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Click here to download a PDF copy of the press release.

April 25, 2012

NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555
AAJC Contact: Leonie Campbell-Williams (443) 803-1465


WASHINGTON - Today, President Obama formally nominated Lorna Schofield to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first person of Filipino descent to serve as an Article III judge in American history.

"We congratulate Lorna Schofield on her nomination to serve as a federal district court judge on the Southern District of New York," said Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). "She is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee, and we thank both President Obama and Senator Schumer for putting her name forward to serve on such a distinguished court. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Schofield will be the first Filipino American in the history of the United States to serve as an Article III judge."

Ms. Schofield was the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), which is the ABA's largest section with over 60,000 members, and has also served as a member of the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. For almost 20 years, Ms. Schofield has been a litigation partner at the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, where she has focused on white collar criminal defense and general civil litigation. She became the firm's first minority partner in 1991 and since January 2012 has served as Of Counsel. Prior to joining Debevoise, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years. In 2008, Ms. Schofield was named one of the nation's 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal.

"We commend President Obama for nominating Lorna Schofield to be a federal district court judge on the Southern District of New York," said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. "Ms. Schofield has the experience to be an excellent judge in the Southern District of New York, and her confirmation will add much needed diversity to the federal bench in New York. Both the Obama Administration and Senator Schumer should be commended for their ongoing effort to put forward well-qualified, diverse nominees for the federal judiciary."

Asian Pacific Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary. In the New York City area, approximately ten percent of the population is Asian Pacific American. However, of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, none is Asian Pacific American in the Southern District and only one is Asian Pacific American in the Eastern District.


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 64 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.

The Asian American Justice Center (www.advancingequality.org), a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, works closely with its affiliate organizations - the Asian American Institute in Chicago (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) in Los Angeles - to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.


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