The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society is a diverse coalition of Asian Canadian legal professionals working to promote equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian Canadian legal professionals and the wider community.
Founded in 2011, FACL BC is the largest equity-seeking bar association in British Columbia with over 620 members ranging from judges, partners, associates, in-house counsel, academics and law students and is affiliated with other FACL chapters across Canada and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in the United States, which represents over 60,000 lawyers.
FACL BC was also the winner of the 2022 Clawbies award for Best Podcast and the 2021 Clawbies award for Best Innovative Project for our ground-breaking documentary, “But I Look Like a Lawyer”, which captures stories of the discrimination, stereotyping and bias experienced by members of the Pan-Asian legal community. Allies are welcome, and can support our mission by joining as a Supporting Member. Supporting Members do not need to identify as pan-Asian or as a legal professional. Learn more here.
It is a great privilege to serve as FACL BC’s President for the 2023 to 2024 year. Like many of you, I am an immigrant (from Hong Kong), a first-generation Canadian, a first-generation university graduate, and a first-generation lawyer.
The diversity of our profession is slowly changing, but lots of work remains to be done. As we enter our 12th year, I hope to focus my presidential term on advocating more, enhancing accessibility, and building more alliances for the Asian-Canadian legal community. Asian-Canadians were not permitted to practice law in BC until the late 1940’s. Only 100 years ago, the Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 was enacted with the objective of banning all immigration of Chinese peoples to Canada.
I joined FACL BC as a Student Member. The first time I ran for a board position at the annual general meeting (AGM), I was extremely nervous as I had never participated in a contested election. I was not elected and thought I would never show my face at FACL BC again out of humiliation and embarrassment.
But little did I know my journey at FACL BC actually began that day. The person who was elected for the role I ran for ended up becoming one of my closest friends in law. I went to my first FACL BC event following the AGM. Everyone – strangers – welcomed me with open arms because they all had the same intention of empowering other Asian-Canadian legal professionals, and “sending the elevator down” to junior lawyers. There was an incredible outpour of support from people I have never met, and this is still the case years later.
Not everyone’s experience at FACL BC is the same, but I think we all can safely say that the energy at FACL BC – both at the board and member level – is unparalleled. We are an incorporated non-profit society that is entirely volunteer driven other than two part-time student contractors. You or your firm’s support of our initiatives and mandate of promoting equity, justice, and opportunity can make a significant difference in our legal profession.
Because of FACL BC, I have been fortunate to meet and interact with very distinguished members of our bar, all of whom have carved the path for future generations of Asian-Canadians: from interviewing Justice Randall Wong, producing a documentary on discrimination and bias that screened at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, learning from some of the few King’s Counsel of Asian descent in this province (including Winston Sayson, KC on our Advisory Committee, and Louisa Winn, KC, who recently graced the cover of The Advocate), to sharing a meal with BC’s Attorney General, the Honourable Niki Sharma, KC. FACL BC has also supported me professionally by connecting me to job interviews and client referrals through our incredible network of 620+ members. Most importantly, this professional network has become a community of lifelong friends and mentors - some of which have been recognized individually for the work they do for FACL BC, including through the CBABC Equality & Diversity Award as well as the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada.
These opportunities are, similarly, open to anyone who wishes to join FACL BC. I hope that you can benefit from the same through attending our exciting roster of events, or joining our future board, or one of our committees – advocacy, mentorship, membership, or gala.
I invite you and your friends to join us at http://faclbc.ca/join. Allies are welcome, and we offer a Supporting Membership for those who do not fall under the Full and Student Membership categories.
If you have any comments or feedback about FACL BC, please contact me anytime at email@example.com. Let’s get started!
President, Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC
The FACL BC registered office is situated on the unceded, traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ə (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We acknowledge the significance of the land for the Indigenous peoples who have lived here and acted as stewards since time immemorial, as well as the historical and ongoing injustices they still face. We are committed to working towards decolonial solidarity and the full realization of Indigenous rights. Read our full land acknowledgement here.