AABANY’s In-House Counsel Holds 2022 Summer Soiree at Castell Rooftop Lounge

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, AABANY’s In-House Counsel held its annual Summer Soiree at the Castell Rooftop Lounge located atop AC Hotel New York Times Square. The beautiful midtown skyline served as the perfect backdrop to a memorable night filled with hors d’oeuvres, a variety of drinks, wines, cocktails, and many conversations. Around 100 senior in-house lawyers and senior law firm attorneys and partners attended the networking event. This was the first Summer Soiree held in person since 2019, with the 2020 soiree being canceled due to COVID-19, and the 2021 soiree held over Zoom at the beginning of 2022 as the Winter Soiree. Everyone seemed happy to be gathering in person again for this popular event.

Photo by Karen Zhou

Attendees discussed various topics ranging from career pivots during the pandemic to favorite pastimes and hobbies. While munching on mini lobster rolls and sipping curated cocktails, attendees also heard from AABANY’s Co-VP of Programs and Operations, Beatrice Leong, In-House Counsel Committee Co-Chair, Blossom Kan, and Immediate Past President, Terry Shen. Some spectacular photographs from the night taken by Karen Zhou can be found linked here

The attendees formed a diverse cohort, representing 74 companies across industries, including Apple, Meta, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, Inc., and top global and regional law firms. 

Photo by Karen Zhou

We thank and acknowledge the following sponsors for helping us make this event possible:  

Broadridge

Baker McKenzie

BDO

Covington & Burling LLP

Thank you to all our attendees, and we hope to see everyone again at next year’s Summer Soiree. To learn more about the In-House Counsel Committee go to: https://www.aabany.org/page/149 

Photo by Karen Zhou

NAPABA Announcement: NAPABA Community Service Corps Makes History at Unity March

NAPABA is proud to have been an organizational partner for the Unity March this past Saturday [June 25], the first large mobilization of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) on the National Mall that brought people of all backgrounds together who care about advancing socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. Executive Director Priya Purandare was quoted in the Washingtonian for this historic event. We thank our members who attended and volunteered in the summer heat. Your presence contributed to a larger movement, and we are grateful for all you do! If you missed the event or any remarks, a full livestream of the Unity March is available for viewing here.

Community Service Corps | #NAPABAinAction

The mobilization came at the 40th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s murder, a critical turning point for the AAPI community. Chin’s murder, and the fact that his killers faced no jail time, highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for AAPIs within this country’s legal system. The case galvanized the community to action and this led to NAPABA’S founding in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for AAPIs. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

We now stand at another turning point in history with the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities. To take action and harness the power of our membership, we launched the NAPABA Community Service Corps to provide opportunities for NAPABA members to act for impact at the local and national levels. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities include hate crimes assistance and election protection efforts to fill the needs of the community.

NAPABA needs your help to form a national infrastructure of members committed to strengthening our communities. Will you join #NAPABAinAction? Learn more here and sign up on the Volunteer Now tab!

In the News: AABANY Member Karen Lin Achieves Historical Primary Victory in the Race for Queens Civil Court Judge

On June 29, 2022, QNS published an article congratulating Karen Lin for her historical primary victory in the race for Queens Civil Court Judge. Karen Lin, an AABANY member, is the first East Asian female judge elected in Queens. 

Unofficial election results from the Board of Elections in the City of New York reflect that with over 97% of the scanners reported, Lin captured around 40% of the vote. Responding to her victory, Karen said, “It has been a long but exhilarating and inspirational day of talking with voters, and I am humbled and honored for the tremendous show of support all throughout Queens. I’m proud of the determined and focused campaign we ran and gratified for the support of my family and the community. On to the next step!”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about Karen Lin’s profile, click here.

AALFNY and AABANY to Host Summer Reception Congratulating AALFNY 2022 Public Interest Scholarship Recipients

For immediate release: July 4, 2022

Contact: [email protected]

Please join us on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at 6 PM for a virtual AALFNY-AABANY Summer Reception to congratulate the AALFNY 2022 Public Interest Scholarship recipients. The awards ceremony will be followed by a panel discussion on Endless Tide, the recent report on Anti-Asian violence in New York. Register at https://news.whitecase.com/395/19601/landing-pages/blank-registration.asp.

The Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY) is proud to announce the recipients of its 2022 Public Interest Scholarships.

