The Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA) honored Georgia State Law alumni, Manoj Mishra (J.D. ’02) and Christopher J. Chan (J.D. ’98) and professor, Natsu Saito, at its third annual gala on May 12.
“I am truly impressed with how GAPABA has grown and am proud of the work the GAPABA Foundation is doing for immigrants in Georgia,” said Saito, Distinguished University Professor and professor of law. “We started out in the early 1990s at a time when we weren’t sure there were 10 Asian Pacific American lawyers in Georgia — the number we needed to start a chapter — but with the help of a lot of friends in the State Bar, we were able to get it rolling, and it has blossomed into a vibrant organization in the legal community.”
Mishra received the Rising Star Award; and Chan received the Judge Alvin T. Wong Pioneer Award. The association also honored Saito, who was GAPABA’s first president and among its 13 charter members.
Mishra, director of field operations and strategic deals for North American and European Financial Institutions for ACI Worldwide Inc., received the Rising Star Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements, commitment and leadership — all achieved before turning 40. ACI Worldwide Inc. is a publicly traded company that provides banking and payment solutions for more than 5,000 organizations around the world.
“Manoj exemplifies the kind of young professional that GAPABA wishes to honor as a Rising Star. In addition to his professional success as a director at ACI Worldwide, he also takes time to give back to the community,” said David B. Kahng, GAPABA president. “We are proud of Manoj’s accomplishments and look forward to seeing more in the future.”
A history major, Mishra saw great opportunity with a legal degree and says he can’t sing enough praises about his experience at Georgia State Law.
“My years at Georgia State Law were some of the happiest of my life. I had so much fun, and I loved my classmates and professors,” he said. “Most importantly, I received the tools necessary to succeed from day one in my career. I felt prepared and had a strong foundation to build upon and refine my skillset.”
Mishra initially wanted to be a prosecutor, however, he found his passion for contracts and property when he joined the small corporate and estate-planning boutique, Robertson & Gable LLC. He practiced corporate law, contracts and commercial real estate transactions there for five years, and then decided to join the corporate world. He went in-house at SAP America Inc., a business software solutions provider; then joined the ACI team in May 2014.
“It’s always wonderful to be recognized for your work and achievements,” Mishra said. “It’s humbling as there are so many others who are deserving, but this encourages me to keep going and accomplish great things.”
Chan received the GAPABA’s highest honor with the Judge Alvin T. Wong Pioneer Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment and leadership of an individual who has paved the way for the advancement of GAPABA and Asian Pacific American attorneys.
“I’m honored to have received an award named after Judge Alvin Wong, the first Asian-American judge in the state and a good friend who has encouraged and inspired me to achieve more at my law firm as well as within GAPABA,” Chan said.
A member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Chan helps his clients identify key intellectual property and implement legal strategies to protect it. His practice encompasses all facets of IP law. He also serves on Sutherland’s Professional Development and Pro Bono & Public Service committees and is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
With a mechanical engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, Chan worked as a power industry engineer with Babcock & Wilcox prior to entering the legal profession. In his role, he analyzed and helped resolve mechanical issues relating to power plant equipment and systems.
Chan is an active member of several organizations, including Georgia State Law where he serves on the Law Alumni Council and IP Advisory Board. He is a past GAPABA president and today serves on its board of directors and as the strategic planning chair.
“Chris has dedicated years of service to GAPABA and the Asian Pacific American community. As GAPABA’s president, he helped to create the vision of this Gala and has led the efforts in expanding its supporters,” Kahng said. “By helping GAPABA prosper to unprecedented growth and success, Chris has enabled GAPABA and its members to reach new heights in our profession and in the local APA community.”
GAPABA was established in 1993 as a support network for Asian Pacific American attorneys and those interested in Asian American legal issues—providing opportunities for professional growth, networking and fellowship.