An Interview with ACBA Board Vice-President Vincent Tong
ACBA Past-President Michael Johnson sat down with three of our newer young board members to introduce them to our membership and show their journey to leadership. Second in our series is Vincent Tong.
Vincent Tong is the owner of TONG LAW, an employment and business law practice in Oakland. He is an active member of the ACBA and its Barristers and Labor and Employment Sections, and served as the Chair for the Barristers section in 2015.
Vincent currently serves as a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association’s Executive Board. He is a member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, Asian American Bar Association, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, and California Lawyers for the Arts.
Vincent is a bi-lingual attorney who, for close to 15 years has called the San Francisco Bay Area his home. Originally hailing from Anhui Province in China, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he learned early on the timeless value of what imagination, determination and hard work can yield. After graduating at the top of his class from Oberlin College, Vincent sharpened his leadership skills through mobilizing diverse communities in campaigns for fair housing, consumer protection, and media justice. He also worked with local non-profit organizations in fundraising and grants development, and graphic design for marketing projects.
Vincent excelled at Santa Clara University School of Law and received numerous accolades including Best Oral Advocate, the Thurgood Marshal Civil Rights Scholarship, and an externship with the Superior Court of San Francisco. Vincent competed in the Moot Court competition as well as served as an associate for the Santa Clara Journal of International Law, where he authored a note on China’s telecommunications policies.
Vincent has been selected for inclusion in the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars List since 2015, and was the 2016 recipient of the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for New Lawyer.
Please describe your experience coming up through the ranks of ACBA, e.g., how did you become involved with ACBA, what was your experience in your first ACBA leadership role, how have progressed to the ACBA Board of Directors?
When I decided to launch my own law practice, I made it a point to get involved with ACBA. At that time, I had just moved back to Oakland from San Francisco. The ACBA members and staff I met were extremely open and welcoming. I was recruited to join the Barristers Executive Committee. When I served as Chair of the Barrister ExCom, I was asked to apply for a seat on the Board.
What impact (if any) has your participation in ACBA leadership had on your professional development?
Due to my participation in ACBA, I have grown to become a much stronger, intuitive and compassionate leader.
Have you used what you’ve learned as an ACBA Board Member in other aspects of your career?
One of the best things about being an ACBA board member is understanding the needs of our members and the broader legal community in Alameda County. I have met and developed solid relationships with many of our members, which helps me as a member of the ACBA board because we seek to provide the quality of programming and structure our organizational development so that it will continue to meet the needs of our community. Because ACBA works closely with Legal Access Alameda, I am able to continue to provide pro-bono legal services in Alameda County, which I appreciate and take pride in doing.
Do you feel that you have become a better lawyer and leader because of your participation on the ACBA board?
How has your view of the Bar Association evolved from when you first engaged the ACBA until now as a Board Member?
As a board member, I have a broader and deeper understanding of why we, as an organization, do what we do. From developing and cultivating continuing legal education programming, to organizing social events, to fostering a tradition of strong mentorship, to bringing together newer lawyers with more seasoned lawyers and judges, these all point towards enriching our members’ professional career paths. Looking back at where I started in my development with ACBA, I can see how these programs and networking opportunities helped me get to where I am now. Making the time and decision to get, and stay, involved with ACBA has been one of the best career decisions I made since starting my employment and business law practice.
Interested in getting more involved with the ACBA?
We’re happy to have you as our VP for 2019 Vincent, and thank you for your service! If you are interested in learning more about the ACBA Board of Directors, please reach out to Tiela Chalmers at firstname.lastname@example.org.