Bios & Video Interviews
Judge Pamela K. Chen
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Eastern District of New York started her legal career at Arnold & Porter in 1986, then worked at the boutique law firm of Asbill, Junkin, Myers & Buffone from 1989-91, both in Washington, D.C. From 1991-98, she was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Beginning in 1998, she served as a criminal Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Chen was elevated to chief of that office’s Civil Rights Section in 2002, where she oversaw the development of anti-human trafficking program, resulting in the investigation and prosecution of scores of traffickers and the identification, rescue, and restoration of hundreds of trafficking survivors, including transgender victims of sexual exploitation and violence. In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Chen to serve as a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of New York. Receiving her commission in 2013, Chen is the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian-American person to serve on the federal bench. Chen is board chair of the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, a pipeline organization that places high school, college, and law school students from diverse and underserved communities in judicial internships in state and federal courts in New York City, and she also mentors students through the Henry Hank Fellowship, a judicial internship program specifically for LGBTQ law students. Chen has a B.A. from University of Michigan and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.