Blog : People

Minami Tamaki LLP Accepting Applications for 2019 Summer Clerk Program

Minami Tamaki LLP Accepting Applications for 2019 Summer Clerk Program

The Summer Clerk Program is a 10-week paid internship at Minami Tamaki’s San Francisco office.  Our Clerks work primarily on employment litigation, catastrophic injury claims, consumer and antitrust class actions, and business immigration filings. Summer Clerks also receive substantive assignments from the firm’s business transactional group.

Summer Clerks perform extensive legal research and writing, and receive hands-on experience in case evaluation and management, discovery practice, and trial preparation.  Summer Clerks also have the opportunity to contribute to the firm’s social justice work with numerous bar associations and community organizations.

The firm is seeking highly motivated and detail-oriented second year law students who are genuinely interested in plaintiff-side civil litigation and/or business immigration work.  Applicants must have outstanding academic credentials, strong legal research and writing skills, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills.  We value Summer Clerks who have a demonstrated interest in civil rights and community service.

Interested 2Ls should email cover letter, resume, and academic transcript to skoizumi@minamitamaki.com. Application deadline is Noon Pacific Time on October 26, 2018.

Established in 1974, Minami Tamaki LLP takes pride in providing the highest quality legal representation with an emphasis on personalized service.  Minami Tamaki has a strong and historical commitment to social justice and community outreach.  The firm brings its deep background in civil rights work to its current practice in the areas of Consumer and Employment Rights, Personal Injury, Corporate and Nonprofit Counseling, Immigration and Nationality Law, and Entertainment.  The firm’s culture is collegial and collaborative, but tenacious in its representation of its diverse clientele.  The lawyers at Minami Tamaki combine outstanding lawyering skills with an ethical and progressive approach to solving the legal problems of its clients.

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).
NAPABA Spotlight on Lisa Mak

NAPABA Spotlight on Lisa Mak

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Women’s Leadership Network profiled Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Lisa P. Mak in its “July Member Spotlight.” We reprint the NAPABA Women’s Leadership Network post here with their permission.

By Carolynn Beck

This month’s member spotlight is Lisa Mak, a San Francisco employment and consumer rights attorney with Minami Tamaki, LLP.

Name:  Lisa P. Mak
Title:  Associate Attorney
Practice Area:  Employment and Consumer Rights
Contact Info:  Minami Tamaki LLP, 415-788-9000, LMak@minamitamaki.com
City & State:  San Francisco, CA

Short Bio: Lisa Mak is a plaintiff-side employment and consumer rights litigator at Minami Tamaki LLP. She has served as trial counsel in a wide variety of employment disputes in state and federal court. Lisa is actively involved in the Asian American bar and plaintiffs’ bar communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and the non-profit Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach. She also co-chairs the Diversity Outreach Committee of the California Employment Lawyers Association.  Additionally, she writes for CELA Voice, a plaintiffs’ advocates blog discussing workplace legal issues.

Recent Work Achievement/Highlight: In 2016, Ms. Mak was co-lead counsel on a five-week jury trial which resulted in a $3.5 million total verdict for four female officers with retaliation claims against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.  Additionally, she has been recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star since 2015, and she recently received the Legal Advocate Award from the Center for Workers’ Rights in Sacramento.

Fun Fact: One of her life goals is to visit all of the Disney theme parks in the world… she’s 50% of the way there!

Congratulations to Our Firm’s 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers


SUPER LAWYERS 2017 (Photo by Gary Wagner) – BACK ROW (L-R): Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars); Donald K. Tamaki (10-plus years); La Verne A. Ramsay; Suhi Koizumi (Rising Stars); Sean Tamura-Sato (Rising Stars); Olivia Serene Lee (Rising Stars); Heather Osuna; B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers); FRONT ROW: Jack W. Lee* (10-plus years); Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars); Minette A. Kwok (10-plus years); Dale Minami (Top 10, Top 100, 10-plus years)

We’re proud to announce that all of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Partners and more than 70 percent of our Associates were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2017. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Three of our Partners have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 14 consecutive years. Dale Minami was named to the Top 10 and Top 100 lists.

Dale Minami – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer Top 10, 2017 (5 years)
Super Lawyer Top 100, 2017 (10 years)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

Minette A. Kwok – Immigration
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 50 Women, Northern California (3 years)

Jack W. Lee – Consumer and Employee Rights (*Retired)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (1 year)

Donald K. Tamaki – Corporate and Nonprofit Counseling
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

B. Mark Fong – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer, 2017 (8 Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (2 Years)

Sean Tamura-Sato – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (5 years)

Suhi Koizumi – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (8 years)

Olivia Serene Lee – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (4 years)

Lisa P. Mak – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (3 years)

Seema Bhatt – Personal Injury
Rising Stars, 2017 (inaugural year)

Congratulations to all of you!

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.

Sean Tamura-Sato Named Partner

Sean Tamura-Sato Named Partner

The Minami Tamaki LLP law firm has named Sean Tamura-Sato as Partner, effective January 1, 2017. He has been an attorney in the firm’s Consumer and Employee Rights Group since August 2007.

“Sean has helped lead or been an integral part of every major case in our consumer and employee rights practice in the past decade,” said Partner Jack W. Lee. “He has played a critical role in our success representing tens of thousands of individuals in class action and individual cases. We look forward to Sean’s continued leadership in our firm.”

