Oregon lawyers form new bar association

University law students this year have the opportunity to join a new organization: the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Julia E. Markley, the group’s president and co-founder, said about 15 Oregon lawyers formed the group in May by after several of them attended a National Asian Pacific American Bar Association conference.

In July, the group became an official affiliate of NAPABA, which has been active since 1988. “There has finally been a critical mass of APA attorneys in Oregon,” says Markley. “Enough people were motivated to get the organization started.” She attributes the successful start-up to a combination of the growth in APA attorneys in Oregon and the significant growth of NAPABA.

Like its national affiliate, OAPABA works to represent the interests of the Asian and Pacific American community and promote diversity in the legal profession. “I think overt discrimination has been a past problem,” Markley says. “And currently, there are still barriers to advancement in the profession.” Markley explains that Asian and Pacific American attorneys are among the least likely to be made partners in law firms. There are also very few Asian and Pacific American judges, both in Oregon and nationwide.

“I’m excited about increasing diversity in the legal profession and strengthening ties with lawyers in Oregon and the APA community,” Markley said.

OAPABA is designed to have inclusive membership. It is open to attorneys, judges and law students. Yearly membership fees vary and cost $40 for regular membership, $15 for law students and $25 for low-income members.

The next event for OAPABA will take place Sept. 24 at the offices of the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt firm in Portland. California State Bar President Holly Fujie is scheduled to speak. The event is open to the public.


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