AABA Law Foundation Newsletter - December 2016

Message from the AABA Law Foundation President Chris Noma:

The AABA Law Foundation has so much to be thankful for this past year. We give special thanks to all of you who made 2016 a phenomenal year of giving. For 30 years, the Foundation has provided scholarships and grants to law students committed to the Asian Pacific American community. In 2016, the Foundation awarded $25,000 in scholarships which was matched by another $30,000 in matching donor funds. I’m very proud to provide a summary of the Foundation grants and scholarships and introduce our amazing recipients this past year. 

2017 Scholarship and Grant Campaign:  We also know you have many worthy causes to support, but we hope you’ll consider giving a tax deductible donation to support the next generation of law students and attorneys. In addition, two public interest grant challenges have also been issued: A $10,000 matching grant challenge by Nassiri & Jung and a $5,000 matching grant challenge by Raymond L. Ocampo Jr. (which is in addition to the $5,000 Raymond L. Ocampo Jr. Family Scholarship). During these troubling times, these public interest grants are more important than ever.  All donors will be recognized in the AABA Dinner program booklet.  Donors giving $250 or more will be invited to a special General Counsel and Judges’ reception immediately before the AABA Annual Dinner. Please consider a year-end or 2017 donation.  You can give online, by clicking HERE or going to http://www.aaba-bay.com/aaba-foundation/donate  If you prefer, send a check payable to the AABA Law Foundation and mail to P.O. Box 387, San Francisco, CA 94104.

AABA Law Foundation, Nassiri & Jung, and Raymond L. Ocampo Jr. $40,000 Matching Grant to Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus: Through a grant of $20,000 from the AABA Law Foundation, made possible by a matching $10,000 grant challenge issued by Nassiri & Jung, which was then doubled by a $20,000 incredible surprise match by Raymond L. Ocampo Jr., the AABA Law Foundation was able to award a $40,000 grant to Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, which supported the work of law students and recent graduates. The grant was used for legal services  including free clinics in the areas of employment, immigration, and housing. Issues typically handled in the clinics include wage theft, deportation defense, and tenant rights.  The recent law students and graduates who were supported by the Grant in 2016, included: Xian Zheng - UC Hastings College of the Law, Sophia Wang -Yale Law School, Masao Ito Taylor - UC Davis, David Ta - University of San Francisco, Jehan Laner- NYU School of Law, and Sarah Chen - UC Berkeley School of Law.

Scholarship and Grant Winners at the AABA's 2016 Annual Installation Dinner

Raymond L. Ocampo Jr. Family Scholarship: The Raymond L. Ocampo Jr. Family Scholarship was awarded to Rena Sera,  a 2016 graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law.  Rena clerked for Judge Stuart Hing at the Alameda County Superior Court earlier in 2016.   Currently she is working post bar as a paralegal at a small civil firm in Walnut Creek.  Rena is continuing to work with Filipino Bar Association Northern California to plan the inaugural West Coast Pinay Powerhouse Conference this coming March 2017. It is a conference that seeks to empower Filipina attorneys and law students to make a change in the community. Rena also volunteers with the GGU Women's Employment Rights Clinic, which serves low-income workers, especially those working as caregivers.

Joe Morozumi Scholarship:  The Joe Morozumi Scholarship was awarded to Annie Banh who is  currently a 3L at Golden Gate University School of Law.  During the year, Annie completed a judicial externship at the United States District Court, Northern District of California, with Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James.  Annie will be externing in 2017 at the Golden Gate University Women's Employment Rights Clinic, representing low-income workers in various types of employment disputes as a certified law student.  Annie is also currently the president of the GGU Labor and Employment Law Association student organization and the secretary of GGU APALSA.  She also continues to volunteer at the AAAJ - Asian Law Caucus' workers' rights clinic, and at clinics such as the Women Janitors and Service Workers Clinic planned by the DOL, Women's Bureau, EEOC, and the NLRB.  

AABA Judges’ Scholarship:  The Judges’ Scholarship was awarded to Lynnette Baclig, a 2016 graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law.  In 2016, she was a Certified Law Clerk with the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University, where she represented low-wage immigrant workers at hearings before the Labor Commissioner and represented workers as creditors in bankruptcy court proceedings before a United States Trustee.  Since graduating, Lynnette has been working as an Admissions Graduate Fellow at Golden Gate University where she attends national law school fairs to recruit and provide information to potential law students about Golden Gate University. 

AABA Law Foundation Scholarship:  The AABA Law Foundation Scholarship was awarded to Victor Ng who is currently a 3L at the University of San Francisco School of Law.  As a gay, first generation Asian American immigrant, Victor was raised by a single parent in a low-income household. With this scholarship,  Victor was  able to pursue  volunteer opportunities,  and he accepted an externship position with the Honorable Garrett L. Wong at the San Francisco Superior Court . Under Judge Wong’s mentorship, Victor reported that he learned tremendously about the application of law,   had the opportunity to interact with many other judges, and learned about their decision-making process.

AABA Summer Grant: The AABA Summer Grant was awarded to Masao Ito Taylor who is currently a 3L at UC  Davis School of Law.  Masao served as one of the Cultural and Community Outreach Chairs for UC Davis APALSA in 2015.  He is committed to working in the AAPI community, and is passionate about immigrant rights.  With the grant, he worked with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus' Immigrant Rights program during this past 2016 summer.

