AABA Newsletter - April 2019

President's Message

Since our founding in 1976, AABA has endeavored to act as a force multiplier for positive change. Whether filing an amicus brief in University of California v. Bakke, filing a successful petition overturning the conviction of Fred Korematsu in Korematsu v. United States, or advocating for the release of Wen Ho Lee, our members have served our community, and we have consistently reached beyond the Bay Area to move the needle. This year, we will continue our tradition of advocacy through a new Amicus Committee. Please reach out to me if you or your firm are interested in representing AABA.

As America's oldest and largest pan-Asian American bar association, we have a duty to lead through our efforts and by example. Thirty years ago, AABA was a founding organization of NAPABA, our members have formed or led civil rights organizations important to the APA community, and in 2017, we helped found a statewide advocacy group, the California Asian Pacific American Bar Association (Cal-APABA). In my opinion, AABA should continue to lend its ideas, woman- and man-power, and resources to spark and support change.

Continuing this tradition of leadership, on May 3 through 4 in San Francisco, AABA will host a national Celebration of APA Women Partners and General Counsel. In partnership with NAPABA's Women's Leadership Network, we have organized a meaningful conference, consisting of a reception, dinner, and panels. Our conference will highlight a conversation between a general counsel panel and a partners' panel. The general counsel panel features Jan Kang, Phuong Phillips, Salle Yoo, and Anne Lee Benedict, and it will be moderated by Bonnie Lau. Speakers on our partners' panel are Joan Haratani, Catharina Min, and Doris Cheng, and the panel will be moderated by Kalpana Srinivasan. (The Friday, May 3rd dinner is $20 off for AABA members and free to general counsel, and the Saturday conference is open to all attorneys without charge. Register for the dinner bit.ly/APAWomensDinner and conference bit.ly/APAWomensConference.) 

In addition, on May 23, in partnership with APA lawyers and judges, AABA will host a reception for the Governor's judicial appointments adviser, Justice Martin Jenkins. (http://tinyurl.com/jenkinsreception.) Justice Jenkins will share what judicial applicants can expect in Governor Newsom's administration. 

Please support AABA's work by volunteering for our Amicus Committee, joining in our celebration of APA women, and stepping up to learn how to apply for the bench.

With deep appreciation,

Charles H. Jung

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Information on the California Consumer Privacy Act
By Charlie Vuong


Last June Governor Brown signed AB 375, also known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), into law. CCPA provides new rights to residents and obligations to applicable businesses, both, with the intention to give consumers more control over the selling of their personal information. With an effective date that’s looming (January 1, 2020), California residents, business owners, privacy professionals and attorneys are eagerly awaiting guidance on CCPA from Attorney General Becerra.

An entity qualifies as a ‘business’ under CCPA if it:

(1) has a gross annual revenue of over $25M;

(2) processes personal information for commercial purposes of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices; or

(3) derives 50% or more of its gross revenue from the selling of consumer personal information.

The law applies to commercial activities of for-profit organizations, and thus, not-for-profit organizations are exempted from CCPA. Any natural person who is amenable to paying taxes in California is considered a ‘consumer’ under CCPA.

Consumer Rights Under CCPA

-        Right to access and portability of consumer’s personal information.

-        Right to be informed about what personal information is collected, whether it is sold and to whom it is sold to.

-        Right to “say no” to the sale of personal information.

-        Right to deletion of personal information collected from the consumer.

-        Right not to be discriminated against for exercising a right under CCPA.

-        Private right of action for data breaches.

Liabilities and Enforcement

A business, service provider, or other person that violates the CCPA faces injunctions and civil penalties up to $2,500 for each violation or $7,500 for each intentional violation.

Under the private right of action, consumers may: (i) recover damages not less than $100 and not greater than $750 per consumer per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater; (ii) seek injunctive or declaratory relief; and/or (iii) any other relief the court deems proper.

Proposed Amendments

While many will cheer CCPA’s potential for strengthening consumer privacy and imposing accountability on large companies, at least some are scratching their heads trying to understand what it means. Here is a list of proposed technical amendments provided by Californians for Consumer Privacy.

In February of this year, Attorney General Becerra and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced SB 561 which would expand the private right of action to include violations of any of the consumer rights under CCPA. Further, the AG’s office accepted written comments from the public through March 8. One common point of confusion with CCPA is in determining what constitutes ‘personal information’ as it includes information that relates to a particular consumer or household. ‘Household’ is undefined. Also, under section 1798.125 businesses are prohibited from discriminating against consumers by charging a different price or providing a different quality of goods or services for exercising one of their rights under CCPA. However, businesses can offer a different price or quality of goods or services if that difference is “reasonably related to the value provided to the consumer by the consumer’s data.” Currently, there is no clarification to what that statement will be construed as. It has been rumored that CCPA was not intended to cover the processing of employee data, yet this exception was curiously absent from the bill. We should anticipate these items and more to be addressed in future guidance from the AG’s office.

Important Dates

January 1, 2020 - Effective Date

July1, 2020 - Enforcement Date

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AABA Past President Reflects on the Asian-American Movement

AABA Past President and Founding NAPABA President Hoyt Zia discusses the importance of the "Stop Repeating History" campaign, his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, and the impact of the Vincent Chin murder case on the Asian-American movement. You can see an excerpt of the interview above, or see the full interview here.

Longtime AABA member Pelayo A. Llamas, Jr. Appointed Court Commissioner

Congratulations to Pelayo Llamas, Jr. who was appointed last month as an Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner.  He was sworn in on March 4th. He has been assigned to the Fremont Hall of Justice in the Traffic Court and Small Claims Court Division.  He had been serving as a Pro Tem Judge in traffic and small claims court since 2016. 

