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  • Friday, March 29, 2013 12:16 PM | Anonymous
    Thank you for making the 2013 Fifth Annual VABA-DC Scholarship Dinner a huge success! On the evening of March 19, we had over 150 people gathered at GWU to hear NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden deliver a remarkable keynote speech.  We were joined by NASA General Counsel Michael Wholley and enjoyed a video greeting by the first Vietnamese American NASA Astronaut Eugene H. Trinh.  We awarded scholarships to Kathy Nguyen (University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D. Candidate) and Linh Ly (University of Baltimore Law School, J.D. Candidate) and celebrated the accomplishments of our Vietnamese American legal community with art flown in from Vietnam by Galerie Brigitte and traditional Vietnamese instrumentals by Nhung Vu.  Our Vietnamese culinary experience was made possible by Present Restaurant’s Chef Luong Tran who prepared our meal onsite with his entire culinary team.

    A special thank you to our sponsors, donors, speakers and guests for being a large part of our continued tradition of success!




    View more pictures of the event here: VABA-DC Scholarship Dinner Photos
  • Monday, March 18, 2013 8:53 PM | Anonymous

    The story that most Vietnamese American lawyers will tell you is that they did not know any lawyers while they were growing up and that the idea of going to law school did not even cross their minds until later in life.   But, many of these lawyers will also tell you that pursuing the law turned out to be absolutely the right thing for them.  Reflecting on this reality, one of VABA-DC’s former scholarship recipients insightfully observed: "We should start with the high school students at the time they are thinking about college and career directions and in need of information, guidance and inspiration. I didn't discover my interest in and passion for the law until several years after college graduation - a bit of soul searching and wandering on my part. I think that any efforts to reach out to and introduce what it means to be a lawyer in America to our young students would yield long-lasting, career shaping impact."


    VABA-DC agrees and is starting a series of informal conversations with college students to teach them about the law track, possible careers with a law degree, and the doors it can open.   On Monday, March 18, 2013, when Hansel Pham and Caroline Nguyen, two of VABA-DC’s board members, met with a group of Vietnamese American students at Georgetown to discuss their careers and answer students’ questions.  The event was organized by the Georgetown University Vietnamese Students Association (GUVSA), and seven students were in attendance.




    None of the students were currently pre-law, but everyone asked truly insightful questions about the legal practice, including the truly interdisciplinary nature of the law, the reasons why an engineer or business major might want to become a lawyer, justifications for representing unsympathetic clients, the nature of practicing law in a big law firm, and the reality about the current legal job market.  


    “It was really great meeting with young and energetic students, who were genuinely curious about the law path,” said Hansel.  “It doesn’t matter if they are not currently pre-law; our goal was to inform them about the versatility of a JD and the different types of legal careers, and the meet-and-greet accomplished that.   We are separately happy to have started a relationship with GUVSA.   As we told the students, VABA-DC exists in large part to help the next generation of lawyers, so students should feel free to reach out to us at any point, even years from now, for help or advice.”


    For the students’ part, Kimberly Ta, president of GUVSA, said after the event, “We are happy to see that VABA-DC is such an active network and continuing to give back to the Vietnamese community. We discussed it after the meeting and everyone seemed to have benefited in some way. It really got us thinking and considering the possibilities in law, and I think this is a great first step.



  • Thursday, February 28, 2013 9:46 PM | Anonymous

    On February 21st, VABA-DC hosted a women's mentoring event at Teasim bringing together a group of Vietnamese American female attorneys with diverse legal backgrounds, including government lawyers, in-house counsel, law firm associates, non-profit attorneys, and DC area law students. "From VABA-DC founding board members to attorneys new to the DC area, everyone was excited to get together with old and new friends who support each other in their continued career growth. There's a strong need for this type of mentorship and its great that VABA-DC is investing in it!" said Board Member Thanh Nguyen.



  • Thursday, February 28, 2013 9:34 PM | Anonymous

    VABA-DC would like to thank all of its members who volunteered at the many 2013 Tết (Lunar New Year) festivals in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. This year’s events culminated with the Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club’s festival in Annandale, Virginia. The cultural performances and artwork provided a backdrop where young and old, and in between, enjoyed the many sights, sounds and flavors of Tết. We received valuable feedback from members of the community that we will use to focus our future community outreach projects. Thank you to the Association of Vietnamese Americans, the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Association and the Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club for letting VABA-DC be a part of your Tết celebrations. “Chúc mừng năm mới.”