  1. Juliana Chang, a student at Harvard Law School, graduating in 2024, is interning at A Better Balance to combat pregnancy and caregiver discrimination.
  2. Vincent Kwan, a student at UC Hastings Law School, graduating in 2024, is interning with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, Criminal Division.
  3. Emlyn Medalla, a student at CUNY School of Law, graduating in 2023, is interning with the National Domestic Workers Alliance focusing on domestic worker labor and employment issues.

AALFNY is also honored to support the scholarship program of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY). This year’s AALFNY/SABANY Fellowship Award has been awarded to Mahum Vance, a rising second-year law student at New York Law School, who is interning this summer at Lawyers for Children, an organization that advocates for children in foster care.

We also applaud the organizations with which these students will be working.

AALFNY was founded as a nonprofit in 1993 by founders and board members of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. Since 1997, AALFNY has funded more than 60 public interest scholarships to encourage law students to use their knowledge and experience to assist their communities.

AABANY’s Litigation, Prosecutors’ and Labor & Employment Committees Host Litigators’ Happy Hour at Three Monkeys

On June 21, 2022, the Litigation, Prosecutors’ and Labor & Employment Committees hosted a Litigators’ Happy Hour at the Three Monkeys. Conveniently located in Midtown, law clerks, litigators, prosecutors, and lawyers in various practice areas enthusiastically attended the event after work. A range of platters including buffalo chicken spring rolls, macaroni and cheese bites, and nachos were served for everyone to share. The night was filled with lively conversations among the attendees. Many expressed their continued excitement for more in-person programming and happy hours as part of the hosting committees’ efforts. Litigation Committee Co-Chair, Aakruti Vakharia, reminisced about this year’s Annual Dinner and even shared a few tips with other attendees as to how to stay stylish by securing a free personal shopper from nearby department stores. Others were celebrating successes on their cases, while new members and first-time attendees were welcomed by introducing them to AABANY’s extensive network. 

The committees also discussed ideas for programming and events for the upcoming year. Thanks again to everyone who attended the first joint event of the fiscal year from the Litigation, Prosecutors’ and Labor & Employment Committees. We look forward to many more events to come, whether collectively or individually, from these committees. To learn more about the different committees, please visit the Litigation Committee here, the Prosecutors Committee here, and the Labor and Employment Committee here

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/

NAPABA Establishes New NLF Community Law Fellowship Focused on Anti-Hate Advocacy

$130,000 Investment will build the pipeline of future leaders in our community.

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2022
Contact: Mary Tablante, Associate Strategic Communications & Marketing Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA and the NAPABA Law Foundation are proud to announce the expansion of the NLF Community Law Fellowship program to include a new two-year fully funded fellowship placement at NAPABA. The Community Law Fellow will work to serve the AA & NHPI community and build NAPABA’s capacity to support the membership’s commitment to public service and advocacy.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to build the pipeline of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander attorneys with expertise and skill to create change in our communities through advocacy and policy,” said NAPABA Acting President A.B. Cruz III. “This fellowship is another example of the ways that NAPABA and NLF, along with our members and supporters, can create an active legal community that is willing, ready, and able to serve.”

Established by a generous gift from Paul W. Lee of Goodwin Procter LLP the NAPABA Law Foundation Partners and In-House Counsel Community Law Fellowship was launched in 2004 to address the need for attorneys working on behalf of the AA & NHPI populations. NAPABA’s support of the program will establish the 12th Fellowship.

“The Community Law Fellowship is one of the premier ways that the NAPABA legal community can make an investment in the future of public service,” said Juliet K. Choi, Chair of the NLF Fellowship and Scholarship Selection Committee and first NLF Community Law Fellow (2004). “We are proud that we can we leverage the power of NAPABA and NLF to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community.”

The NLF Community Law Fellow placement at NAPABA is a two-year fellowship program designed for a recent law school graduate who is interested in pursuing a career in public interest law and policy. The Fellow will directly support NAPABA’s advocacy and policy program with a focus on supporting and leading initiatives within our anti-hate project. The Fellow will also support other NAPABA community engagement programs, educational programs, and legislative advocacy.

We encourage all interested applicants to apply and for others to share this with any prospective candidates.

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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.

