From November 3-6, 2016 over 1,900 Asian Pacific American members of the legal community from across the country came together in San Diego for the Annual NAPABA (National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) Convention. The Convention was a whirlwind weekend filled with informative panels, accomplished speakers, and rooftop celebrations. The panels that I attended covered a wide variety of topics, such as how to brand yourself as a new associate and whether a hashtag can be protected under trademark law. I also had the opportunity to hear California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu reveal the results of a comprehensive study on the statistics of Asian Americans’ career paths in the law. The study revealed that while Asian Americans have significantly increased their presence in the legal profession, they still face barriers to career advancement, attributed to cultural and social influences.
The Convention was overwhelmingly uplifting and I learned that our work for the Asian Pacific American community is not done. It was inspiring to hear from so many distinguished members of our community and to see that we can stand on the shoulders of our trailblazers to continue making strides. For example, at the NFALA (National Filipino American Lawyers Association) Installation Dinner, I was able to hear from the Honorable Lillian Lim, the first Filipina American judge in the U.S. I was also extremely lucky to have met an amazing group of twenty-one Oregon Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, and law students, who now serve as my role models in this endeavor. While the entire Convention was a celebration of unique backgrounds and perspectives, it was simultaneously a space to explore the ways in which we come together. I have never been more excited to be a part of a motivated community that seeks to raise its members up to success. I am looking forward to more OFALA (Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association) and NAPABA events in the future!