New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

Four years ago, I posted a list of the nine courses (yes, nine!) served at the annual Arizona Asian American Bar Association banquet. You can read it here.

Over the (too) many years of this daily blog, I have covered that event in multiple ways—for example, here, here and here. (I’ve even included photos and a video of our now-beleaguered Attorney General Tom Horne playing the piano as the crowd chats; here’s a photo you might like).

But writers are always learning, and here is the instructive point for me: I have always and forever received the most follow-up queries after my here’s-our-meal-list post. Showing, I suppose, that food trumps most legal issues, including allegations of campaign-finance violations. The main commentary I typically receive: The list is nice, and your description of the keynote speech is swell, but why only one food photo?

C-Fu Gourmet restaurant logoThe public speaks, and I listen.

So today, on Change of Venue Friday, I decided to keep the words to a minimum and to share only photos and captions of each of the dishes served last night at C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler. If you were there, you know how great it was. If you missed it, too bad for you. Remember to follow the Asian American Bar Association on Facebook, so you can keep track of when they announce next year’s banquet. You can join the organization too.

I hope you’re sated by the photos below (click to make them larger). I plan to share later some more detail about the evening’s great elements, among them the awarding of a few law student scholarships. But that’s for another day.

Have a great—and dim sum-filled—weekend.

C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler, Arizona, is known to have some of the best dim sum in the state (some say it’s the best). And that may be the ideal location for the Arizona Asian American Bar Association annual banquet. For dim sum stands for the proposition that people enjoy the opportunity to have little plates of a variety of things. Even if something is not to your taste, wait a minute and another plate will be by.

Kind of like diversity. There is value to variety, even if you don’t partake in everything.

(I wrote about the Asian American Bar banquet and C-Fu before, here and here.)

So what makes the multiple-plates approach especially appropriate for the Asian Bar’s annual dinner? It is their selection of entertainment and keynote speakers for this evening. It’s a veritable stir-fry.

The entertainment will be partly provided by a Canadian American lawyer known most recently for his distaste for a focus on “hyphenated Americans.” Tom Horne, now the Attorney General of Arizona, took on the ethnic-studies program in the Tucson Unified School District when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction—a battle that continues. He has since been one of the biggest supporters of Arizona’s own melding of criminal and immigration law, in the form of SB1070.

Tom Horne, Arizona Attorney General

Ladies and gentlemen, the Asian American Bar gives you … Tom Horne on piano! (You’ll see I omitted the hyphen.)

Not sure you’ll partake? Well, wait just a few minutes, because the keynote speaker is coming to the stage. He is an accomplished California American lawyer who is the President and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles. He and APALC are known most recently for their distaste for SB1070. In fact, APALC has been a leader in organizing plaintiffs and challenging the law.

On keynote duties, we have … Stewart Kwoh!

(Full disclosure: (1) My wife is on the board of the Arizona chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League; the national association is a plaintiff. (2) As a young California lawyer, I worked along with APALC on a large-scale immigration case regarding Thai workers. I have met Mr. Kwoh but do not know him well.)

Does each know the other will be there? Would either be pleased or dismayed? If they were asked, really nicely, to sing a duet, would they?

The Asian American Bar may have dipped farther into the combination plates than they would have liked. As word began to emerge about the evening’s pianist, Asian American community members voiced their upset. They had worked hard against the law, and hearing the ivories tickled by its advocate was not their idea of a good time. Some people who have attended before have refused to attend. And some community associations may have opted not to purchase a table.

I spoke with a leader of Los Abogados about the developments. That association of Hispanic lawyers has been vocal in its opposition to SB1070. Was it disturbed that a sister bar would invite one of the law’s most prominent defenders, even if only for a musical interlude?

Stewart Kwoh, Asian Pacific American Legal Center

The Los Abogados leader was extremely polite about the affair. He acknowledged that many were surprised at the news. But he said it had led to extensive and productive conversations with the Asian Bar leadership. He said that Los Abogados had stressed that, despite popular belief, SB1070 is not a “Hispanic” issue; instead, the group sees it as a civil-rights issue that affects everyone.

Would Los Abogados be purchasing a table? No, the leader said, but they did not purchase one every year anyway. And individual Los Abogados members may be purchasing for themselves.

I will be there tonight, and I expect I’ll take some photos and maybe even some video of the musical entertainment. More to come.

In the meantime, pass the noodles.

It’s Friday, which mean it’s time for Change of Venue, our weekly left-turn where we examine the non-legal—or at least aspects of life that lawyers may be good at, but did not learn in law school.

A business lunch begins with ...

This week, recognizing how well lawyers eat (to talk business, of course), I point you to a restaurant.

