Hmong American Bar Association (HABA)
View this email in your browser


Bar Association

December 2017 Newsletter
What's in This Issue!
  • President's Message
  • Pictures from Annual Banquet
  • 2017 CLE Codes
  • 2018 Schedule of Events
  • Job Postings
  • People & Places
  • Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature


"HABA celebrated many inaugural events [this year] making the 2017 HABA banquet a night to remember!"

— Fue Lo Thao, HABA President

President's Message

Energy and excitement filled the air as HABA celebrated the 2017 Annual Banquet.  HABA celebrated many inaugural events in 2017 including the bi-monthly CLE series, the HABA Newsletter, and the HABA website.  HABA also celebrated the first recipient of the Paaj Ntaub Award, James Song, in recognition of his contributions and commitment to the HABA mission.  We were fortunate enough to hear Justice McKeig talk about her life and describe her experiences about feeling different than everyone else on the bench.  As a perfect ending to a wonderful year, HABA celebrated the appointment of the first person of Hmong descent to the bench in the State of Minnesota, Sophia Vuelo.  Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, speakers, and attendees for making the 2017 HABA banquet a night to remember!  The events don't stop here.  The board already has next year's events lined up and we look forward to seeing you at one of them!

Fue Lo Thao
HABA President

2017 Annual Banquet

Justice McKeig during her keynote speech.
HABA celebrating Sophia Vuelo's historic nomination.
HABA's Paaj Ntaub Award Recipient James Song with his wife Dr. Pahoua Yang.  (Check out our Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature this month featuring James below!)
HABA looks forward to our banquet next year where
we will have even more to celebrate!

2017 HABA CLE Event Codes

If you took part in one of our CLEs this year and need the MN CLE Approval Code, please find them below:
  • March 11, 2017: Immigration Law and the Hmong Community
    • Event Code 236594
  • April 19, 2017: Dos and Don'ts in a Courtroom, Incompetency and Specialty Courts
    • Event Code 238738
  • June 22, 2017: Home Health Care: Enforcement Trends & Tips
    • Event Code 239471
  • August 10, 2017: Perspectives on Law Enforcement Use of Force
    • Event Code 248094
  • October 26, 2017: Migration: How Putative Spouse and the UCCJEA Applies
    • Event Code 248940
  • December 1, 2017: Diversity on the Bench
    • Event Code 250665 Pending

2018 Schedule of HABA Events


HABA Board Meeting


CLE: Estate Planning Topic to be announced.

HABA Board Meeting


HABA Board Meeting


Spring Social (held in conjunction with the April CLE)
CLE: Criminal Law Topic to be announced.

HABA Board Meeting


HABA Board Meeting


Summer Picnic - SAVE THE DATE!
Saturday, June 2, 2018

CLE: Business Compliance Topic to be announced.
HABA Board Meeting


HABA Board Meeting


CLE:  Topic to be announced.

HABA Board Meeting


Fall Social & HABA Elections

HABA Board Meeting


CLE: Family Law topic to be announced.

HABA Board Meeting


Annual Banquet - SAVE THE DATE!
Friday, November 30, 2018

HABA Board Meeting


HABA Board Meeting

Job Postings

(These are sent to HABA for distribution.  Please email if you would like to be confidentially added to our job postings list-serv to receive notices more timely than the newsletter.)
  • Three (3) full-time Assistant Public Defender positions in Second Judicial District (St. Paul, Minnesota).  Closing Date: January 15, 2018 at 4PM.  Full time and .50 part time Assistant Public Defender positions in Fourth Judicial District (Minneapolis, Minnesota).  Closing Date 1/5/2018  See job postings by clicking here.

People & Places

HABA is proud to share two special announcements:
  • Sophia Vuelo has extended a personal invitation to the HABA community to attend her upcoming public swearing in ceremony as District Court Judge in Ramsey County.  The ceremony will be held on:
Thursday, January 4, 2018
4:00 p.m.
Landmark Tower
75 5th Street West
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
Public reception to follow immediately

Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature

Name James Song
Law School:  William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law)
Year Graduated: 2005
Current Position & Company/Firm Name:  Human Services Law Judge, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Five Fun Facts People May Not Know About James:
  1. In 1984, when my family became United States citizens, I got to pick my own American name - "James".
  2. At the age of 9, I learned how to swim and play chess.
  3. I love pumpkin pie.
  4. My wife and I are fostering four young children, who we expect to adop soon.
  5. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  So, yes, I am a Packer fan.
HABA is going to ask you a hard question, but we value your insight as recipient of the inaugural Paaj Ntaub Award as a member of HABA that has significantly advanced HABA and its mission.  What do you think Hmong attorneys and HABA should do to advance ourselves and HABA even more?
I think advancement starts with strong membership, both in quantity and quality.  And, I believe HABA has done that in the past few years.  New members have stepped up to take on leadership roles on the HABA Board and there is more interest from members in general.  The attendance at the HABA Banquet was impressive.

But my short answer to your question is – advancement starts with (1) the individual HABA member.  Get involved.  Take on a leadership position.  Join the board at the next election.  Attend events – socials, CLEs, banquets, etc.  (2) Tell others about HABA and ask them to join us at events.  (3) Support and build good relationships with other bars, including MNAPABA.  And (4) keep doing what HABA has done this past year:  (a) website; (b) monthly newsletters; (c) bi-monthy CLEs; and (d) have a Facebook presence.
Why did you choose to go to law school?  What influenced you to become an attorney? 
I went to law school because I wanted to be able to help people – in whatever capacity that may be.
When I was younger, my uncle and his family got into a terrible car accident.  Although I tried to help them as much as I could, I felt that I wanted to be able to do more.  So, that event motivated me to go to law school.
Tell us about a mentor or someone who helped you to where you are today.
One of my mentors was David Lutz, a partner at my first law firm out of law school.  David taught me that how you treat people (support staff, other attorneys, opposing counsel, and the court) is the most important thing. 
What are you most proud of?  Or tell us about an accomplishment as a practicing attorney?
Obviously, I am very proud of receiving the inaugural Paaj Ntaub Award through HABA.  I am honored and humbled.  To me, the award symbolizes the importance of HABA and what it stands for.  It also symbolizes HABA’s efforts to educate and give back to the communities that it serves.  For all these reasons, I share the Award with HABA.
What areas of law do you practice? What do you enjoy most about your career? 
I recently started as a human services judge with Department of Human Services.  Before that I was an unemployment law judge with the Department of Employment and Economic Development for three years.  Prior to being a law judge, I was a trial attorney for eight years defending corporations against products liability claims.  I enjoy where I am in my career, which allows me time to spend with my family.

A quote that I like to live by is:  “Although it is nice to feel important, it is more important to be nice.”
Congratulations and thank you James Song on your Paaj Ntaub Award and for being our Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature attorney for the month of December.  We look forward to highlighting more of our Hmong legal community members.  Our goal is to feature the diversity of our Hmong legal community, from non-practicing attorneys to recent law graduates, to experienced practitioners.  Please continue to share your ideas and referrals!
Copyright © 2017 Hmong American Bar Association, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp