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National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Aleli Samson

December 2, 2008

(202) 775-9555

NAPABA ANNOUNCES 2008 TRAILBLAZER AWARD HONOREES

Washington, D.C. – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, announced the 2008 recipients of NAPABA’s highest honor, the NAPABA Trailblazer Award, at an awards ceremony on Friday, November 22, at the Experience Music Project during its 20th Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington.

The Trailblazer Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of NAPABA lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Each year, NAPABA honors a member from each of its nine membership regions who meets these criteria. Awardees are selected by the regional governors and the affiliates of each region and represent diverse paths and achievements. Each of the award recipients has demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their careers, and has made substantial and lasting contributions to both the Asian Pacific American legal community and the broader Asian Pacific American community. For their extraordinary accomplishments and for serving as role models who inspire other Asian Pacific American lawyers, NAPABA congratulates these trailblazers:

  • Mia Frances Yamamoto – California Central Region
    Born in a U.S. concentration camp, where her parents were compulsorily “reolocated” during World War II, Ms. Yamamoto has spent her legal career advancing issues of social justice, diversity, multicultural collaboration and mentorship of young lawyers.

  • Robert K. Fong – California Eastern/Nevada Region
    Councilmember Fong has represented District 4 on the Sacramento City Council since November of 2004 and serves on the Waterfront Advisory Committee, the Sacramento Transportation Authority, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District and the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission.

  • Kevin M. Fong – California Northern Region
    Mr. Fong is co-leader of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s appellate practice, ranked in Chambers USA 2007 and 2008 as one of the nation’s leading appellate practices. Vice-president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, he is one of the California appellate lawyers selected for the Best Lawyers in America for 2007 and 2008.

  • Javade Chaudhri –California Southern Region
    Mr. Chaudhri is executive vice president, general counsel and chief environmental officer for Sempra Energy, a San Diego-based Fortune 200 energy-services company whose subsidiaries provide electricity, natural gas and value-added products and services. Mr. Chaudhri is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the University of California’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.

  • Preeta D. Bansal – Northeast Region
    Ms. Bansal heads the appellate litigation and complex legal issues practice group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York City. She previously served as Solicitor General of the State of New York and as special counsel in the Clinton White house and Justice Department. 

  • Nelson G. Dong – Northwest Region
    Mr. Dong is a partner and international technology and national security lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Seattle. Always working to support and advance Asian Pacific Americans, he has been a pioneer with many achievements and honors, including co-founding the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian Pacific American bar association in the nation.

  • John L. Fugh – Southeast Region
    General Fugh was the first Chinese American to attain General Officer status in the U.S. Army, and the first minority selected to be The Judge Advocate General of the Army (TJAG). During his tenure as TJAG, General Fugh established a human rights training program for a variety of countries and published the War Crimes Report, the first American effort since World War II to systematically document enemy war crimes.

  • Hon. David Wellington Chew – Southwest Region
    Chief Justice Chew is the first Asian Pacific American justice (1995) and chief justice (2006) of the court of appeals of Texas. He is the highest ranking Asian Pacific American elected official in Texas. Chief Justice Chew is the son of Wellington Yee Chew, the first Asian Pacific American to be licensed to practice law in Texas.

  • A.B. Cruz III – Central Region
    Mr. Cruz is the executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. He also serves on the board of directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and the American Red Cross-Cincinnati Area Chapter.

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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 approximately 57 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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