Celebrating Advancing Justice-LA’s 2018 Pro Bono Heroes

Advancing Justice-LA representatives Stewart Kwoh, Pat Kwoh, Christina Yang, and 2019 PBAC volunteer awardees

On February 20, 2019, we honored our pro bono attorneys, interns, and other volunteers at our fifth annual Pro Bono Advisory Council Volunteer Awards Mixer, which drew over 100 guests and featured a live performance from magician Naathan Phan.

We celebrated seven extraordinary individuals and organizations for their contributions to Advancing Justice-LA in 2018:

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
MTO worked closely with Advancing Justice-LA’s litigation team to successfully campaign to stop the city of Los Angeles from implementing a controversial Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, protecting Muslim, black, and immigrant communities from further unfair and unwarranted targeting.

Melissa Avila
Melissa is a student at East Los Angeles Community College who has worked with our Youth and Parent Leadership Development (YPLD) program for over four years. She has supported undocumented youth with college applications and mentoring, and has also led immigrant youth organizing and “Know Your Rights” workshops. Because of her passion for working with underserved youth, Melissa was recently hired as a YPLD staff member to continue her great work with the program.

Eugene Chao, Associate, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Eugene tirelessly sponsored our organization in applying for a significant grant from The Associates’ Committee for three years in a row. Through Eugene’s dedication, Advancing Justice-LA won the grant in 2018 and now has the funding to hire an attorney to focus on public benefits issues. Eugene is also a longtime pro bono attorney with our organization and has completed multiple T- and U-visa applications for survivors of human trafficking and other crimes.

Min Choi, Staff Attorney, O’Melveny & Myers
Min has shown outstanding commitment to volunteering with our Citizenship Project over the past three years and has been immensely helpful in assisting Korean-speaking clients.

Esther Kwak
Esther has regularly served as an attorney volunteer with our SAFE Project’s Domestic Violence Restraining Order clinic. She successfully obtained domestic violence restraining orders on behalf of multiple clients, and also successfully represented a survivor in court in obtaining more permanent orders. Esther recently joined SAFE as its newest staff attorney.

Yingge Ning
Yingge is a 2L at UC Irvine School of Law. She has served as a law clerk and volunteer supporting our Orange County staff in providing citizenship services. She has also mentored other volunteer law students and prepared extensive research memos on important legal services issues that have been instrumental in our work.

Shiv Pandya
Shiv is a Pomona College student who interned in summer 2018 with our litigation unit. He contributed greatly to the unit’s work on voting rights, public charge advocacy, affirmative action, and work throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

Advancing Justice-LA’s Pro Bono Advisory Council

With the help of pro bono counsel and volunteers, Advancing Justice-LA can to continue serve more members of low-income and limited-English proficient communities. These community members have worked in areas as diverse as workers’ rights, citizenship and naturalization, family law, immigration, and voting rights. In 2018, over 700 individuals volunteered or interned with us — donating approximately 25,000 hours of service (valued at over $5.7 million!). We simply could not serve as many people as we do without our pro bono attorneys and volunteers!

The Volunteer Awards Mixer was hosted by the members of Advancing Justice-LA’s Pro Bono Advisory Council. Advancing Justice-LA relies on the Pro Bono Advisory Council to assist and promote pro bono matters and volunteer opportunities. Members also raise important funds to support Advancing Justice-LA’s programs. The Council, which includes attorneys from major law firms, boutique law firms, and in-house counsel at Fortune 100 companies is currently 35 members strong.

Advancing Justice-LA thanks the members of the Council, API bar associations, and other partners who provided support for this year’s event:

Venue Sponsor
LimNexus LLP

Champion Partner
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Major Partners

Bank of America
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Community Partners
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
Bird Marella PC
Edward Lew
Esther Ro & Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance
Japanese American Bar Association
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Lynn M. Chau & Netflix
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Snell & Wilmer
South Asian Bar Association of Southern California & Public Interest Foundation
Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association
The Vora Law Firm PC
Walzer Melcher LLP
Shirley Wei
Yungsuhn Park & David Yang

Advancing Justice-LA thanks the many guests who joined us to celebrate. We are inspired by your commitment to lending a helping hand to our clients and communities. We look forward to working with you in 2019 and seeing you at our awards event next year!

How can I support Advancing Justice?

Make a contribution to Advancing Justice-LA’s pro bono program today!

To get involved with pro bono work or volunteering, please click here to view the opportunities available. To be added to Advancing Justice-LA’s volunteer database, please complete this form.

Some of our current needs are:

  • Immigration practitioners. We are seeking immigration attorneys to support our advocacy against the new proposed public charge regulation, which would have a devastating and disproportionate impact on immigrants of color. We hope to tap into your expertise to increase our capacity to respond to callers to our Asian language hotlines who have concerns relating to the impact of public charge on their immigration status. You can review our public comment outlining our concerns here.
  • Bilingual interpreters and translators in Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Khmer) and South Asian languages (e.g., Bangla) languages.



Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL)

AJSOCAL is the nation's largest legal aid and civil rights organization serving the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community