Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

4th Annual Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards Recap

Friday, February 16th 2018

PBAC Awardees with Staff

On February 7, 2018, we honored our pro bono attorneys, interns, and other volunteers at our fourth annual Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards Mixer, which drew nearly 100 guests and featured a hit live performance from comedian/actress Atsuko Okatsuka.

This year, we celebrated five extraordinary individuals and organizations for their pro bono and volunteer contributions to Advancing Justice-LA in 2017:

  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Since 2016, nearly a dozen different Gibson Dunn attorneys have assisted our litigation team’s clients with both T- and U-visa applications, which are special visas available to survivors of human trafficking and other crimes. Gibson Dunn attorneys have also helped clients who are visa recipients, to adjust their status, and become green card holders. This work requires dedicated, compassionate attorneys with great attention to detail, and the work makes a huge difference in our clients’ lives. One client, for example, was finally able to visit his elderly, ill mother in the Philippines after securing a green card with Gibson Dunn’s help. This is a firm that has really gone above and beyond, in huge part thanks to the commitment and advocacy of Pro Bono Advisory Council member Nicole Kim, who has been an excellent ambassador for Advancing Justice-LA to her Gibson Dunn colleagues.
  • Vy Doan. In 2017, intern Vy Doan contributed hundreds of hours to assisting our Health Access Project (HAP), and showed tremendous leadership on various campaigns and projects. In particular, last fall, Ms. Doan spearheaded HAP’s story campaign by helping to create and launch a website -- Our Voices, Our Health -- featuring stories of the staff and community members of partner organizations. In collaboration with StoryCorps and multiple partners, this project highlights compelling stories to showcase the diversity of health care challenges and experiences within California’s AANHPI communities. Additionally, she has assisted with HAP’s behavioral health work and is currently putting the finishing touches on a California mental health directory. Described by our staff as incredibly stellar and hardworking, Ms. Doan has already made some significant contributions during her time here, and she is continuing her internship with us this spring.
  • Monica Eav Glicken. Over the past year, Advancing Justice – LA’s Orange County office has greatly expanded its citizenship and immigration services. This expansion of staffing and services has meant that Advancing Justice-LA is able to utilize the talents of additional volunteer attorneys with the expertise that we need. Monica Eav Glicken helped us in her capacity as a solo immigration practitioner located in Orange County, Ms. Glicken demonstrated outstanding advocacy and lent her immigration expertise on behalf of asylum seeker Mr. Gurmukh Singh, after he was unexpectedly taken into ICE custody earlier this year. We could not have assisted Mr. Singh without her willingness to support this urgent need on a pro bono basis.
  • Han Shen. An intern with the Leadership Development in Intergroup Relations (LDIR) unit for over a year, Ms. Shen showed strong commitment and dedication to serving as a resource facilitator for various LDIR projects. She also completed a much-needed translation of the LDIR curriculum into Mandarin. The LDIR program area focuses on developing strong, multicultural individual leaders, communities, and organizations, and equipping them with the skills necessary to foster positive intergroup relations.
  • Shirley Wei. Shirley Wei is an experienced immigration attorney with her own law office, who has provided detailed, timely advice and counsel in support of more than one matter, and in support of multiple units – our Citizenship Project, HAP, the Survivor and Family Empowerment (or SAFE) Project, and litigation. Over the past two years alone, Ms. Wei has dedicated hundreds of hours to helping both our clients and our agency, and always with a smile on her face and an enthusiasm for tackling difficult challenges. Prior to that, she volunteered at citizenship and DACA clinics, and has also supported Advancing Justice-LA through her position as a longtime board member of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association.

Members of the Pro Bono Advisory Council with Christina Yang

With the help of pro bono counsel and volunteers, Advancing Justice-LA is able to continue serving more members of low-income and limited-English proficient communities. Our volunteers and pro bono counsel have worked on areas as diverse as workers’ rights, citizenship and naturalization, health access, family law, nonprofit capacity-building, and immigration. In fact, in 2017, over 700 individuals volunteered or interned with us, donating over 25,000 hours, valued at over $5.4 million. We simply could not serve as many people as we do, without our pro bono attorneys and volunteers!

The Volunteer Awards Mixer was again hosted this year by the members of Advancing Justice-LA’s Pro Bono Advisory Council. Advancing Justice-LA relies on the Pro Bono Advisory Council to assist and promote pro bono matters and volunteer opportunities, and members also raise important funds and resources to support Advancing Justice-LA’s pro bono programs. The Council, which includes attorneys from major law firms, boutique law firms, and in-house counsel at Fortune 100 companies, has grown to over 35 members.

Advancing Justice-LA thanks the members of the Council, API bar associations, and other new and returning partners who provided support for this year’s event:

Champion Partner

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Major Partners

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Bank of America
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Reed Smith LLP
South Asian Bar Association of Southern California & Public Interest Foundation

Community Partners

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
Holland & Knight LLP
Esther Ro & Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance
Japanese American Bar Association
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Lynn M. Chau & Netflix
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP*
Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association
Walker Stevens Cannom Yang LLP

Advancing Justice-LA is also grateful to the many guests who joined us to celebrate pro bono work on February 7. We are constantly inspired by all the people committed to lending a helping hand to our clients and communities. We look forward to working with you in 2018 and seeing you at our 5th annual pro bono/volunteer awards event in 2019!

To make a contribution to Advancing Justice-LA’s pro bono program or to volunteer with Advancing Justice-LA, contact Christina Yang, Pro Bono Director at [email protected]. If you’d like to get involved by pro bono work or volunteering, Advancing Justice-LA has various opportunities available. In particular, we’d like to highlight some of our current needs:

  • Bilingual interpreters and translators in Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Khmer) and South Asian languages (e.g., Bangla) languages
  • Immigration practitioners -- various commitment levels available! Our immigration staff attorneys sometimes need samples of forms and declarations from you, and this year we are also expanding our deportation defense direct services work, and will be needing pro bono support to do it! We also need immigration attorneys open to serving as ad hoc support to our staff attorneys by providing samples, etc.
  • Both attorney and non-attorney volunteers (interpreters) for our new Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) Clinic serving API clients.



*Sheppard Mullin was previously inadvertently omitted from event materials and program announcements highlighting sponsors. With apologies and thank you for your support!

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Advancing Justice - LA’s hotlines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, consumer, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights.

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Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.