Do Something! – Some Opportunities

August is almost over, school years are revving up again, and I’m still working on getting my brain to wake up on proper East Coast time whereas perhaps my phantom soul brain’s internal clock has been steadfastly set somewhere in California for the past couple years.

Some opportunities for you to exercise your superstardom and work within the APA community.

APALRC (DC) – Volunteer & Legal Interpreters
APALRC in DC is welcoming volunteer applications until Sept. 9. Do it. Awesome organization that could use some support & you’ll gain a lot out of it. They’re also looking for new interpreters for their Legal Interpreter Project for all Asian languages, including Thai, Urdu, Nepali & Tagalog. E-mail with a copy of your resume and a brief description of your language skills.

National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (DC) – P/T Legislative Consultant Details

APALC (CA) – Policy Advocate – Health Access Project . They’re looking for people with a relevant advanced degree. Go for it if you have a JD and interest in health. Details.

AALDEF (NY) – Voting Rights Organizer. Another “alternative” path for a JD-holder, this one for those interested in electoral rights and advocacy. Details.


The Legal Field Blues

The Northwest Asian Weekly has an article about whether Asian Americans are rethinking entering the legal field as a career, despite a small increase in numbers of API law students between 2000-2009. Nothing much new here, another rendition of the law field blues — the economy sucks, there are too many lawyers, whoa, whoa, ooo.

The article tries its darndest to make this general point relevant to APAs, getting quotes from NAPABA‘s Tina Matsuoka and Above the Law‘s David Lat and briefly mentioning the non-cracking through of glass ceilings situation. (I’d like to find out more about Lat’s comment that the Asian American community could be better on networking.) The article then goes on to profile APAs at different stages in their careers: a partner, young attorney, law student, and former-litigator-now-photographer. The Young Attorney sees APA attorneys as bridges to Asian and Asian American businesses, and has succeeded in carving out such a place for himself at his firm. It’s a limited view (that will fit the bill for some individuals, great) but kind of a limiting vision. Isn’t there more to it?

In the end, APA or not, it looks like being a lawyer is what you make of it. This article is not alone in portraying the law as a profession with a pretty limited palette — litigation, huge law firms, the law you see on TV — and I wish there was more of an effort, especially by law schools, to show the full breadth of what being a lawyer, or possessing a JD, can be and has the potential to be. In any case, most people who would’ve actually done that shrugging of shoulders bit won’t make this choice as a default anymore, now that there’s been more light shed on the state of the profession. And now, some of you APA kids can get your parents off your back by singing them a few bars of the law field blues.

Tuyet Le, exec director of Asian American Institute

Recently came across a nice profile in the Chicago Tribune about Tuyet Le, executive director of Chicago’s Asian American Institute. Known for having a strong voice & shaking things up, she sees the Asian American community as having a ways to go in strengthening its political power and self-determination. I would’ve liked to hear her thoughts about how to see through large cohesive action among a pretty diverse group of communities, but ok, cool, yeah! dismantle those stereotypes!

Also found out that it will become the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice along with its coalition partners, Asian American Justice Center in DC, the APALC in LA, and Asian Law Caucus in SF. Power in numbers! Le comments, “The whole idea is to have a larger voice in civil rights and justice issues.” I like it.

Also, hello, job opportunities for you Chicago-minded folks, at least according to their website – 2 open positions for F/T Community Organizer and F/T Staff Attorney. Get on it Chicago-ites. Chicago-ans?

Hearts go out to Japan

Donate to charities providing emergency relief.

Alternatively, text “redcross” to 90999 to give a $10 donation.

Kristof’s nice blog post on Japan and its people in the face of disaster.

Shark Fins Out

On Valentine’s Day 2011, California Assemblymen Jared Huffman and Paul Fong introduced their bill making it illegal for anyone in the state to say “Be Mine” to shark fins. Specifically, the bill would make it a crime for “any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin…” The bill points out how sharks are slow to reproduce but integral to the ocean ecosystem and the health of marine biodiversity and that reducing demand in California markets may positively affect shark population. California’s bill follows legislation passed in HawaiiOregon and Washington states are also considering a similar legislative ban.

San Francisco Chronicle has good background on the story. It points out that California State Senator Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, is calling the bill an “attack on Asian culture.” There’s a weird quote from him in the article lamenting the fate of fins from all that shark steak sold at Costco (and inspiring new questions, like how much shark steak does this come out to? and what do they do with those fins?). It ignores the fact that Costco is probably dealing with different shark parts. The practice of “finning” involves cutting fins off live sharks and dumping the rest of the shark to swim with, and oh, be eaten by, the fishes. Continue reading


Old Church--Welcome Mat

So I’ve been meaning to make a blog to suss out legal-ish Asian American (API, APA, non-white, whatever inclusive minority group you wish to insert here) issues. And because it’s spring break and I am clearly putting off all my other actual law school and life duties besides sleeping, why not start here? Welcome!