AABANY Celebrates its 33rd Anniversary with Founders’ Day, Featuring Hon. Denny Chin

On October 25, 2022, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) celebrated its 33rd Anniversary with its Second Annual Founders’ Day Event at Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services’ (JAMS) space in the New York Times building in Manhattan. The annual event commemorates the founding of AABANY as a bar association in 1989 and honors the Founders who helped build the foundation for AABANY to become the largest diverse bar association in the country.

The Honorable Denny Chin, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, gave remarks as the Founders’ Day keynote speaker. He spoke about AABANY’s early days and the fight for diversity and Asian representation in the legal profession. He recounted the challenges that he and his colleagues faced during his time as AABANY’s second president. He concluded by urging members not to rest on their laurels but to continue to fight for the needs of Asian Americans in the legal community. AABANY President William Ng also gave remarks while Hon. Marilyn Go, longtime AABANY member Hugh Mo, Executive Director Yang Chen, and many other AABANY leaders and members attended the celebration. 

We would like to thank AABANY Board Member Chris Kwok and his colleagues at JAMS for hosting Founders’ Day, along with Membership Director Christopher S. Bae and the Membership Committee for organizing such a great event. AABANY is proud to have celebrated its 33rd anniversary with so many distinguished guests, and we look forward to celebrating our 34th next year at our Third Annual Founders’ Day Event.

League of United Latin American Citizens of New York Honors AABANY for Work in Fighting Anti-Asian Violence

On June 23, 2022, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the League of United Latin American Citizens of New York (LULAC NY) honored AABANY for its work in fighting Anti-Asian violence.

For 93 years, LULAC has been fighting for the civil rights of the Latin American community. The Director of LULAC NY, Aureo Ivan Cardona, spoke on the importance of teaming up with other organizations to fight injustice and hate, because any group could be the next victim or scapegoat.

LULAC presented President William Ng with a beautiful wood-carved plaque that says “Stop the Hate… Tolerate.” Joining Will at the reception were Beatrice Leong, Co-VP of Programs and Operations, Shirley Bi, Secretary, and Will Hao, Board Director.

AABANY thanks LULAC NY for bestowing this honor and recognizing AABANY’s anti-Asian violence work.

To learn more about LULAC’s work, see https://lulac.org/about/

AABANY Recognized in City and State’s 2022 The Power of Diversity: Asian 100

AABANY is excited to announce that on May 2, 2022, President William Ng and President-Elect Karen Kim were recognized by City and State’s 2022 The Power of Diversity: Asian 100. The Power of Diversity: Asian 100 identifies New York’s Asian American leaders from a wide range of backgrounds who are gaining political power and advocating for their community. President William Ng and President-Elect Karen Kim are recognized as 50th on the list, an increase from AABANY’s placement last year at 53rd.

City & State wrote:

William Ng took over as president and Karen Kim as president-elect of the Asian American Bar Association of New York in April. Ng is a shareholder at Littler, a major employment and labor law firm. A Brooklyn Law School alumnus, Kim has practiced law for over a decade and serves as counsel to QBE North America. In March, AABANY, together with like-minded organizations, filed a court brief addressing suspected racial bias in a ruling involving a Korean American individual.

AABANY has had the pleasure of working closely with Grace Meng (1), number one on the list and New York’s first Asian American member of Congress. In 2021, Grace Meng spoke at AABANY’s press conference following the release of our anti-Asian violence report, A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions.

AABANY also congratulates Assemblymember Ron Kim (3) and State Senator John Liu (4), who both spoke at AABANY’s May 31, 2022 press conference following the release of our second report on anti-Asian hate and violence in New York City, entitled Endless Tide: The Continuing Struggle to Overcome Anti-Asian Hate in New York.

