Blog : Awards

Minette Kwok Honored by SF Supervisor Norman Yee as Part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Minette Kwok Honored by SF Supervisor Norman Yee as Part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee today recognized firm partner Minette Kwok as a District 7 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month honoree for her leadership advocating for immigrant families and mentoring the next generation of Asian American leaders.

PHOTO: San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee (left) and Minette Kwok at the May 8 recognition ceremony at San Francisco City Hall for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Gerry Okimoto.

Supervisor Yee: “I am proud to honor nationally-recognized immigration attorney, Minette Kwok, partner at the Minami Tamaki LLP firm. For over 25 years, she has advocated on behalf of immigrants seeking to work and contribute to our country. Recently she helped win a state Supreme Court case allowing undocumented immigrants to be licensed as attorneys. On Jan 1, 2018 when Gov. Brown signed a bill into law, California became the first state in the country to license undocumented immigrants as attorneys. Let’s keep fighting for our immigrant communities and standing in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

Congratulations to Minette on this well-deserved recognition!

Lisa Mak Honored with AABA’s Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy

Lisa Mak Honored with AABA’s Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) celebrated its 42nd annual gala on March 22 at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco with more than 800 attorneys, judges, elected officials, and other distinguished guests.

Founded in 1976, AABA is the largest local Asian American bar association in the country, and one of the largest minority bar associations in California. Dale Minami, Partner in our Personal Injury Group, was a co-founder of AABA. Sean Tamura-Sato, a Partner in our Consumer and Employee Rights Group, and Lisa P. Mak, an Associate in the same group, serve on AABA’s board of directors.

Lisa was also honored with this year’s Joe Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy for her advocacy on behalf of employees, including a $3.5 million verdict in 2016 on behalf of four female Sacramento Sheriff’s Department officers, and her commitment to serving the community.

Joe Morozumi was one of the first Asian American trial lawyers in the Bay Area and a role model of zealous advocacy for the poor and the powerless. In 1997, Dale Minami, Mike Lee, and AABA established the Morozumi Award to recognize Asian American attorneys who exemplify his spirit of uncompromising legal advocacy in matters of conscience.

“I am honored to be a part of and a product of this community that supports the advancement of minorities in the legal profession,” Lisa said in her acceptance remarks. “A community where courageous lawyers like Joe … paved the way for advocacy on behalf of those who need support, protection, and a voice.”

The late San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, the city’s first Asian American mayor, posthumously received the AABA Trailblazer Award, which his wife Anita Lee accepted on his behalf. The gala included a moving tribute to Mayor Lee from Donald K. Tamaki, Partner in our Business & Nonprofit Counseling Group; U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen; and Esther Leong, Administrative Director of Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach.

From left to right: Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Donald K. Tamaki, U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen, Esther Leong of Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and AABA President David Tsai pay tribute to the late Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco.

“Ed devoted twelve formative years at the Asian Law Caucus working for almost nothing, representing Chinatown tenants and sweatshop workers, and organizing them to demand their rights,” said Don. “This defining experience shaped his values, served as his moral compass, and informed his decisions as Mayor.”

John So, a 3L student at UC Hastings College of the Law, received this year’s Garrick S. Lew Fellowship through the AABA Law Foundation. The Fellowship is funded through a grant from the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation’s Garrick S. Lew Legacy Fund, and awards $10,000 to a 3L law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation. The MTYKL Foundation created this Legacy Fund in conjunction with the Lew family to continue Garrick’s legacy of advocating for our Asian American communities. Garrick, who passed away in 2016, was a former Partner in our firm.

Minami Tamaki is proud to continue supporting AABA and its efforts to protect civil rights, engage our community, and increase diversity in the legal profession.

From left to right: Minami Tamaki’s Dale Minami, Lisa Mak, California State Treasurer and candidate for governor John Chiang, and UC Hastings Prof. Eumi Lee (former AABA President).
Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2017

Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2017

TOP PHOTO: (back row) Partner Dale Minami (second from left) with the Hon. Holly J. Fujie (left), Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge; Pankit Doshi (second from right), incoming NAPABA national president; Ameek Sidhu (right); (front row) David Louie (left), former Attorney General for the State of Hawai’i; Joan Haratani (middle), the 2006 president of the Bar Association of San Francisco; and Michelle Park Chiu (right), AABA Bay Area board member (photo courtesy of AABA).


Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys Dale Minami, Sean Tamura-Sato, Suhi Koizumi, Lisa P. Mak, and Seema Bhatt recently attended the annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) National Convention in Washington, D.C.  The Convention had a record-breaking turnout of over 2,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, and elected officials from around the country.

Suhi Koizumi, a Senior Associate in our Immigration Practice Group, was honored with the prestigious NAPABA Best Under 40 Award, which recognizes talented individuals in the Asian Pacific American legal community who are under the age of 40 and have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields, and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

Minami Tamaki’s Suhi Koizumi (left of podium) receiving one of NAPABA’s ‘Best Under 40″ awards at the 2017 national convention (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

During CLE breakout sessions, Dale Minami, a Partner in our Personal Injury Group, joined with members of the Asian American Bar Association of New York in a moving re-enactment of the story and trial of Fred Korematsu, which resulted in the overturning of a 40-year-old conviction for Mr. Korematsu’s refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II.  Since Dale was the Lead Counsel for Fred Korematsu, he played himself in the re-enactment, which he described as “quite stressful.”

Minami Tamaki Partner Dale Minami participating in a re-enactment of the Korematsu trial (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

At the Convention, our firm also raised awareness about the Stop Repeating History (stoprepeatinghistory.org) campaign, which seeks to educate the public on the dangers of unchecked presidential power and the parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with the current administration’s travel ban executive orders.

All of our attorneys who attended the Convention were a part of the NAPABA Solo and Small Firm Committee, which promotes the interest of small firms through “Boot Camp” seminars, networking, and cross referrals.

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA), represented by President Miriam Kim, was honored with the NAPABA Affiliate of the Year Award, which recognizes an outstanding local affiliate bar association for its best practices and accomplishments in its local community.  Nassiri & Jung LLP of San Francisco, represented by Charles Jung, was recognized as the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year.  Pankit Doshi of San Francisco was sworn in as the new President of NAPABA.

Dale was a co-founder of AABA.  Sean Tamura-Sato, a Partner in our Consumer & Employee Rights Group, and Lisa P. Mak, an Associate in the same group, currently serve on AABA’s Board of Directors.

Associates Seema Bhatt (left) and Lisa P. Mak (right) attended their first NAPABA convention (photo courtesy of Lisa. P. Mak).

Lisa and Seema were first-time Convention attendees and were inspired by the experience of seeing so many influential API attorneys in diverse roles and meeting many judges, politicians, and other prominent members of the legal community.

Minami Tamaki is proud to continue supporting NAPABA and its efforts to address civil rights issues, promote community service, and increase diversity in the legal profession.

Partners Dale Minami (left) and Sean Tamura-Sato at the NAPABA 2017 convention (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ 2018 Recognizes Minami Tamaki’s Immigration and Personal Injury Practices

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ 2018 Recognizes Minami Tamaki’s Immigration and Personal Injury Practices

Minami Tamaki LLP has received a Tier 1 ranking on the U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list under the “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs” and “Immigration” categories for our metro area.

This is the fourth consecutive recognition by U.S. News/Best Lawyers of our Personal Injury practice and the third consecutive year of our Immigration practice.

The U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

To be eligible for a U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers in that particular practice area and metro.

Earlier this year, Partners Dale Minami, Minette A. Kwok, B. Mark Fong, and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were selected by The Best Lawyers in America, which qualified the firm to be considered for the Best Law Firms list.

The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. We use a team approach which brings all of the resources of our practice group to bear on our cases. This has allowed us to recover multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts for our clients.

The Immigration Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services. We routinely assist employers and employees, nation-wide, in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. And, just as often, we help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships.

Asian Pacific Fund Honors Minami Tamaki LLP with 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award

Asian Pacific Fund Honors Minami Tamaki LLP with 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award

The Asian Pacific Fund honored our firm with its 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award at the organization’s annual gala on October 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.

The Asian Pacific Fund Annual Gala is a celebration of philanthropic leadership in the Bay Area. A special part of the evening is a presentation of the Leadership in Philanthropy Award, which recognizes those who have attained remarkable success in their field while also serving as a role model for giving back.

From the Asian Pacific Fund: “For more than 40 years, Minami Tamaki LLP has been a trailblazer in legal services and civil rights on behalf of the Asian American community. The firm made history by reopening the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. the United States, and overturning the conviction of Fred Korematsu.”

The outcome of that landmark case helped lead to reparations for Japanese Americans unconstitutionally incarcerated during World War II.

“The firm’s partners are equally known for helping found the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian Law Alliance as part of their ongoing mission to promote, advance, and represent the basic human, legal and civil rights of Asian Pacific Islander communities and beyond.

