On February 28 a robust group of about 60 Filipino attorneys, judges, and other community members community gathered to celebrate Oregon’s newest bar association, the Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association (OFALA).
In 2015 the association started out with just an email; it then grew into social gatherings of Filipino lawyers and law students. Then, in a small conference room in September 2016, a mission was realized and bylaws were formed, and ultimately OFALA was founded.
OFALA is a professional association of Filipino American judges, lawyers, law students, legal professionals, and supporters. Part of OFALA’s mission is to increase the visibility of Filipino American legal professionals and their accomplishments; promote equality and multiculturalism by increasing diversity within the Oregon State Bar and the broader legal system; and empower Oregon’s Filipino American community by increasing its access to the legal system.
A current goal of OFALA is to partner with existing specialty bar organizations. Partnering generates a stronger voice in the larger Oregon Bar community, and thus the unique issues facing Filipino Americans will be more readily identified. Since its founding, OFALA has made important connections:
Six members traveled to San Francisco in March to attend the West Coast Pinay Powerhouse Conference, which focused on empowering Filipina American women lawyers.
Two members volunteered at the Philippine Consulate’s Portland-based event to help with passport renewals and other travel inquiries.
In November OFALA will send a delegation to the national convention of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in Washington, DC. OFALA will coordinate attendance at the convention with NAPABA’s Oregon affiliate, the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
A current goal of OFALA is to partner with existing specialty bar organizations. Partnering generates a stronger voice in the larger Oregon bar community, and thus the unique issues facing Filipino Americans will be more readily identified. We plan to attend many events offered by our sister and brother specialty bars. Please support us.
Check us out on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group.
Judge Janelle Factora Wipper serves on the Washington County Circuit Court.
Article originally published in OWLS newsletter.