Skip to content

NBC interviews Professor Chin about Columbia Law's honor of Asian legal trailblazer

News Posted on January 5, 2021

Professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin spoke with NBC News in December, when Columbia Law School announced it would honor Hong Yen Chang, who in 1886 became its first Chinese graduate and later the first Chinese American lawyer. Columbia’s Center for Chinese Legal Studies now bears Chang’s name.

"This is an important recognition of the long history of Asians and other people of color in the United States," Chin told NBC. See the full report

After becoming a U.S. citizen, Chang was admitted to the New York state bar, but in 1890 he was refused admission to the bar in California under the federal Chinese Exclusion Act. 

Chin and King Hall’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association advocated for and won posthumous admission for Chang to the California bar in 2015.

Gabriel "Jack" Chin is Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law and holder of the Edward L. Barrett Jr. Endowed Chair at UC Davis School of Law. He is a prolific and much-cited criminal and immigration law scholar whose work has addressed many of the most pressing social issues of our time.