Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association


  • Wed, December 07, 2016 9:11 AM | Vincent Pham

    *New* monthly member spotlight and a successful national convention | December 6, 2016

    Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association

    Image result for twitter @mnapaba |  page | Image result for linkedin group

    Monthly Newsletter | December 2016

    Recent Happenings

    The Executive Board met on November 16 for its first official board meeting. The meeting was also well attended by law student representatives of the local APALSA organizations. The board reviewed and approved our budget for 2016-17, discussed our process for endorsing candidates for public office, and continued planning for upcoming events and other programs. 

    In the past month, you may have seen MNAPABA at these events:

    • Annual Banquet of the Hmong American Bar Association (HABA) (Dec 2)
    • MNAPABA New Lawyer's Reception (Nov 30) (Photo)
    • Tri-APALSA Happy Hour (Nov 17)
    • November Executive Board Meeting (Nov 15)
    • NAPABA National Convention (Nov 3-6) -- recap below

    Member Spotlight - New This Year!

    Each month, we will be highlighting one of our members. This is part of an ongoing effort to help MNAPABA members get-to-know one another. Read below about...

    Linhda Nguyen

    Merchant & Gould
    University of Minnesota Law School ('14)

    Displaying lnguyen.jpg

    Q: What is your practice area? 
    A: I specialize in patent and trademark litigation as well as trademark prosecution, at Merchant and Gould in downtown Minneapolis. My practice is varied and stimulating, and each day is different, which I highly enjoy.

    Q: What is your background?
    A: I’m from Orange County, California, and graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2014.

    Q: What do you enjoy most about MNAPABA? 
    A: I think it is important to encourage diversity in law firms. Being from California, where there are more diverse attorneys practicing, I can see the sharp contrast in the diverse workforce between California and Minnesota. I feel strongly about the value of diversity in law firm hiring and work to support that at my own firm.

    Q: What do you want others to know about you? 
    A: I’m interested in meeting more MNAPABA members. So if you see me at an event, please say hello and introduce yourself!

    Join the MNAPABA Fellowship Committee

    MNAPABA seeks volunteers for our Fellowship Committee. Volunteers will work with president-elect Melitta Dreschler to promote the MNAPABA Summer Law Fellowship and help with the selection process. The fellowship is awarded to a law student or recent law graduate who will serve the Minnesota Asian Pacific American community through public service at a summer internship. Please contact Melitta Drechsler to learn more and help out! (melitta.drechsler@co.ramsey.mn.us)

    Save the Date, Annual Winter Retreat (Feb.)

    National Convention - Recap

    November started out with the 2016 NAPABA National Convention in San Diego, CA. The Minnesota delegation included about 20 members. Overall, about 1900 of mostly attorneys, judges, and students attended.

    Highlights included:

    • Gala keynote speaker George Takei
    • Hon. Gail Chang Bohr receiving the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award
    • Irene Kao being recognized as "Best Under 40"
    • Dinner with affiliates in the Central Region
    • Granting MNAPABA's first Award of Distinction to Michelle Lee, USPTO Director
    • The first meeting of the Asian American Adoptee Attorney Network


    Share Member Professional/Personal News
    in next month's newsletter (here)
    By Friday, December 30, 2016.

    Jobs, Clerkships & Scholarships

    New opportunities are posted weekly on the Members-Only Job Board. Login to see details.

    18 postings have been added including: a law student scholarship, a judgeship, several public committee/board member positions, a few private practice opportunities, a couple county attorney positions, and several legal aid positions.


    Upcoming Events

    Executive Board Meeting (register)
    Halunen Law, IDS Center
    Tuesday, Dec. 12
    6:00 p.m.

    Affinity Bar Board Dinner (rsvp)
    222 Hennepin Apartments MPLS
    Thursday, Dec. 8
    5:30 p.m.
    (limited to board members of invited affiliate bar associations)

    FBA Diversity Bar Meet & Greet (info)
    Rare Steak & Sushi MPLS
    Thursday, Jan. 19
    5:30 p.m.


