It’s a wrap! NCVAA celebrated our Tenth Conference right where everything started: beautiful, dynamic, and diverse Silicon Valley, California. With attendees gathered from across the country and, for some, across the ocean, we welcomed young attorneys and veteran attorneys, students in law school and high school, and lawyers from large firms, small firms, in-house, and government – all attesting to the professional breadth of our community.
Under the striking glass dome of the San Jose City Hall, attendees engaged with continuing legal education programs on timely topics such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty, e-discovery, and investment visa applications (and why investments are flooding out of Vietnam). We showcased the legal expertise of many Vietnamese American attorneys, including Professor Joseph Thai, a former clerk to not one but two justices of the United States Supreme Court.
We dined, shared stories, and enjoyed the fellowship of our growing legal community.
Once again, we managed to convene almost every sitting judge of Vietnamese heritage in the United States in the same room, the grand City Council Chambers, to give their view from the bench and share insights for litigators coming before a tribunal.
From our extended community, we were welcomed by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, honored with the wisdom of the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, a giant in the intellectual property bench, enjoyed the wit of Justice Nathan D. Mihara of the California Court of Appeal, and even heard flawless Hanoi-inflected Vietnamese coming in the passionate voice of a German lawyer. These are but a small sample of the scholars and experts from diverse fields and backgrounds who were in San Jose.
Our conference also highlighted the public interest work and needs of the Vietnamese and Asian American community. Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen, Chair of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, explained the federal government’spriorities for engaging with the community. A CLE panel discussed the dismantling of bias in housing law, among other issues, and highlighted the public interest work done by the fellows of one of our sister organizations, the VABANC Law Foundation.
Our conference closed out with a powerful talk from a community trailblazer in a different (but not that different) field. Viet Thanh Nguyen read from his searing first novel, The Sympathizer, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, the first in fiction to go to a person of Vietnamese descent. He described the store his family ran when he was growing up, which was literally across the street from where he stood in City Hall. Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen also mentioned the store his family used to run across the street. The novelist and the presidential appointee are brothers.