In honor of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we surveyed MoFo’s members Technology transactions group (TTG) from all of our offices for their thoughts on the month-long celebration, their advice to the next generation of law students, and why they believe diversity is critical to delivering innovative solutions to our customers.
Founded in 1883, the MoFo San Francisco office is where it all began, and the office has been a leading member of the Bay Area legal community ever since. Located in close proximity to Silicon Valley, MoFo’s technology transaction team in San Francisco is serving together with Palo Alto at the epicenter of the latest technology revolution.
Her deep understanding of not only legal issues, but also the technology and business issues emerging across a range of emerging technology sectors make her the team of choice for full service corporate, financial, intellectual property and process skills for clients of all stages of development. The team’s client-centric approach is further strengthened by the diversity of their lawyers, who bring their own unique perspectives and skills to the table as they solve some of their clients’ toughest problems.
The Technology Transactions Group in San Francisco is made up of 48% minority attorneys and 43% women attorneys. To further support and promote an inclusive culture, the San Francisco office offers a range of networking events, training and mentoring opportunities, and affinity groups designed to provide a safe space for diverse voices, including the San Francisco Asian, Black Attorneys, Latina / o, LGBTQ +, Women, Women of Color and Working Moms Affinity Groups.
San Francisco partner Billy Schwartz encourages more Americans in the Asia-Pacific region to pursue legal careers. “I think it is important that members of the AAPI community – and other communities that have suffered from discrimination in the past – become lawyers. The recent surge in AAPI hate crimes is just a reminder of that. The law is an essential tool – along with education, political engagement, community organization and other tools – in combating the evils in our society, including racism and xenophobia, and the use of this tool by the AAPI community can be both powerful and empowering. “
MoFo’s Technology Transactions Group has always recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion. Because of this, the U.S. group, of which 68% of its members describe themselves as female, minority or LGBTQ +, continues to leverage the creativity and innovation its members bring to our clients’ toughest legal and commercial problems.
Read what some of the other TTG San Francisco lawyers had to say about the importance of partying this month each year:
Evangeline Phang is an associate whose practice focuses on transactional matters related to intellectual property and technology, including licenses, development agreements, collaborative agreements, service agreements, manufacturing and supply agreements, outsourcing, investments, and mergers and acquisitions.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges Americans in Asia Pacific face today in American society? What changes do you think have emerged to ease or remove these challenges?
A: The challenges that Americans in the Asia-Pacific region face in American society today are not new. They were merely drowned out under the guise of the exemplary minority myth. In reality, our struggles are often shaped by our different identities; B. a collective identity in the broad category of “Asian Pacific Americans”, a subgroup identity, an identity shaped by our family, communal and socio-economic environment, and our individual identity. The bamboo ceiling still exists. The glass ceiling is still there. The challenges of upward mobility persist. What is In my opinion, a new generation of people is changing whose primary focus may no longer be on conformance with traditional American ideals like their predecessors, whose voices are reinforced by events imposed on their own communities and other color communities, and those above the language to educate allies in their experiences. As a lawyer from the Asia-Pacific region, as a lawyer from Southeast Asia, as a lawyer and as a lawyer who is a first generation immigrant, I am fortunate to find myself in a place like MoFo, where I was not only treated the space, to grow into the person I am supposed to be without erasing my experiences, but also the opportunity to discuss my experiences with colleagues and the opportunity to work on meaningful projects with customers who share the same values.
Jackie Li is an associate whose practice focuses on technology and intellectual property, including license agreements and general trade agreements. She has advised clients on the commercial, intellectual property and technology aspects of M&A transactions.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges Americans in Asia Pacific face in today’s society? What changes do you think have emerged to ease or remove these challenges?
A: With recent events, it is even more important that we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and our diverse cultural identities. I hope the Asia-Pacific American community continues to use its voice and speak out against racial injustice while building a stronger alliance with the wider community.
Monica Cai is Associate and was Keith Wetmore Fellow for Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion in the San Francisco office in the summer of 2018 and 2019.
Q: What advice would you give to encourage more Americans in the Asia-Pacific region to pursue legal careers?
A: If you choose to pursue a legal career, you will find tremendous support from the Asia-Pacific American community in both law school and practice. When I first started I didn’t realize how willing people are to offer advice and serve as a sounding board, and this sense of camaraderie and even family has been extremely valuable and rewarding to me.
Scott Chen is an associate and was a Summer Associate in the San Francisco office in the summer of 2019. While at New York University School of Law, he was Treasurer of the Social Enterprise & Startup Law Group and Notes Editor for the NYU’s Environmental Law Journal.
Q: What does Asia Pacific Heritage Month mean to you?
A: For me, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is an opportunity for the community to come together and share personal experiences of the challenges and successes overcome, and to celebrate our diverse cultural backgrounds.
Gilbert Choi is an associate and was a Summer Associate in the San Francisco office in the summer of 2019. While at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, he was co-president of the Patent Law Society and editor of the Berkeley Business Law Journal.
Q: How, if anything, has it made you a better / different kind of lawyer as an Asia Pacific American?
A: As an Asian-American, I have come to realize that there are already an abundance of cultures and backgrounds within the Asia-Pacific American community. Understanding that this diversity – and diversity in general – makes us stronger reminds me to consider the thoughts and viewpoints of others and incorporate them into my practice.
Due to the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be used in certain situations without specific legal advice.
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