  • Saturday, February 09, 2013 7:53 PM | Anonymous

    VABA-DC’s participation in the February 3, 2013 Tet Festival at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia, hosted by the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Association, was aimed at learning about and addressing the legal needs of the elderly population in the Vietnamese community. Our members distributed Vietnamese language materials on wills as well as information about citizenship eligibility. VABA-DC is encouraged by the interest expressed by many in trust and estate planning which evidences a strong desire to provide for the well-being of younger generations. Many community organizers and leaders also expressed an interest in legal support for non-profits and greater collaboration between the many groups in our community. VABA-DC will take the knowledge gained from this event and incorporate it into its upcoming projects which will hopefully connect legal service providers with those in the community in need of their services.




  • Wednesday, January 30, 2013 6:53 PM | Anonymous


    VABA-DC would like to thank all of its members who proudly represented the diversity of Vietnamese-American attorneys at the 2013 Lunar New Year “Tet” Festival hosted by the Association of Vietnamese Americans in Silver Spring, Maryland on January 27, 2013.


    Thirteen members interacted with guests at the VABA-DC table throughout the day and engaged community members and leaders in discussions about the legal needs of the community including the pressing need for greater access to competent legal representation across all sectors. Several community leaders provided insight as to how the community could benefit from additional legal support in the area of non-profit organization. A number of individuals requested assistance in finding referrals to Vietnamese speaking attorneys to help with issues ranging from family law to trusts and estates.






    VABA-DC is encouraged by the support of both its members and the community and is energized by the positive response we received at this event. As a result, VABA-DC is seeking to directly address the issues expressed by the community and is establishing a lawyer referral service to aid Vietnamese speakers in finding competent counsel who may be able to meet their language needs. In addition, VABA-DC is exploring ways in which to partner with other non-profits and community organizations to assist in sustaining our collective efforts by supporting their legal needs.


    Based on the positive feedback from this event, VABA-DC will be participating in the upcoming Tet Festival on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia hosted by the Vietnamese Senior Citizens’ Association and will be continuing the dialog with the community and its leaders. We hope to see you there.




  • Monday, January 21, 2013 5:58 PM | Anonymous

    Happy New Year! We are delighted to invite you to our Fifth Annual Scholarship Dinner to take place on March 19, 2013 at 6pm - further details and tickets are now on sale at

    We are currently working on creating a video highlighting the achievements of Vietnamese American lawyers in our community and would like to feature a select number of attorneys, such as you, who have something interesting to say about what it means to you to be a Vietnamese American lawyer. Yes- the question is broad, but so are the answers. We want your unique stories, funny anecdotes, and general reflections. We will bring a videographer to film your responses in an interview format with someone from our board moderating and asking questions. Any content used in the video will be pre-approved by you.

    If you are interested and available, please reply to Thanh Nguyen at or 312-451-7331.


    Filming will take place next Sunday Jan. 27. We do not require you to send any written responses about what you would like to say but we ask you to prepare some material about what you would like to convey on film as we will allot each person 5 minutes of air time.

    Good luck and thank you for contributing to this lawyer's project that will indelibly highlight the successes of our Vietnamese American legal community across generations and across practice areas, as well as demonstrate the creativity and energy of this group.

    Best regards,

    VABA-DC Scholarship Dinner Committee

  • Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During the 2012 general election, VABA-DC sent a contingent of Vietnamese-speaking attorneys, law students and college students to the APIA Vote Election Protection Hotline in Washington D.C. to assist Vietnamese-speaking voters nationwide in exercising their vote.  The hotline was a non-partisan effort organized by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, the Asian American Justice Center and the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights to provide multilingual voting information in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese. 

    For 12 hours each day, VABA-DC  members fielded calls from across the country  and answered questions such as where to vote, when to vote, how to vote and informed Vietnamese-speaking voters of the identification requirements of different states. 


    As a part of our community outreach mission, VABA-DC is committed to increasing awareness and improving access to the legal rights of the Vietnamese-American community.  We are pleased to have been able to further that mission through the 2012 APIA Vote Hotline and would like to thank everyone who volunteered to make it a success.


  • Sunday, April 03, 2011 7:20 PM | Anonymous

    On April 1-2, 2011, VABA-DC hosted the National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys (NCVAA) in Washington, D.C.  This was NCVAA's fifth annual conference, but the first time the conference was held outside of California.  Themed "Raising the Bar in the Nation's Capital", the conference featured a series of esteemed speakers, panelists, and guests.  

