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The Asian-American Bar Association placed a new voice at the top of its organization when Sunah Park, of the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based law firm Thorp Reed & Armstrong’s Lawrenceville, N.J., office, was elected president last week. Park, who will not assume her duties as president until 2001, was officially declared the next president at a joint meeting of minority bar associations, which included the Hispanic Bar Association and the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia. As head of the steadily growing association, Park said she hopes to focus on the broader base of Asian Americans in the greater Philadelphia region. There are now approximately 250,000 Asian Americans living in the Delaware Valley, which encompasses South Jersey, Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region. “The steady increase of Asian Americans will certainly aid both our membership and visibility,” said Park. “The Asian American is a mainstay of the Philadelphia legal community.” She also hopes to dispel the misconception of Asian Americans as a silent minority, one that keeps to itself. In reality, the voices of Asian Americans resonate in many areas of vital importance in the Philadelphia community, including racial profiling and the perpetual city stadium issue, she said. “We know that [the Asian-American Bar Association] is an important part of the community,” said Park. “We have a voice, and we often exercise that voice.” Born in Korea, Park came to the United States when she was just 5 years old. She attended Girls High School in Philadelphia and then received her B.A. from Brown University in 1990. After taking a few years to help run a now-defunct Center City restaurant, the Sweet Briar Cafe, Park graduated cum laude from Temple University’s School of Law in 1997. There, Park took an active role in the happenings of the Philadelphia legal community. “I remember when panels of attorneys from diverse backgrounds would come to Temple and speak to get the students involved,” said Park. “They got me involved in the community, and I would like to get today’s students involved also.” Today, Park is an associate and member of the complex civil litigation practice group with Thorp Reed. She is also a member of the American, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia bar associations, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Defense Institute. Park said the added duties of the presidential position will not be a problem for her and that her colleagues have showed unconditional support. As inspirations for her extended involvement in the Asian-American Bar Association, Park cites 1999 Asian-American Bar Association President Diana Liu, Court of Common Pleas Judge Ida Chen, and the managing partner of the Philadelphia division of Thorp Reed & Armstrong, Debra Dunn. Founded in 1984, the Asian-American Bar Association has grown every year since its inception. The group has more than 100 general members, as well as a 10-member executive committee and four officers. Park joined just one year ago.

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