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GW Law Student Group Co-Hosts With Local Bar Association its Annual Scholarship Dinner, March 19

MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Duggan
202-431-9135; [email protected]



The GW Law Asian/Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) is co-hosting with the Vietnamese American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area
(VABA-DC) the “Shoot for the Stars: VABA-DC 5th Annual Scholarship Dinner.”  The event, hosted at GW, supports diversity in the legal profession and provides scholarships to Vietnamese American law students.  This year’s scholarship dinner features keynote speaker NASA Astronaut Eugene Trinh, Vietnamese art curated by Galerie Brigitte, Inc., and Vietnamese cuisine catered by Present Restaurant.


Keynote address by Eugene Trinh, NASA astronaut and first Vietnamese American to travel to outer space.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 6 p.m. cocktail reception, 7 p.m. dinner and program.


The George Washington University
Marvin Center, Continental Ballroom, third floor
800 21st Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue and Orange lines)


Members of the media are welcome to attend.  Media should RSVP to Claire Duggan at [email protected].
Those wishing to attend the dinner should RSVP at:
($80 for private sector, $65 for non-profit/government, $35 for students).



The idea of the Vietnamese American lawyer is, only a generation after the Vietnam War, still a relatively new idea within this community, but it is also an idea with deep roots in the greater American community.  Most Vietnamese American lawyers come from families of political refugees who risked their lives to escape Vietnam after the Vietnam War.  Most have joined the legal profession as first-generation attorneys, especially in the Washington Metropolitan Area, which accepted many Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and 1980s.  As a result, this area now has hundreds of Vietnamese American attorneys in a broad range of legal positions, forming a network of in-house counsel, law firm partners and associates, solo practitioners, government attorneys and business owners.

The Vietnamese American community’s story is one of adversity-turned-into-success as can be seen in this year’s keynote and past speakers including the first Vietnamese-American U.S. Congressman, Joseph Cao from Louisiana, Ninth Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak.  As the only Vietnamese American Bar Association on the East Coast, VABA-DC works with other Asian American Bar Associations to promote the professional growth of Vietnamese American and Asian American attorneys, encourage and facilitate the entry of students into the legal profession, contribute to the public interest by serving as a voice for the local community and assist community members with legal concerns.

This scholarship dinner continues VABA-DC’s tradition of supporting the next generation.  The scholarships awarded lower the barriers to entry into the law and increase diversity in the legal profession, a result that directly benefits many. Past scholars have become prosecutors, community organizers, and law firm associates at international law firms. 

“GW Law is proud to note that two of the past four VABA-DC’s scholarship award winners have been GW Law students: Ha-Thanh Nguyen in 2009, and Caroline D. Pham in 2010,” said GW Law APALSA President and Student Bar Association President A.J. Sutton.  “It demonstrates the strength of GW Law in the Asian American legal community, not just in the region but across the United States.”
Ms. Nguyen, who is now currently a litigation associate with the firm of Clifford Chance US LLP and a VABA-DC Board Member, is heading up this year's scholarship dinner and says: “Ask a Vietnamese person what year they arrived in the United States and you will know their story. Mine is one of hardship and hope, having been born in the days after my family fled Vietnam as ‘boat people.’ Receiving the VABA-DC scholarship allowed me to connect to a group of talented Vietnamese lawyers and intern in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice where I worked on human trafficking prosecutions. Graduating from GW Law, I became the first in my entire family lineage to earn a law degree. Today, I am a litigation associate at Clifford Chance and a VABA-DC Board Member, honored to organize the same scholarship dinner that opened up so many doors for me before.”

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