    The conference opened with a Welcome Reception on Friday evening at the firm of Arent Fox, with former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh providing the keynote.  

    On Saturday, April 2, we held a day-long conference at the D.C. Bar Conference Center with panels on Latest Developments in IP Law; The Art of Immigration Advocacy; Career Paths for Vietnamese American Attorneys; Effective Skills for Practicing Before Federal Agencies; The Gulf Oil Spill and the Vietnamese American Community; Autopsy of a Distressed Real Estate Loan; and the ever-popular Judges' Panel.  




    During lunch, we heard from Reverend Vien The Nguyen, who was featured in the film “A Village Called Versailles” about a Vietnamese American community in the outskirts of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

    The conference concluded with a combined Closing Gala and VABA-DC's Third Annual Scholarship Dinner, at which scholarships were awarded to three law students in recognition of their excellence and commitment to the Vietnamese American community. 

    The dinner featured the Executive Director of BPSOS, Dr. Thang D. Nguyen, as the keynote speaker, and Paul D. Nguyen was awarded the Trailblazer Award.

    For more information about the NCVAA, please visit

    See more photos from NCVAA 2011 here.

  • Saturday, March 19, 2011 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    APRIL 1-2, 2011

    Nhat Nguyen, a young Washington, D.C.-area attorney, and May Nguyen, a UCLA law
    student, spent much of the past year sorting out the complicated legal issues uniquely
    confronting Vietnamese Americans in the Gulf Region affected by the BP oil spill. They
    joined other attorneys and students from around the country to conduct community
    meetings, hold audiences with members of Congress, write white papers to President
    Obama, and scrutinize the claims procedure set up by “compensation czar” Kenneth

    They will be in Washington in April, among the famed cherry blossoms, to discuss their
    experience at the National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys (NCVAA).
    This will be the first NCVAA to take place outside California. Previously organized by
    local bar associations in northern and southern California, the conference this year will
    advance the “national” part of its name with the help of the Vietnamese American Bar
    Association of the Greater Washington D.C. Area (VABA-DC).

    “We are excited to host our friends and colleagues in the nation’s capital,” said Mai Pham
    Robertson, co-chair of the conference planning committee and president of VABA-DC.
    “We’ve put together an insightful program that addresses many of the issues directly
    affecting the Vietnamese American legal community.”

    “Vietnamese Americans are a relatively new group in America with issues common to
    other Americans and other immigrants, but also challenges unique to us,” said San Jose,
    California, attorney Mai D. Phan, president of NCVAA and co-chair of the conference
    planning committee. She emphasized that the conference is open to all, and the legal
    issues relating to the Gulf oil spill should be of interest to many.

    Community mobilizers recently scored a victory when Feinberg agreed to recognize
    “subsistence” claims by Vietnamese American fishers. For generations, such fishers
    caught seafood not just to sell but also to feed extended families and to satisfy
    community obligations, even though such use is difficult to document for compensation.

    Phan believes NCVAA, which has evolved from an ad hoc event to a permanent national
    organization, can promote diversity in the profession. “Only recently has the languageintensive
    legal profession become an attractive career option, so everywhere, Vietnamese
    Americans are underpresented in the law.”

    NCVAA and VABA-DC will award three scholarships at the conference to law students
    who have demonstrated a commitment to the Vietnamese American community.
    The conference will also highlight the accomplishments of legal professionals in the
    community, with speakers such as Viet Dinh, Assistant Attorney General in the Bush
    administration, and New York attorney Paul D. Nguyen, who began practicing in the
    United States in the 1970’s.

    Vietnamese American judges from various jurisdictions will discuss their experience to
    guide others to seek appointment. Other panels will cover intellectual property,
    immigration, federal agencies practice, the foreclosure crisis, and the variety of legal
    career paths.

    The NCVAA conference will take place April 1 and 2, in Washington, D.C. Registration
    and other information is available at

    * * * *
    Press contact:
    Mai Pham Robertson
    Tel: (202) 903-8150

    Mai D. Phan
    Tel: (408) 975-9321

    Duy Thai
    Tel: (415) 296-9927

    National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys 2011
    April 1-2, 2011 Washington, D.C.

    Friday Evening, April 1
    Arent Fox LLP
    1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20036-5339

    Saturday Daytime, April 2
    District of Columbia Bar Association
    1101 K Street NW, Suite 200
    Washington, DC 20005

    Saturday Evening, April 2
    Tony Cheng's Restaurant
    619 H Street NW
    Washington, DC 20007

    Registration and other information available at

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