Minami Tamaki’s Consumer & Employee Rights Group litigates class actions and individual cases on behalf of consumers, investors, and employees who have been harmed by illegal or unfair business or employment practices. The group has recovered tens of millions of dollars for its clients.

Sean represents clients in complex business disputes, with an emphasis on employment law, business torts, breach of contract, and class actions. He has successfully tried employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in federal court and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

He has been involved in some of the largest class action cases on behalf of consumers in the history of antitrust law, including the In re TFT-LCD (flat panel) Antitrust Litigation. Sean also has substantial experience representing low-wage and immigrant workers in actions combating wage theft and worker exploitation.

Sean also advises entrepreneurs, executives, startup founders, and investors in matters involving employment contracts, executive compensation, shareholder & partnership disputes, trade secrets, media and technology, severance agreements, and strategic business decisions.

Sean has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2013 through 2016. He is a member of the California and Hawai’i bars. Sean received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.Congratulations, Sean!

Remembering Don Nakanishi

It was 27 years ago last month that a widely watched, three-year multi-racial struggle involving thousands of supporters came to a successful conclusion with the granting of tenure to Don Nakanishi at UCLA.

Minami Tamaki partner Dale Minami led the legal fight, Dale Shimasaki coordinated the legislative advocacy, and Glenn Omatsu and many others organized student and grassroots support.

Don went on to achieve acclaim as a national scholar and pioneer who established Asian American studies as a viable and relevant field of scholarship, teaching, community service, and public discourse.

Sadly, Don passed away on March 21 in Los Angeles at the age of 66.

“Don’s courage and commitment to a diverse academia inspired him to challenge the irrational and biased decision to deny him tenure,” said Dale Minami.

“Although it required winning two grievances for irregular and biased review and sit-down strikes, demonstrations, boycotts of donations, critical editorials, and legislative hearings over two years, he finally achieved tenure, and, in so doing, became a symbol and inspiration for all those academics of color who had been shut out of the Ivory Tower because of their ethnicity.”

The fight for Nakanishi’s tenure is widely regarded as a landmark moment in academia, and has been taught nationally as an important case study for student-community mobilization. A year after gaining tenure, Nakanishi was appointed Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, which he helped develop into the largest and most prominent program of its kind.

Nakanishi retired in 2009 after 20 years as the Center’s Director and 35 years as a professor at UCLA.

In this video taken May 20, 2010, Nakanishi speaks about his writings and Asian American politics at a gathering celebrating the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s 40th anniversary.

Suhi Kozumi to Lead Korean American Bar in 2015

Suhi Kozumi to Lead Korean American Bar in 2015

PHOTO: From left to right, Associate Olivia S. Lee, firm client Aerin Lim (Director of Investor Relations at 500 Startups), Senior Associate Suhi Koizumi (KABANC President-Elect), Senior Associate La Verne Ramsay, and Parner Minette Kwok at the KABANC 2014 annual dinner.

On September 26, Senior Associate Suhi Koizumi was recognized as President-Elect of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) at the organization’s annual gala dinner held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto, Calif.

Suhi will serve as President of KABANC starting in 2015. For three decades, KABANC has served the Korean American community and encouraged the professional growth of Korean American lawyers and law students in Northern California.

Suhi continues Minami Tamaki’s tradition of leadership in bar associations. Partner Brad Yamauchi serves as Vice President of the National Asian Pacific Bar Association. Partner Minette Kwok served as a Commissioner on the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization Immigration and Nationality Law. Other firm attorneys have served in numerous positions with various bar associations and legal organizations.

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

She has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the Rising Star category. 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.

Minami Tamaki Supports Human Rights and Economic Justice Fellowship

TFI_Fellow_Toan_DoMinami Tamaki has been a longtime supporter of the work of a San Francisco-based nonprofit, The Forgotten International (“TFI”). We are proud to partner with TFI and support their mission to alleviate poverty in the U.S. and worldwide, especially poverty experienced by children and women.

Minami Tamaki congratulates TFI and its Founder and President, Thomas Nazario, for publishing a photo book titled “Living on a Dollar a Day.” The book shares the personal stories of some of the poorest people around the work who survive on a dollar a day or less, and encourages those who can help to act. Associate Eunice W. Yang volunteered with TFI in the past and continues to support the organization’s mission.

Minami Tamaki is also proud to sponsor a TFI Fellow, Mr. Toan Do (pictured, above left), to do social justice work abroad starting this summer. TFI’s Fellowship Program recruits and sends skilled volunteers abroad for a minimum of two months to work directly with grassroots agencies and serve the poorest communities around the world. As a TFI Fellow, Mr. Do will work with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala, India. He will be working on issues involving human rights violations and refugee rights.

Mr. Do graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law in May 2014 and will be taking the California Bar Examination this summer. Afterwards, he will travel to India to begin his fellowship.

While in law school, Mr. Do was a member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), completed internships with the Homeless Advocacy Project, Legal Service’s for Prisoners with Children, Federal Public Defender’s Office, and was a Judicial Extern for Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu.

He was involved in community outreach projects such as the Street Law program and the Asian Pacific Island Legal Outreach Naturalization Clinic, and served on the Mott Court Board, while remaining on the Dean’s List and graduating near the top of his class.

Mr. Do’s strong academic background and commitment to social justice issues makes him an ideal choice for this Human Rights and Economic Justice Fellowship, and Minami Tamaki is proud to join TFI in making this work and experience possible.