“As a private law firm, Minami Tamaki LLP defends some of the most vulnerable in the community by fighting against wage theft, sexual harassment, and discrimination. The firm is consistently recognized as Super Lawyers; this year, all of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Partners were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers.”

The firm “also invests its profits and resources back into the community with the firm’s partners pooling together $1 million to launch a nonprofit foundation with an additional $200,000 immediately going into the community to support immigrant rights and advocacy.”

Past honorees of the Leadership in Philanthropy Award include: author Amy Tan, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta, and Care.com chair and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo.

Partner Dale Minami also previously received the award in 2003.

The Asian Pacific Fund is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to strengthening the Bay Area’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities. We help donors achieve their philanthropic goals, support organizations that serve our most vulnerable, and raise awareness about pressing community needs.

San Diego JACL Honors Dale Minami with Lifetime Achievement Award

San Diego JACL Honors Dale Minami with Lifetime Achievement Award

The San Diego Chapter of the National Japanese American Citizens League (San Diego JACL) honored Dale Minami and Peter Irons with Lifetime Achievement Awards on Sept. 16, 2017, at its “Never Forget – One Nation” gala commemorating the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066.

San Diego JACL also honored Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and Japanese American veterans of the Korean War. The dinner event was held at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in San Diego.

Dale was nominated for the award by Lane Nishikawa.

The San Diego JACL has been a leading civil rights group in San Diego for 85 years.

Lisa Mak Honored at Equal Justice Society Gala

Lisa Mak Honored at Equal Justice Society Gala

On September 27, 2017, Associate Lisa P. Mak in our Consumer and Employee Rights Group was honored at the Equal Justice Society’s annual gala. The Equal Justice Society celebrated its 17th anniversary with an “Art + Youth” gala honoring the next generation of torchbearers in the civil rights movement.

Lisa was honored for her work as a successful civil rights litigator, her fearless advocacy on behalf of workers, her writing on social justice issues, and her commitment to diversity.

In her acceptance remarks, Lisa expressed gratitude for being able to help her clients seek justice and emphasized the important role of lawyers in the fight for civil rights.

“Since the last election, lawyers have been at the forefront of protecting our civil rights by filing litigation, pushing for legal protections, and speaking truth to power against the narrative of ‘fake news,'” Lisa said. “Not only do we need lawyers in this country to continue fighting for civil rights, but we also need more diverse lawyers. Lawyers with backgrounds and characteristics that reflect the communities that we seek to serve, that need our help the most.”

The Equal Justice Society seeks to transform the nation’s consciousness on race and social justice through law, communications, social science research, and the arts. The organization’s current advocacy efforts include racial disparities in school discipline, inequities in the criminal justice system, and race-conscious remedies such as affirmative action.

Photo: EJS Board Member Jayashri Srikantiah (left) presents the EJS award to Lisa Mak. Photo by Bob Hsiang.

Suhi Koizumi Among NAPABA’s ‘Best Lawyers Under 40’

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) selected Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Suhi Koizumi and 17 others to receive its 2017 Best Lawyers Under 40 Award (BU40 Award).

The BU40 Award recognizes talented individuals in the Asian Pacific American legal community who are under the age of 40 and have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields — be it the practice of law, academia, business, civic and charitable affairs, the judiciary, or politics — and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

The BU40 Award will be presented on Nov. 2, 2017, during the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C. For a complete list of this year’s award winners, visit http://www.napaba.org/news/362444/NAPABA-Announces-Its-Best-Lawyers-Under-40.htm.

In its announcement, NAPABA stated: “The 2017 class of honorees continues the BU40 Award legacy of excellence and leadership in both the legal and Asian Pacific American communities. NAPABA congratulates the 2017 BU40 Award winners and looks forward to their future successes.”

Suhi is a Senior Associate in our Immigration Practice Group, where she partners with executives and legal and human resources personnel to address a wide spectrum of immigration issues of corporate clients.

She is a past president of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the Rising Star category from 2010 through 2017. She has served as General Counsel for the Asian Business League of San Francisco and as a board member of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce. Suhi also regularly volunteers at immigration clinics where she advises indigent clients and has promoted the rights of women fleeing from persecution at the Center for Gender and Refugee studies.

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fifth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s fourth consecutive time on The Best Lawyers in America list.

Olivia was also selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It’s Olivia’s inaugural listing in The Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers is a respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.