Volume 11, no. 3
Asian Pacific: American Attorney Networks
By Amy Lin Meyerson
Sometimes as an Asian Pacific American (APA) attorney, I end up in places where I don’t see other APAs, let alone APA attorneys. When I moved to Atlanta in 1994, I became a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) through its Georgia affiliate and realized the unique benefits of belonging to an attorney organization of APAs. In addition to the opportunities to give back to my community and participate in advocacy efforts, NAPABA provides a professional environment to meet and work with other Asian Pacific American attorneys.
I hoped to enjoy the same networking environment when I moved to Weston, Connecticut in 1999. I looked for a local NAPABA affiliate, but there was no APA attorney organization in Connecticut at the time. So, I started one. I founded the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association (CAPABA) in May 2000 and served as its first president. It was one of my most rewarding experiences and it allowed me to network as well. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut Law School, I knew of three other APA attorneys in the state, but through CAPABA I discovered there were dozens of prominent APA attorneys scattered throughout the state, including a former law clerk of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the dean of Yale Law School, several assistant U.S. attorneys, and the general counsel of Colt Manufacturing. In five years, CAPABA has grown to include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, public service attorneys, and law students.
Involvement in the Georgia and Connecticut affiliates led me to participate in NAPABA at the national level. I served as the newsletter editor and on the board of the Georgia affiliate with Lisa E. Chang, NAPABA president 2001-02. Knowing of my newsletter experience, she suggested that I run for vice president of communications of NAPABA. I won the post and served in 2001, and served as vice president for membership in 2002. I am currently the president-elect and will serve as president of NAPABA in the 2005-06 bar year.
My advice? Get out there and be an active participant in your community. If there isn’t an association in your area, start one. From personal experience, I can tell you it is personally enriching, professionally satisfying, and a great way to network.
Amy Lin Meyerson is a solo practitioner in Weston, Connecticut, practicing in the area of domestic corporate law, concentrating in formation and growth of emerging businesses and venture capital. She serves as the Outreach Committee chair of the ABA’s GP Solo and Small Firm Division. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to learn more about NAPABA, the author recommends you start with its Web site at www.napaba.org with access to a wealth of information on APA legal history, community and legal events nationwide, practice area committees, local affiliates, educational and volunteer opportunities, and the latest news on APAs in the legal profession.
For other minority networking resources, visit the ABA Web site at http://www.abanet.org/minorities/links/home.html.