CUNY AAARI Presents Talk on AABANY’s Endless Tide Report, Featuring Chris Kwok, Megan Gao, and David Kim

On June 10, 2022, CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) hosted a discussion to address the Endless Tide report published by AABANY on May 31. The discussion was co-led by AABANY’s Board Director and Issues Committee Chair, Chris Kwok, and Megan Gao, Vice Chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. Chris is also a Co-Executive Editor of the report and Megan is an Associate Editor. As the report continues to gain media attention and publicity, various AAPI community groups have referred to Endless Tide and AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force (AAVTF) to bring their issues and concerns to government officials in New York City. 

In publishing the Endless Tide report, Megan mentioned that lawyers can make a unique contribution by using the criminal justice system as a way to analyze how anti-Asian hate crimes have been prosecuted in New York City. By tracking the number of complaints and arrests that the New York Police Department made, the authors of Endless Tide were able to offer a legal analysis that details how the system has affected and impacted our AAPI neighborhoods and communities. In their research, they found that publicly available data does not track a hate incident from initial report to final resolution. In fact, the AAVTF learned about the disposition of outstanding cases by meeting directly with various District Attorney’s offices. 

At the event, they invited David Kim, a survivor of an anti-Asian attack featured in the report. David’s case was an example of the indifference he encountered in getting a District Attorney’s Office to pursue a hate crimes prosecution. David and his friends were harassed and physically threatened after a vehicle collision at the intersection of 149th Street and 34th Avenue on June 4, 2020. They were taunted by the alleged perpetrators and called racist epithets, forcing them to stay in their car until a 911 call was made – to which the police took time to respond to. With the incident happening at the peak of the pandemic, the victims were also yelled at and blamed for causing COVID-19. After the incident, Kim wanted to file a report to the precinct and pursue a case against his perpetrators. However, after meeting with the District Attorney’s office, with the assistance of counsel, they were told that the District Attorney’s office decided that no charges, including hate crime charges, would be brought. To date, no explanation has been given for this decision.

Hearing David’s story, Chris and Megan highlighted how the title Endless Tide reflects the ongoing racial discrimination towards Asians and Asian Americans. In an effort to address and assist the members of the community that have experienced bias incidents or hate crimes, AABANY created the Hate Eradication Active Response Team (HEART). David and his attorneys came to HEART after their requests to the District Attorney’s Office to pursue hate crimes prosecutions proved futile. Ultimately, the Endless Tide report and the AAVTF seek to encourage discussion with government officials and other organizations to take a closer look at how we can address the hate, violence, and discrimination faced by the AAPI community in New York City. 

To watch the recording of the event, please click here or on the image above. To contact AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, send an email to [email protected].

NAPABA Honors the Legacy of Vincent Chin 40 Years after His Death

NAPABA Community Service Corps works to preserve the memory of Chin

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association commemorates the 40th anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese American industrial draftsman, was brutally beaten in a racially motivated attack during a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment and died as a result of his injuries a few days later. Vincent Chin’s death and his killers’ lenient sentences marked a turning point in Asian Pacific American civil rights advocacy in the United States.

“With the dramatic spike in hate violence perpetrated against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, honoring Vincent Chin serves as a poignant reminder that more still needs to be done to rid our society of xenophobic hate and ensure our community’s voice is heard,” said A.B. Cruz III, acting president of NAPABA. “Mr. Chin’s senseless death and subsequent trial underscored the importance of the Asian Pacific American community standing together in the fight against racism and advocating in the courts. We must continue to build on this legacy by continuing to oppose hate and violence in all forms.”

Chin’s murder and the sentences of his killers highlighted the lack of a strong national voice for Asian Pacific Americans within this country’s legal system. Recognizing the need to establish such representation, NAPABA was founded in 1988 to give voice to values of justice, equity, and opportunity for Asian Pacific Americans. Since that time, NAPABA has been strongly committed to civil rights advocacy.

With the current rise in hate crimes targeting diverse communities, the NAPABA Community Service Corps works to provide opportunities for its members to take action for impact locally and nationally. NAPABA is a co-sponsor of the first-ever Unity March on June 25, 2022, an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. NAPABA Community Service Corps opportunities to engage in the Unity March and other projects to protect and advocate for civil rights honors the memory of Vincent Chin.

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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.

Member Profile: Karen King Wins Unanimous Victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in Domestic Violence and International Custody Dispute Case

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On March 22, 2022, AABANY member Karen King argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada (20-1034), a case involving the interpretation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. Karen is a Partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, Co-Chair of AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and an active member of AABANY’s Anti-Asian Violence Task Force. She sat down with AABANY to share reflections on the oral argument, diversity among litigators, and the importance of pro bono work. 

