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Annual APABA-DC and NAPABA 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:

  • Pioneer Award: Recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of an individual who has paved the way for the advancement of APA attorneys.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
2019 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient:  Judge Theodore Chuang, United States District Judge for the District of Maryland
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient:  Shankar Duraiswamy, Covington & Burling LLP
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient:  Marita Etcubañez, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Rising Star Award Recipient: Michael L. Huang, Terris, Pravlik & Millian LLP

2018 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient:  John C. Yang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient:  Sunu P. Chandy, National Women's Law Center
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient:  Scott Lee, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    • Christine Berger, Office of U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono
    • Jayna M. Rust, Thompson Coburn LLP
2017 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Esther H. Lim, President-Elect of the District of Columbia Bar and Partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: Professor Cynthia Lee, Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient: John C. Truong, Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Section, Washington D.C.
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    •  Jeffrey Sun, Assistant General Counsel, Oath Inc.
    • Candice C. Wong, Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Section, Washington D.C.
2016 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: Jose "Joe" Monge Montano, Jr. (Posthumous), former Executive Director, National Federation of Filipino American Associations
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient: Sun E. Choi, founding member, DC Metro Law LLC
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    • Shuchi Batra, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. General Services Administration
    • Lei Mei, co-founder and managing partner, Mei & Mark LLP
2015 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Javade Chaudhri, Partner, Jones Day
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: Annamaria Steward, Associate Dean of Students at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
  • 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
2014 APABA-DC Award Recipients:  
  • Pioneer Award Recipient: Norman Y. Mineta, Former Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation
  • Community Appreciation Award Recipient: The Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee, United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Membership Appreciation Award Recipient: Tacie H. Yoon, Associate, Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Rising Star Award Recipients:

    • Helen Y. Lee, Associate, Paul Hastings LLP.
    • Taron K. Murakami, Senior Associate, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
2013 APABA-DC Award Recipients:
  • Pioneer Award: The Honorable John Tran, Virginia Circuit Court
  • Community Appreciation Award: The late Laura Rinaldi of the DC Bar Pro Bono Immigration Legal Advice Clinic
  • Member Appreciation Award: The 2012 NAPABA Convention Planning Committee
  • 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
2012 APABA-DC Award Recipients:
  • Pioneer Award: Stuart J. Ishimaru, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Community Appreciation Award: Darrell G. Mottley, Principal shareholder of Banner & Witcoff, Ltd
  • Member Appreciation Award: Tina Matsuoka, Executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
  • 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

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.
  • Military and Veteran Service Award: This award recognize individuals within the Asian Pacific American legal community serving the United States Armed Forces as uniformed personnel or as civilians or as veterans of the Armed Forces whose outstanding achievements (1) greatly enhanced the mission of the Armed Forces; (2) contributed to the advancement of rights for service-members, their families, and/or veterans; or (3) furthered the administration of justice.
  • NAPABA President's Award: This award is given to NAPABA members who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the greater Asian Pacific American community. This Award is not open for nomination, but is awarded at the NAPABA President's discretion.

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
  • Willard K. Tom (2017)
  • Hon. Sri Srinivasan (2016)
  • 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
  • Dong Joo Lee (2017)
  • Edward "Teddy" Kang (2016)
  • 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

  • Jenny R. Yang (2016)
  • Michelle K. Lee (2015)
President's Award
  • Tina Matsuoka (2016)
Military and Veteran Service Award
  • Cmdr. Sylvaine Wong (2017)
Affiliate of the Year Award
  • APABA-DC (2009)


If your name is missing from this list, please contact [email protected].

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