AABANY’s Academic Committee was proud to co-sponsor the second ever Workshop for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Women in the Legal Academy at UC Davis School of Law, held on Friday, September 16, 2022. This conference is designed to support and mentor women aspiring to enter or who are in the legal academy. AABANY’s generous co-sponsorship allowed travel stipends for individuals to attend. It was a fantastic two-day event. Academic Committee Co-chairs Catherine Kim, Donna Lee, and Elaine Chiu were delighted to attend. To learn more about the Academic Committee, click here.
WASHINGTON – Sid Kanazawa, president of NAPABA, issued the following statement in response to the confirmations of Judge Jinsook Ohta to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and Judge Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan:
“NAPABA congratulates Judge Ohta on her confirmation to become the first Asian American woman to serve as an Article III judge in the Southern District of California. She has a career in public service, serving as a judge on the California Superior Court and as a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in California. Judge Ohta has strong ties to the AAPI community as an active member of NAPABA and the Korean American Bar Association of San Diego. We thank Senators Feinstein and Padilla for recommending Judge Ohta.
“NAPABA congratulates Judge Kumar on her historic confirmation to the Eastern District of Michigan. She is the first Asian American to serve as an Article III judge on the federal courts in Michigan. Judge Kumar has extensive experience on the bench, serving as Chief Judge of the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court in Michigan covering both civil and criminal matters. We thank Senators Stabenow and Peters for recommending Judge Kumar.
“December 2021 has been a historic month with a record four AAPI women judges confirmed by the Senate. We applaud Leader Schumer for his leadership and the Senate for swiftly confirming these nominees, and we thank President Biden for his commitment to diversifying the judiciary.”
Judge Ohta served as a Superior Court Judge for the Superior Court in San Diego County. Previously, she worked in the Consumer Protection Section of the California Attorney General’s Office as Supervising Deputy Attorney General. Judge Ohta clerked for the Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and is a graduate of Yale University and New York University School of Law.
Judge Kumar has been on the bench since 2007, and over the years, has served as a presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, the Chairperson of the Oakland County Criminal Assignment Committee, the bench liaison to the Oakland County Bar Association Circuit Court Committee, a member of the Michigan State Bar Professionalism Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Judges’ Association. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.
In conjunction with the Federal Bar Foundation and several other law firms, 33 women in the legal profession have created a scholarship program in honor of the late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The program is titled “When There Are Nine” (WTA9), as it was Justice Ginsburg’s answer to the question of when there would be “enough” women serving on the Supreme Court. As the upper echelons of the legal profession are dominated by men, the WTA9 Scholarship program was founded to provide a network of support to young women aspiring to become lawyers. The WTA9 Scholarship will grant each recipient $10,000 as well as mentorship through and beyond law school. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and a dedication to academic achievement. Any women graduating from law school between 2022 and 2025 are eligible to apply no later than June 15, 2021. To learn more about the WTA9 Scholarship, click here.
For Immediate Release: Date: March 17, 2021
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
WASHINGTON—Last night, a gunman entered multiple businesses in Atlanta and opened fire on their predominantly Asian American workforces. This horrifying act of violence left eight dead, including six Asian American women. There have now been nearly 3,800 documented attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago, with this incident, sadly, being the most brazen and violent.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)’s president A.B. Cruz III issued the following statement:
“NAPABA extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and coworkers of the eight victims. Last night’s murders are only the latest in a distressing trend that specifically targets and physically attacks Asian Americans—particularly the elderly and women. This is totally unacceptable.
While further details of this violent act are still forthcoming, it is clear, from this latest tragedy and the many before it, that the Asian American community has good reason to be acutely concerned. Therefore, we specifically call on federal and local state law enforcement to aggressively investigate and prosecute these unconscionable killings to the fullest extent, including unearthing and evaluating all evidence supporting that these murders were racially motivated.
NAPABA is working closely with its Affiliate, the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association on this matter. We are fully committed to providing the necessary resources to the victims and their families to ensure justice ultimately prevails, and our community and our allies may heal and transcend this atrocity.”
NAPABA’s hate crimes resources, including providing pro bono legal assistance, can be found here. NAPABA’s Stand Against Hate campaign, denouncing racism can be found here. NAPABA and its affiliates’ past statements on anti-Asian hate can be found here.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.
In response to the exclusion of Native American women law students in the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation’s study, “Women of Color – A Study of Law Student Experiences,” NAPABA urges the inclusion of Native American women.
