Annual APABA-DC Awards

APABA-DC is proud to honor achievements within the APABA-DC community at our annual Awards and Installation Gala. Nominations are accepted for the following awards each year:

  • Member Appreciation Award: Recognizes an individual’s outstanding service to APABA-DC (including service to our charitable affiliate, AEF). The purpose of this award is not to recognize a single achievement, but rather to recognize continuous contributions that exemplify the objectives and goals of APABA-DC.
  • Pioneer Award: Recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of an individual who has paved the way for the advancement of APA attorneys.
  • Rising Star Award: Recognizes talented individuals within the APABA-DC community, which may include the AEF community, who are under the age of forty and have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective field while demonstrating a strong commitment to APABA-DC and the APA community.
  • Community Appreciation Award: Recognizes an individual or organization in the greater Washington area such as community leaders, judges, or leaders of other bar associations who may not be an APABA-DC member but has demonstrated strong support for APABA-DC and its members.
2015 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient: Elina Hum, Partner, Hum Law Firm PLLC
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    • Eden Forsythe, Legislative Counsel for Representative Sander Levin
    • Maya Song, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Cybercrime Unit, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: Annamaria Steward, Associate Dean of Students at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Javade Chaudhri, Partner, Jones Day
2014 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    • Helen Y. Lee, Associate, Paul Hastings LLP.
    • Taron K. Murakami, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient: Tacie H. Yoon, Associate, Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: The Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee, United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Norman Y. Mineta, Former Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation
2013 APABA-DC Award Recipients:
  • Member Appreciation Award: The 2012 NAPABA Convention Planning Committee
  • Pioneer Award: The Honorable John Tran, Virginia Circuit Court
  • Rising Star Awards: 
    • Elbert Lin, Solicitor General of West Virginia
    • Thomas Lue, former Acting General Counsel of the White House Office of Management and Budget
  • Community Appreciation Award: The late Laura Rinaldi of the DC Bar Pro Bono Immigration Legal Advice Clinic
2012 APABA-DC Award Recipients:
  • Member Appreciation Award: Tina Matsuoka, Executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
  • Pioneer Award: Stuart J. Ishimaru, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Rising Star Awards: 
    • Christopher D. Kang, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Counsel to the President, in charge of the selection, vetting, and confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees
    • Vasu Muthyala, Counsel at O'Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Community Appreciation Award: Darrell G. Mottley, Principal shareholder of Banner & Witcoff, Ltd

Annual NAPABA Awards

In addition, please contact [email protected] if you wish to nominate an individual for this year's NAPABA awards. Click here for the nomination form.

  • Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazers Award: NAPABA’s highest honor, this award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their practice. They have also made substantial and lasting contributions to the APA legal profession, as well as the broader APA community.
  • Best Under 40 Award:  This award recognizes talented individuals within the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal community under the age of 40 who have achieved prominence and distinction in their fields of endeavor—be it the practice of law, academia, business, civic and charitable affairs, the judiciary, or politics—and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to APA civic or community affairs.
  • Women's Leadership Award: The NAPABA Women’s Leadership Award celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers. It is presented to an individual who has achieved professional excellence in her field or who has demonstrated leadership and advancement of women or women’s issues. This person will also have made significant contributions to the Asian Pacific American legal community. The award winner is honored at the Women’s Leadership Breakfast at the Annual NAPABA Convention.

Click here to view former NAPABA's Annual Award recipients. Past award recipients from APABA-DC are listed below.

Past NAPABA Award Recipients from APABA-DC:
Trailblazers Award
  • Hon. John M. Tran (2013)
  • Nicholas V. Chen (2012)
  • Stuart J. Ishimaru (2010)
  • Preeta D. Bansal (2008)
  • A.B. Cruz III (2008)
  • Neal Kumar Katyal (2007)
  • Frank H. Wu (2007)
  • Wan J. Kim (2006)
  • Hon. Jeannie J. Hong (2005)
  • Hon. Brian G. Kim (2005)
  • Harold Koh (2003)
  • Viet D. Dinh (2001)
  • Ivan K. Fong (1998)
  • Robert Gee (1997)
  • Paul Igasaki (1995)
  • Francey Lim Youngberg (1995)
  • Wallace Loh (1995)
  • Angela Oh (1994)
  • Les Jin (1994)
  • Karen Narasaki (1994)
Best Lawyers Under 40 Award
  • Christopher Y. Chan (2015)
  • Josh M. Hsu (2015)
  • Sujit Raman (2015)
  • Amy Yoshimi Yeung (2015)
  • Samuel Go (2014)
  • Vasu Muthyala (2014)
  • Erica Suter (2014)
  • Dawn Yamane Hewett (2014)
  • Christopher D. Kang (2013)
  • Rudhir Patel (2013)
  • Smeeta Ramarathnam (2013)
  • Sanya Sukduang (2013)
  • James Derry (2012)
  • Marita Etcubañez (2012)
  • Jessie K. Liu (2011)
  • Anh-Thu P. Mai-Windle (2011)
  • John C. Truong (2009)
  • Nimesh Patel (2008)
  • Theodore Cheng (2007)
  • Vincent A. Eng (2007)
  • Jennifer Choe Groves (2007)
  • Minh-Duc "Ducie" T. Le (2007)
  • James C. Ho (2006)
  • Thomas Kim (2005)
  • Wan Kim (2005)
  • Esther Lim (2005)
  • Marisa Chun (2004)
  • Mark Keam (2004)
  • Frank Wu (2004)
  • Zenobia Lai (2003)
  • Viet D. Dinh (2002)
  • Jeannie Hong (2002)
  • John C. Yang (2002)
  • John Yoo (2002)


Women's Leadership Award

  • Michelle K. Lee (2015)


If your name is missing from this list, please contact Katherine Wang and Sue J. Bai, Co-Chairs, [email protected]

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