GAPABA: “How to Seek Judicial Appointment.”

10/21/2014 6:00 PM

GAPABA: “How to Seek Judicial Appointment.”

“How to Seek Judicial Appointment.” the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) is partnering with the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) to host a judicial forum. Sponsored in part by the South Asian Bar Association (SABA-GA), the event is meant to attract and encourage qualified minority candidates to seek judicial office, and to highlight the need for a judiciary that reflects Georgia’s increasingly diverse population. Hon. Justin Anand (U.S. Magistrate Judge, N.D. GA) will be one of the speakers.

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: McKenna Long Aldridge, LLP, 303 Peachtree St., NE, Ste. 5300, Atlanta, GA 30308
Contact: Please Register today. contact Cherish Dela Cruz, cdelacruz@mda-law.com

Increasing the Diversity of Judicial Appointments in Georgia

ATLANTA, GA – On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) is partnering with the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) to host a judicial forum: “How to Seek Judicial Appointment.” Hosted by the law firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge, LLP, the event is meant to attract and encourage qualified minority candidates to seek judicial office, and to highlight the need for a judiciary that reflects Georgia’s increasingly diverse population. 

JNC Co-Chair Pete Robinson, Atlanta Managing Partner of Troutman Sanders, LLP, will deliver the keynote welcoming remarks, followed by a panel of JNC members moderated by Judge Alvin T. Wong, State Court of DeKalb County. The panelists include Rep. B.J. Pak, Attorney Scott Delius, and Attorney Lee W. O. Shafer. 

Judicial appointments have been a topic of discussion in the upcoming Nov. 4 elections. At least three appellate judges are expected to step down in the next four years, including State Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson, Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines and Court of Appeals Chief Judge Herbert Phipps. 

“The JNC and the Deal Administration are committed to increasing the diversity of judicial appointments in Georgia,” says Robinson. “Part of that process requires reaching out to and educating the pool of qualified applicants. The more we get to know you, and help demystify the process, that can only improve our chances of identifying outstanding candidates. The JNC posts all judicial openings and the application deadlines on our website.” Rep. Pak, the first Asian American to serve on the JNC, adds, “It is definitely a learning curve. After I was first appointed to the Commission, I soon learned the level of preparation required for a candidate. It is a highly selective process, and one should be prepared for any and all questions asked during a JNC interview.” 

Justice Robert Benham, Georgia’s first African American Supreme Court Justice, spoke at the forum last year and described the challenges he faced when he broke racial barriers: “People are watching you—you have to work harder, longer, and smarter.” Attorney General Sam Olens, who keynoted the 2013 event, described that a good judicial candidate should have a background of service that goes beyond one’s personal circles, and benefits the community at large. 

In addition to Judge Alvin Wong, confirmed in attendance will be a majority of Georgia’s Asian American judges: the Hon. Carla Wong McMillian (GA Court of Appeals), Hon. Justin Anand (U.S. Magistrate Judge, N.D. GA), Hon. Chung Lee (Duluth Municipal Court), and Judge-Elect Meng Lim (Superior Court, Tallapoosa Circuit). Judge Wong was the first elected Asian Judge in the Southeast, and Judge McMillian is Georgia’s first Asian appellate court judge. 

“The pool of qualified minority judicial candidates has definitely expanded,” says Cherish Dela Cruz, Chair of GAPABA’s Judiciary Committee. “For example, there has been phenomenal growth in the Asian American population--nearly an 83% increase in the past decade, and GAPABA’s membership has doubled in the past year alone.” However, Dela Cruz notes: “Judge-Elect Meng Lim, a former Cambodian refugee, was elected this past July in the Tallapoosa Circuit, with a population of less than 0.3% Asian American. His success--despite the odds—in achieving judicial office reflects the increasingly diverse face of Justice in Georgia.” 

Interest from minority bar organizations is intense, as the limited number of 60 seats for the event were snapped up in less than a week. Supporting and co-sponsoring the event are a number of Georgia’s minority bar organizations: the GA Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), the GA Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL), the State Bar’s Young Lawyers Division Criminal Law Committee, the Korean-American Bar Association (KABA-GA), the South Asian Bar Association (SABA-GA), and the GA Hispanic Bar Association (GHBA).

For questions, please contact Cherish Dela Cruz, cdelacruz@mda-law.com
About the Georgia JNC and GAPABA: See: http://jnc.georgia.gov/ and www.gapaba.org.


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