Impressions of the 2018 NAPABA Convention – Promoting Asian-American Women in Law

By Bicvan Brown

In early November, I had the pleasure of attending the annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Convention held in Chicago. NAPABA is an amalgamation of local Asian Pacific American Bar Associations throughout the United States.

I am an Asian-American woman. I help employers with employment issues ranging from charges of discrimination to wage and hour class actions. I have been an associate at Tressler about 2.5 years and a practicing lawyer for about twelve years. My firm actively supports diversity and women lawyers. For that reason, they sponsored my attendance, which included NAPABA’s continuing education seminars, plenary lunches, gala dinner, and I visited Tressler’s Chicago headquarters in the Willis Tower.

This year’s NAPABA Convention was no less than amazing. Each year, the NAPABA Convention has an underlying theme. It appeared to me that this year’s underlying theme was “How to Support Asian-American Women in Law.” I could not have picked a better year to attend. Thousands of Asian-American attorneys united in a conference with the purpose of helping the Asian-American female attorney. The CLE seminars I attended were:  “Who’s Promoting Your Promotion,” “Portrait Project 2.0: The Next Phase in Research on Asian Americans in the Legal Profession,” and “Do What You Love: Creating a Thriving and Fulfilling Career.” I met LinkedIn’s General Counsel, an Asian-American attorney, who spoke on how to “Rock Your LinkedIn Profile.” LinkedIn also provided a professional make-up artist and a professional photographer to take this new profile photograph:

Brown_Bicvan 2019

California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu conducted research with some Yale Law School students about Asian Americans in the legal profession. He discussed his troubling findings, in particular, what happens to Asian-American female attorneys after working as associates? Why are they not promoted to partnership? Why do Asian-American attorneys graduate from top law schools, work at top law firms, then disappear or take in-house positions instead of becoming partners? After the “Promoting Your Promotion” seminar, I met with Asian-American Insurance Company Counsel and Asian-American law firm partners, who gave valuable tips on how to promote myself within my firm.

I met an Asian-American female attorney who spoke about creating a thriving and fulfilling career. She is an attorney coach, and I look forward to listening to her motivational podcasts. I met, and tried to inspire, some first-year law students. I met some Vietnamese-American General Counsel from Orange County at a plenary lunch and talked at both airports on the way home. We are now Facebook friends, and I am so thankful to have expanded my network to meet like-minded, supportive Asian-American female attorneys. I am very appreciative of my firm for its support, and I am looking forward to next year’s convention in Austin, Texas.

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