Arif Panju, formerly with Cantilo & Bennett, is now a constitutional litigation attroney at the Institute for Justice (IJ). IJ is a public interest civil liberties firm litigating in the areas of economic liberty, the First Amendment, property rights, and school choice.


Lesley Varghese has been selected to lead the Asian American Resource Center as the inaugural Executive Director and General Counsel. Richard Jung serves as the Board Chairman. The Asian American Resource Center will offer an array of educational, cultural, and business services.

Brian K. Prewitt is now a senior attorney at Jackson Walker, a 2012 Silver Sponsor of the AAABA. Brian’s practice focuses on matters relating to patents, trademarks, and copyrights, technology development, acquisition, licensing, strategic alliances, distributorship and manufacturing agreements, due diligence, counseling, and litigation. He has significant technical experience in the areas of integrated circuit design, semiconductor manufacturing technology, computer architecture, and computer systems.

LiLan Ren has been accepted to the 5th Annual Leadership SBOT Program, where no more than 20 spots are awarded to leaders around the state. The program was designed to recruit, train, and retain Texas lawyers for leadership positions in the legal community and the State Bar of Texas.

2012 JUNE

AAABA members and their children were treated to an annual family event at Dart Bowl on June 23. Members discussed the possibility of adding charity efforts to future annual family events while enjoying cake balls from Objects of Confection. Thank you to Peter Tong for bringing yummy moon cakes from Beijing and to Jinny Suh for leading the planning efforts for this always fun event!

On the 30-year anniversary of the racially motivated beating death of Vincent Chin, Austin community members and activists gathered for a nationwide Google Townhall meeting at the beautiful offices of Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, GOLD SPONSOR of AAABA and one of the many generous hosts of the Austin event. Bronze sponsor Jung Wakefield sponsored a yummy lunch from Curries by Design. Participants viewed the documentary “Vincent Who?” and discussed where the community should be advancing in terms of modern day civil rights, tolerance, and peace relations. Local panelists included Marina Bhargava (SAHELI for Asian Families), Bruce Elfant (Constable, Precinct 5), Karen Gross (Hate Crimes Taskforce, Anti-Defamation League), Paul Rhea (Austin Human Rights Commission), and AAABA member Lesley Varghese (Austin Asian American Resource Center). Please consider taking the time to view this moving documentary, featuring motivating comments from attorney Dale Minami, UC-Hastings School of Law Dean Frank H. Wu, law professor Angelo Ancheta, actress Kelly Hu, journalist Helen Zia, reporter Lisa Ling, and many other powerful voices of the Asian American community. Watch it online now through July for free at www.vincentwhomovie.com.

The AAABA, along with the Austin Black Lawyers Association, Austin Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, and Travis County Women Lawyers Association, hosted a free CLE entitled, “Access to Justice: Focus on Family Law Forms” on June 20, presented by Patricia McAllister from the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Guests earned a free ethics credit and mingled afterwards on the lovely rooftop terrace of McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, enjoying a view of the city.

Thank you Chris Koa and LiLan Ren for attending the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting as representatives of AAABA! They will be sharing their newly acquired organizational leadership skills and new networks to benefit the growth of AAABA.

Congratulations to AAABA member and one of the principals of AIM Real Estate Group’s Michael Wong on the recent strategic partnership between his firm and another longtime Austin brokerage firm Live Oak-Gottesman. Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

AAABA member and City Judge Ramey Ko recently joined the firm of our Bronze Sponsor Jung Wakefield, a firm that practices immigration and business law. Principal of Jung Wakefield, Richard Jung, who is also an AAABA member, offers expert representation in all aspects of immigration.

2012 MAY

Over 40 members got to know each other and their practices at a special networking happy hour in May, generously sponsored by Kim Tindall & Associates (www.kimtindallandassociates.com), a locally grown litigation support firm that can serve your litigation needs nationwide. Attendees sampled delicious tapas while playing a game of networking Bingo at Malagas downtown. Lucky guest, Nadia Ramkissoon, from Tony Nguyen Law Firm, won a lovely wine and cheese gift basket donated by Kim Tindall & Associates and all attendees when home with lots of Kim Tindall & Associates swag!

