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July 2018 Newsletter

President's Message

July 4th commemorates the pivotal moment when our country delcared independence from Great Britain.  This spirit of freedom lives on through the story of Hmong Americans in this country.  It seems fitting that as the Hmong community celebrates America's independence, it also celebrates its freedom from overt oppression.  But the tragedies of the freedom festival remind us that while the Hmong community thrives, it is incumbent upon the Hmong community and the community as a whole to continue seeking improvements.  HABA has always sought to improve its members so that its members may go on to improve the community.  We are always looking for an opportunity to make connections and support our members in career and community advancement.  If you are encouraged by the recent events to make a difference through HABA, please let us know so we may assist you.

- Fue Lo Thao

Legal Advice Clinic at HAP

HABA has partnered with the Volunteer Lawyers Network, Hmong American Partnership, and Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association to launch a summer legal advice clinic to serve low-income communities on the East Side of Saint Paul.

Your help is needed to make the legal clinic a success!  Please consider serving as a volunteer attorney or volunteer law student at one of our clinics.  This summer we are holding three clinics on June 27th, July 25th, and August 29th from 1pm to 3pm at Hmong American Partnership.  Volunteer attorneys are asked to provide legal advice only in the areas of law they are familiar with.  Law students will screen and conduct client intake.  The Volunteer Lawyers Network will provide malpractice insurance for all registered attorneys.
Volunteer at Legal Advice Clinic


In September, HABA will hold elections for officers and board positions.  All positions are for term years 2019 and 2020.  Email, call, or talk to one of the current officers and boardmembers if you are interested or have questions.
Come help lead HABA into 2020!

Events in the Legal Community

Advancing Pro Bono in the Twin Cities

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Includes reception
Thompson Reuters
610 Opperman Drive
Eagan, MN 
See flyer here!

MNAPABA 2018 Annual Gala

Shipbuilding: Friendships, Mentorships, and Sponsorships

September 12, 2018
Radisson Blu Minneapolis
Additional details and sponsorship available on the event website:

Job Postings

  • Associate Enterprise Employment Law Counsel.  Search under Job ID # 25037 (closing 7/30/18) by clicking here.
  • The Minneapolis Division of the FBI is hosting a Diversity Agent Recruiting event on August 2, 2018.  The Diversity Agent Recruiting Event is a social networking event where potential applicants in our diverse communities can meet current FBI agents, hear about their experiences and learn more about building an exciting career in the FBI.  Because the FBI is looking for serious applicants, this event is by invitation only, so the FBI is encouraging interested individuals submit a request via  If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in more details, please email  
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Lower Phalen Creek Project (LPCP).  The LPCP is an Eastside St. Paul nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage people in honoring and caring for our nature places and the sacred sites and cultural value within them.  LPCP is actively recruiting diverse candidates for its expanding Board of Directors.  Please see the attached LPCP Board Membership Description.  Any questions may also be directed to Cynthia Whiteford, a current board member at  
LPCP Board Membership Description

2018 Schedule of HABA Events




August 7, 2018
HABA Board Meeting


Thursday, August 16, 2018
FREE CLE:  Employment Law

Details coming soon!




Fall Social & HABA Elections

HABA officers and board positions are up for term years 2019 and 2020.  Come help lead HABA into 2020!


HABA Board Meeting



FREE CLE: Personal Injury 
Details coming!


HABA Board Meeting



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


HABA Board Meeting





HABA Board Meeting


Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature

This month we are excited to feature both Adam Yang and Paul Yang who are judicial candidates in Ramsey County.  Adam Yang is running in the 2nd District Court 11.  Paul Yang is running in 2nd District Court 20.