Please join AABANY in congratulating these others AAPI trailblazers who made the list:

  • Sandra Ung (12), City Council member and former treasurer of AABANY;
  • Kevin Kim (17), Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services and former AABANY Board Officer;
  • Frank Wu (23), Queens College’s first President of Asian descent. AABANY honored Frank Wu with the AABANY Impact Award at our 2021 Virtual Gala: Uniting for Justice and Equity;
  • Joon Kim (29), Partner at longtime AABANY sponsor, Cleary Gottlieb, former acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, and AABANY member;
  • Faiza Saeed (35), Presiding Partner at Cravath, a longtime sponsor of AABANY;
  • Wellington Chen (47), Executive Director of Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp and AABANY community partner through CPLDC’s and AABANY’s collaboration on the creation of a dedicated team to address lawsuits under the Americans With Disabilities Act;
  • L. Austin D’Souza & Vidya Pappachan (64), President and President-Elect of the South Asian Bar Association of New York and AABANY members;
  • Justin Yu (78), Chair of The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York and AABANY community partner through his past support for our Chinatown Pro Bono Clinic;
  • Anna Mercado Clark (88), Partner at Phillips Lytle, NAPABA’s Northeast regional governor, and AABANY’s current Development Director, an Officer position on the Board; and
  • Elizabeth OuYang (98), Civil Rights attorney and leader of the APA Voice Redistricting Task Force of which AABANY is a member.

AABANY congratulates everyone who made the City & State Asian 100 list and thanks them all for the important work they do on behalf of New York’s AAPI community. To read the full article, please click here.

AABANY Recognized in City & State’s Law Power 100

AABANY President Terrence Shen and President-Elect William Ng have been recognized by City & State’s Law Power 100. The Law Power 100 takes an in-depth look at the legal professionals who aren’t simply influential in their field, but powerful in New York’s governmental landscape. This year’s list includes district attorneys, federal prosecutors, white-collar defense attorneys, public interest lawyers, law school deans and bar association leaders who have shaped New York politics and government. 

President Terrence Shen and President-Elect William are 86th on the Law Power 100 for their leadership of AABANY. The publication applauds AABANY as an organization of more than 1,500 attorneys, judges, law students and academics which aims to improve the practice of law and to support Asian American legal professionals. 

AABANY congratulates Terrence Shen and William Ng, as well as all the attorneys, firms and groups recognized. To read the full article, please click here

AABANY Hosts Fundraising Event on May 21 to Support Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund

On May 21, in observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, AABANY’s Legal Referral and Information Service (LRIS) hosted an event titled “A Brief History of Anti-Asian Racism in America and Call to Action” to raise funds for Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund. Welcome to Chinatown is a grassroots initiative working to preserve New York City’s Chinatown by supporting small businesses and amplifying community voices. In 2020, they launched The Longevity Fund, a small business relief program, to support small businesses where cultural and socioeconomic barriers have prevented them from applying for assistance programs.

The first part of the fundraising event consisted of a presentation from Chris Kwok, AABANY Board Director, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair, and Issues Committee Chair, on the history of anti-Asian racism in America. He provided an overview of the history of sinophobia and anti-Asian violence in the United States, highlighting the passage of laws including the Naturalization Act of 1790, the Page Act of 1875, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chris also shared the common themes of how Asian Americans have been perceived throughout history and are still seen today as “forever foreign.”

The presentation was followed by an informal Q&A session between Moderator Tiffany Miao, and William Ng, AABANY President-Elect and LRIS Panel Member, on the importance of AAPI representation in the legal profession and how AAPI lawyers can play a role in preserving Asian cultures and communities for future generations. After listening to Chris’ presentation, William spoke about how the history of sinophobia in the U.S. was never taught in school and how it is important to push towards adding it to school curriculums. Chris added that it’s critical for individuals to understand how race works with Asian Americans—although there’s similarity with how African Americans and Jews experience race, there are still differences and nuances. As for how AAPI lawyers can support AAPI communities, William stated, “While it’s a good career opportunity to do meaningful work, this time in particular, Asian Americans have an opportunity to do more, push certain initiatives.” In addition to representing Asian American clients at work, AAPI lawyers can donate to organizations such as Welcome to Chinatown, and join AABANY’s LRIS to provide legal assistance to the Asian American community.

