The Alameda County Bar Association is proud to honor Vincent Tong, of Tong Law, as our New Lawyer of the Year at our January 14, 2016 Board Installation and Distinguished Service Awards Dinner.
Vincent Tong is the owner of Tong Law, an employment and business law practice in Oakland. He regularly provides pro-bono legal services to low-income communities at various clinics throughout the Bay Area. Vincent is an active member of the ACBA and its Barristers and Labor and Employment Sections, and served as Chair in 2015, ushering in the “Year of the New Attorney” with great success. He is a member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, California Employment Lawyers Association, Asian American Bar Association, National Lawyers Guild, and California Lawyers for the Arts. Vincent continues his service to the community in 2016 by being sworn-in as a member of the ACBA Board of Directors.
When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?
When I was 25, a friend of mine was studying for the LSAT and roped me in to answer a question that she was working on. I read it, picked an answer, and found out that I got the answer right. The process was a fun exercise that I believe planted the seed in my mind of attaining a legal education. Miraculously, around that same time, I started to meet a number of attorneys who were doing incredible community oriented social justice work. I decided that this was my calling and dove in. Although, according to my friends from middle school, apparently I told my class that I want to be a lawyer when I grew up, but I don’t recall that.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you be doing instead?
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were first admitted to practice?
Make a commitment to the type of law you want to practice (and the type of lawyer you want to be) and do one thing, each day, to fulfill that commitment.
What is the biggest challenge facing you as a lawyer today?
Time. As a solo attorney, I need to do all of the business development to ensure that I target the right clients for my practice. This requires me to be extremely efficient in managing my time because I need sufficient time to practice law. It is a delicate dance which challenges me to be more organized.
What is your favorite part of being a lawyer?
My clients. I have been extremely fortunate to have wonderful clients. I love working with them in identifying the issues that they face and then using the tools that I have gained (and continue to gain) to assist them in taking a step towards making them whole.
What is your dream vacation?
I just returned from Cuba, which has been on my list of places to visit for at least the last 10 years. My trip was incredible and is definitely a game changer. It is hard for me to imagine that any other trip will be able to top this one, but I’m up for the challenge.
What are you reading now?
Other than legal papers, I read a lot of blogs and articles via social media. Some of my areas of interests are: art and culture, rock climbing, and social and technological advancements, specifically, aerial drones.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
I used to not only speak with a Chinese accent, but also a Southern accent.
What person, living or dead, real or fictional, would you like to have dinner with?
My future self. Not for the reason of Biff from Back to the Future. I’d love to talk with my future self about what I can do better as a person to ensure that I maximize my potential and contribution to our society, in this lifetime.
Why did you decide to be an ACBA member? What is the greatest benefit of membership?
I wanted to connect and build with local attorneys and legal workers. ACBA has given me access to exactly that, and then some. The staff and members are extremely warm and welcoming. The organization puts on excellent MCLEs and social events. The greatest benefit to me has been serving on the Barristers Section Executive Committee. I am looking forward to my participation on the ACBA Board.
Please join us in honoring Vincent and the other Distinguished Service Award Recipients at the Rotunda Building Oakland on January 14th, 2016. Click here for more information.