Llamas began his legal career after his undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley and law studies at Santa Clara University in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office where he has served as a Deputy City Attorney for the last 18 years. 

Besides being active with AABA for more than 20 years, he has been active with the Earl Warren Inn of Court, served on the board for FBANC and is currently a member of the advisory board, and was President-Elect of the Alameda County Bar Association (which he has had to resign from since his appointment) after having served on the ACBA Board for the past 5 years.    

Stay tuned for AABA’s Profile on Commissioner Llamas in an upcoming issue of the newsletter this summer.


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AABA Scholarship Winner Spotlight - So Young Lee

The political discourse on immigration has predominantly spotlighted Latinx communities, yet there are 1.5 million undocumented APIs present in the United States. The invisibility of this community is in large part due to the stigma of an undocumented status and fear of deportation. Understandably, many remain silent. The aggregate impact, however, inadvertently creates a deeper isolation and fear that inhibits empowerment rooted in a common struggle and sense of community.

My aspiration was never to give undocumented APIs a voice—they already have one. They have stories of the unbearable “choice” between a life built in the United States and being permanently separated from loved ones. Of being told college was not possible. Of being labeled “illegal” when a legal status is not what humanizes us. Of fearing deportation and being uprooted from everything we have known. Of how the consequences of no health care continues to manifest in deteriorating physical and mental health. Of fighting endlessly for the self-determination of oneself and one’s family. These were the stories uplifted during my two years of grassroots community organizing and campaign development with ASPIRE, an organization housed under Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and the country’s first API undocumented leadership organization. I worked on two primary campaigns: Health4All and #Not1More. 

In the Health4All campaign, ASPIRE highlighted an important perspective in the debate over the state’s role in serving vulnerable immigrant communities. Because undocumented immigrants are excluded from federal benefits, communities are left with states and localities to ensure access to health care. One of the solutions in California was Senate Bill 4 or Health4All. We mobilized API undocumented youth to share personal challenges of living without access to affordable care. We also worked with the Health4All coalition, presenting at policy conferences and organizing public actions. All our efforts were recognized in the passage of Health4All Kids, which expanded Medi-Cal eligibility for undocumented youth under 19 years old.

In the #Not1More campaign, ASPIRE pushed for a stop to deportations and separation of families. We challenged these policies through legislative visits, community education, and non-violent direct actions. The campaign was also a focus in our summer leadership academy where I helped plan the curriculum for training undocumented youth in an intensive 5-week leadership-training course. Through my work in campaign strategy and leadership development with undocumented API youth, I have come to understand the importance of fighting for a future that is principled in our communities’ vision.

Listening to the stories in our communities also gave me insight into the hypercriminalization of immigrants. I followed this passion in law school, where I learned more about the intersections of immigration and criminal law. This past summer, I worked in criminal deportation defense with Van Der Hout LLP. This spring, I am working at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in its immigration defense unit to continue this difficult yet necessary work.

I am incredibly grateful for AABA Law Foundation’s support in my legal education. As a recipient of the Joe Morozumi scholarship, I hope to honor his legacy of fierce advocacy for the underrepresented as I continue serving the API immigrant community.

The AABA Law Foundation awards the Joe Morozumi Scholarship to honor his spirit, passion for justice, and advocacy for the poor and underrepresented. He was one of the first Asian American trial lawyers in the Bay Area and one of the earliest Asian American attorneys to represent political activists pro bono. The Joe Morozumi Scholarship was established through the generosity of Michael G.W. Lee, Joan Haratani, and Dale Minami. It also has the support of AABA leaders in the legal community who are past recipients of the Joe Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy. So Young worked for two years as a strategic leader with the Asian Law Caucus on the ASPIRE program advocating for immigrant rights and spent last summer working on asylum and deportation defense matters.

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AABA New Partner Profiles

As AABA celebrates APA Women Partners and GCs on May 3rd & 4th, we profile two new women partners from Greenberg Traurig, Jane Kim and Lisa Li.

Jane Kim practices in the corporate and securities group in Greenberg Traurig’s San Francisco office, with a focus on the representation of private equity funds. She also represents both public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions, SEC reporting and compliance, commercial transactions and corporate governance matters.

  • First job: My first job was when I was a senior in high school. I worked as a hostess for Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ in Long Beach Towne Center. I still think about their apple butter and biscuits.
  • What annoys you the most: Sloppy drafting.
  • Hidden talent: I love to draw and paint.
  • Favorite food: Korean BBQ. I can eat galbi all day, every day.
  • Why did you enter the law: I like solving problems, learning new skills and being challenged, all of which I'm lucky enough to experience in my daily practice. 
  • Dream job if you could do anything you wanted in the world: A wildlife photographer, which blends together three of my favorite things: animals, art and travel.
  • AABA is _____ (complete the phrase): a wonderful way to get involved in the community and meet like-minded professionals

Lisa Li focuses her practice on patent, trademark, and copyright litigation, as well as prosecution, management, and enforcement of trademarks globally. Lisa litigates in federal district courts and in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC). She also advises clients of all sizes on a wide variety of intellectual property transactions. Lisa is regularly involved in cross-border litigations and transactions, particularly matters involving biotech, consumer electronics, mobile apps, and internet software. Lisa is fluent in Mandarin and has broad experience counseling Chinese clients. 

  • First job:  Legal assistant
  • What annoys you the most:  bigotry
  • Favorite food: Thai
  • Why did you enter the law:   To have infinite job possibilities.
  • Dream job if you could do anything you wanted in the world:  Archaeologist
  • AABA is _____ (complete the phrase): responsible for shaping the future generations of Asian American lawyers and leaders

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