To join AABANY’s LRIS, please email joinlris@aabany.org for an application. To learn more about Welcome to Chinatown, please visit welcometochinatown.com and check out their Instagram account @welcome.to.chinatown

At the conclusion of the fundraiser, AABANY was able to raise $2000 for The Longevity Fund. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event, and thanks especially to all the donors for their support.

In the News: President-Elect William Ng Featured in Binghamton University’s Alumni Newsletter

William Ng, President-Elect of AABANY, was recently featured in Binghamton University’s April 2021 Alumni Newsletter. In the article titled “Alumnus Leads Bar Association, Combats Racism,” William discussed AABANY’s mission of ensuring meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession. He also highlighted AABANY’s leadership in addressing the rise of hate and violence against the Asian American community. As President-Elect, William looks forward to prioritizing fundraising and ramping up virtual programs to position AABANY for success in a post-pandemic environment. Speaking about his time at Binghamton, William ’04 credits his experience serving in the Student Association and as a Student Conduct Board Member to furthering his interest in law.

The newsletter also acknowledges other Binghamton alumni who have served or currently serve on the AABANY Board:

  • Yang Chen ’87, Executive Director
  • Linda Lin ‘00, Past President
  • William Wang ’00, Past President
  • Bobby Liu ’93, Former Board Member
  • Christopher Bae ’10, Secretary
  • Beatrice Leong ‘06, Membership Director

To read the full article on Binghamton University’s Alumni Newsletter, click here.

In the News: Incoming President-Elect William Ng Quoted in Law360 Article About Ways Employers Can Help Asian Workers Amid Anti-Asian Violence

William Ng, incoming President-Elect at AABANY, was recently interviewed for a Law360 article published on February 26, 2021 titled “3 Ways Employers Can Help Asian Workers As Attacks Surge.” Law360 asked legal experts for tips they could share with employers on how they can create a safe environment for their Asian American employees at work during the rise of anti-Asian violence.

The first tip legal experts shared is to acknowledge the problem. Employers need to recognize and denounce the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and bigotry. By doing this, it gives a voice to the Asian American community and lets them know that they are supported. The second tip is to have a game plan. William Ng suggested to Law360 that employers should have a plan for exactly how they will handle a situation of anti-Asian harassment or violence. He stated, “It’s just being aware of these issues and understanding, ‘Hey, if this happens, what will we be doing?'” Suggestions William Ng provided include assembling a security management team and being in contact with local law enforcement. The third tip experts suggested is that employers should use training to empower bystanders such as offering bystander intervention training and implicit bias training.

To read the full article, click here (subscription is required).

AABANY Congratulates Littler on Receiving the 2020 NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Littler Mendelson P.C. (Littler) on receiving the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA’s) 2020 Law Firm Diversity Award. Littler is the world’s largest employment and labor law firm with over 1,500 attorneys in 95 offices globally and AABANY is honored to have the support of Littler as a Silver Sponsor.

The NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award honors law firms that actively and consistently recruit, retain, and promote Asian Pacific American (APA) lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership. It also celebrates law firms’ successes in their support for APA lawyers. Through its many initiatives, Littler is creating a welcoming environment for its employees, accepting of different backgrounds, and is continuing to look for ways to become a more diverse and inclusive employer. 

Eddie Chyun and William Ng — shareholders in the Cleveland, Ohio and Long Island, New York offices, respectively — both emphasized their membership in Littler’s ‘Ohana affinity group ‘Ohana, when asked about their experiences as an APA lawyer at the firm. Within the first few weeks after being hired, Eddie and Will each were approached through email or word-of-mouth about joining ‘Ohana, the affinity group for Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Pacific Islander-American attorneys. The invitation left a memorable impression on them both as it helped ease Eddie and Will’s transition into the law firm by quickly welcoming them into the APA community within Littler. Being a part of ‘Ohana allows them to know APA lawyers across all of Littler’s offices. Affinity groups meet in-person every other year to discuss diversity and inclusion, work on professional development skills such as practicing elevator pitches, and collaborate on coming up with new initiatives relating to retention and advancement, associate development, etc. that can help APA lawyers’ success in the office. Throughout the year, they participate in social gatherings, quarterly calls, and other events which provide members with support and networking opportunities at the firm. 