2012 APRIL

AAABA member Larry Tu, General Counsel of Dell, was featured in the April 2012 issue of The Practical Law Journal. The monthly Q&A column profiling Tu reviews his past accomplishments and offers his advice and insight into the role of a corporate general counsel.

AAABA member Adam Aseron recently became Managing Partner at Giles, Sayers & Aseron PLLC, where his principal practice area is health care law, with an emphasis on regulatory and transactional matters. Formerly employed at GOLD SPONSOR VINSON & ELKINS, Aseron represents hospitals, physicians, and other health care entities, as well as health care industry investors. Check out his law firm at www.gsafirm.com to see how his practice can help your business!

2012 MARCH

Congratulations to all A-grade earners in the 2011 Diversity Report Card on Minority Retention and Promotion, which has just been released, finding some significant gains in Austin’s largest law firms and concerning losses in others. A-grade earners include our very own annual SILVER SPONSORS BAKER BOTTS and WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI; Bronze Sponsors Andrews Kurth, Jackson Walker, and Brown McCarroll; and event sponsor Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons. View the full report card and press release.

Attendees to the 16th Annual Asian Pacific Interest Section Conference and Retreat on March 30-31st at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin were treated to key insights from various teaching panels, including an insightful and humorous general counsel panel with Paul Bae (St. Jude Medical USA, Barry Burgdorf (The University of Texas System), Suzy Fulton (SoftLayer Technologies), and Jonathan Perkel (Travelocity), who shared their experiences about their practice pointers, hiring preferences, and industry trends. Audiences were also treated to a personal visit by the Travelocity gnome!

On March 21, a packed room of attendees were treated to a very entertaining bench-eyed view of modern day courtroom etiquette and local rules from judicial speakers Honorable Judge Diane Henson (Third Court of Appeals), Honorable Judge Orlinda Naranjo (419th District Court), Honorable Judge Eric Shepperd (County Court at Law #2), and Honorable Judge Ramey Ko (City of Austin Municipal Court). Following the informative CLE, co-sponsored by AAABA, ABLA, HBAA, and TCWLA, guests enjoyed a beautiful spring evening on the rooftop of CLE host McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore.

Judge Ramey Ko was honored as one of only five finalists in the Legal category for Best Under 40 in Austin at a glamorous gala on the evening of Friday, March 2nd at the Austin Music Hall. A silent auction benefited the Austin Sunshine Camps and the YWA Foundation. For a full list of nominees and winners, go to www.austinunder40.org.


Gina Shishima of Fulbright & Jaworksi was chosen by the Travis County Women Lawyers Association as one of four 2012 Pathfinders and recently honored by the TCWLA alongside Linda Mullenix, Professor at the University of the Texas School of Law, the Honorable Susan Sheppard, and Lulu Flores, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus and Partner at HendlerLaw. Pathfinders are recognized as women in our community who have used their law degrees in ways that inspire the rest of us.

At the Austin Children’s Shelter, 12 volunteers spent time with 25 teens and played basketball, played board games, made bracelets, and played with makeup. The shelter’s coordinator said our event couldn’t have come at a better time because the kids were having an especially rough day. It was a great way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


In spite of the freezing cold and tight work schedules, AAABA members turned out for the 2011 Holiday Happy Hour and Donation Drive for Any Baby Can at BarChi on December 8. Their generosity made the event a huge success! Toys, other much needed items, and $210 in cash donations were collected to benefit families needing support from Any Baby Can. Meanwhile, AAABA fed their guests with yummy sushi and spirits, and five lucky guests walked away with some cool door prizes. Happy Holidays everyone!


On November 9, AAABA hosted a free CLE entitled “Intellectual Property Best Practices for Your Clients and Their Business,” presented by Anuj Dharia, Chris Kindel, and Gina Shishima, followed by a complimentary reception generously sponsored by Fulbright & Jaworski. In addition to learning about the journey of an imaginary invention, guests were treated to a beautiful sunset view overlooking Lady Bird Johnson Lake in the pristine new offices of Fulbright & Jaworski.


