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AABA Newsletter - January 2019

In this issue:

President's Message 
AABA Celebrates 100+ APA Judges in California
Interview with Justice Ming Chen
New Partner Corner
New Board Member Profiles
AABA Recognizes Volunteers
Event Photo Galleries
Event Calendar

If you are interested in contributing to a future newsletter, please contact the Newsletter Committee Co-Chairs Kathy Aoki (Kathyaok@aol.com) and Alice Chen (linus28@gmail.com).

President's Message

AABA is like playing a "home game." The organization is like a "North Star." AABA is a "happy hour for the soul." These are comments from our board members when asked, as part of our strategic planning process, what AABA means to them. Last year, we engaged a consultant from American Bar Association's (ABA) Division for Bar Services. The ABA consultant surveyed our members, nearly 200 of whom responded. Here are the highlights from the survey:

 * Exceptional satisfaction: The ABA consultant described our member satisfaction as "exceptional." The consultant has conducted over 100 surveys like this for bar associations across the country, and she observed that AABA's members show unusually high enthusiasm and engagement. Respondents rated AABA's effectiveness in fostering a sense of community at 4.37 out of 5.0. Our effectiveness at advocating on issues of importance to the APA community was rated at 4.11/5.0. And AABA's effectiveness at advocating for the elevation of APA judges was rated as 4.02/5.0. 

* AABA is most effective at advancing the priorities that are most important to our members: We are focused on the right things. Our members rated AABA's effectiveness at greater than 4.0/5.0 on three of the four areas that are most important to its members: fostering a sense of community, community advocacy, and advocating for the elevation of APA judges.  

An area for improvement: Among the top four priorities for our members, the area where the perceived effectiveness needs the most improvement is in providing resources and guidance that help to advance the careers of local Asian American attorneys. Here we were rated at 3.79/5.0. 

Taking to heart the results of the member survey, the AABA board has adopted a four-year strategic plan. AABA will continue to focus on those areas that our members value the most. These are challenging times for immigrants and minorities, and AABA will focus on advocacy.  

Importantly, we will focus also on supporting our members' career growth. We have formed a task force to examine and improve AABA's entire pipeline of professional development activities. We are evolving and augmenting all of these programs under the umbrella of AABA Pathways. AABA Pathways will create intentional leadership development processes for our members and our co-chairs.

Accomplishing the goals of our strategic plan is a four-year journey, and it will not be accomplished overnight. We thank you for your past commitment to AABA, and I ask you to support our board as we advance our strategic priorities. I believe AABA is a one-of-a-kind bar organization, and I can't wait to work with you to further improve what we do.  

With appreciation,

Charles H. Jung

Celebration of APA Judges
by Alice Chin, Newsletter Committee Co-Chair

On Friday, January 18th, invited guests and the AABA membership including past and current AABA Officers, Board, and Committee members gathered to celebrate the milestone of 100 APA Judges at the law offices of Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe in San Francisco. The event was sponsored by AABA, the California Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the California Asian Pacific American Judges Association.

Members of the judiciary of Asian Pacific heritage in the state were invited to attend this celebration which took many months to plan. This event was well attended by judicial officers from appellate court districts and superior court venues across the state. Appearances were made by both retired and active judges.

AABA President Charles Jung welcomed the guests to the early evening reception after a panel regarding the defense of a contested election was put on by the California APA Judges Association for the judges in attendance.

Amongst the guests who made special remarks were Dale Minami, Judge Roberta Hayashi, NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi, and State Supreme Court Associate Justice Ming Chin. They spoke about the days when Asian attorneys were first being appointed to the bench, the hardships they faced as an APA judge and their personal experiences and how over the decades, the number of APA judges continues to increase.

There was much excitement in the air to be standing in one room with so many APA members of the judiciary to celebrate with all the newly elected or appointed judges as well as the senior members of our judiciary.

Those in attendance mingled over a menu of Asian delights such as Chicken Satay, Vegetable Spring Rolls and mini-Samosas, Shrimp and Pork Siu Mai, Chicken Potstickers, Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly Buns, and Asian themed Macarons –Green Tea, Black Sesame, Coconut Pineapple and Chai Tea with a hosted bar.

In July 2017, an article posted by the Washington Post reported on a study by Yale Law School students and NAPABA in finding that only 3% of the federal judiciary and 2% of the state judges were Asian-American. At last count, the number of APA judges in California was 130 – and growing.

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AABA Interview - Justice Ming Chin

AABA President Charles Jung and California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin sat for a wide-ranging interview, covering his farm upbringing in rural Oregon, his mother's ordeal at Ellis Island, and the important lessons he learned as a trial lawyer. You can see excerpts from the interview here. Or see the entire interview here.

