Marian Yim (far right) was one of the honorees to receive the national Trailblazers Award at the annual NAPABA Convention, November 2014.

Marian Yim (far right) was one of the honorees to receive the national Trailblazers Award at the annual NAPABA Convention, November 2014.

Last month, Arizona was privileged to host a national conference of lawyers and law students. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) event featured quite a few excellent seminars and plenary sessions—plus a Mercedes raffle. (I mentioned one of its signature events here.)

Among the things NAPABA gets right is the use of video to draw people in. They were effective at marketing the conference in advance and as tools to tell stories from the event once it was done.

Attorney Jared Leung, President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, kindly shared three of those videos. I pass them on with the hope that other event organizers will take their lead. (All videos are courtesy of Ty Ng of TwinTygr Films.)

The first video offered a broad overview of all the conference’s highlights:

The next video demonstrated the group’s community-service efforts benefiting Packages From Home and the veterans it serves. As Jared said:

NAPABA_logo“Barry Wong was instrumental in setting this wonderful community project at the NAPABA Convention.  It would not have happened without his leadership on this. Also, over 25 of you woke up early on Sunday morning, arriving at the Convention at 7 am to help set up the ‘production lines’ for the convention participants to pack the boxes. We had planned 2 hours to pack 300 boxes, but we ended up using a little over an hour and packed 315 boxes. The support and excitement was overwhelming and far exceeded our expectation. Your support was crucial to the success of this event. Thank you all so much!!

Here’s the video:

OK, best for last. Finally, Jared shared a video of the speech given by Marian Yim as she accepted the national Trailblazer Award. And Jared reminded attendees, “Marian gave us a challenge at the end of her speech: What kind of new APA lawyer are you going to be?”

I think that question could be asked of all attorneys. Here is the video of Marian:

Members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association gather at the annual NAPABA Convention, Nov. 2014.

Members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association gather at the annual NAPABA Convention, Nov. 2014.

Among the speakers at this week's NAPABA Convention in Scottsdale will be journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas

Among the speakers at this week’s NAPABA Convention in Scottsdale will be journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas

In the November Arizona Attorney Magazine, I shared news about the upcoming convention of NAPABA—the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. As I mentioned, we’re fortunate that the annual event is being held in Arizona.

The convention will be held this week, November 6 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. The keynote speaker on Saturday will be Jose Antonio Vargas, “a journalist, filmmaker, and the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the immigration conversation.” AAABA President Jared Leung says, “Mr. Vargas will share his amazing journey from the Philippines to the U.S., who will inspire and perhaps even challenge our thinking of the current immigration debate and the definition of Americans.”

More information and registration are here.

Meanwhile, I also alert you to a Convention-related event. But note its location!

The free event is titled “Civil Liberties vs. National Security: Policy and Reality of Judicial Review.” (Note: Aside from this free lecture, there are registration fees for the rest of the convention.)

This lecture will not be held at the Convention site. Instead, this compelling presentation will be at the ASU Cronkite journalism school in downtown Phoenix (555 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ, 85004). The presentation will be on November 6, from 8:00 to 9:30 am.

Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights

Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights

The speaker is Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.

Here is more background from the organizers:

“We are told that the history of civil liberties involves a constant tug of war between two irreconcilable demands: collective security vs. individual rights. Following 9/11, almost all discussions of the excesses of the federal government—detention without charge, torture, and mass surveillance—start from the premise that safety and liberty are in conflict with each other, and must always be ‘balanced’; if we insist on rigorously enforcing Constitutional rights for all, we must also accept becoming marginally less safe. But does eliminating the right of judicial review of detentions, or the right to privacy against government surveillance, really make us safer? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion of these issues with attorney Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney of the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Guantanamo project.

Center for Constitutional Rights CCR logo“Shayana Kadidal is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a 1994 graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In his twelve years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases arising in the wake of 9/11, including the Center’s challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court, and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps.

“He was also counsel in CCR’s legal challenges to the ‘material support’ statute (Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, decided by the Supreme Court in 2010), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. Along with others at the Center, he currently serves as U.S. counsel to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. On behalf of plaintiffs including Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and other journalists, he led litigation that ultimately resulted in public release of over 550 previously withheld documents during the court-martial of Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.”

[This article was edited 4/8/14 to reflect the fact that the dancers represented a lion, not a dragon. There is a traditional lion dance and a traditional dragon dance. Here is some information on the lion dance, performed at the APALSA event.]

Yes, that is a dragon at a legal event. Why do you ask? APALSA banquet dragon 1 04-05-14

Yes, that is a lion at a legal event. Why do you ask?

It never fails to amaze how often those new to a profession lead the way.

That’s what occurred to me last Saturday evening, as I attended the first-ever banquet of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) of Arizona Summit Law School.

Out of the box, the talented law students took to heart a few of the most important lessons of professional event planning. Experienced (long in the tooth) planners, take note.