A big thank you to AAABA members Ami Desai, Judge Ramey Ko, LiLan Ren, and Zeena Angadicheril for participating in the Be The Change Day of Service on October 1 at the Amala Foundation. Volunteers assisted the Amala Foundation in planting an herb garden, painting walls, and other activities that contributed to the improvement of this important local organization.


More than 60 student and attorney members attended our annual Fall Social and Student Mentoring Program kick-off at Serrano’s on September 29, organized by Gina Shishima and Beeral Amin. Thank you to all the attorneys who volunteered their time and advice. The profile sheet of career panel attorneys have been uploaded to the Yahoogroup site. In this tough job market, it’s good that we can support the students in their efforts.

2011 JULY

AAABA members were treated to a moving speech by Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court on Friday, July 14 at the Texas Minority Counsel Program Save the Date Reception. Chief Justice Jefferson encouraged minority attorneys to become the best of the best, the go-to individuals in their field, and exceed expectations. Other members of the judiciary were present, including Judge Ramey Ko, Judge Orlinda Naranjo, Judge Eric Shepperd, Judge Cliff Brown, Judge Andy Hathcock, Judge Bob Pemberton, and many others. The AAABA was recognized by event organizers as a Silver Sponsor and some fabulous door prizes were given away. A large showing by AAABA members made the evening all the more wonderful.

2011 JUNE

Spares and strikes and gutters, oh my! Our annual summer Family Fun Day at DART Bowl on June 24 had a great turn out, and if you came we hope you enjoyed it! I won’t say who rolled all the gutter balls or who had bowling balls stop in the middle of the lane — you’ll just have to join us next time to find out. Thank you to our Social Committee (Michelle Cheng, Alice Liu Cook, Bob Greenslade, Lisa Tsai, Phong Phan, and Chi Reece) for putting together an amazingly good time, complete with cake and cupcakes.

2011 MAY

Happy Asian American Heritage Month! Did you know that Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill? In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law. For these and other facts, please visit http://asianpacificheritage.gov.

* ANNOUNCEMENT * AAABA has reached the goal of raising $500 in supporting tsunami and earthquake relief for Japan. Thank you to all who participated in this effort! Donations have been sent to the American Red Cross.

2011 APRIL

The minority bar networking mixer at the University of Texas Club on April 26 was a great success and well-attended by members of the Austin Asian American Bar Association (AAABA), Hispanic Bar Association of Austin (HBAA), and Austin Black Lawyers Association (ABLA). Organized by HBAA and co-sponsored by AAABA and ABLA, the event offered members a chance to meet UT Club members like former University of Law School Dean of Students Susana Aleman. The UT Club is welcoming membership applications from everyone (not just Longhorn alum!).

2011 MARCH

On March 28, members of the AAABA showed up together to offer pro bono advice at the Volunteer Legal Services Clinic at Martin Middle School. Thank you to AAABA members Beeral Amin, Bob Greenslade, Ketan Kharod, Hong Tran Escobar, and others who so graciously volunteered their time! Volunteer attorneys gave brief advice on civil legal inquiries (divided into family law and general law practice).


A big thank you to the firm of BAKER BOTTS LLP for sponsoring the AAABA Lunar New Year Dinner on February 24 at the Sea Dragon Restaurant. Nearly 70 people turned out for a multi-course dinner, photo review of the past year, music from the Silver Phantom Quartet, red envelopes for the kids, and cake. The children even took to a few delightful spins on the dance floor while members mingled and caught up with each other. Congratulations to AAABA member Zeena Angadicheril and guests Jeffrey Han, Linda Koa, and Kenneth LeCointe for winning gift baskets!


AAABA hosted a free CLE course on January 27 titled “Negotiation Ethics” featuring member panelist Michelle Kwan and co-presenters Wilson Chu and Barrett Howell, all three of K&L Gates LLP. The event drew a large and attentive crowd of attorneys and judges who were presented with ethics questions in a game show format, which included lively discussion regarding both common and uncommon ethical scenarios. The CLE course provided 1.0 hour of ethics credit and was organized by the AAABA Professional Development Committee (Chris Koa, Michael Wong, Beeral Amin, and Gina Shishima). Reception and refreshments were generously donated by K&L Gates.

Austin Asian American Bar Association Copyright 2010