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Pankit J. Doshi | President

It was with a heavy heart and profound gratitude that I write my final President’s Message.  Thank you NAPABA for this huge honor to lead this organization as we head into our big 30th year anniversary celebration. 

This past bar year has been one filled with many successes.   We started off the year by shattering our attendance records at our Annual Convention in Washington, DC and have never looked back.  On the advocacy front, we tackled difficult issues like opposing each iteration of the travel ban and filing amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, family separation at the borders, citizenship question on the census and racial profiling and hate crimes, and supported issues like family reunification, immigration reform and DACA, voting rights and voter education, adoptee citizenship and language access.  True to our civil rights mission, we have been unwavering in our commitment to promote justice, equity and opportunity for all Asian Pacific Americans. 

We also stood firm as the national voice for the Asian Pacific American legal profession and to promote the advancement of our community in the profession.  Recognizing the continuing challenges faced by Asian Pacific American in law firms, corporate legal departments, government, the judiciary and law schools, we launched last month our Leadership Advancement Program, which was a weekend long program designed to teach leadership skills and to foster relationships in the profession. By all conceivable metrics, the program was a huge success.  The NAPABA 20x20 initiative led by Don Liu and Wilson Chu also hit a significant milestone this year by having over 23 Fortune 500 Asian Pacific American General Counsel, breaking records and achieving our goals well in advance of our plan.

We continued to promote diversity in the judiciary, and as recently as this week, we celebrated three Asian Pacific Americans to serve on the U.S. Courts of Appeals – Michael H. Park was nominated to serve as a judge on the Second Circuit, and Patrick J. Bumatay and Kenneth K. Lee to serve as judges on the Ninth Circuit.  If they are confirmed, the number of active Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judges would increase to a historic ten.  This was the first time that three Asian Pacific Americans had been nominated to federal appellate court judgeships in a single day.  

We also launched a new Civic Engagement Committee to provide a forum for those interested in political service and public service to grow, develop and get that seat at that important table to represent our community.  I am excited that the Committee will have its inaugural reception with elected officials from around the country at our Annual Convention.

We capped off our bar year with an event last month with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The event was a resounding success with 1,500 people in attendance and an additional 24,000 people watching the live stream on our Facebook page.  California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu’s Q&A with Justice Ginsburg emphasized why the work of an organization like NAPABA is just as important today as it was thirty years ago when it was founded. 

While this is but a small taste of what we have done, I am truly inspired by the work of our affiliate organizations around the country, who day in and day out put on events and demonstrate leadership in ways that truly advance NAPABA’s mission.  I am also proud of our relationships with the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National Native American Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the South Asian Bar Association of North America and so many others who fight every day for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. 

Thank you to our NAPABA Board of Governors who have proudly and selflessly served this organization and for your unwavering support.  Thank you also to our Leadership Advisory Counsel, our Committee and Network Co-Chairs, affiliate leaders, sponsors and volunteers, all of whom work tirelessly for the benefit of our entire community.  Finally, thank you to NAPABA staff, led by our hard working and diligent Executive Director, Tina Matsuoka, and our new General Counsel, Joe Lee, for your continued commitment and dedication to NAPABA. 

I look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks at our family reunion in Chicago, IL during the 2018 NAPABA Convention.  I am excited to pass the baton to my friend, Daniel Sakaguchi, a leader who cares very passionately about NAPABA and who will no doubt continue the rich legacy of our founders.  As we celebrate our 30th year anniversary, I am certain that the next 30 years will only shine brighter for our community.

This past year, I asked each one of you to give back.  We had much to do, but we had to do it together.  Despite any differences we may have, our core values are the same.  They unite us as a profession and as a bar association.  I am proud of how we collectively all gave back and of the strides we made.  The sky is the limit on what we can truly achieve together for decades to come.


Warm regards,

Pankit J. Doshi