May 19, 2023

The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia (APABA-VA) Named 2023 Bar Association of the Year 

APABA-VA group photo.The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia (APABA-VA) has been named the Bar Association of the Year by the Virginia State Bar Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations (CLSBA).

The Association was established in 1998 to provide Asian Pacific American lawyers in Virginia and other interested lawyers a voluntary bar association to be a voice of the Asian Pacific American community while promoting the changing face of the legal community in the Commonwealth.

APABA-VA’s annually elected leadership includes the following: Linda Choe of Fairfax County Public Schools’ Office of Division Counsel, president; Alexandra M. Lydon of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, vice president/president elect; Elizabeth M. Soc of the Law Office of Elizabeth M. Soc, PLLC, treasurer; and Raissa N. D. Wilbur of the Office of the County Attorney, Fairfax County, secretary.

In their nominations of APABA-VA, President Choe and Treasurer Soc enumerated the multiple initiatives the Association undertook to promote contact between the bench and the bar. In addition to sponsoring judicial investitures for APA judges and participating in judicial interviews in Fairfax County, APABA-VA was the lead organizer for a Judicial Career Panel featuring several guest judges and substitute judges. The Association also co-sponsored a panel event about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation in Virginia government. Currently, the Association is preparing for an event on May 25 in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month that will feature a panel of APA judges who will discuss their career paths.

In the Northern Virginia region, APABA-VA has worked on programs with the goal of improving the overall reputation of lawyers and the justice system. Two principal initiatives supported by APABA-VA that seek to expose students (especially minority students) to the possibility of a career in the court system are the annual Color of Justice event at the Fairfax County Courthouse and the JUSTice like Me event, for which the Association won a 2022 Award of Merit alongside several other co-sponsoring bar associations. Additionally, APABA-VA has taken the lead in organizing a local park clean up, supporting the Arlington Food Assistance Center, and staffing a discussion panel for young lawyers and students at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law.

The CLSBA will present the 2023 Bar Association of the Year Award at its Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast on June 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Virginia Beach.