Lian Kuang


Yan Lian Kuang-Maoga (Lian) is Chinese-American. She was born in China and immigrated to the United States with her mother at the age of nine. She’s lived in New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown ever since. She speaks Taishanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin which are the most commonly spoken Chinese dialects in that area. Lian’s language abilities have been a valuable asset in her work. She started working with her community at the age of eighteen, and then later focused her work specifically on the Chinese elderly community for six years prior to law school, initially teaching English and Citizenship classes then as a geriatric case manager for home bound elders.

In her work, Lian realized the need to improve the system of delivering legal services to her community’s elders. She decided to obtain her law degree and learn about the legal system. Lian went to CUNY School of Law and graduated in 2009. She was admitted into the New York State Bar in April of 2010.

As a 2009-2010 Borchard Fellow, Lian took her fellowship back to her community to work on systematically improving the way legal services is provided to Chinese elders in New York City. She is working under the auspices of Main Street Legal Services (CUNY School of Law) and supervision of Professor, Joseph Rosenberg. Lian is working closely with community service agencies such as senior centers and senior residential developments providing direct legal representation, information, and education tailored to the cultural differences, language needs and education levels of Chinese elders. She will be conducting a citywide legal needs assessment of this community to find the specifics about their legal needs. Lian plans to use her findings to further develop ways of improving delivery of legal services to this community. Lian is also developing culturally competent materials for attorneys working with these elders.

Lian’s goal for the next five years is to create the New York Chinese Elderly Law Center, a centralize place where Chinese elders can access legal representation, information, and education tailored to their needs. She hopes her approach to improving the system of delivering legal services to her community’s elders can be a model to be replicated in other minority groups where cultural and language barriers create a particular need for a more tailored system of providing essential services.