MAABA’s 2012 Unity Dinner Attracts Over 400 Attendees!

On April 26, 2012, the Missouri Asian-American Bar Association, the Mound City Bar Association, the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis, Lawyers for Equality, the Hispanic Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar co-hosted the 12th Annual Unity Dinner. Held in the atrium of the HoteLumiere, the dinner featured Asian-inspired cuisine from various countries, starting with a cocktail hour of Chinese Dim Sum and Japanese Yakitori Chicken (among other tasty treats), along with an open bar for the nearly 350 guests. The evening progressed to dinner, which featured a “Tour of Asia” buffet station, which provided guests with selections such as, sushi and sashimi, a seafood bar, and delicacies from China, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia.

The evening’s program began with introductions by MAABA president Johnny Wang and recognition of the five co-hosting organization’s respective leaders. MAABA Board of Director Angela Yee presented two law students, Deanna L. Tran (Washington University) and Huihong Qiao (Saint Louis University) with a summer stipend for their contribution to public interest efforts. Ronda Williams of the MCBA presented the Joint Initiative Diversity Award to both individual recipient Bruce Hobson and law firm winner, Greensfeld, for their dedication to promoting and supporting diversity in the legal profession in St. Louis. James Robinson, MAABA Board of Director, presented St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge the Hon. Judy Preddy Draper with the 2012 MAABA Torch Bearer Award. Remarks were also given by Lynn Vogel, Missouri Bar President and Chris Koster, the Missouri Attorney General.

The evening continued with guests enjoying the dinner’s selections and networking with new friend. MAABA would like to thank the various sponsors of the dinner, the Missouri Bar and the various co-hosting organizations for their hard work, dedication and commitment to promoting diversity in the legal profession in St. Louis.

2012 Unity Dinner

Registration is now open! Register here.
View the Menu
View Sponsor Sheet


Jade Sponsorship – $1,500
10 Unity Dinner tickets
Table Sponsorship Recognition
Full page advertisement in the Unity Dinner Program
Full page advertisement in MAABA’s Inaugural Jade Directory of Legal Service Providers
Logo displayed on projector throughout dinner
Logo displayed on sponsors board at dinner entrance
Logo will be displayed on MAABA’s website

Pearl Sponsorship – $750
4 Unity Dinner tickets
Full page advertisement the Unity Dinner Program
Half page advertisement in MAABA’s Inaugural Jade Directory of Legal Service Providers
Logo displayed on projector throughout dinner
Logo displayed on sponsors board at dinner entrance

Advertisements in Dinner Program Only

$250 – Full page ad
$200 – Half page ad

For more information, contact:

Johnny Wang, MAABA President:, (314) 615-6000
Lilian Doan, MAABA Secretary:, (314) 241-2600.

MAABA Hosts 2012 Leadership Retreat

January 31, 2012: Organized by President Johnny Wang, MAABA’s board kicked-off the start of 2012 with a retreat at the Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop for a weekend of programming, team-building and brainstormng for the upcoming year.  The Board extended an invitation to the Asian-American Bar Association of Kansas City, and the board was delighted to welcome Peter Chung and Christopher Javillonar. Peter Chung is NAPABA’s Central Regional Governor and Christopher Javillonar is on the NAPABA Board of Directors.  The Board was also joined by local law students and Asian Law Student Association representatives, Sarah Aslam of Washington University and Ed Kolkebeck Saint Louis University.
On Friday night, the group met together for dinner at the Moonrise Hotel’s Eclipse Restaurant for introductions. group bonding time and informal brain-storming about social events for MAABA.  On Saturday morning, the group discussed the past year’s success, including hosting a sold-out Unity Dinner in 2011, hosting the 2011 Central Regional Conference for the National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and being honored  and selected as the 2011 NAPABA Affilitate of the Year.  The group also shared upcoming programming ideas for 2012, including publishing a directory of Asian-American attorneys in the St. Louis-area, discussed the 2012 Unity Dinner, and proposed networking opportunities for our members. New event ideas were also introduced, and the board looks forward to an exciting and dynamic year!
MAABA is proud to welcome the 2012 Executive Board and looks forward to a great year of programming.

MAABA Elects New Leadership Team for 2012!

JANAURY 15, 2012

MAABA will focus 2012 on promoting the talents and abilities of its members, community service efforts, and further increase its ties with the local Asian community and abroad.

MAABA recently held their leadership elections for 2012.  The officers for 2012 are:

 *President – Johnny S. Wang, Gallop Johnson & Neuman, L.C.