    Local Bar & Community

    ACS Happy Hour and Discussion on Immigration (link
    Lockridge Grindal Nauen MPLS
    Thursday, December 8
    5:30 p.m.

    How to Make Your Workplace More Diverse and Inclusive CLE (register)
    HCBA Office MPLS
    Thursday, December 8
    1:30-4:30 p.m.

  • Fri, December 02, 2016 10:01 AM | Vincent Pham
    On Wednesday evening, about 40 members and friends of MNAPABA introduced a new class of attorneys admitted to the Minnesota bar in 2016. We shared food and drinks at Dong Hae to celebrate their accomplishment and welcomed them into our MNAPABA community as full-fledged attorneys.

    Left to Right: Mark Murphy (Libby Law), Cha Xiong (Minn. Ct. of Appeals), Sukanya Momsen (Minn. Ct. of Appeals), Harold Yun (4th Judicial District), Jessie Lu (Fredrikson & Byron).

  • Wed, November 16, 2016 4:58 PM | Benjamin Kwan
    MNAPABA Organizational Statement on Ramsey County Attorney John J. Choi's Charging Decision in the Philando Castile Case
    November 16, 2016

    Ramsey County Attorney John J. Choi announced his decision to charge the St. Anthony police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile on July 6, 2016.

    This morning, Choi's office charged St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez with second-degree manslaughter, among other charges involving the officer’s discharge of his gun. Choi said that under Minnesota law and Supreme Court precedent, the deadly use of force in Castile's death by Officer Yanez was not justified.

    The Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA) stands in solidarity with Choi, a longtime MNAPABA member. Choi’s decision to charge Officer Yanez is sure to be heavily scrutinized both locally and nationally as our country’s ongoing dialogue about race and justice reform continues. As Choi’s friends and colleagues in the Minnesota Asian Pacific American legal community, we have every confidence in his ability to prosecute this case with the utmost in fidelity to the law and with justice as his guiding star.

    “I am an elected official but I can’t act like one,” Choi said Wednesday morning when a reporter asked about what kind of message he had for community members—both those who had hoped for this decision and those who had not. Choi said his job was to make a decision based on the law and the facts.

    MNAPABA respects Choi’s decision. MNAPABA also supports the legal process running its course so that justice can be achieved.

  • Tue, November 01, 2016 12:35 AM | Vincent Pham

    October Recap

    The new Executive Board met on October 16 for a working retreat at the Halunen Law office. We reviewed our 3-year strategic plan and began to plan the year ahead. We look forward to a great 2016-2017 and hope to see you at many of our events!

    In October, you may have seen MNAPABA at these events:

    • University of Minnesota Law School Meet the Bar 
      (Oct 14)
    • MNAPABA volunteers at Second Harvest Heartland 
      (Oct 15)


    An American Tale: MNAPABA Goes West

    November starts out with the biggest event of the year, the 2016 NAPABA National Convention in San Diego, CA.

    This year, NAPABA will recognize two Minnesota attorneys for their accomplishments:

    • Hon. Gail Chang Bohr will receive the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award
    • Irene Kao will be celebrated as one of NAPABA's "Best Under 40"

    In addition to standard events, the MN delegation is involved in planning some special events you don't want to miss (see right bar for details):

    • Central Regional Affiliates Dinner
    • Award of Distinction for Michelle Lee, USPTO Director
    • Minnesota Delegation Dinner
    • Asian American Adoptee Attorney Network - First Gathering


    Welcome to the Bar (Come to a Bar!)

    Did you just get sworn in to practice law? Congratulations you! The New Attorneys Reception caps off the month of November. Help us celebrate you! (see right bar for details)


    Legal Employers - Support the Pipeline of Diverse Legal Talent!

    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. Consider urging your firm 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 (dana@hcba.org) at the HCBA. 


