Thursday, September 24, 2009
Debra Wong Yang Confirmed as Police Commissioner
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles City Council yesterday unanimously confirmed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nomination of former U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang to serve on the Board of Police Commissioners.
Yang was nominated last month. She took office immediately following the council vote, the commission said in a release, and will attend her first meeting next week.
“We are very excited that Debra Wong Yang will be joining us,” commission President John W. Mack said in a release. “She brings with her a wealth of expertise, experience and enthusiasm, and she is committed to our civilian oversight role at the Los Angeles Police Department.”
Yang is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Los Angeles office, where she serves as co-chair of the firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group and the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Yang served as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. Her 2002 appointment by then-President George W. Bush made her first Asian-American woman to serve as U.S. Attorney.
She had served in the 1990s as an assistant U.S. attorney for approximately seven years, during which time she prosecuted both violent and white-collar crimes, international money laundering, computer crimes and arson.
While at the helm of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles—which employs nearly 260 assistant U.S. attorneys and is the largest U.S. Attorney’s office outside of Washington, D.C.—Yang served on Bush’s Corporate Fraud Tax Force and chaired the attorney general’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rights.
Yang was also selected to serve on then-Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’ advisory committee, and on the Ninth Circuit Jury Reform committee.
In 1997 she was tapped by then-Gov. Pete Wilson for the Los Angeles Municipal Court and was elevated to the Superior Court by unification in 2000, going on to serve as supervising judge for the Hollywood courthouse.
She has taught trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Law, and has also been an instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and California’s Judicial College.
A former president of the Chinese American Museum, Yang was also a founding member, officer and board member of the Southern California Chinese Lawyer Association.
Other professional activities have included membership in the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
In 2002, both the Inglewood Courts and the Los Angeles City Council honored her for her standing commitment to victims’ rights.
She has received the Asian Pacific Bar Association’s Public Service Award, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award and the Women’s Leadership Award.
Admitted to the State Bar in 1986, Yang holds a law degree from Boston College Law School and an undergraduate degree from Pitzer College in Claremont. She would be one of two former U.S. attorneys on the panel, the other being Andrea Sheridan Ordin, who was elected vice president of the commission last month.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company