Vincent T. Chang is a New York Life Fellow and serves as the New York ABF Fellows State Co-Chair. He is currently a Partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch. Vince is very active in bar association and public service work, as he currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the New York County Lawyer’s Association. In addition to that, he is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and an adviser to the Second Circuit Judicial Council Committee on Civic Education & Public Engagement. He was a recipient of the New York City Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award in 2011.
What does being an ABF Fellow mean to you?
I’m proud to serve as an ABF Fellow because ABF supports outstanding research and researchers in so many important fields, empirically based research that helps dispel the myths and discord surrounding important issues confronting society. In particular, it was such a pleasure to host Judge Goodwin Liu and Professor Ajay Mehrotra on their groundbreaking research regarding Asian Americans in the law.
I also cherish the fellowship that we enjoy both at the local levels in the ABF Fellows. We have about ten meetings a year in New York and am always pleased to see old friends at those meetings.
Where do you consider your home town and what is your favorite thing about it?
Although I’ve lived in the New York City area for over 35 years, I still consider the small town in Iowa where I grew up, Knoxville, Iowa, to be my hometown. The hallmark of the town was the friendliness of its people, a contrast to the anonymity and fast pace of New York City. Of course, after 35 years, the pace of any city other than New York now seems too slow for me!
Why did you decide to pursue a career in law?
As a high school and college debater, I gravitated toward law, as many debaters do. Law always seemed to be the best fit for my skill set, in sharp contrast to disciplines that involved use of quantitative or scientific ability. But in addition I saw law as not just a trade but as a more noble profession, which wields substantial influence in, and helps to positively affect, society. And, perhaps more so than now, at that time, lawyers were held in very high regard, considered to be pillars of the community.
If you hadn’t pursued a career in law, what would you have done?
I’m not sure about that counterfactual. I did an interview during law school for a job with a management consulting firm, Bain, but didn’t get the job. The trajectory of my life might have been drastically altered if I had been able to better handle the quantitative questions with which I was confronted in the fourth round of interviews!
What do you do in your free time?
Another counterfactual – given my lack of free time! I like to travel and spend time with my family. I do some reading – but often on legal issues. And even the travel sometimes is part of a busman’s holiday in connection with bar association events!
Who is your professional hero?
There are so many, but one professional hero is Judge Denny Chin of the Second Circuit, one of the first Asian-American Circuit judges east of the Mississippi. Judge Chin is a brilliant jurist and is tireless in his commitment to civic education and to the betterment of the Asian American legal community. He’s always been a role model for me.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Just to thank the ABF staff for all that it does – the organization is so professionally run and does such tremendous work in so many areas of research, as well as providing top-notch support for our Fellows chapters nationwide.