Vice-President – David Kim, Armstrong Teasdale

Secretary – Lilian Doan, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Treasurer – Ignatius “Iggy” Yuan, Vice-President and General Counsel of First National Bank of St. Louis.

Historian – Honorable Judy M. Draper – Associate Circuit Judge, Circuit Court of St. Louis County.

In addition, MAABA also approved the following members to its Board of Directors

 *Honorable Judy M. Draper – Associate Circuit Judge, Circuit Court of St. Louis County

Wil Holtz – Thompson Coburn LLP

*John Mark Hongs – Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Alexander Lee – Gonnerman Reinert LLC

Julie Madsen – Kortenhof McGlynn

Maylin Mahoney – Law Offices of Maylin Mahoney

Monica Patankar – Waltrip & Schmidt

James Robinson – Law Offices of James Robinson

Daniel Sakaguchi – Armstrong Teasdale

*George Wu – Armstrong Teasdale

*Holly You – Armstrong Teasdale

Angela Yee – The Yee Law Firm

* Denotes new board members and officers.

2011 was a banner year for MAABA.  MAABA hosted the 4th Annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPABA”) Central Region Conference in St. Louis and was honored as “Affiliate of the Year” at the 2011 NAPABA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.  MAABA members also founded the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis and Sua Sponte, a legal clinic partnered with the International Institute to provide legal services to immigrants. MAABA also hosted a number of Chinese trade delegations in furtherance of building relationships abroad.

2012 will focus on business development and career development for its members.

 In addition to MAABA’s annual programming of the Unity Dinner, Mentoring program, community service and networking events, MAABA will establish two new initiatives to help its members market themselves to potential clients and build relationships with Missouri in-house counsel departments, businesses and the Asian community. 

First is the “Jade Directory” – a MAABA directory of Asian legal service providers that will have in-depth bios including photos of MAABA members categorized by their specific practice areas.  The Directory will be printed on high quality paper, and will be distributed to in-house counsels, local businesses, law firms, elected officials, local judiciary and community organizations.  Without a doubt, the Jade Directory will be a powerful marketing tool for all participating MAABA members.

In addition, MAABA will spearhead the “Minority Counsel Program” MAABA will partner with the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Mound City Bar Associationto host a one to two day event in Fall 2012 that will seek to bring diverse attorneys and in-house counsel together.  There will be networking events, golf and spa activities, and CLE programming relevant to diverse attorneys.  In addition, interested attorneys can participate in informational interviews with in-house counsel and business owners to determine whether outside counsel work could be placed with interested attorneys.  The goal is to provide relationship building activities and to showcase the diverse legal professionals in St. Louis.

Now is the time to become a member of MAABA and participate in these exciting new initiatives!  Please click on the membership link above and join!

MAABA Honored as NAPABA Affiliate of the Year

November 19, 2011

The Missouri Asian American Bar Association (MAABA) was honored by the National Asian Pacific Bar Association (NAPABA) as its “Affiliate of the Year” at the 2011 NAPABA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on November 19, 2011.  The award recognized MAABA for its “outstanding best practices and accomplishments as a NAPABA affiliate” and was presented to MAABA President Alex Lee at the Convention Gala by NAPABA President Paul Hirose.

In his acceptance remarks, President Alex Lee thanked MAABA’s founders for their role in starting MAABA, including three founders who were in attendance at the Gala: Hon. Judy Draper, Maylin Mahoney, and James Robinson.  He also thanked current MAABA leaders in attendance at the Convention including President-Elect Johnny Wang, Vice President David Kim, Secretary Lilian Doan, Board Member Daniel Sakaguchi, and Board Member Angela Yee for their hard work over the past year which made the award possible.  He closed his remarks by promising that MAABA would continue to work hard to “live up to this award.”

The Convention was attended by over 1,200 Asian Pacific American attorneys, and included keynote speaker US Court of Appeals Judge Denny Chin and speaker Yale Law School Professor and Best Selling Author, Amy Chua.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association(NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students, providing a national network for its members and affiliates. NAPABA advocates for the legal needs and interests of the APA community and represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 62 local APA bar associations, with practice settings ranging from solo practices to large firms, corporations, legal services organizations, non-profit organizations, law schools, and governmental agencies.

The Missouri Asian American Bar Association (MAABA) is an organization of Missouri Asian American attorneys, judges, elected officials, and law students dedicated to advocating on a state and local level on behalf of the Asian American legal and general communities.

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.