    Help Us Select the Next MNAPABA Summer Law Fellow

    MNAPABA seeks volunteers to solicit and review applications for the MNAPABA Summer Law Fellowship, which is awarded to a law student or recent law graduate who will, through a summer internship, serve the Minnesota Asian Pacific American community through public service. Please contact Melitta Drechsler with your interest (melitta.drechsler@co.ramsey.mn.us).


    Jobs, Clerkships & Scholarships

    New opportunities are posted weekly, usually by Sunday, on the Members-Only Job Board.

    This week, 12 postings were added including: several full-time positions with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, vacancies on the MN Supreme Court's Rules of Criminal Procedure Advisory Committee, a spring clerkship for law students, as well as other public and private positions.


    Events in November

    Executive Board Meeting(info)
    Halunen Law, IDS Center
    Tuesday, Nov. 15
    6:00 p.m.

    New Attorneys Reception
    Dong Hae MPLS
    Wednesday, Nov. 30
    5:30 p.m.
    (Save the date for now!)

    2016 NAPABA National Convention (info)
    San Diego, CA
    Nov. 3-6

    • Central Regional Affiliates Dinner (info)
      Thursday, Nov. 3
      7:00 p.m. PST
    • Award of Distinction Presentation to Michelle Lee (info)
      Friday, Nov. 4
      2:00 p.m. PST
    • Minnesota Delegation Dinner  (rsvp)
      Friday, Nov. 4
      8:00 p.m. PST
    • Asian American Adoptee Attorney Network - First Gathering (facebook) (event page)
      Saturday, Nov. 5
      5:00 p.m. PST


    Local Bar & Community

    LCL 40th Anniversary Celebration (link) Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom WAYZATA
    Wednesday, Nov. 9
    5:00 p.m.

    MABL 2016 Foundation Scholarship Gala (link) Marriot City Center MPLS
    Saturday, Nov. 12
    6:00 p.m.

    MWL 2016 Rosalie Wahl Leadership Lecture (link) Marriot City Center MPLS
    Monday, Nov. 14
    5:00 p.m.

    • Dinner and Program
      6:00 p.m.
    • President's Reception
      4:30 p.m.
      (rsvp separately)


    Submit Member Professional/Personal News
    For Next Month's Newsletter: http://mnapaba.org/ShareNews
    By Friday, December 2, 2016

  • Sat, October 29, 2016 9:36 AM | Benjamin Kwan
    MNAPABA Prepared to Assist Those Interested in Two Article III Openings
    October 29, 2016

    This week, Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken announced the formation of a judicial selection committee to fill two vacancies on the Minnesota federal district court. Judge Ann Montgomery and Judge Donovan Frank have decided to take senior status. Those interested in applying for a federal district court position should submit a letter of interest and resume to the committee between November 7-21, 2016. For more information on the federal district court vacancies and where to send a letter of interest, see http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/news-releases?ID=793299C9-1BF5-4861-9103-E215A31C3D54. 

    MNAPABA’s own judicial selection committee remains committed to assisting and preparing successful APA judicial candidates for federal and state court as well as for administrative law judgeships. The committee can help with application assistance, mock interviews, etc. Contact the co-chairs of this committee, Irene Kao (ikao@lmc.org) or Judge Nicole Starr (nicole.starr@courts.state.mn.us), for more information. In the roughly three years since its formation, MNAPABA judicial selection committee has assisted dozens of judicial hopefuls at various stages of their careers. We are eager and happy to share what we've learned in the process in order to help APA candidates and others who support our community become stronger, more qualified candidates. 

    MNAPABA also provides letters of support to qualified candidates. For more information on the endorsement process, see http://mnapaba.org/endorsements.

  • Wed, October 26, 2016 9:24 AM | Benjamin Kwan

    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 (ikao@lmc.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

  • Fri, October 14, 2016 5:17 PM | Benjamin Kwan

    MNAPABA would like to thank the University of Minnesota School of Law for inviting us to its "Meet the Bar" event on Friday, October 14, 2016. The event gave law students the chance to meet the myriad legal organizations in our community at one time, in one place.

