MAABA Hosts 2011 NAPABA Central Region Conference

MAABA hosted the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) Central Region Conference (CRC) from August 19-21, 2011.  The conference brought out Asian Pacific American attorneys to St. Louis, Missouri from around the Central Region and both coasts.

The CRC programming included a welcome reception at Armstrong Teasdale’s offices in Clayton, dinner out on the Delmar Loop, and karaoke at Star KTV.

Continuing legal education seminars were conducted on Saturday, August 20.  CLE topics included Employment Law, which was taught by MAABA member Heidi Durr, a partner at national labor and employment firm Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart.  An Immigration Law CLE was presented by local attorneys and MAABA members Nalini Mahadevan, Tony Gao, and Jay Kim. General Counsel for UniGroup, Jan Alonzo, led a panel discussion on “How In-house Counsel Selects Outside Counsel” along with panelists Ruth Kim, General Counsel for Fleishman-Hilliard, Inc., Iggy Yuan, General Counsel of First National Bank of St. Louis, and Warren Nakatani, Counsel for UniGroup.  Hon. Judy Draper, Washington University School of Law Professor, Pauline Kim, and MAABA co-founder, James Robinson presented “Asian Americans in the Law” highlighting court cases affecting Asian Americans.  Project Manager of the Midwest China Hub Commission, Doug Potts, and Missouri State Senator Eric Schmitt, discussed the background and current status of the Midwest China Hub Commission, the effort to bring a China Cargo Hub to St. Louis Lambert Airport, and the establishment of Missouri’s first EB-5 Regional Center.

NAPABA CRC attendees were taken on a tour of Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, after the CLE programming.

On the evening of August 20, a Gala Dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton and guests included Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rick Teitelman, Missouri Court of Appeals Judge, Hon. George Draper, President-Elect of the Missouri Bar, Lynn Ann Vogel, President of the St. Louis County Bar Association, Tom Lang, Executive Director for the St. Louis County Bar Association, Jill Lang, and many others.  MAABA President, Alexander Lee, and Chair of the NAPABA CRC Planning Committee, Daniel Sakaguchi, gave welcome remarks at the Gala.

U.S. District Court Judge (Northern District of Illinois), Hon. Edmond Chang, gave the keynote address.  MAABA was honored to welcome Judge Chang who was unanimously confirmed as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois by the Senate in December 2010.  Judge Chang began service on the court in January 2011, and was at that time the youngest federal judge in the nation.  He is the first APA Article III Federal judge in the Seventh Circuit.

The CRC received strong support from NAPABA leadership as NAPABA President, Paul Hirose, NAPABA Executive Director, Tina Matsuoka, NAPABA Central Region Governor, LG Almeda, and former Regional Governor, Gene Woo all attended the Conference.

MAABA wishes to thank all of the attendees of the 2011 NAPABA CRC.  It also would like to thank all of the sponsors of the NAPABA CRC, and extends a special thank you to Armstrong Teasdale for being its Host Sponsor.  MAABA also thanks Daniel Sakaguchi, the Chair of the NAPABA CRC Planning Committee, for his leadership in helping MAABA put on a tremendous conference.  Finally, MAABA thanks its outstanding CRC Planning Committee for its hard work and dedication.  The 2011 NAPABA CRC would not have been possible without you!

NAPABA CRC Planning Committee
Phillip Boyd
Anna Cheng
Lilian Doan
Hon. Judy Draper
Heidi Durr
Richard Juang
David Kim
Alexander Lee
Julie Madsen
Maylin Mahoney
Elizabeth Nguyen
Monica Patankar
James Robinson
Daniel Sakaguchi
Johnny Wang

MAABA Hosts Midwest China Hub Commission Luncheon for Chinese Biotech Delegation

June 24, 2011– The Missouri Asian American Bar hosted a delegation from China at the law offices of Armstrong Teasdale in Clayton, Missouri.  The group consisted of business leaders from the biotechnology sector who were visiting as part of the Midwest China Hub Commission’s ongoing efforts to bring  a China Cargo Hub to St. Louis.

Executive Vice President of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), Steve Johnson, and MAABA President Alexander Lee, offered welcome remarks to the delegation.

The luncheon was put together by Alexander Lee, MAABA member and Armstrong Teasdale international law attorney Holly You, and MAABA Board Member Johnny Wang.

Also in attendance were MAABA Vice President David Kim, President of the Organization of Chinese Americans Eling Lam, President of the St. Louis Christian Chinese Community Service Center Harold Law, and Guodong Li of the St. Louis Modern Chinese School.

MAABA and MCBA Host Eleventh Annual Unity Dinner

On April 21, 2011 MAABA hosted the Eleventh Annual Unity Dinner with the Mound City Bar Association and the Missouri Bar.  The event enjoyed record attendance and sold out with 300 attendees including Missouri Supreme Court Justices Rick Teitelman and Laura Denvir Stith, members of the Missouri Legislature, and community business leaders including Executive Vice President for the RCGA, Steve JohnsonSt. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley presented MAABA and MCBA with a Proclamation at the dinner and offered closing remarks.

At the dinner, the Joint Initiative for Diversity, which MAABA is a participant in, awarded Monsanto and Thompson Coburn with its inaugural Diversity Awards for a corporation and law firm respectively.

MAABA also awarded Nathaniel Dang of Washington University School of Law and Jessica Kong of St. Louis University School of Law with its Summer Public Interest Fellowships.

