Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Community is a vital component of giving people of color the encouragement and confidence they need to advance their careers. Community-building is what Gregory Schwartz sees as a main function of the Korean American Bar Association of Minnesota (KABA-MN), for which he currently serves as president.
Schwartz, a chemical engineer and patent attorney at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, became active in KABA-MN as well as the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA) shortly after law school. At that time, he was engaged mostly for professional development and networking. Now, he said, leading KABA-MN is a passion that is fueled by his recognition of how important it is for professionals to have a strong community of peers.
“One metric that we don’t track, but that I have a pulse on, is how many [Korean community members] we can keep in Minnesota. What we try to do with KABA-MN is build a community in which you cannot only get support for your career, but you can develop relationships that grow into friendships. You end up having a social and a professional community that comes out of these organizations,” he said.
Schwartz, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by an Illinois couple, also co-founded the Asian American Adoptee Network of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). His work with this group involves advocating for international adoptees who have been deported or face deportation due to having never being naturalized as U.S. citizens.
Progress on these efforts can be slow, which is challenging, Schwartz said. That reinforces the importance of having a tight-knit community that can keep the collective effort alive.
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