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National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

1612 K Street N.W., Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006


Contact: Aleli Samson

June 26, 2009

(202) 775-9555

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Celebrates
Confirmation of Harold Koh for State Department Legal Adviser

Washington, DC – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) celebrates yesterday’s Senate vote of 62-35 to confirm outgoing Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh as Legal Adviser to the U.S. State Department. As Legal Adviser, Dean Koh will supervise the department’s legal staff and advise Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on domestic and international issues arising in the course of the department’s work.

NAPABA, the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students, has been rallying support for Dean Koh since his nomination. NAPABA has been speaking on behalf of 61 diverse Asian Pacific American organizations in urging his swift confirmation, including the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Asian American Justice Center, and the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty.

"President Obama appointed the most qualified attorney to serve as Legal Adviser for the U.S. State Department,” said NAPABA President Andrew T. Hahn, Sr. “Dean Koh is a brilliant lawyer and an extraordinary leader in the community.”

While at Yale, Dean Koh participated in numerous academic programs, lectures, and events honoring many contributions by Asian Pacific Americans to this country’s growth. Before joining Yale, he practiced law at Covington and Burling and at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, testified before Congress more than 20 times, and received 11 honorary doctorates, three law school medals, and more than 25 awards for his human rights work, among many other achievements.

As Legal Adviser for the State Department, Dean Koh returns to the department after having served as Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor during the Clinton administration. He is one of the highest-ranked Asian Pacific Americans in President Obama’s administration, and he will serve our country with great distinction.


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 58 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.


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