NAPABA Sidebar

NAPABA Sidebar

Following a nationwide search, the Executive Director Search Committee is pleased to announce that Priya Purandare has accepted the position as NAPABA’s executive director.

The Committee, chaired by President-elect A.B. Cruz III, fielded resumes from 15 candidates and narrowed the group to four semi-finalists. Interviews with those individuals resulted in two finalists, who went through another round of interviews.

Also serving on the Committee were Avanti Bakane, Vice President for Communications; Thy Bui, Southern California Regional Governor; Kristin Haugen, At-large Member, and David Sohn, Northeast Regional Governor.

Priya has enjoyed a long tenure with NAPABA—serving in various roles—dating back to 2009 when she joined the NAPABA Law Foundation as its sole staffer. After a hiatus of three years, Priya joined NAPABA in 2014 to transition the NAPABA Convention from a volunteer-driven model to one wholly planned by staff. As the architect of the NAPABA Convention, she re-imagined the attendee experience, expanded the sponsorship base, and strategically placed future-year Conventions to align with NAPABA’s business needs.

Priya steadily advanced through the ranks, having most recently served as NAPABA’s Interim Executive Director. Priya brings a passion for NAPABA’s mission, a proven track record of sustainable growth via strategic and innovative leadership and management, and strong relationships that bridge across leaders, members, and industry partners. The breadth and depth of her experience at NAPABA equips her with unparalleled institutional knowledge that will immediately allow her to lead the organization with diplomacy, intention, and purpose.

Priya is dedicated and committed to advancing the standing of Asian Pacific American lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students. Her vision for NAPABA is grounded in membership services and maintaining a relentless focus on our members. Priya is uniquely situated to lead NAPABA into the future.

NAPABA is welcoming a new Membership & Marketing Manager, Abram Garcia, and a new Membership Specialist, Joseph Lash.

As manager, Abram will focus on creating membership acquisition and retention messages that communicate NAPABA’s value to a diverse audience of APA legal professionals. He also will be developing new products and programs to encourage members to interact with the association and each other.

Abram comes to us from ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group) where he was the marketer in charge of membership. Abram developed the company’s first-ever membership marketing plan to drive growth, engagement, retention and awareness.

Apart from his membership and marketing duties at ASUG, Abram was responsible for creating a powerful member experience for 24,000 attendees at SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference. He also assisted in the company’s rebranding and helped revamp the ASUG website to be more member-friendly.

Before ASUG, Abram worked at the American Bar Association for four years. During his time there, he created several successful campaigns to meet the ABA’s membership acquisition, retention and engagement goals.

During his free time, Abram does contract work for several small businesses in Chicago to help build their social media presence and grow revenue. Away from the marketing world, he is an amateur photographer, an avid reader and an enthusiastic traveler.

Joseph’s focus is on maintaining and improving the membership databases, website and member support. He develops new initiatives, including the NAPABA Patrons Program, designs promotional materials and enhances our membership processes.

Before he joined NAPABA, Joseph was putting miles on his car driving from one state to another as a campaign staffer. Joseph has been a call-time manager, a field organizer, a field director and a campaign manager in Texas, Virginia and Washington DC.

He is behind tens of thousands of political door-knocks, emails and phone calls, and is grateful for everyone who ever listened to his pitches across all media platforms. He is proud to have beaten at least one self-funded multimillionaire incumbent.

Since he has settled in DC, Joseph has explored an excess of comedy nights, art museums and restaurants. Currently he is working on listening to more folk music, petting more dogs and practicing his Spanish. Joseph is your day-to-day contact and ready to answer your NAPABA questions at

Using the terms “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus” to describe the coronavirus and COVID-19 is inaccurate and unacceptable. This disease does not discriminate. We cannot allow racism to rise as we come together to take on this challenge. NAPABA calls on the President and other leaders to stop using this harmful and xenophobic language.

Read Napaba's full statement on Coronavirus here.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, NAPABA Lobby Day 2020 has been canceled.

Before the nation’s attention turned to the challenge posed by coronavirus, NAPABA was hard at work in Washington advocating on behalf of the Asian Pacific American community and the legal community of color.