Being a statewide publication, that’s not something I would do lightly. But a recent meal at this establishment told me I should encourage your gorging there.

The place? C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler, Ariz.

I’ve been to this Chinese restaurant many times, but the recent Arizona Asian American Bar Association banquet reminded how good it could be.

To keep this post short on the words but long on the salivation, I’ll list the nine courses from that April 14 feast

  • Spicy Shrimp and Calamari Salad
  • Chicken Asparagus Soup
  • Beef Tenderloin and Gai Lan
  • Princess Chicken
  • Double Mushroom, Tofu and Greens
  • Steamed Fish, Ginger Scallions and Soy
  • BBQ Pork Mai Fun Noodles
  • Salted Fish/Chicken Fried Rice
  • Double Dessert “Sesame Ball and Fruits”

 Yes, Sesame Ball and Fruits. Why do you ask?

The menu includes far more than this suggests. I recommend the three-part strategy: Eat, drink, nap.

Drop into their Web site for more info. Or, even better, just stop by:

3-part test: Eat, drink, nap

2051 W. Warner Rd.
Chandler, Az. 85224
S.W. corner of Warner & Dobson, 1 mile east of the 101

Unhappy with my selection? Want to recommend something else? Post a comment, or send your thoughts to arizona.attorney@azbar.org

Tonight is the annual banquet and awards ceremony of the Arizona Asian-American Bar Association, and there are many reasons to be happy you’re attending.

Hon. Barbara Rodriguez Mundell

First, yes, let’s say it: The food is always phenomenal. As in recent years, tonight’s event will be at C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler, Ariz. In the past, it was 10 courses, and I’m expecting something similar. I swore to myself I would avoid food throughout the day in preparation, and missing lunch helped achieve my goal.

More important, the event honors some of the most deserving lawyers and law students in the state. Tonight, we get to hear keynote speaker Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell. And then there are the awards.

I was especially honored to serve as a judge on an awards committee this year. AAABA’s Thomas Tang Law Scholarship is awarded to up to four individuals every year, and the selection is tough.

The law student applicants are judged on the following criteria: involvement with the minority community, law school academic performance, character, leadership skills, economic status, and commitment to practicing in Arizona.

Yikes. So it’s not just the writing ability, or the service, or the grades. It’s all those things.

Congratulations to the winners (whom I have promised not to announce in advance!).

Most of all, the evening and the scholarship are great because they recall past leaders. If you haven’t heard of Thomas Tang, you should read (below) what Wikipedia has to say about him. He was a great lawyer and judge, long before Asian Americans were welcomed into the fraternity with open arms. He is honored tonight, and every day, through the accomplishments and the endeavors of law students and attorneys who strive to improve their communities and their profession.

Thomas Tang

Thomas Tang (January 11, 1922 – July 18, 1995) was a federal judge in the United States and the first Chinese American appointed to the federal judiciary.

The son of a grocery owner, Tang spent his early years in Phoenix, Arizona, where he attended public schools. He fought during World War II, and became a First Lieutenant with the United States Army. After graduation from the University of Santa Clara (B.A.) and the University of Arizona College of Law (LL.B.), he was again commissioned to the Army and served on the Korean peninsula during the Korean War.

In 1952, Tang resigned from the Army and after a brief stint of private practice, served as Deputy County Attorney of Maricopa, Arizona in 1952-1957 and Assistant Attorney General of Arizona in 1957-1959.

He was then elected to the Phoenix City Council of Phoenix in 1960, and a Judge of the Superior Court of Arizona in 1963. During his tenure as Superior Court Judge, numerous lawyers who later rose to great eminence appeared before him, current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor being one of them. After losing his judicial re-election in 1970, due to a highly publicized juvenile murder trial in which he was accused for being too lenient, Tang returned to private practice.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Tang as a United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. Tang served for sixteen years before he took senior status in 1993.

Judge Tang died in 1995, survived by his wife, Dr. Pearl Tang and their children.

In 1993, the APA Law Student Association of the South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas, (including law students Kevin Pham, John Tang and Monica Tjoa) named a national moot court competition in Tang’s honor. The Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition is now administered by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Law Foundation and the NAPABA Judicial Council. The Competition continues to honor the late Judge Tang, a champion of individual rights, an advocate for the advancement of minority attorneys, an ardent supporter of NAPABA and the moot court competition. Judge Tang’s wife, Dr. Pearl Tang, continues the legacy and participates every year.

The Competition is open to all students but is especially designed to reach out to APA law students and provide them with an opportunity to showcase their writing and oral skills and compete for scholarships totaling $10,000.