Lawyers & Legal Professionals of Asian Ancestry: Achieving Professional Success When You’re a Racial Minority

  • 03 Mar 2020
  • 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM (GMT)
  • Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe 107 Cheapside, London


The Asian diaspora has resulted in people of Asian ancestry living all over the world, including places where their numbers, regardless how small or large, render them racial minorities. For those of Asian ancestry who choose to pursue a career as a lawyer in a country where they are part of a racial minority, they can encounter additional challenges to entry into the profession and obstacles to accessing professional opportunities and achieving professional success. Lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry in the UK, US, and Canada have been grappling with these issues for decades. Are there commonalities between the experiences of, challenges for, and opportunities available for lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry who are part of the growing diversity in the countries where they and their families have put down roots and now make their homes? Are there lessons we can learn and ways we can begin to support each other professionally?

Join us as we begin to lay the foundation to learn from and build relationships with other British, American, and Canadian lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry.


8:30 AM                          Registration

9:00 AM – 5:30 PM         Program

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM         Opening Remarks: The Vision for British, American, and Canadian Lawyers and Legal Professionals of Asian Ancestry

9:05 AM – 9:10 AM         Welcome:

                                        Jinal Shah, Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

9:10 AM – 9:30 AM         Guest Speaker

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM       What We Need to Know About Each Other

This general overview will examine the current ethnic origin demographics of lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry in the UK, US, and Canada. Under discussion will be their general history, particular experiences that have shaped their identities, current challenges, and resources and initiatives so as to provide a general understanding of similarities and differences for lawyers of Asian ancestry in these different countries and lay the foundation for ongoing discussion.

10:15 AM – 10:25 AM    Break

10:25 AM – 11:25 AM    Race or Social Mobility?

Is it race or lack of social mobility that proves the greater challenge for the advancement of lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry within the broader legal profession? In the UK, is it easier to talk about social mobility rather than race? In the US, is race a more comfortable issue for discussion than social mobility? How does comfort with or acceptance of race or social mobility as obstacles to professional advancement and success, and any resultant ability to discuss and address societal barriers, impact Asian lawyers and legal professionals.

11:25 AM – 12:25 PM     Gender and Asian Lawyers

The stereotypes of and biases about Asians differs dramatically depending upon gender. How does gender affect the professional opportunities and obstacles that Asian lawyers may encounter? How might Asian lawyers better support each other professionally across any gender divides?

12:25 PM – 12:30 PM     Break

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM       Networking Luncheon

Please take an opportunity to meet others whom you might not know or don’t know well over lunch.

2:00 PM – 2:05 PM          Break

2:05 PM – 3:15 PM          Building Bridges Among Lawyers and Legal Professionals of    Different Asian Ethnicities

The UK, US, and Canada might frequently lump us all together as “Asian,” but we know that there are differences grounded in Asian history, religions, cultures, and assorted other bases. Moreover, we’re not in Asia anymore. While our numbers in the UK, US, and Canada are small enough that there is some logic in uniting under a pan-Asian ancestry identity, how do we do that? How can we build better and stronger bridges among Asian lawyers of different Asian ethnicities and regions.

3:15 PM – 3:25 PM          Break

3:25 PM – 4:25 PM          The Professional Advancement of Asian Lawyers and Legal  Professionals

Why don’t we see more Asian lawyers leading global law firms and corporate law departments? Why aren’t there any or more Asians on the highest courts in the UK, US, and Canada? What can we learn from the experiences of Asian lawyers who have achieved extraordinary degrees of professional success? How can more Asian lawyers replicate that degree of professional success and more?

4:25 PM – 5:25 PM          Professional Organizations

What can professional organizations do to support career success for lawyers of Asian ancestry? What does it take to build and sustain professional organizations of Asian lawyers. Can these organizations serve the needs of Asian lawyers in other countries? Should they? Or, is collaboration a better strategy? Join us as we discuss professional organizations for lawyers and legal professionals of Asian ancestry in the UK, US, and Canada.

5:25 PM – 5:30 PM          Closing Remarks

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM         Networking Reception

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