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PRESS RELEASE | NAPABA ANNOUNCES 2016 DANIEL K. INOUYE TRAILBLAZER AWARD RECIPIENTS


News Release


For Immediate Release
Oct. 12, 2016

                                                    For More Information, Contact:
                                                    Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
                                                    bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

NAPABA Announces 2016 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award Recipients

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WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected six exceptional attorneys to receive NAPABA’s highest honor — the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. These Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American legal profession, as well as to the broader Asian Pacific American community.

The 2016 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Awards will be presented on Nov. 4, 2016, at a special ceremony during the 2016 NAPABA Convention in San Diego, to the following recipients:

  • Honorable Gail Chang Bohr
  • Honorable Randall T. Eng
  • Janice Fukai
  • Honorable Laura C. Liu (awarded posthumously)
  • Honorable Sri Srinivasan
  • Honorable Mary I. Yu

The 2016 Trailblazers class is represented by a diverse and impressive group. In 2008, Jamaican-born Gail Chang Bohr was elected Ramsey County’s (Minnesota) first Asian American judge. She is now a senior judge and also consults with the National Center for State Courts Trinidad and Tobago Juvenile Court Project. With degrees from Wellesley College and Simmons School of Social Work, Bohr had a 19+ year career as clinical social worker serving children and families in the U.S. and Hong Kong. With a J.D. from William Mitchell, Bohr clerked for the Chief Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court, and was an associate at Faegre & Benson (now Faegre Baker Daniels). As founding executive director of Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, she has trained 270+ volunteer lawyers and initiated award-winning programs for foster children.

Justice Eng is the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, State of New York — the first Asian American to hold that position. In 1973, Justice Eng was appointed an assistant district attorney in Queens County, becoming the first Asian American to become an assistant prosecutor in New York State history. Justice Eng became the first Asian American to become a judge in New York State, when he was appointed to the Criminal Court of the City of New York in September 1983 by Mayor Edward I. Koch. In 1990 and 2004, he was elected and re-elected to full 14-year terms as a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

Ms. Fukai is the first Asian American woman to serve as department head in Los Angeles County’s history, where she employs over 300 lawyers and support staff. Under her leadership, 20 alternate public defenders have been appointed to the bench; a testament to the high caliber of her legal staff. After earning her bachelor degree and J.D. from University of Southern California, Ms. Fukai served as judicial law clerk for the late District Judge Robert Takasugi, whom she describes as her mentor and advisor. Her work as a public defender is featured in the book, “Public Defender, Lawyer for the People,” by Joan Hewitt.

Justice Liu became the first Asian American justice to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court. She was the first Chinese American elected to public office in Chicago and Cook County (Illinois) and the first Chinese American woman judge in Illinois history. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Justice Liu chaired the Illinois Supreme Court's Language Access Committee to ensure the court system was navigable to those whose first language was not English. Sadly, Justice Liu passed away from breast cancer on April 15, 2016. The Illinois Asian American Bar Association established an annual scholarship in Justice Liu’s honor to be awarded to a deserving law student dedicated to community service.

Judge Srinivasan was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2013. Prior to his confirmation, he served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the U.S. and chaired O’Melveny & Myers’ Supreme Court and Appellate practice. During his career as a litigator, he argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also co-taught a course on appellate advocacy at Harvard Law School, as well as a seminar on civil rights statutes and the Supreme Court at Georgetown University Law Center. Judge Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India, and raised in Lawrence, Kansas.

Justice Yu was appointed to the Washington Supreme Court in 2014, and subsequently elected for the remainder of a two-year term and is currently up for election for a full six-year term. Justice Yu joined the Court after more than 14 years as an accomplished trial court judge in King County (Washington) Superior Court where she presided over a wide variety of criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law matters. As a justice, she is known for writing clear, easy-to-read decisions and she has been rated “Exceptionally Well Qualified” by eight bar associations. The daughter of immigrant parents, she is the first in her family to receive a college education, as well as the first Latina, the first Asian, and first member of the LGBTQ community to serve on the Washington Supreme Court.

NAPABA congratulates the 2016 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award recipients and thanks them for paving the way for Asian Pacific American attorneys.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

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 almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services 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 the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).