Cracking the Bamboo Ceiling

Becoming a lawyer and landing your first job is one thing. Becoming a leader within your organization is a whole different ball game!

Yale Law School just published a study A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law that indicated “Asian Americans are the largest minority group in big law firms, but they have the highest attrition rates and the lowest ratio of partners to associates.”

Cracking the Bamboo Ceiling, organized by Temple Law APALSA, connected attorneys and law students to have a conversation about climbing the corporate ladder. We held a panel discussion with legal professionals from private practice, academia, public interest, and government. Participants included The Honorable Stella Tsai, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge and former Partner at Archer & Greiner; Deborah Hong, Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; John Huh, Partner at DLA Piper LAW ‘06); Pearl Kim, Former Congressional Candidate; Professor Tom Lin; Min Suh, Partner at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC; and Chi-Ser Tran, Staff Attorney at Community Legal Services LAW ’16.

Our discussion covered how to rise to leadership positions through challenging internal and external implicit bias, developing both hard and soft skills necessary for competent lawyers, and staying true to your authentic self. Panelists offered the following words of wisdom:

“You have to be authentic. You have to be yourself. I love that Oscar Wilde quote, ‘Be yourself, because everyone else is taken.’….You can’t be me, you can’t be [Professor Tom Lin]. You have to be yourself.” ~ Min Suh, Partner at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

“I’ve been underestimated as an Asian woman in the courtroom, and to be honest, I’ve found it has worked to my advantage.”~ Pearl Kim, former Congressional candidate

“Growing up in a Korean-American household, as the fourth of four girls, I was last in the patriarchal pecking order. I was taught to be quiet and listen to my elders…so in my career, there was a turning point where I had to learn to speak up and be aggressive.” ~ Deborah Hong, Partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP

At the conclusion of an inspiring panel, we gathered for our networking sushi and wine reception on the 2nd floor lobby area.

~Chelsea Hollenstein LAW ’20