Here are three of those lessons, gleaned from Saturday’s gathering:

1. Food: Good, easy, relevant

Your legal event need not have food and drink. But if you go down that road, bring it, would you, please?

APALSA Asian Pacific American Law Students Assn logoAPALSA brought it, indulging its guests with terrific dishes from the Curry Corner. (Would it kill you to Like them on Facebook?)

This is how terrific their combination of various Asian foods was: I had planned to snack lightly at the event, as I had promised my younger daughter that we would get a bite together afterward. As I strolled the buffet line, though, that plan went out the window. Yes, I did get my daughter dinner later; but all my senses insisted that I eat a full meal at the APALSA banquet. And so I did.

A special shout out to law student Mary Tran, who hand-crafted a Thai iced tea that was the perfect complement to the meal. As I sit here Tuesday, I know my morning would be improved mightily by a glass of that!

All of the food and drink (plus the open bar) contributed to an evening of celebration and cultural identity. Nicely done.

2. Speaker: Smart, funny, brief

Let me be the first to say it: More Jared Leung, please.

Jared Leung

Jared Leung

The evening’s keynote was the Fennemore Craig lawyer, and he caught our attention in two ways.

First, he opened by admiring and critiquing the bathrooms in Fennemore Craig’s new-ish space. Restroom-talk is not the typical go-to intro for legal keynotes, but it got our attention as he described the difficulty some have mastering the motion-activated sinks. Leung’s message was about the importance of finding the sweet spot in our professional lives.

And that’s why Leung carried a tennis racquet (his second unique approach) up to the microphone.

“What are you comfortable doing as a lawyer?” he asked the assembled law students. “What is your thing?”

“If we just all stick with what we’re comfortable with,” he continued, “our growth will be limited.”

Punctuating his point with a tennis swing, he offered a story about a Queen Creek high school football player, Carson Jones, who, with some teammates, opted to stand up for a bullied special-needs classmate. (Read the story here.)

“Here we have a 16-year-old showing us how it should be done,” Leung said, explaining how Jones’s actions required courage. He reminded the students that law school and the legal profession offer ongoing opportunities to decide how and when to do the right thing.

Jared Leung delivers the keynote address (with tennis racquet) at the APALSA banquet, April 5, 2014.

Jared Leung delivers the keynote address (with tennis racquet) at the APALSA banquet, April 5, 2014.

“Get out of your comfort zone, and find the sweet spot. Someday I’ll learn from you.”

With a smile, Leung noted that he (like the rest of us) already was doing just that.

3. Lions: Yes, please

No, I suppose you’re right. Every legal event need not have a Chinese lion and a traditional lion dance. It might be odd to spring that on Bar Convention attendees.

But the APALSA banquet had one, and the articulated, two-man operation teaches us volumes about connecting with your audience.

First, it had obvious relevance to the association, and its presence was certainly evocative for many at the banquet.

APALSA President Vic Reid speaks at annual banquet, April 5, 2014.

APALSA President Vic Reid speaks at annual banquet, April 5, 2014.

But more important, it provided a lift in spirits—aurally and visually—that far too many bar events overlook. I’ve heard for too many years that legal affairs must be serious business—and then watched as attendees nodded off or checked their email during sonorous speeches.

No one checked email as the dragon marched about the room, demanding attention and collecting donations to the ASU Asian LEAD Academy. No one nodded off as the terrific DJ filled the room with music.

After all, the spirit is not fed only by footnotes and legal speeches. For your next event, consider a lion. Or maybe learn from TED talks. Or at least (please!) have some Thai iced tea.

Congratulations to APALSA and its president, Vicente Reid Y Lugto, and the whole board. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Spot the lawyer: I also got the oportunity to pose with Asian community leaders and a talented Chinese dragon.

Spot the lawyer: I also got the opportunity to pose with Asian American community leaders and a talented Chinese lion.

pro bono gavelHere is some news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez. He regularly reports on a successful program providing legal information to the public. Congratulations and thanks to those lawyers who shared their time and talent.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe State Bar of Arizona and 12 News hosted the August Lawyers on Call on Tuesday, August 6. The topic covered in that evening’s public service program was immigration law.

Eight attorneys volunteered their time and experience to help inform callers about immigration issues. Seven of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers. The lawyers were (click their names for more information):

A total of 51 calls were answered by the volunteer attorneys—which is substantially lower when compared to other phone banks. This is the second immigration Lawyers on Call phone bank that has resulted in low numbers—an issue we’ll consider when planning for 2014. As always, our volunteers offered helpful information, solutions and resources to callers.

12 News Phoenix logoHere is a sample of consumer questions:

  • Can I have dual citizenship? If so, how do I go about it?
  • How do I get legal status for my undocumented fiancé?
  • What are the requirements for Deferred Action?
  • Will a minor criminal charge affect my eligibility for citizenship/Deferred Action?
  • Can children petition on behalf of their parents?

Overarching questions were related to qualifications for citizenship and how to proceed with the citizenship petition.