gould (gould.leah@gmail.com).

Volunteers Needed for AALDEF’s Election Protection Program

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is in need of volunteers to survey Asian American voters and protect their vote. In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, translated voting materials were missing or hidden from voters, and ballots were mistranslated listing Democratic candidates as Republicans, and vice versa. When the news media reported on election results and the vote by specific groups, Asian Americans were often overlooked. 

Since 1988, AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters and monitored polls in every major election. Help us continue to resolve these issues at the polls by taking part in AALDEF’s 2018 Asian American Election Protection Program. On Election Day, November 6th, volunteers will document voter problems and the availability of language assistance. They will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll to get a snapshot of Asian American candidate preferences, party enrollment, and issues of significance to Asian American voters.  

To read AALDEF’s report on the Asian American Vote, click here. Click here to sign up to volunteer. Attendance at one training session is required for all volunteers. All volunteers must be non-partisan and work a 3-hour shift. CLE trainings are 90 minutes, and attorneys can receive 1.5 CLE credits including 0.5 ethics credit. AABANY is the CLE provider for the New York training sessions. If you have volunteered in the past, you do not have to attend another training, but you must register to volunteer again. 

For more information, contact AALDEF Democracy Program Director Jerry Vattamala or Voting Rights Organizer Judy Lei at 800-966-5946 or votingrights@aaldef.org.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO DEFEND ASIAN AMERICAN VOTING RIGHTS

DC • CA • FL • GA • LA • MA • MD • MI • NJ • NM • NV • NY • PA • TX • VA

2018 Asian American Exit Poll and Poll Monitoring

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote, including segregated “Asian” voting lines.  When the news media reported on election results, Asian Americans were overlooked.  In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has conducted a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns and document instances of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement. AALDEF has monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.

We need your help.  In 2016, our volunteers surveyed 13,846 Asian American and Arab voters in 11 Asian languages at 55 cities about their voting encounters. Volunteers work in three hour shifts. There will be a one-hour training session for all volunteers in October (90 minutes for CLE credits).  All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time that they help.  Complete the form at Volunteer Sign-Up Form.  Thank you!

For more information, contact: AALDEF Democracy Program Director Jerry Vattamala or Voting Rights Organizer Fiona Zhao at 800-966-5946 or votingrights@aaldef.org.

Register to Judge at The Downtown

Register to Judge at The Downtown

Empire Mock Trial (Opportunity to Judge)

Empire Mock Trial is excited to invite attorneys to judge at Empire New York, scheduled for November 18-19. The program is run by Empire Mock Trial, an education nonprofit.  The organization is asking attorneys to serve as a judge or juror for one three (3) hour trial, which includes a complimentary meal and brief orientation session.  The remarkable high school students hail from 6 countries and 16 states, and attorneys receive 3 free CLE credits for volunteering.

More program information can be found on the website here—it takes less than 5 minutes for volunteers to register.

For the event flyer, click here.

This is a win-win opportunity for everyone: the local community gets to empower the next generation of leaders, while students learn from their knowledge and expertise.

For more information, please contact 917-426-3682 or judge@empiremocktrial.org.