Attorney Lorna Schofield

Washington DC – On Monday, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) recommended Attorney Lorna Schofield to the White House as a candidate for federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York. If nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Filipino American to serve as an Article III federal judge.

“When I select judges, I always look for three things – excellence, diversity, and moderation – and Schofield exemplifies all of these qualities. I’m pleased to recommend her to President Obama for the Southern District Bench,” said Schumer.

A litigation partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP for almost 20 years, Schofield has extensive trial experience in both the private and public sectors. She became the firm’s first minority partner in 1991 and now serves as Of Council. Prior to joining Debevoise, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the Southern District of New York. She was the first Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) to chair the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, and the National Law Journal named her one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers.

Currently, AAPIs are underrepresented on the federal bench. In New York alone, where AAPIs represent 10% of the population, there is only one AAPI judge serving among the 90 active and senior Article III judges in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Article III judges are nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and appointed lifetime tenure. However, of the 875 federal judges, there are now 14 active AAPI Article III judges in the nation, seven of whom were nominated by President Obama. Moreover, the number of AAPI women on the bench has tripled from two to six. Although much progress has been made under the Obama Administration, the number of AAPI federal judges still do not meet parity.

KAYA applauds Senator Schumer’s efforts to bring talent and diversity to the federal court. “Attorney Lorna G. Schofield represents many Filipino Americans in this country that grew up with independence and self sufficiency as essential values. Her life is an example of creating a future that is achievable for Filipino Americans in the United States,” said KAYA National Co-Chair, Genevieve V. Jopanda.