Ari Bai, former two-term MAABA President, was named as the MAABA Torch Bearer Award recipient.  MAABA Founder and current Board Member, James Robinson, presented Ari with the award which recognizes leaders who are the “guiding light” in the Asian American legal community and community overall.

MAABA took up a collection for Hoang and Yen Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant couple who were attacked the weekend of April 16, 2011.  Hoang Nguyen died from his injuries from the attack.  MAABA intends to combine the collection with a part of the proceeds from the dinner to assist the couple.

MAABA wishes to thank all of the Jade and Pearl Sponsors of the Unity Dinner as well as IVIZE for providing all of the printing for the dinner, and Anheuser Busch for providing AB products at the dinner.  A full listing of the sponsors may be found in the Unity Dinner Program.

MAABA also thanks Wesley Law and his company BeauVide Photography for their excellent coverage of the Unity Dinner.  Photographs of the dinner may be viewed and purchased at:

Download the program here. (6.1 MB)

MAABA Offers Condolences to Japan

The Missouri Asian American Bar Association offers its deepest condolences to Japan on the terrible tragedy it has endured, and challenges it continues to face in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.  We are all awed by the tremendous courage shown by the Japanese people and know that this amazing spirit will carry them through these tumultuous times.

MAABA is making a financial contribution to disaster relief for Japan through the Japan America Society of St. Louis, and encourages everyone to do so at:

We will continue to look for ways to offer assistance in this time of need.

MAABA Hosts MCHC Immigration Expert Stephen Yale-Loehr

February 24, 2011- MAABA hosted Midwest China Hub Commission Project Manager, Douglas Potts, and Immigration Law expert Stephen Yale-Loehr at its February Meeting at Wei Hong Seafood Restaurant which brought out 40 attendees.  Mr. Yale-Loehr is a Professor at Cornell Law School and was in St. Louis in his role as consultant for the Midwest China Hub Commission (the effort to bring a China Cargo Hub to St. Louis Lambert International Airport).  Mr. Yale-Loehr and Mr. Potts provided a brief update on the MCHC efforts and took the opportunity to meet with MAABA members who also specialize in immigration law including Susan Cho and Tony Gao.

Officers and Directors from the Mound City Bar Association, including President Ebony McCain, were also invited to help with the tasting of the menu for the upcoming Eleventh Annual MAABA/Mound City Bar Association Unity Dinner which will take place April 21, 2011 at 6PM.

MAABA’s Daniel Sakaguchi Named To St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40

2011 40 Under 40 Award Winner Daniel Sakaguchi and his wife Prof. Jennifer Kapczynski

MAABA is excited and pleased to announce that current MAABA Board Member, and former President, Daniel Sakaguchi has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list for 2011.  The award recognizes top talent in the St. Louis professional community in all areas who are under the age of 40.

Daniel received this award at the 40 Under 40 Awards Dinner on February 17, 2011 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel.  MAABA members Angela Yee, James Robinson, Julie Madsen, Amit Shah, David Kim, and Alex Lee were also in attendance to celebrate Daniel’s award.

This is a tremendous honor that is certainly well-deserved for Daniel.

2011 Kicked Off With Meeting At Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

January 13, 2011- MAABA started off the New Year with a meeting at downtown St. Louis law firm Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard. SPvG hosted the meeting in its “Mock Courtroom.”

President of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA), Robert Palmer, was invited to speak at the meeting about MATA and its plans for 2011. Mr. Palmer expressed strong interest in future joint projects with other bar associations including MAABA.

MAABA would like to thank SPvG and SPvG attorney David Hoffman for hosting the meeting.

MAABA Holds Annual Holiday Party

On December 12, 2010, MAABA held its annual Holiday Party to celebrate the holiday season in the private room of a local Chinese restaurant. In spite of snow and wintery conditions, the event brought out over 40 members from MAABA and MAABA Partner, the Young Asian Professionals Association (YAPA).

The event was planned by MAABA Board Member, Angela Yee, and MAABA Secretary, Lilian Doan.

MAABA Participates in 2010 Adopt-A-Family Program

December 14, 2010 – MAABA continued its tradition of giving back to the community by participating in the St. Louis Catholic Charities’ annual Adopt-A-Family program. MAABA Board Member, Wil Holtz and Secretary, Lilian Doan, helped chair the project, and organized donations of Holiday gifts, clothing, and other necessities for a local St. Louis family in need.

MAABA Hosts Midwest China Hub Commission Luncheon for Chinese Delegation

On November 12, 2010, MAABA hosted a luncheon for 38 Chinese business leaders in industry and commerce, including the heads of the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), and several pharmaceutical, agricultural, alternative energy and industrial companies at law firm Armstrong Teasdale’s offices in Clayton. The Chinese delegation was visiting St. Louis as part of the decision-making process to determine whether to establish a China Cargo Hub at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

President and CEO of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), Dick Fleming, moderated the luncheon and MAABA President, Alexander Lee, Armstrong Teasdale Partner and RCGA Board Member, Steve Cousins, and Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, David Kerr, offered welcome remarks to the Chinese delegation.

President of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), Eling Lam, and General Director of the Young Asian Professionals Association (YAPA), Peter Chang, were also in attendance.

MAABA members, Alexander Lee, Johnny Wang, and Jia “Holly” You, took Vice Chairman of the ACFIC, Zhuang Cong-Sheng, on a private tour of St. Louis after the luncheon.