Touro Law Center's Office of Development, Alumni Relations and Communications is proud to announce that the Honorable Margaret Chan ’93 has been selected as the alum of the month for March. Judge Chan is a leader in her profession, was an active member of the Touro Law community while attending law school, and remains engaged with the law school by participating in Touro Law Center’s Mentor Program as well as a number of programs for current students. Her accomplished career is highlighted in the bio below. On behalf of the entire law school community, we extend our congratulations to Margaret Chan.
The Honorable Margaret Chan - Civil Court Judge, Kings County Civil Court
The Honorable Margaret Chan is currently a Judge at the Civil Court of New York. She is one of a handful of Asian judges in the State of New York. In Manhattan, there are, to date, two Asian judges of Chinese descent in the Civil Court and one in the Supreme Court.
Judge Chan is very happy and honored to be able to represent her community. And, as a Touro Law graduate, she is equally happy and honored to represent Touro Law.
Judge Chan was inducted as Second District Civil Court judge on December 7, 2006 and in her speech, she spoke proudly of her family's immigrant experience and how it shaped her: "My parents, forsaking the familiar and the comforts of their lives, came to America with three kids in tow, so that their children would have a better education and enjoy the American way of life," she said. "From their experience of growing up very humbly, they instilled in us that we remember where we came from, help those who are less fortunate, always be kind and give back to our communities."
The initial step that led Judge Chan to her current position as a Judge at the Civil Court of New York was the internship she participated in at the Appellate Court while at Touro Law, which led her to a career at the Appellate Division, Second Department and finally to her current position.
In Civil Court, she adjudicates cases under the monetary amount of $25,000. The Civil Court also gets cases above the jurisdictional amount that are transferred from Supreme Court. The cases before Judge Chan range from breach of contract to no-fault insurance to negligence actions to commercial landlord and tenant disputes and consumer debt cases.
Judge Chan is a Hong Kong immigrant and NYC public schools graduate. Adopting her parents' diligent work ethic, she became a trailblazer in New York's tough legal profession. She is among the first Asian American graduates of Touro Law School, the first Chinese American Managing Editor of the Touro Law Review and one of a select few Senior Court Attorneys at the NYS Appellate Division. She received her B.A. from Brooklyn College and her J.D. from Touro Law School in 1993. While attending Touro Law, Judge Chan published a note in the Touro Law Review, was a Teaching Assistant for the Legal Education Access Program (LEAP), a research assistant, involved in the Public Interest Law Organization of Touro (PILOT) and participated in pro-bono work helping Haitian refugees in Miami. She is admitted to the New York State Bar. She previously was an associate, and later, a partner at Gim & Chan, PC before going solo. Prior to her work in the private sector, she was a New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department - Senior Court Attorney.
Today, she still stays in touch with a few professors, attends Touro Law alumni events and also participates in Touro Law Center's Mentor Program. She remains good friends with fellow alumni and has this to say to students currently attending Touro Law: "What I learned from my experience at Touro Law is that perseverance pays. And what I learned after I graduated is that networking is important. I would advise Touro Law students to get involved in something extra such as a journal, public interest program, a clinic or student government - something to make your resume stand out. It is also a good idea to join bar associations now as students. They are a good source for job information, legal resources, mentors and networking opportunities."