Earlier this year, the NAPABA Board adopted additional organizational positions. They included strengthening our statement in support of LGBTQ equality, supporting licensing for military spouses, and calling on Congress to restore rights for Filipino veterans of World War II by repealing the Recission Act of 1947.

NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf and President-Elect A.B. Cruz III joined the leaders of the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) for their annual meeting and to meet with Congressional leaders in Washington, DC. Together with our hosts, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and our sister bars, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and the National Bar Association (NBA), we shared how we can work with Congress and shared issues that matter to our communities.

NAPABA continued to work with our partners, the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, to develop resources for lawyers and bar associations as part of  Census 2020. Find resources and more at

On Capitol Hill, Congress entered appropriations season, writing the budget for FY2021. NAPABA is working with our partners to ensure our priorities, like legal aid programs, are fully funded. We continued to advocate against proposed deportation of Southeast Asian refugees, in support of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and on the expected vote to address the Muslim Ban, via the NO BAN Act.

Name: Liani Reeves

Job/Position: Shareholder and President, Bullard Law, Portland, Oregon; also currently serving as 2020 President of the Oregon State Bar

Affiliation with NAPABA: Member and Co-Chair/Founder of the Asian American Adoptee Network of NAPABA, former President of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association

What is your favorite midnight snack? 
Ice cream.

If you had four more hours in your day, what would you do with them? 
Spend quality time with family and friends.

What are your favorite and least favorite household chores? 
Favorite chore is vacuuming. Least favorite chore is cleaning the cat’s litter box!

What has been your most rewarding moment as a lawyer? 
In 2015, I received the Oregon Women Lawyers Mercedes Diez Award for mentoring lawyers of color. I had just been forced out of (a nicer way of saying fired from) my 15+ year public sector career due to political reasons and I had just filed for divorce for personal reasons. The timing and the symbolism of the award reinforced for me at a time I really needed it that I had a career and life I could be proud of.

What advice do you, as an experienced lawyer, wish you could have given to yourself when you were a law student?
There will be times when your career does not go as planned and there will be times of challenge and even failure. If you do your best, if you are an ethical, competent lawyer and are professional and kind, you will overcome each challenge and will come out a better lawyer and stronger person.

What is the most serious issue facing the profession today?  
The profession’s demographics are changing rapidly, with baby boomers retiring in mass numbers and fewer people entering and graduating from law schools. In addition, the rising cost of litigation has significantly limited the opportunities for civil practitioners to actually get into court and try cases. It is extremely important to the public that we have a new generation of lawyers available and adequately prepared to serve in all areas of practice and in all communities, especially in rural communities where the access to justice gap is prominent.

Why are you a member of NAPABA? 
I have always practiced in an area where there were very few lawyers of color. Joining affinity bars has been my way of building community. I also created the Asian American Adoptee Network (AAAN) for the same reason – to build community within the NAPABA network. As adoptees, we don’t always identify with the APA community culturally and we can feel out of place in a place like NAPABA. The AAAN creates a space for those of us who grew up as adoptees with our unique identities. 

Name one person who has had a profound effect on your life and tell us about it.
My birth mother who gave me up at an orphanage in Seoul. My beginning of life as an orphan has had a profound effect on my identity, both positive and negative.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Family and friends are healthy and happy; the people in my community take care of each other; and people view our differences are strengths.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If you had asked me this question ten years ago, I would have given you a huge list. There was even a time in my life I would said “my race.” As an Asian adoptee, I grew up in predominately Caucasian communities. Being Asian was the source of a lot of pain and hardship. I’ve worked hard to become comfortable in my own skin—literally and figuratively.

Whom do you admire?
My mother who raised me as her own. She is a strong, quiet, fiercely independent woman who cares deeply about her family and the world around her. She has instilled in me a sense of humility, kindness, and fairness. As she is currently facing a battle with cancer, she is at peace with the idea of death because she has lived a full and kind life.

NAPABA President Bonnie Lee Wolf highlights resources for members as we continue working from home and social distancing.

 2019 NAPABA Convention

Learn. Network. Engage. Join us this November in Austin, TX for the 2019 NAPABA Convention — the largest gathering of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, legal scholars, and elected officials from around the country.

Learn More
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

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Washington, DC 20006


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