Thursday, January 7, 2021
In 2015, more than a century after Hong Yen Chang, a Chinese immigrant who had graduated Columbia Law School, was denied a license to practice law in California because of laws that discriminated against Chinese immigrants, the Supreme Court of California granted him posthumous admission to the bar. The efforts of UC Davis School of Law students and UC Davis law professor Jack Chin led to the court's decision. Students in the law school's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association petitioned the court on behalf of Chang, pointing out that the laws that prevented him from practicing as an attorney have been discredited and repealed and asking the court to "right this historic wrong." In "a candid reckoning with a sordid chapter of our state and national history," the court granted Chang posthumous admission to the California bar.
Kimmy Yam for NBC News reported on the latest on the story of Hong Yen Chang. Columbia has honored Hong Yen Chang. In December 2020, the law school announced that its Center for Chinese Legal Studies will be named for Chang. Chang in 1886 was Columbia's first Chinese law graduate.