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


NAPABA Contact: Brian Wang (202) 775-9555

January 22, 2010

AAJC Contact: Vincent Eng (202) 296-2300, ext.121
(703) 981-6636 (mobile)

Asian Pacific American Leaders Applaud the Appointment of
Donna M. Ryu and Young B. Kim as Federal Magistrate Judges

WASHINGTON – On January 21, Young B. Kim was appointed to serve as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, making him the second Asian Pacific American to be appointed to such a position within the last 10 days.

Kim’s appointment to serve as a federal magistrate judge comes on the heels of the appointment of Donna M. Ryu to serve as a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Prior to these appointments, there had never been a Korean American federal magistrate judge in U.S. history. Kim will also be the first Asian Pacific American federal judge in any of the courts within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which encompasses Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

“We are exceptionally proud of Judge Kim and Professor Ryu for their accomplishments, especially given their steadfast commitment to the Asian Pacific American communities,” said Joseph J. Centeno, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. “Both will be tremendous magistrate judges and we recognize them as the next generation of role models and leaders in our legal community.”

Federal magistrate judges serve eight-year terms and are appointed by the district court judges in their district.

Since July 2001, Kim has served as an administrative judge for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Kim has been a public servant for his entire career. Kim also served as a federal prosecutor in Chicago, a judicial clerk for Judge Charles Norgle of the Northern District of Illinois, and an assistant public defender. Kim earned his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Since 2002, Ryu has been a professor in the Civil Justice Clinic at the University of California – Hastings College of the Law. Before that, Ryu co-founded an all-women civil rights law firm. She was named California Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law and has received special recognition from the California Employment Lawyers Association. Ryu earned her law degree from University of California – Berkeley Law School.

“We now have 11 Asian Pacific American federal magistrate judges and a total of 26 active Asian Pacific American federal judges across the country,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. “Although Asian Pacific Americans are still woefully underrepresented in the federal judiciary, with approximately one percent overall, we hope that these recent appointments signal a greater recognition of the value of a more diverse judiciary.”

NAPABA and AAJC congratulate both Young Kim and Donna Ryu on their appointments.

This press release was revised on January 27, 2010, because the original version contained certain factual and statistical errors.


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 63 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 is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates the Asian American Institute in Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles and nearly 100 community partners in 47 cities, 25 states and the District of Columbia.


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