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June 2018 Newsletter

President's Message

June 5th marked the end of the filing deadline for political and judicial office in Minnesota.  As I scan the pool of candidacy, I am excited to see a growing number of community members seeking out elected office to improve our state on both sides of the political spectrum.  More related to HABA, we see members who are seeking out judicial office to improve the status of our justice system.  I look forward to hearing great news in the months to come.  As we watch these elections unfold, HABA continues to provide social and education events for our members to connect and learn so that our members may someday reach their own true potential and aspirations.

- 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.

If you are interested in volunteering, please join us for a 90-minute lunch and volunteer training at the offices of Nilan Johnson Lewis.  At this training, we will cover the basics of the legal clinic and how to best serve clients, including how to make referrals.  And you will have the opportunity to sign up for a volunteer shift at one of the clinics.  You can also attend the training by webinar.  

Volunteer Lawyers Network Training
Friday, June 22, 2018
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Nilan Johnson Lewis
Lunch provided by MNAPABA
Direct questions to Sukanya Momsen at
Sign up for Volunteer Training


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!


(L-R) Yee Xiong, Mai Ka Moua, Pajjar Yang, and Kay Yang presenting at HABA's June CLE on banking compliance.
Rain or Shine!  A fun time and delicious food was still had at the HABA Picnic on June 2nd!
HABA joined the Saint Paul Public Schools at its 2018 Hmong-American High School Senior Recognition event on May 26th.  Keynote speaker was Judge Sophia Vuelo!

Events in the Legal Community

National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. 
June 13-16, 2018. 
See conference details at
Government and Nonprofit Careers Panel and Judges Reception

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Twin Cities Public Television
172 East 4th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101

See details and to RSVP at 

Job Postings

  • Senior Attorney, MN Dept of Human Services.  Search under Job ID # 24192 (closing 6/13/18) by clicking here.
  • Assistant City Attorney, Criminal Division of the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office.  Desired Skills include fluency in a foreign language (e.g. those used by the City's immigrant and refugee population such as Hmong, Lao, Oromo, Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese).  Click here and view Job ID # 2018-00222 (closing 06/15/18).
  • 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




HABA Board Meeting




CLE:  Topic to be announced.


HABA Board Meeting



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



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


Spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature

Name   Niramittata (Nira) Ly
Law School:    University of Wisconsin Law School
Year Graduated:    2012
Current Position:    Minnesota Housing Financy Agency; Community Lending Team Supervisor
Five Fun Facts People May Not Know About Nira:
  1. My first foray into policy advocacy work was a job in college with NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota with a focus on mobilizing college students to engage in reproductive rights advocacy.
  2. I graduated from Carleton College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology.
  3. I was the President of the University of Wisconsin Law School's Asian Pacific American/South Asian Law Students Association (APALSA/SALSA).
  4. I currently staff the Governor's Task Force on Housing with a focus on the Tas Force's Homeownership Work Group.
  5. Prior to law school, I worked with National CAPACD, a national policy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. that focuses on addressing the housing and community development needs of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities across the country.
Why did you choose to go to law school?  What influenced you to become an attorney? 

My interest has always been in policy advocacy and public service. I chose to pursue a law degree to expand my knowledge of policymaking and the implementation and interpretation of the law. In law school, I focused on policy related courses such as Legislation, Administrative Law, and Wisconsin Administrative Law. While I’ve been licensed practice in Minnesota in the past, I currently do not practice law and do not anticipate practicing law in the near future.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about law school?  To a new graduate?

I would advise folks interested in law school to consider the end goal in receiving a law degree. I went into law school knowing I was not intending to practice law after graduating. My goal was to pursue a career in policy or public service. In law school, I was intentional about taking courses and participating in internships and clinics that related to policy or public service. If you are not completely sure what you want to do following law school, I would encourage working first or shadowing people in fields you may be interested in to better understand what you want to pursue in a career.
Tell us about a mentor or someone who helped you to where you are today.

The Executive Director at National CAPACD played a great role in exposing me to policy and advocacy work and the range of opportunities in this field. She encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree to further my career goals. It is due in part to her encouragement that I chose to attend law school. 
What areas of law do practice?  If not practicing, how did your JD help you?  What do you enjoy most about your career?  What do you enjoy least?

I currently oversee a team that manages Minnesota Housing’s community lending programs, including the Impact Fund, the Rehabilitation Loan Program, the Tribal Indian Housing Program, the Quick Start Disaster Relief Program, and the Minnesota Urban and Rural Homesteading Program. Theses programs provide funding for affordable housing development and preservation. These programs are authorized by statute and have many correlating administrative rules that govern the programs. My legal background has helped me to interpret statutes and rules to develop program policies and implement the programs in compliance with state and federal requirements.

All of the programs that my team oversees focus on creating and preserving affordable housing for Minnesotans. For example, the Impact Fund provides funding for developers to build new affordable homes for lower income families to buy so that they can become homeowners. I love knowing that the work I do has a direct and powerful impactful on low income individuals and families. It is what motivates me to work every day.   
Thank you Nira for being our spotlight Tshwjxeeb Feature attorney for the month of June.  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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