I'm excited to announce the next step in the AABA Pathways project—the Leadership Education for Attorney Development (LEAD) program. You may recall that this year AABA has, through the AABA Pathways project, unified and advanced our professional development programming, consistent with our organization’s four-year strategic plan. From our excellent pre-law Pathways to the Law program, to the new Pathways to Partnership program, to the Pathways to the Bench program, we are reviewing our professional development pipeline holistically.
LEAD is a year-long leadership training program that focuses on mid-career attorneys. It brings together a cohort of 24 California-based attorneys--10 from law firms, 10 in-house, and 4 government/public interest. LEAD launches with a weekend of intensive training and team-building, commencing on Friday, September 27 in San Francisco. There will be one to two formal follow-up programs in 2020, and LEAD Fellows will interact throughout the year.
I know LEAD will be an exceptional program because in 2018, our AABA team co-developed and co-hosted with NAPABA a national program with a similar focus called the Leadership Advancement Program (LAP). The reviews for LAP were overwhelmingly positive, with participants saying the program was “eye-opening” and “incredible”, “did wonders in giving me a sense of direction”, and that it “greatly exceeded” expectations.” One fellow said that it “helped me find some of the answers I’ve been looking for [in] my mid-career crisis.” Another said that it was the “best leadership program/conference I’ve been to in terms of content/substance . . . .” And another noted that it was the "only leadership program I’ve attended that I would do again.” LEAD now expands last year's program to serve government and public interest attorneys, and with a focus on California attorneys.AABA developed and is hosting LEAD this year in collaboration with APA bar organizations around the state through the California Asian Pacific American Bar Association (Cal-APABA). Applications are due by 8 pm on July 31. This is a transformational program. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to apply to join in this special experience!
With deep appreciation,
Charles H. Jung
Last month, AABA was proud to welcome community members to the Presidio to view the "And Then They Came For Us" exhibit on the Japanese Internment. Don Tamaki shared remarks and then led a guided tour of and the alarming relevance that the experience holds today.
Don, whose parents were held at the makeshift detention center at Tanforan in San Bruno before being transferred to Utah, shared his experience as a member of the legal team that re-opened and reversed the federal conviction of Fred Korematsu. Don also discussed the similarities in rhetoric and tactics of the internment and the modern issues involving civil rights and immigrant communities.
As part of the event, Don led a guided tour through the exhibit, offering his context and experience. Attendees were also offered the opportunity to be part of AABA's #NationOfImmigrants project, where we show our support for immigrants, and stand united to demonstrate that America remains a nation of immigrants.
Asian Americans thrive economically, attain high levels of educational achievements, and enjoy a great degree of family stability, or at least that is what media tells us. However, growing up in Southern California surrounded by Asian American families with various experiences, I quickly realized this was far from the truth. Although several factors such as working with the wrongfully convicted contributed to my decision to apply to law school, seeing the struggles of undocumented Asians in Southern California first inspired me to even consider law as a potential career opportunity. The documentation status of individuals directly influenced the economic stability (or instability) of the family and the physical well-being of these individuals. I wanted to help, but I did not know where to begin.
During my first year of law school, I regularly volunteered at the East Bay Dreamers Clinic providing direct legal services to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival eligible youth and other community members seeking legal advice. This opportunity allowed me to gain exposure to the different types of visas available and the basics of immigration law. Additionally, I am an editor of Berkeley Law’s Asian American Law Journal (AALJ), one of only two journals that focus on legal scholarship regarding Asian American issues. Working as an editor helped me realize the dire need for students, scholars, and practitioners to research, write, and invest in our community’s issues. I too hope to contribute to the existing legal scholarship of Asian American issues one day. Finally, I am a member of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association at Berkeley Law where I help mentor first year law students.
This past summer, I worked as an extern for Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court. As the first Asian-American and the second woman to serve as Chief Justice, the Chief Justice has been a role model of mine. Throughout the summer, I was constantly in awe of how she wonderfully balanced her many roles. Furthermore, the Chief Justice and the staff attorneys trusted the externs and gave us a plethora of opportunities to research complex legal issues, review appellate briefs, and even contribute in the weekly meetings. I would not have spent my 1L summer any other way.
I hope to continue to build on this experience in becoming a lawyer who is constantly aware of the issues that her community faces and gives back with the knowledge she had the privilege of attaining. Thank you AABA and the Salle Yoo and Jeff Gray Fund for the Judicial Externship Grant. In addition to the grant, I am incredibly privileged to have gained access to a community of AAPI attorneys I can look up to.