Lorna Schofield: You Could Be A First

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I always like firsts. And when I'm feeling a little under the weather, I also like to simply print from the press release (because I'm lazy).

WASHINGTON - Today, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) welcomed the news that Senator Charles Schumer of New York has sent the name of Lorna Schofield to the White House to serve as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of New York.

"Lorna Schofield is exceptionally well-qualified to serve as a federal district court judge," said Tina Matsuoka, executive director of NAPABA. "If nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Schofield would be the first Filipino American in the history of the United States to serve as a federal judge. NAPABA applauds Senator Schumer for putting forward her name and once again confirming his strong commitment to advocating for the greater representation of well-qualified, diverse nominees to the federal judiciary."

Asian Pacific Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary. In the New York City area, approximately ten percent of the population is Asian Pacific American yet of the over 90 active and senior Article III judges currently serving the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, none is Asian Pacific American in the Southern District and only one is Asian Pacific American in the Eastern District.

"We commend Senator Schumer for recognizing both Ms. Schofield’s qualifications and the importance of diversity to the judiciary," said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. "Ms. Schofield has the experience to be an excellent district judge in the Southern District of New York, and we hope that she has the opportunity to do so."

For almost 20 years, Ms. Schofield has been a litigation partner at the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where she has focused on white collar criminal defense and general civil litigation. She became the firm’s first minority partner in 1991 and since January 2012 has served as Of Counsel. Prior to joining Debevoise, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Criminal Division) for four years. In 2008, Ms. Schofield was named one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal. She was the first Asian Pacific American to chair the Litigation Section of the ABA, which is the ABA’s largest section with over 60,000 members, and has also served as a member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

Ms. Schofield is a second-generation Filipino American whose life story is a testament to the American story of hard work and perseverance that beats the odds. She was the only child of a Filipina mother who came to the United States during the post-World War II reconstruction of the Philippines. Mother and daughter remained in the Midwest after Ms. Schofield’s father left the family when she was only three years old. She grew up in a blue collar community and received a full tuition scholarship to attend Indiana University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in three years. She went on to attend New York University Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review and a Pomeroy Scholar.

NAPABA and AAJC applaud Senator Schumer for putting forward Ms. Schofield’s name to serve as a federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York.

I'll be crossing my fingers (and toes).