Thank you to both candidates who took time out of their busy campaigns to answer our questions and give all of us more insight into themselves.
Name:  Adam Yang (Hmoob: Tswj Cai Yaj)
Law School:  Mitchell Hamline University School of Law
Year Graduated:  1998
Current Position:  Assistant Public Defender, Office of the Public Defender - Hennepin County
Five Fun Facts People May Not Know About Adam:
  1. Graduated with Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1993 and 1995.
  2. Loves playing volleyball (constantly looking for someone to play with).
  3. This is our 20th year anniversary, but we will spend it campaigning.
  4. Almost 20 years of practicing criminal law and child protection.
  5. Helped organize Hmong American Bar Association.
Why did you choose to go to law school?  What influenced you to become an attorney? 
I chose law school because I wanted to be a patent attorney, but after my first year of law school, I clerked for a non-profit organization that represents the indigent, the underserved population.  This became my calling, my passion.  Hence, this is what I do every day, representing and advocating for the voiceless.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about law school?  To a new graduate?
Thinking about going to law school: 
1) don’t go to law school to make money,  and 2) go with an open mind.  There are many opportunities with a law degree.
To new graduates:  
Be patient and take whatever legal opportunity that comes along (we all have to start at the bottom of the career ladder, somehow.)
Tell us about a mentor or someone who helped you to where you are today.
Growing up, I hear about Dr. Yang Dao and his accomplishment.  His academic achievement is what propels me to my own accomplishments today.  He is an influential person in my life.
What areas of law do you practice?  If not practicing, how did your JD help you?   What do you enjoy most about your career?  What do you enjoy least?
Currently, I represent juveniles charged with crimes and children who are taken from their parents in child protection cases. 
What I enjoy most is simply being able to help my clients understand their situations, help them make the most sensible decisions and standing for them and with them in the courtroom.

Least enjoyable:  seeing children being victims of abuse; they should be having fun growing as children, not as victims.

What are you most proud of?  Or tell us about an accomplishment as a practicing attorney?
I am most proud of my wife.  No matter what my accomplishments are, I could not be where I am today without her and having her by my side.  Sometimes we don’t give enough credits to our daughters and wives.  They are amazing individuals.
Name:  Pao Paul Yang
Law School:  Mitchell Hamline University of Law
Year Graduated:  2002
Current Position:  Pao Yang Law Office (solo practice and contract part-time public defender)
Five Fun Facts People May Not Know About Pao:
  1. Mixed-handedness (example: write with my right hand, but use knife and and shoot basketball with my left hand.)
  2. I worked as a legislative aide (Minnesota House of Representatives) during my undergraduate study.
  3. I hate Hmong funeral food.
  4. I played college soccer.
  5. I make the best mac and cheese (at least according to my kids).
Why did you choose to go to law school?  What influenced you to become an attorney? 
I chose to be a lawyer because I believe that I can help more people. I felt that being an attorney would give me the necessary background and degree to reach out to people who needed help and that I would be in the best position to help people fight for their rights. 

I was a child refugee.  I was born toward the end of the Secret War and growing up, I knew about the history of my family’s struggle for freedom and justice.  Upon arriving in the USA, I was the first child to learn and know English.  The family and extended family came to me for assistance on almost everything, so I learned the importance of helping others.  I was the first in my family to go to college and law school.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about law school?  To a new graduate?
The legal field is one of the oldest profession and it is true that there are too many lawyers already, but there is always room for a good lawyer especially if you believe in helping people.

Tell us about a mentor or someone who helped you to where you are today.
My parents not only helped me but also continue to inspire me everyday.  My parents worked for Leeann Chin at the production center since arriving in America and had retired for about five years but still continue to do farmers market to this very day.  They are in their late 70s and they still appear to work more hours than I do.
What are you most proud of?  Or tell us about an accomplishment as a practicing attorney?
I don’t know about most proud but I really do enjoy doing trial work especially jury trials.

What areas of law do you practice?  If not practicing, how did your JD help you?   What do you enjoy most about your career?  What do you enjoy least?

I specialize in criminal law and civil litigation.  I enjoy going to court and making arguments before a judge or jury.  I have handled criminal cases from first degree murder to a simple domestic assault or DWI.  For civil cases, I have handle cases involving auto accidents and business transaction lawsuits.
Volunteer wise, what do you use your skills and talents for?
Currently, I am a volunteer school board member for Hope Community Academy in St. Paul (Charter School) and I am also a board member for Yang Wang Meng Association of USA (Non-profit Family Service).
Thank you Adam and Paul for being our spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature attorneys for the month of July.  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!
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