NAPABA supports the National Native American Bar Association’s call to include Native American Women in the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation “Women of Color – A Study of Law Student Experiences.” While NAPABA believes the omission was unintentional, it is important when addressing the experiences of communities of color that efforts are made to ensure that the final study is inclusive of all communities. As an organization that represents the interests of Asian Pacific American attorneys, NAPABA is too familiar with the frustration of being excluded or lumped into an “Other” category. Within NAPABA itself, there is a concrete effort to be representative of our diverse Asian Pacific American community.
NAPABA strongly advocates that all studies of the legal profession ensure that Native Americans are included when issuing these important and necessary studies.
For Immediate Release I January 7, 2020
WASHINGTON — Yesterday, President Trump announced the nominations of Jessie K. Liu to be Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Crimes and Jennifer Yue Barber to be Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.
“We congratulate Jessie K. Liu on her nomination to serve as the Under Secretary of the Treasury. Ms. Liu is an experienced and respected attorney with a record of leadership as U.S. Attorney. She is well qualified to oversee the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “We congratulate Jennifer Yue Barber on her nomination to serve as Representative of the United States of America on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Ms. Barber has a strong record of encouraging and creating economic opportunity and is well qualified to serve as Ambassador. We are encouraged to see Asian Pacific American women like Ms. Liu and Ms. Barber continue to break barriers and serve as role models.”
A litigator with over 20 years of experience, Liu is presently the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. She previously served as Deputy General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia and in several senior positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, including as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division, counsel to the Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Chief of Staff for the National Security Division. She was a partner at the law firms Morrison & Foerster LLP and Jenner & Block LLP. Liu clerked for then-Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas. She received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. A longtime member of the Asian Pacific American legal community, Liu served as a co-chair of the 2012 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C. She is also a recipient of the NAPABA Best Under 40 Award.
Barber is a member of the law firm Frost Brown Todd LLC focusing on state and local tax, economic incentives, and government affairs. She was appointed by the Governor of Kentucky to serve on the University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees. Barber is also a member of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Tax Working Group and Litigation Committee and a member of the American Bar Association and Kentucky Bar Association, where she leads and serves on multiple committees. She is also a member of the local advisory board for United States Bank, the nation’s fifth largest commercial bank. She served on the Kentucky State Fair Board, which has over $450 million in annual economic impact to Kentucky. Barber earned her B.S. from the University of Kentucky and her J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. She clerked in the Office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky. Barber is a member of the NAPABA Partners Committee.
Barber is also nominated to be an Alternate U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly.
NAPABA commends President Trump for announcing the nomination of Jessie K. Liu and Jennifer Yue Barber.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.
AABANY congratulates My Chi To on her appointment as Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). In this role, she will oversee more than 1,400 insurance companies with $4.7 trillion in assets. My Chi To is an AABANY member and was a Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, in the Restructuring Group and Global Insurance Practice.
According to the DFS Press Release which announced her appointment in November,
My Chi was awarded the Kathryn R. Heidt Memorial Award by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. She also received the Best Lawyers Under 40 Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. An advocate for women in law and business, she is a member of the Steering Committee of the U.S. 30% Club, a group of business leaders focused on improving the representation of women at all levels of U.S. organizations, including corporate boards. My Chi will join New York state’s Committee for the Advancement of Women in Leadership in Financial Services, which was announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in September.
She received an M.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received an LL.L. and LL.B. in Civil Law and Common Law from the University of Ottawa and was a law clerk to the Hon. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé of the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court of Canada.
The New York Law Journal reported that My Chi is expected to start full-time at DFS at the start of 2020.
Please join AABANY in congratulating My Chi and wishing her success on this important appointment.
AABANY congratulates White & Case and Sylvia Chin on being recognized by Women’s World Banking for their pro bono work on behalf of the organization over four decades, since its founding. The award was presented on April 4 at Women’s World Banking’s 40th anniversary celebration in New York.
According to the media release, “In 2018, White & Case’s global pro bono practice provided more than 120,000 hours of legal services focused on access to justice, promoting the rule of law, and serving organizations with social and environmental missions. Women’s World Banking has been a recipient of White & Case’s pro bono legal services since our founding.”
For more information, visit White & Case’s website at
Sylvia is a Past President of AABANY (1994-96) and is current President of AALFNY, AABANY’s 501(c)(3) affiliate. Please join us in congratulating Sylvia and White & Case on their well-deserved honor and recognition for their pro bono work on behalf of women across the globe.