    MNAPABA was represented by MNAPABA Executive Board Members Vince Pham (L), V.P. of Communications and Alene Sussman (R), V.P. of Outreach. 

    MNAPABA encourages law students to join our ranks and get involved by attending events. We have been proud of a long tradition of informal mentorship through relationships that begin at our events and last a career. 

    Thanks Vince and Alene for representing MNAPABA!

  • Thu, October 13, 2016 9:29 AM | Benjamin Kwan

    Join MNAPABA in San Diego for the National Convention Nov. 3-6 -- We Have a Lot to Celebrate

    The Hon. Gail Chang Bohr, recipient of a 2016 NAPABA Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

    Irene Kao, recipient of a 2016 NAPABA Best Under 40 Award

    Steven Reeves, elected to the 2016-2017 NAPABA Board of Governors, serving as the Vice President for Finance and Development

    Dear Members and Friends:

    We hope to see many of you in San Diego next month for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's 2016 annual convention.  Advance registration closes on October 21. Need to activate your NAPABA membership? MNAPABA membership includes NAPABA membership--please refer to our June 16, 2016, members-only email for instructions on activating your national membership. 

    Let Us Know if You'll Be in San Diego & RSVP for the Minnesota Dinner

    MNAPABA would love to keep in touch with you if you plan to be in San Diego for the convention. 

    We will be organizing a pay-your-own-way Minnesota dinner on Friday evening at 8 p.m. We have yet to select a location--we will do so after getting an idea of how many Minnesotans we can expect.

    Please fill out the form at the link shown to both let us know you're coming and whether you'd like to RSVP for the Minnesota dinner and be on a group text of Minnesota attendees.

    Minnesota Attendee Form & Minnesota Dinner RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/0CGmtnwrT7U4grUk2 

    Minnesota Award Winners

    This is another banner year for MNAPABA at NAPABA. In San Diego we will be celebrating two MNAPABA members receiving national awards and one member who has been elected to the national Board of Governors.  

    The Hon. Gail Chang Bohr will receive the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 4. 

    Irene Kao will be celebrated as one of NAPABA's "Best Under 40" at the Welcome Reception on Thursday, November 3. 

    We also would like to recognize Steven Reeves who has been elected to NAPABA's Board of Governors as the V.P. for Finance and Development. Thank you for your service to NAPABA and the profession, Steven!

    Asian American Adoptee Attorney Network

    We hope you will also consider supporting our Immediate Past President, Greg Schwartz, on his new national initiative to connect Asian American adoptee attorneys.  Join Greg and others from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the first gathering of the affinity group at the convention.  Email Greg for more details: GSchwartz@billionarmitage.com -- you can also check out the Facebook invite

    If you have any questions about the convention, please email us at mnapaba@gmail.com -- we will be monitoring that account in realtime at the convention, too.

    Thanks and hope to see many familiar faces in San Diego!

    --Ben Kwan, President, MNAPABA

  • Mon, October 03, 2016 4:33 PM | Deleted user

    Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association hosted its 2016 Annual Gala on September 28, 2016 with Keynote speaker, Don Liu, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of Target Corp.

    A huge thank you to each and every one of you who helped make the event a success -whether you attended, sponsored, or took part in planning the event, it couldn't have happened so successfully without you.

  • Mon, October 03, 2016 4:22 PM | Deleted user

    Registration for the NAPABA Golf Tournament will close on Friday, Oct. 7. It's not too late to register! The NAPABA Golf Tournament to Benefit the NAPABA Law Foundation will be held at the beautiful Maderas Golf Club, ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 public golf courses in America. The tournament will be played "shot gun" style in the scramble format with all foursomes teeing off at 8 a.m. Enter to win amazing prizes! The tournament will be immediately followed by an awards reception, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

    Registration closes Friday, Oct. 7. For more information on how to play and sponsor the tournament click here.

Mailing Address:
MNAPABA c/o Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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