Blog : Nonprofit

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).
Lisa P. Mak Joins Board of The Bar Association of San Francisco

Lisa P. Mak Joins Board of The Bar Association of San Francisco

Minami Tamaki attorney Lisa P. Mak recently started a two-year term on the board of directors of The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF).

The BASF board has two seats designated for representatives of the Minority Bar Coalition. Lisa was selected by the Coalition for one of the seats. She served as co-chair of the Coalition in 2017 and continues to serve on its board.

The Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) is a network of over 40 diverse bar associations dedicated to working in a unified manner to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession. MBC does this by sharing best practices and resources in bar association programming and advocacy, finding issues of common cause, and building shared platforms.

“I hope to contribute to BASF’s commitment to engage our members with service opportunities, educational programs, and community advocacy,” said Lisa. “I want the legal community to know about the meaningful work this organization has been doing, especially in the current political climate. I’m also excited to continue working with both BASF and the MBC to drive our shared goals of increasing diversity in the legal profession.”

Lisa’s new BASF role is an extension of her ongoing leadership in the community and in the legal profession. She serves on the boards of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and is Co-Chair of the Diversity Outreach Committee of the California Employment Lawyers Association.

Lisa is part of our Consumer and Employee Rights Group and passionate about protecting the rights of consumers and employees as individuals and in class actions. Her practice includes employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, contract claims, and labor code violations. She is experienced in litigation, from pre-litigation negotiations to trials and appeals. Lisa also advises employees on employment contracts and severance agreements.

PHOTO: Minami Tamaki attorney Lisa P. Mak (left) with other members of the BASF board.

Olivia Lee Leads AILA NorCal to Highest Honors in National Organization

Olivia Lee Leads AILA NorCal to Highest Honors in National Organization

PHOTO: AILA NorCal Chair Olivia Lee (second of left) with other chapter leaders accepting the Platinum Chapter Award.​

The Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) received the Platinum Chapter Award, the organization’s highest honor for chapters, at AILA Annual Conference last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Olivia Serene Lee, an associate in our Immigration Practice Group, has served as 2016-2017 Chair for AILA NorCal. She has served on the AILA NorCal Executive Board for the past four years.

Under Olivia’s leadership, AILA NorCal has been at the forefront in proactively responding to the institutional assault against immigrants. When the Trump administration attempted to enact a travel ban on Muslims, AILA NorCal was one of the first groups to respond, providing services at aiports, and offering assistance to those impacted.

She has been actively involved in AILA NorCal since 2009, leading and organizing more than 30 Continuing Legal Education programs in all aspects of immigration law, including prosecutorial discretion, export control, PERM, waivers, asylum, and events with immigration judges, USCIS, CBP, DOL and asylum officers. She also served as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s and H-1Bs.

AILA is the national bar for immigration attorneys, and AILA NorCal is one of its larger chapters, with over 850 members.

New Videos by Minami Tamaki, Chinatown CDC Promote Pedestrian Safety

At least 800 pedestrians are hit by a car in San Francisco every year. In 2014 alone, 17 pedestrians died in the city.

Senior citizens, in particular, face the greatest risk for being fatally injured when hit by cars. A San Francisco Health Department study of pedestrian deaths revealed that while seniors account for 15 percent of the city’s total population, they account for nearly 50 percent of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents.

For many years, Minami Tamaki LLP has engaged in efforts to raise awareness of pedestrian safety, especially among seniors in areas like San Francisco’s Chinatown and Japantown.

The latest effort was led by Partner Mark Fong. Through his roles as a board member of Chinatown Community Development Center and Chinatown TRIP (Transportation Research and Improvement Project), Mark worked with staff at CCDC to develop two public service announcements to educate both drivers and pedestrians on specific ways to avoid injuries to pedestrians.

The first video, directed at pedestrians, discourages walking in crosswalks when the warning symbol flashes, regardless that the traffic light may still be green.