California State Bar 3L Diversity Scholarship: Rena Sera was also  awarded the State Bar’s 3L Diversity Scholarship with a matching grant from the AABA Law Foundation which provided her with a free bar review course.

 On behalf of the 2016 Board, thank you for your generosity and support!

President: Christine Noma, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean
Treasurer: David Tsai, Vinson & Elkin
Secretary: Celia Lee, Goldfarb & Lipman
Board of Directors:
Deanna Gan, Law Offices of Deanna Gan
Jennifer Y. Lee, Law Offices of Jennifer Y. Lee
Suzanne Yamamoto, Old Republic Exchange

Profile of Challenge Grant Donor Nassiri and Jung

Interview with Charles Jung

Every year, the Asian American Bar Association offers one or more grants to help fund qualified summer law clerk(s) to work on legal projects that provide free legal services to the Asian American community. Charles Jung (Nassiri & Jung, LLP; AABA Board Member) along with his firm, Nassiri & Jung LLP, have generously provided a matching grant of $10,000 for the past two years. Below, Mr. Jung discusses why these grants and public service are so essential to our community and profession. 

Q: Why do you believe the Challenge is important?

A: Thanks for asking.  The idea behind the matching grant is to encourage a community of donors within AABA.  Sometimes, giving is a habit.  Even if people start with modest amounts, the hope is that supporting the AABA Law Foundation (ALF) will become part of a donor’s identity.  I think most APA attorneys agree that it is important to give in meaningful ways to the community.  And for a lot of us, we’re so busy, that it’s often easier (and more productive) to exercise that community muscle through donations of money versus time.  I hope that we’ve encouraged a useful habit that will grow into a tradition for attorneys in our community.

Q: Your firm’s donations this year and in the past are admirable, what do you hope to inspire in others with these donations?

A: One of the things that I love the most about AABA is that our founders believed we should be more than just a trade association.  We’ve taken stands on important civil rights issues, whether they involve APAs or other marginalized communities.  We keep alive this mission in our daily work.  I believe that we continue to strive to live up to the promise of our organization.  AABA celebrated its 40th Anniversary this year.  I am excited to see what AABA in conjunction with ALF will achieve 40 years from now (and I hope I’m around to see it).

Q: What role do you think public interest will play in the upcoming years?

A: Many of us believe that public interest attorneys will play an increasingly important role in the next four years.  They will be our defenders, our champions.  I am so proud of the achievements Bay Area public interest attorneys have already achieved for marginalized people.  Given the challenges ahead, we need to support our public interest attorneys every way we can. 

Q: For those looking to start out and do some public interest work – whether they be a law student or a seasoned veteran looking to start contributing – what would be the one piece of advice you would give?  
A: For law students, I suggest seeking out mentors in the community who do this work every day.  I suspect you’ll find that most are very generous with their time. For private attorneys, please continue to give of yourselves in meaningful ways and amounts to AABA, ALF, Advancing Justice-ALC, API Legal Outreach, and the other incredible public interest organizations that we are blessed to have in our community.

On behalf of ALF and AABA, we would like to thank Mr. Jung for his wonderful insight and time, and Nassiri & Jung for their constant support. We at ALF and AABA wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday season! 


Profile of 2016 Summer Grant Recipient

Masao Ito Taylor was the most recent recipient of the AABA Law Foundation Student Summer Grant and received funding in the summer of 2016 to intern at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, formerly and still commonly known as the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) in San Francisco, California.

Masao worked in the Immigrant Rights Program and had the opportunity to work with clients in removal proceedings who are in prolonged immigration detention.  He visited different detention facilities around Northern California with other ALC staff attorneys to provide legal orientation and educate the detainees about their rights.  In addition to these important “Know Your Rights” presentations, Masao also provided direct representation by helping a client from Thailand apply for prosecutorial discretion from the government and prepare an application for a U-visa application, available to immigrants who are in the United States without legal status and have been victimized by crime.

When asked about whether he had any advice for law students seeking a career in public interest law, Masao had this to say:

“Non-profit organizations look for passion and dedication to social justice work. If you can show an employer at the end of your three years of law school that you had a consistent dedication to fighting for social justice, they will know that you are serious about this career. Also, don’t be discouraged about what people outside of our field say about our work, as you know firsthand the necessity of the work that we do.”

It is always an inspiration to meet the next generation of lawyers who will advocate for social justice and we look forward to welcoming Masao Ito Taylor to our legal community. 


Foundation Scholarships

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) and the AABA Law Foundation will be accepting applications for the 2017 AABA Law Foundation law student scholarships until the deadline January 31, 2017.  Scholarships will be awarded at the AABA Annual Dinner in March 2017.  The 2017 application is available here.

All current law students are eligible to apply.  Selection criteria include community service or public interest work for the Asian Pacific American (APA) community or other underrepresented communities; demonstrated leadership in the APA community; demonstrated financial need; and commitment to the Bay Area.  If you have any questions, please contact aaba.bayarea@gmail.com.

The Foundation can only continue its work through the generosity of donors.  To donate online, visit here.

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