Login to MyACC
ACC Members

Not a Member?

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

Join ACC

AAPI lawyers share their personal stories and experiences with anti-Asian biases to raise awareness, encourage empathy, and to prompt support, understanding, allyship, and action. In response to the recent stories of anti-Asian crimes, the ACC Foundation hosted a webinar with four Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) ACC members, moderated by CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC Paula Edgar.

“It’s sad that we have to have this to bring us together,” Angela Lim, deputy general counsel at, Inc. says, referring to a gunman murdering eight people, including six Asian women, in Atlanta in mid-March, during a recent webcast hosted by the ACC Foundation. Lim likens the current emotional turmoil surrounding Asian hate to the AAPI community’s reaction to the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982.

In the early 1980s, Japan’s successful auto industry was blamed for the decline of Michigan’s economy, and Chin, a Chinese man mistaken as someone of Japanese descent, was killed in Michigan by two white men who resented Japan because it contributed to the state’s rising unemployment. Chin’s attackers were charged with manslaughter, paid a US$3,000 fine, and served three years' probation — no jail time. The incident sparked an outcry for Asian American civil liberties, something Lim finds history repeating today. “This outraged the community then,” Lim says, “and I feel we are outraged now.”

“When you hear of violence like this, every rock that has been thrown at you,” she continues, “it all comes back.”

Lim’s panelists echoed agreement, remembering stereotypes and microaggressions from across their lives. Thomas Kim, chief legal officer at Thomson Reuters, says he spent years fighting stereotypes because he didn’t want to be known as “the Asian lawyer.” Where people expected him to be quiet and shy, he became aggressive. Now he wonders how he would be different had people stereotyped his ethnicity differently.

Yoon Ettinger, chief counsel, litigation, and claims at Southern Gas Co, expressed her frustration with not only Asian stereotypes but with Asian woman stereotypes. There’s a “belief that Asian women are docile and submissive, and they’ll just keep their head down and get their work done,” Ettinger says, “and then on the other hand, if you do speak up... then you’re the dragon lady.”


Meet the Panalists


  • Angela Lim, Deputy General Counsel,, Inc.
  • Thomas Kim, Chief Legal Officer, Thomason Reuters
  • Rudy Figueroa, General Counsel, Mitsui Rail Capital, LLC
  • Yoon Ettinger, Chief Counsel, Litigation & Claims, Southern Company Gas
Watch the Webinar On Demand

Ettinger pushed against the expectation that Asian women should take it upon themselves to improve their emotional intelligence to understand the balance of submission and aggression and do both whenever they serve your purposes. “I’m doing that every day already,” Ettinger says, “having to defend why I’m there and my right to speak, it’s exhausting.”

Rudy Figueroa, Mitsui Rail Capital, LLC’s general counsel, reiterated her sentiment, saying, “No matter how hard we work, we seem to have to overcompensate to prove our value.”

Whether it was seeing surprise on a colleague’s face when they meet an Asian woman with a Texan accent, being congratulated on how well they speak English, or getting asked, “Where are you really from?” every panelist agrees they have felt the need to prove they belonged. 

“Always the foreigner,” Ettinger says.

So, what can be done?

“Become educated,” Lim says, recommending the PBS program “Asian Americans.”

Ettinger says, “See us as people. See us as humans. Treat us as such.”

“Just speaking up is enough in many cases,” Kim says.

“Emulate the value of really embracing everyone,” Figueroa says, “That value is not that hard to do.”

Watch the webinar for more detail into the panelist’s reactions to anti-Asian actions and practical steps allies can take to #StopAsianHate


Learn more about the initiatives of the ACC Foundation, including its I.D.E.A.L. series — a collection of curated programs and resources on race, equity, social justice, diversity, and inclusion. 



This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work properly; others help us improve the user experience.

By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. For more information, read our cookies policy and our privacy policy.