The second video is geared towards drivers by illustrating the blind spot created by left turns in intersections and how easy it is to miss a pedestrian in a crosswalk because of this blind spot.

Mark and staff at CCDC crafted the storylines for the videos to make them more interesting and useful to watch and absorb. Mark also recruited a filmmaker to shoot the videos and provided the technical expertise about car accidents so that the filmmaker could better understand how to shoot the storylines.

Minami Tamaki LLP also helped fund this project. 

The two PSAs will run on Chinese language television stations in the Bay Area. If you might be able to help us share these videos, please contact Mark Fong at mfong@minamitamaki.com.

Dale Minami to Keynote 2010 Day of Remembrance Program in LA

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UPDATED: Coverage of the event in the Rafu Shimpo.

Firm partner Dale Minami will keynote the 2010 Day of Remembrance in Little Tokyo on Saturday, February 20, at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 E. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

The annual community program commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942 and the subsequent incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II based on the government’s claim of military necessity.  The theme of this year’s program is “Korematsu v. United States.”

During 1942, Fred Korematsu, a U.S. citizen, disobeyed the government’s order to evacuate and stayed in San Leandro. He was arrested and sent to camp. With the help of attorneys Ernest Besig and Wayne Collins of the Northern California American Civil Liberties Union, Korematsu challenged the government’s actions and took his case to the Supreme Court.

In 1944, the court held that the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans was justified by national security. In the 1980s, Korematsu challenged the court’s earlier decision through a writ of coram nobis. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel vacated Korematsu’s wartime conviction based on the government’s omission of relevant information during the 1944 case.

Minami was lead counsel for Korematsu’s coram nobis legal team. He will speak about the relevance of Korematsu’s case to current civil rights issues and the government’s use of “military necessity” and “national security” in abridging citizen’s rights. The Korematsu case is considered one of the most studied and controversial Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century.

Although Minami’s law practice specializes in personal injury law and entertainment law, he has been a leader in the advancement of civil rights for Asian Americans and other people of color. He is a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.

David Monkawa, long-time member of the Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) and community activist, has created the 2010 DOR poster art. The design is a hand-drawn depiction of Korematsu’s arrest in San Leandro on May 30, 1942. Monkawa has designed previous posters for the Los Angeles’ DOR programs. This art piece marks Monkawa’s 10th DOR poster and will be used for outreach and the event’s program design.

The DOR program is sponsored by NCRR, the JACL Pacific Southwest District, and JANM. The program begins at 2 p.m.; a reception follows. Admission is free; however, donations are appreciated. Due to limited space, attendees are advised to arrive early.

For a retrospective of the past DOR programs in Los Angeles, visit NCRR’s website at www.ncrr-la.org and go to “DOR Archives.”

For more information call NCRR at (213) 284-0336, JACL at (213) 626-4471, or JANM at (213) 625-0414.

Don Tamaki and the Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center

TechAffair.com mentions MT managing partner Don Tamaki in a Nov. 16 blog post on the Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center:

[Shaun] Tai’s vision and enthusiasm soon caught the attention of prominent San Francisco attorney Donald K. Tamaki, a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP, who specializes in business and nonprofit law. He helped Tai formally establish the Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center as a non-profit organization.

In Tai, Tamaki recognized a fellow social visionary with his feet on the ground and his brain fully engaged. Tai’s youth (age 29) didn’t faze Tamaki. As a UC Berkeley student 20 years ago, Tamaki and three fellow students had created the Asian Health Services, which now experiences approximately 80,000 patient visits per year.

Tamaki also understands the power of drive that’s connected to a passion for social justice. A nationally recognized “Super Lawyer,” he served as a member of the pro bono legal team that successfully reopened the landmark Supreme Court cases of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui and overturned their convictions for refusing to be interned during World War II. He lectures at UC Berkeley in connection with these historic legal events.

You can read the full article here.