Looking back, the law was a natural career choice for Karen.  She was president of the debate team in high school as well as at Yale University, where she majored in philosophy and political science.  After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School, she moved to New York and began her career at Cravath.  Two decades later, she appears regularly in federal and state courts on behalf of corporate clients, she was named a “Notable Woman in Law” by Crain’s New York Business, and she received both the Federal Bar Council’s Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)’s Pro Bono award.  Her pro bono clients include victims of discrimination, survivors of domestic violence, students with learning disabilities, victims of gun violence, and prisoners on civil rights issues. 

Karen’s impressive career reached another milestone this year when she had her first argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Golan v. Saada . She represents Narkis Golan, an American citizen and survivor of domestic violence, and mother to a young child who was born in Italy.  The case has been pending for nearly four years and was accepted by the Supreme Court for argument last December to resolve a circuit split on whether district courts are required to consider ameliorative measures to facilitate return of a child to a foreign country, even after finding that return would subject the child to a “grave risk” of exposure to harm.

During oral argument, the justices were active in their questioning and seemed interested in how best to address situations where the grave risk is sourced to a complex problem like domestic violence.  “Am I correct that the vast majority of these grave risk cases are ones involving domestic violence?” asked Justice Barrett, who continued to say: “It just seems to me that that’s a much different case for ameliorative measures than, say, the nuclear plant next door that the Chief posited at the outset.  That would be a pretty straightforward move, and then there would be no more grave risk, whereas I think you get into the complexity of the financial support payments and the undertaking or restraining order, however it should be categorized, in these domestic abuse cases that pose maybe a unique circumstance?”  The recording of oral argument is available here

When asked whether she expected at the outset that this case would reach the U.S. Supreme Court, Karen replied that she did not. She added that, at the start of the case in 2018, “we were hopeful that it would end at the trial level.” But despite establishing, by clear and convincing evidence, that return to Italy would expose the child to a grave risk of harm, the case went back and forth to the Second Circuit on the question of appropriate ameliorative measures.  Ultimately, Karen and the team came to believe that the interpretation of the Hague Convention set forth by the Second Circuit required review by the Supreme Court.  Despite the extraordinarily slim odds of having a case accepted for argument, the Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General to weigh in on the cert petition and ultimately granted cert. 

Arguing before the Supreme Court is the dream of many litigators. Karen prepared through “lots of moots [i.e., practice sessions], testing answers to every conceivable question we could think of, and reflection and discussion of the issues with colleagues, co-counsel, and pretty much anyone willing to talk about it.” In terms of approach to oral argument, she felt she needed to get straight to the point and anticipate challenging questions from the Justices about the key legal issues. Although the preparation process was similar to what she has done for other appellate arguments, it was clearly “more nerve-wracking, more high profile, and more work.”  She credits having an amazing team supporting her at Morvillo, the incredible work of the Paul, Weiss team (her former firm and co-counsel throughout the case), and the lawyers at the Zashin firm (co-counsel at the Supreme Court merits stage).  Although the oral argument was in person, it was not open to the public because of COVID-19 restrictions.  Karen was accompanied only by co-counsel Dan Levi from Paul, Weiss on the big day.  

At the Supreme Court argument, the Solicitor General’s office was represented by Frederick Liu, and the Respondent Jacky Saada was represented by Richard Min, a family law attorney in New York.  It is believed that this was the first time all three advocates arguing a case before the Supreme Court were of AAPI descent. This is a remarkable moment for the AAPI community, and for AAPI litigators.  Karen recognizes that it was important to “push [herself] to create the moment” and not to “be intimidated by milestones.” 

Karen is a strong advocate for diversity in the courtroom and in law firms.  She advises young litigators to strengthen their courtroom skills and give back to the community through pro bono work.  Karen has been recognized for her pro bono commitment over the years and generally works on one or two ongoing pro bono matters on top of her regular workload. Reflecting on her career thus far, Karen sees her persistence, optimism, and creative thinking, as survival skills that have led to great opportunities.  “You just have to push through… . Keep you head up and keep moving toward your goals.  Don’t let the machine crush you.” 

Oral argument in Golan v. Saada (20-1034) by Todd Crespi

Karen King, Richard Min, and Fred Liu, who argued Golan v. Saada (20-1034)