‘Ohana group photo from their last retreat in Miami

Eddie also serves as co-chair of Littler’s 20-person Diversity & Inclusion Council (D&IC), which includes four APA attorneys among its diverse members. The D&IC focuses on increasing the hiring of individuals from diverse backgrounds and increasing professional opportunities for diverse employees like mentorships and leadership opportunities. Littler’s programs include the Career Advocacy Program (CAP) and Investment for Success, which support and promote diverse attorneys in the firm, including APA lawyers, to leadership positions. 

Littler’s award-winning CAP selects higher-level, high-performing associates (Protégés) who identify as diverse and pairs them with the firm’s most influential leaders (Advocates) and client (Champions) who encourage their career growth. From 2015 to 2020, Protégés represented on average 28% and up to 40% of the firm’s new shareholder class. Twenty-four former Protégés, including eight APA attorneys, have been elevated to shareholder and continue to participate in the program. Currently, 11 of the 31 Protégés in CAP are APA attorneys. The Investment for Success Program pairs recently hired diverse attorneys with a shareholder to help them better integrate into the firm, as the transition in the first few weeks is critical for an attorney’s success in the firm. There are currently 30 diverse associates, including seven APA attorneys, participating in the program. Eddie and Will pointed out the importance of these programs because APA lawyers tend to face barriers with advancement in their positions such as a lack of access to mentors, and with these programs, APA attorneys are able to be mentored by a senior attorney, who ensures that they receive the proper mix of work and opportunities to succeed at the law firm.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Littler continues to create a diverse and inclusive environment through holding their mentorship programs and affinity group meetings virtually.

Littler’s creation of the Career Advocacy Program and the Investment for Success program have promoted and continues to promote APA lawyers to leadership positions within the firm, and the ‘Ohana affinity group continues to provide a supportive community among the firm’s APA lawyers. Littler will be honored at a reception for award recipients held in December 2020.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Littler on receiving the Law Firm Diversity Award. 

AABANY Co-Sponsors Panel on Small Business Navigation of COVID-19

On June 23, the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) presented its Small Business Navigation of COVID-19: A Briefing on Relief and Remedies panel as a part of AABANY’s wider initiative to provide support for those adversely affected by COVID-19. The event highlighted professionals working in a variety of fields and addressed concerns regarding how to safely open up and potential next steps for small businesses. The panel was moderated by Margaret Ling, Senior Counsel at Big Apple Abstract Corp. and Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee, and featured Amol Pachnanda, Partner at Ingram Yuzek LLP and Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee; William Ng, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C.; Anthony Kammas, Partner at Skyline Risk Management, Inc.; William Hao, Counsel at Alston & Bird LLP and AABANY Treasurer; and Anthony M. Bracco, Partner at Anchin Accountants and Advisors.

Amol Pachnanda began by discussing COVID-19’s effect on the tenant-landlord relationship and best practices for tenants to avoid eviction. Tenants should be familiar with the lease agreement and seek legal counsel in any disputes with the landlord. Communication between tenants and landlords is critical as both parties possess significant incentives to avoid eviction. Tenants should be aware that the Moratorium on Evictions has been extended for an additional 60 days and any rent demands must be nullified if the tenant states that they have been impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, New York State real estate personal guarantees and “Good Guy Guarantees” have been made non-enforceable as tenants are no longer legally bound to vacate within a set timeframe if they are unable to pay their rent.