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New Partner Corner: Olivia Serene Lee - Minami Tamaki LLP

By AABA Staff

Olivia Serene Lee is a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP in the firm’s Immigration and Nationality practice group, where her expertise is on startups and emerging companies in a variety of employment-based immigration matters. She has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2014-2018 and listed in the 2018 and 2019 Best Lawyers in America® for Immigration Law.

In addition to her legal practice, Olivia has been active in professional and civic affairs. Since 2009, Olivia has served on the Advisory Council and the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) of Northern California. From June 2016 to July 2017, she served as the Chair of AILA Northern California. Olivia has also met with Congressional offices in Washington, DC, and in the local San Francisco area to advocate for immigration reform. She also served as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s, H-1Bs, and business immigration litigation in federal court.

We asked Ms. Lee what AABA meant to her: “AABA has always been a place of inspiration, growth and support. As a law student, I connected with many inspiring people from the Asian American legal community at AABA events.  It was at an AABA holiday party where I met Dale Minami and discussed his 1975 law journal article on the Asian Law Caucus.  As a young attorney, I had the amazing opportunity to learn corporate immigration law with Minette Kwok, a thought leader in our field." 

"AABA has provided leadership and organizational growth when I served as co-chair of the Employment Committee and planned multiple Summer Law Clerk receptions and Career Day events. One of my fondest AABA memories is when the women board members and officers sent a care package to me when I was the chair of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) NorCal and spent an entire weekend at SFO after the first Muslim Ban executive order was issued. Thank you AABA for all the great work that benefits our community.”

We are always looking for recent partners for this feature. Do you know a recent partner AABA should profile? Let us know.

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AABA Welcomes 2019 Board Members

AABA welcomed three new Board members and one returning Director for 2019. We asked each new Board member to complete our Member Profile questions. They shared interests and passions ranging from the Oxford comma to video games to Pride and Prejudice.

Roland Chang - Orrick

1. What was your first job?  Folding denim and greeting customers at American Eagle Outfitters. 

2. What is your favorite food?  There are few things more satisfying in life than a delicious carne asada burrito. 

3. What is your favorite book?  A tough call because I do not read for leisure nearly as much as I would like.  The best novel I read in recent memory is All the Light We Cannot See, which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

4. What is the one thing you feel most passionate about?  Proper use of the Oxford comma.  In all seriousness, AABA’s mission to represent the Asian-American community in the legal profession and society through civil rights advocacy, community service, and professional development programs.

5. What have you been doing for fun lately?  Hiking and exploring local Northern California trails.

Claire Choo - Danko Meredith

1.  First job: I was a tutor for second graders at an after school program in San Fernando Valley and I also worked retail at Macy's. They were both part-time and I did both during the summers between semesters in college.

2.  Favorite food: Shabu shabu!  I think I can eat that every day and not get tired of it.

3.  Favorite book: Pride & Prejudice. 

4.  What do I feel most passionate about? I am passionate about righting wrongs.  It's what drove me to become a lawyer to begin with and still drives me today.  

5.  What I'm doing for fun lately: I love doing crafts and lately I've been doing a lot of cross-stitch. Also, video games. I like playing with video games with my sister (online). And yes, we are two grown adults.

Angel Garrett - Trucker Huss LLP

1. What was your first job? Making bagel sandwiches at Noah's Bagels 

2. What is your favorite food? Fried Chicken! 

3. What is your favorite book? Pride and Prejudice (who doesn't want to be Elizabeth Bennett and find their Darcy?!)

4. What is the one thing you feel most passionate about? Empowering our community so that they feel safe and confident to voice their opinions and grow.  

5. What have you been doing for fun lately?  Making costumes with my toddlers.

Elvin Vu   

1. What was your first job? Selling Hot Dogs at Pier 39. 

2. What is your favorite food? Rice. 

3. What is your favorite book? 機動戦士ガンダム THE ORIGIN  

4. What is the one thing you feel most passionate about? Sports.

5. What have you been doing for fun lately? Watching movies, playing sports, working out, and having a good time with friends.

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Community Service Committee Honors Volunteers
by AABA Newsletter Committee

The Community Services Committee’s work is possible only because of the participation and passion of their volunteers. On January 15, 2019, CSC held its annual AABA Volunteer Appreciation Event at Tres, on Townsend street. The Volunteer Appreciation Event is an intimate gathering where volunteers from the CSC monthly pro bono clinics, Pathways to Law conference, and other CSC volunteer service events can meet their fellow volunteers and enjoy each other’s company over light fare and drinks. It is also to show our volunteers that we appreciate the time and effort they spend throughout the year to give to our community. At the event, CSC honored Stephanie Yee as the 2019 Community Services Committee Volunteer of the Year award.

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