Welcome to MNAPABA's New Bar Year, We Have Another Great Year Ahead--But it Depends On Your Presence
It's often the seemingly everyday, minor events that trigger a realization that this organization we're all apart of is something special--something special that couldn't exist without our collective presence.
Like the law student trading notes on patent practice with a local litigator--in Cantonese (with enough English thrown in that yours truly, eavesdropping, could make out the fact that this was a great moment in MNAPABA mentorship).
Overhearing this exchange at our recent volunteer event at Second Harvest Heartland reminded me that, as a community, we have special things to offer one another. But to offer and receive more of these gifts, we must yearn to be more present--amongst one another, within our profession, and outside in our greater communities. MNAPABA has and will continue to strive to facilitate that. We can't leave it to chance.
You see, on Saturday a week and a half ago, about 20 of us reported for duty at Second Harvest Heartland in Golden Valley to help the food bank pack hundreds of pounds of lentils for the folks they serve. About a week before that, MNAPABA's Executive Board got word from a very well organized contingent of Asian Pacific American law students working together from all three of the local law schools. They told us that they wanted to be more connected to MNAPABA. We vowed to work together for the year ahead but also reminded them that we have a lot going on (always have) and that one of the best ways to get connected is to--well, be present. So we told them about our upcoming volunteer opportunity at the food bank and, come October 15, we all of a sudden had the perfect mix of lawyers and law students, making that great moment in MNAPABA mentorship possible.
MNAPABA members, friends, and family at Second Harvest Heartland in Golden Valley on Oct. 15.
Together, about roughly 20 of us from MNAPABA along with other volunteers packed more than 2,600 one-pound bags of lentils. We served our community but we also served one another--just by being present. Huge thanks to our intrepid V.P. of Programs, Alex Dyste, for organizing our first volunteer event of the new bar year and to our new V.P. of Membership, Aalok Sharma, for shepherding the law students in this direction right away.
Welcome to the President's Newsletter
Many of you were present on September 28 when MNAPABA celebrated the conclusion of one year and the beginning of another. Together we witnessed a historic, sellout event supported by sponsors from across our legal community.
For those of you who couldn't be there, I'd like to formally welcome you to the 2016-2017 MNAPABA Board Year and my all-new President's Newsletter. The President's Newsletter will come out mid-month and will supplement our Monthly MNAPABA Newsletter which will continue to come out on the first Tuesday of each month. This new communication is a way for me to keep in close contact with all of you and keep you better informed about all the things we do and accomplish.
Target's Don Liu, the company's brand new executive vice president, chief legal officer, and general counsel delivers the keynote address at MNAPABA's 2016 Annual Gala on September 28 in MInneapolis. Liu is also new to MNAPABA.
On September 28 MNAPABA celebrated the beginning of a new year by celebrating a fantastic year under the leadership of Immediate Past President Greg Schwartz. We welcomed Don Liu, Target's new General Counsel, to the Twin Cities as he accepted our offer to take the stage and share his story in our Gala keynote address. It was an incredible way for us all to get to know a prominent new figure in our legal community. Thank you, Don!
For the first time ever in our roughly three-decade history, our Gala was sold out with more than 300 attendees. In an upcoming newsletter, we will have links to many awesome photographs from the gala and more of a recap. And for those of you who remember Don Liu's gracious acceptance of an invitation to dinner with MNAPABA members new to Minnesota at my dad's Chinese restaurant, we'll also have information on how to enter a drawing to win a spot at that table (coveted spot, perhaps, oh--and the food is pretty good, too).
For now, I want to share a a few notes about MNAPABA programming and other affinity and bar programming and events to consider in light of my call to think more about service during the year ahead--service to MNAPABA, to our profession, to one another, and to our greater communities.
Consider Serving One Another by Helping to Fill the Judicial Pipeline
This update is equal parts "thank you" and information regarding an incredible program being spearheaded by MNAPABA's Judicial Selection Committee this coming Saturday, October 29. I urge you to continue to support your fellow APA attorneys as we try to strengthen our numbers on the state and federal benches.
MNAPABA, along with the Infinity Project, is putting on a full-day Judicial Bootcamp this Saturday afternoon at Faegre Baker Daniels, our 2016-2017 Underwriter Sponsor. The invite-only program is geared toward judges and attorneys at various stages of their careers and is designed to aid in our ongoing efforts to fill the state and federal judicial pipeline with APA candidates.
A huge thank you to Judicial Selection Committee Co-Chairs Judge Nikki Starr and Irene Kao for their efforts in putting this program together. We have invited approximately 50 APA attorneys and judges who have, in the past few years, let us know that they have some interest (however great or small) in exploring judicial opportunities at all levels, be it now or in the future. If you wish to be included but have not yet self-identified to our committee or were somehow not included, please do not hesitate to contact Irene Kao as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org), we apologize for any oversight.
Consider Serving Our Profession by Taking a Seat at the Table
Besides being present at MNAPABA events, have you considered how bring present at other bar events serves all of our interests as APA Minnesota attorneys? More and more APA attorneys are taking a seat at various tables across the profession and I encourage all of you to consider doing so in even greater numbers.
Consider taking part in an event TODAY, even. Later this afternoon, the The Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is hosting its Vintage and Newer Lawyers Event from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the federal court house in Minneapolis. Register here. It would be great to see both "vintage" and "newer" APA attorneys in the mix.
FBA MN Chapter President Tara Norgard has also asked me to encourage our members to consider contributing to the FBA on any one of its many committees. More APA attorneys at those tables is good for the FBA, and it's good for MNAPABA.
There's another table where MNAPABA members should consider taking a seat next month. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is celebrating four decades with its 40th Anniversary Help & Hope event at the Metropolitan Ballroom on November 9. The great work of LCL has lifted up our greater professional community for four decades. APA attorneys have not and will not be immune from the need for help with substance abuse and mental health issues.
The Help & Hope event is a 40th anniversary celebration and fundraiser to support Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. The evening program will feature a keynote address from Jeena Cho, author of The Anxious Lawyer, an 8-week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness & Meditation and How to Manage Your Law Office.
Consider Serving Our Community by Lending Your Voice
Finally, three quick things you can do right now to lend your voice in service to the community.
First, speak up and let us know that you're interested in volunteering in 2017 with MNAPABA and the Hmong American Partnership at MNAPABA second legal clinic supported in part by the Volunteer Lawyers Network. Signing up with this form right now will help our V.P. of Outreach, Alene Sussman, keep you apprised of the clinic as more details become available.
Second, help the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans by taking about five minutes to fill out a survey. The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans was created to advise the Governor and the legislature on issues pertaining to the Asian Pacific community across the state. Please complete this survey to provide CAPM with feedback to assist them in setting their 2017-18 legislative priorities. All members of the Asian Pacific Minnesotan community are welcome to participate. This survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
Third and finally, consider speaking up inside your firm or business to encourage the promotion of APA and other diverse law student candidates come hiring time for next summer. The Hennepin County Bar Association is continuing its great tradition of matching legal employers and law students with phenomenal opportunities (both ways) in the Minnesota Minority Clerkship Program. Urge your employer to commit and fill out and return this form by November 15, 2016, to be included in the program. You can also download the Employer Information Sheet for information on the program. For more detailed information, contact Dana Rindahl at the HCBA.
Thank you for considering these ways to serve--and be present. Your presence in our organization is highly valued and we want you to know that. Until next month...
Benjamin R. Kwan, President, MNAPABA