William Ng addressed how small businesses should reopen and some of the potential legal issues with phase 2 and phase 3 reopening. Business owners must go online and complete the New York Forward safety plan template and keep the plan on the premises at all times. Each business must affirm whether they have submitted a plan or have a plan in place during inspections. Small businesses are also encouraged to maintain a cleaning plan and document daily hygiene and sanitation activities to limit employer liability in the event that an employee does contract COVID-19. If an employee does contract COVID-19, small business owners are responsible for reporting the case to the relevant authorities and putting together a plan that ensures the safety of the other employees. The plan should include contact tracing measures and other appropriate protocols to limit contact and exposure.

Anthony Kammas discussed how small businesses can maintain their insurance coverage while reopening and other ways to mitigate liability. Employers should review their business policies and keep detailed records of their sanitation efforts to make sure they can retain their coverage in the event that individuals claim they contracted COVID-19 on the premises. Moreover, it is critical that employee handbooks are updated to address the challenges currently posed by COVID-19. Employers should also be mindful of the HIPAA liabilities associated with additional employee screenings. If employers contact trace, any information regarding the infected individual must remain confidential. As many policies do not cover the cost of sanitation and cleaning, Anthony Kammas recommends seeking third-party cleaning services to shift liability down away from the business owner and to the cleaning service if an incident were to occur. Small business owners should be more careful when buying new policies as carriers are becoming increasingly narrow in their wording to avoid excessive coverage.

William Hao then explained how Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be a viable option for struggling small businesses. Chapter 11 bankruptcy focuses on restructuring and reorganizing as the business undergoes a court-supervised process by which creditors and debtors come together to discharge bad debts and re-negotiate contracts and formulate a plan moving forward. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides a business a set of tools and leverages to incentivize creditors to come to the table and establish an agreeable plan for all parties. Businesses are entitled to an automatic stay, which stops any litigation and collection efforts that are burdening them. Businesses can also reject bad contracts during this process. Creditors are incentivized to negotiate with debtors as creditors are aware that any contracts paid out during this time would amount to a smaller fraction of the original debt. In addition, the absolute priority rule is voided, and other regulations and costs that had previously barred small businesses from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy have been waived.

Lastly, Anthony Bracco discussed how small businesses can still apply for benefits under the Payment Protection Program (“PPP”) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”). Under the PPP, small businesses can apply for up to two and a half months’ worth of employee payroll costs with any new loans having a five-year repayment period. These loans qualify for 100% loan forgiveness if they are spent within 24 weeks and at least 60% is spent on payroll costs. The percentage of loan forgiveness is reduced if employers reduce the compensation of anyone earning $100,000 by 25% or more or reduce full-time equivalents. However, employers are not accountable for restoring full-time equivalent employment if employees are not willing to return to work or due to government shutdown. Small business owners can apply for loan forgiveness any time within the 24 week window if all of the PPP loan is spent. As for the EIDL, small business owners can obtain a loan up to $150,000 with an advance loan of $10,000. Even if the full EIDL loan is not granted, small business owners are entitled up to the $10,000 advance loan. Small business owners can apply for both the PPP and the EIDL but must deduct the $10,000 EIDL advance loan from the PPP loan. Anthony Bracco also described different options available for small business owners to cover employee costs in addition to applying for the PPP. Instead of cutting headcount by a certain percentage, small business owners can reduce employee salaries by the percentage of those that were to be terminated and the Department of Labor will cover a portion of the pay lost.

We would like to thank Margaret Ling for moderating and organizing this informative event and the panelists for their time and dedication to help those adversely affected by COVID-19. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, click here. To view the recording from the webinar click on the image above.

AABANY Presents: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On January 30, 2020, AABANY’s Real Estate Committee hosted a CLE entitled “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE and networking event took place at Hanover Bank in Flushing Commons in Queens, and over 25 attorneys attended.

The panel discussion covered all the basics of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and its relevance to the legal profession. The speakers included AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler,  and Shirley W. Bi, Associate at Littler. Margaret Ling, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, moderated the event. Attendees received 1 credit in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.

Many thanks to our sponsors, John Pollock and Jimmy Lee, both of Hanover Bank, Littler, Big Apple Abstract Corporation, KALAGNY, and the Queens County Bar Association. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/120 .