In January 2014, CUP (Council of Urban Professionals) launched a mini-series called “CUP Conversations,” where industry trailblazers answer questions about their lessons on leadership. CUP’s fourth video highlights Don Liu, General Counsel, Secretary & Vice President at Xerox. Don shares his take on the importance of making mistakes, role models, and reputation. AABANY is fortunate to have Don’s sage advice as a member of our Advisory Committee.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 7,2014 Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director (718) 228-7206
XEROX CORPORATION GENERAL COUNSEL AND ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER DON LIU TO RECEIVE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS “LEGEND OF LAW” BURTON AWARD
NEW YORK – May 7, 2014 – The Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”) is proud to announce that Don Liu, General Counsel & Secretary of Xerox Corporation and a member of AABANY’s Advisory Committee, has been named one of the “Legends in Law” by the Burton Awards Program in association with the Library of Congress.
Nominated by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Don Liu was chosen among the general counsels nominated by managing partners of the nation’s 1,000 largest law firms. The winners are selected based on their reputation in the legal profession, demonstrated competence in a specialized area of law, extensive background and experience, complexity and scope of matters handled, success in global or national issues, and exemplary leadership in law. The Burton Awards were established in 1999 by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit academic effort devoted to recognizing excellence in the legal profession.
“AABANY congratulates Don Liu for this latest prestigious honor recognizing his exceptional legal career,” said AABANY President Clara Ohr. “As one of the numerous beneficiaries of Don’s tireless efforts to champion diversity and inclusion through his guidance, individual mentoring, and raising mainstream awareness, AABANY is pleased but not at all surprised the Burton Foundation has selected him as a ‘Legend in Law.’”
For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (718) 228-7206, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].
The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org
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On Tuesday, April 24, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), through its Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, presented Smooth Moves 2012: Career Strategies for Attorneys of Color. The CLE portion of the event was entitled: “Views from the Corner Office: Diverse GCs Discuss How to Get There and How to Win Their Business.”
The moderator was Hon. Stephen C. Robinson, Partner at Skadden Arps and former judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
When Judge Robinson turned to the question of how to get the business of the prominent GCs who were on the panel, he asked how important diversity was in getting hired.
Don Liu, Senior Vice President, Secretary and GC at Xerox Corporation replied that with Xerox’s strong leadership on issues of diversity, Xerox placed a high premium on diversity in deciding which outside counsel to retain.
At that point, Sandra Leung, GC and Corporate Secretary at Bristol-Myers Squibb, turned to Don and said, “Let me challenge you a bit on that. Do you mean to tell me that if you had a bet-the-company case and the only lawyer who can win the case for you and who is the proven expert on that type of case and has a winning track record, but he and his firm have a poor showing on diversity, you would not hire that attorney?”
Don answered, “I’ve never been faced with that situation,” which drew appreciative laughter from the audience, “but do you mean to tell me that in this wide world, he would be the only lawyer who can handle that case? I doubt it. We would certainly consider his qualifications and track record, but we would still place a high premium on diversity.”
Sandra continued to press and was joined by Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President and GC at Universal Music Group, who shared Sandra’s viewpoint and did not think that diversity would take precedence over other factors, especially if the case was not just “bet-the-company” but was “bet-the-industry.” In such a case, diversity or not, the company would go with the best lawyer for the job.
Don, seeming somewhat piqued but contained, replied: “There seems to be a suggestion that picking the diverse candidate somehow implies getting inferior services. I don’t buy that.” The audience applauded loudly for that statement.
The back-and-forth continued and Don seemed to relent slightly in his position but did not retreat from his stance that the hypothetical was unrealistic. Col. Maritza Ryan, Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, the fourth panelist, noted for the record (yes, transcription was being taken) that she was “the peaceful one.” The audience laughed appreciatively in response.
The debate was certainly lively and enhanced what was already an engaging discussion. At the end, Don and Sandra, who are long-time friends, gave hearty hugs to each other, making clear that there were no hard feelings.
I didn’t have the benefit of the transcript in recounting the exchanges described above but of all the Smooth Moves programs I have had the pleasure to enjoy these last few years, this is the one for which I would request a copy of the transcript. If you know how we can get a hold of one, please let me know.
What do you think? If your company was faced with a bet-the-company or bet-the-industry case, does diversity go out the window in deciding which outside counsel to hire?