Bay Area Reaches Milestone of 100 Asian American General Counsel

28 Nov 2017 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

November 28, 2017

The Bay Area Asian American General Counsel (BAAAGC), the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association – Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) are hosting a celebratory event recognizing the region’s more than 100 Asian American general counsel. A reception will be held on November 29, 2017 in Palo Alto, California, where California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin H. Liu will be the keynote speaker.

"When we founded BAAAGC six years ago, there were about thirty Asian American general counsel in the Bay Area,” said Andrew Kim, one of the three co-founders of BAAAGC and senior vice president and general counsel for NETGEAR. “Reaching the milestone of a hundred general counsel is a significant achievement, but there’s still a lot more work to be done to diversify the top echelons of the profession.”

The event will also raise awareness that Asian Americans continue to be significantly underrepresented in the upper levels of the legal profession, as revealed by a recent report entitled A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law (Portrait Project), which was coauthored by Justice Liu and funded by Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).  Asian Americans have been the fastest-growing minority group in the legal profession for the past thirty years, but they continue to be significantly underrepresented in the leadership ranks of law firms, government and academia.

“The Portrait Project report is incredibly eye-opening and confirms what we have been feeling,” said John W. Kuo, co-founder of BAAAGC and senior vice president and general counsel for Varian Medical Systems.  “This phenomenon is also present in the corporate world, as evidenced by the fact that only a small percentage of Fortune 500/1000 companies have Asian American General Counsel/Chief Legal Officers at the helm of their legal functions.”

Two years ago, NAPABA, which represents the interests of over 50,000 lawyers, launched an initiative to land at least 20 Asian American general counsel in Fortune 500 companies by 2020. “NAPABA is pushing to diversify corporate legal departments,” said Pankit Doshi, President of NAPABA and a partner at DLA Piper. “The fact that we have a hundred Asian American general counsel in the highly competitive Bay Area market reaffirms that there are highly qualified Asian American candidates who should be considered for general counsel positions at Fortune 500 companies across the country.”

“While we are proud to have over a hundred Asian American general counsel in the Bay Area, the Portrait Project findings remind us that we have to help more lawyers advance to the highest ranks,” said Julian Ong, co-founder of BAAAGC and vice president and general counsel for NIO U.S., a start-up developing a next-generation autonomous electric vehicle platform.

To help address the issue, BAAAGC recently launched a general counsel fellowship program in partnership with AABA. 

“We congratulate the over a hundred general counsel on this incredible milestone,” said Miriam Kim, President of AABA and a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson. “AABA looks forward to continuing to work with BAAAGC to empower the next generation of Asian American general counsel.”

“These general counsel reflect the best of our profession,” said Hogene Choi, President of APABA-SV and a partner at Baker Botts. “We congratulate them on reaching this milestone and thank them for their leadership.” 

Premier sponsors of the event include: Alston & Bird; Baker Botts; Boies Schiller Flexner; Cooley; Covington & Burling; DLA Piper; McDermott, Will & Emery; Morrison & Foerster; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Ropes & Gray; Quinn Emanuel; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. 

For further information on the Celebration of 100 Bay Area Asian American General Counsel event, visit the event web page.

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