The historical impetus for the formation of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA) can be traced back to the late 1970s, when a progressive segment of young lawyers and law students from the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) joined together to form the Asian Concerns Committee (ACC). The mission of the ACC was to include members of all Asian ethnic groups in the pursuit of social justice, self-empowerment, and community service. During the 1980s, the ACC grew into a de-facto pan-Asian bar association dedicated to a collaborative approach to addressing the needs of the Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) community at large, officially becoming an independent entity apart from JABA in 1985. By the early 1990s, ACC members explored the idea of merging the four existing Asian bar associations - JABA, the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, the Korean American Bar Association, and the Philippine American Bar Association - as a possible way to increase the strength and influence of the APIA legal community and to address the needs of then unrepresented Asian ethnic communities. This effort led to the eventual formation of APABA in 1998. While not the result of a formal merger of Asian bar associations, APABA endeavors to function in the spirit envisioned by its original founders.
In 1998, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA) was established and adopted the following multifaceted mission: