Minami Tamaki at the 22nd Annual NAPABA Conference

By Eunice Yang

I attended my first National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) conference in Los Angeles in November with partners Dale Minami and Brad Yamauchi.  NAPABA’s 22nd Annual theme of ‘Inspire’ celebrated the achievements of dynamic Asian American Pacific Islanders in the legal community, collegiality among NAPABA members and elevation of AAPI attorneys to new heights.

A record-breaking 1,600 attendees included legal, business, and government leaders and future leaders. I met a number of civil rights attorneys and general counsel of multinational corporations.  Attendees from all walks mixed and mingled.  It was truly inspiring to meet colleagues who have contributed so much to our communities.

Minami Tamaki at NAPABA 2011
From left to right: Leighton Oshima, Marji Fujioka (former President of NAPABA and AABA), David Louie (Acting Attorney General of Hawai’i) and Minami Tamaki associate Eunice Yang

I met a powerhouse group of judges including: California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye; Federal Court Judges (Hon. Denny Chin, 2nd. Cir. Court, Hon. Anthony Ishii, U.S. Dist. Court, Eastern Dist., Hon. Dolly Gee, U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist.); and Superior Court Judges (Hon. Russell Hom, Sacramento, Hon. Richard Sueyoshi, Sacramento, Hon. Dale Ikeda, Fresno, Hon. Miko Uchiyama, Fresno, and Hon. Peter Sakai, Texas).

I also had a chance to reconnect with judges who inspired and continue to encourage me, including Hon. Erica R. Yew of the Santa Clara County Court, Hon. Lucy Koh of the U.S District Court, Northern District, and recently appointed Hon. Dan Nishigaya of the Santa Clara County Superior Court, as well as District Court nominee Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Goodwin Liu.  Despite both being highly qualified, both Judge Chen and Professor Liu’s nominations have been stonewalled in the Senate by political gamesmanship, an issue that was the topic of many conversations at the conference.

The conference offered a robust program of speakers and symposiums, ranging from IP summit to Public Interest summit and pro bono opportunities.

Dale Minami on Panel at NAPABA 2010
Minami Tamaki partner Dale Minami (second from right) on the “Korematsu to Hamdan: Executive Threats to Civil Liberty” panel

Our Minami Tamaki delegation was active in the conference program.  Dale was on the “Korematsu to Hamdan: Executive Threats to Civil Liberty,” panel with Joseph McMillan (Perkins Coie LLP) and Charles Sipos (Perkins Coie LLP), who represented Mr. Hamdan in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.  They discussed encroachments by the Executive  branch on civil liberties during times of war and the legal responses to this. Dale also hosted the Trailblazers award at the Conference.

Brad connected with small firms and civil rights groups, helped form a group for plaintiff NAPABA attorneys and developed a contact list for referrals.  I attended the Young Lawyer’s First Time Attendee’s event, a number of CLE seminars and satisfied almost all of my MCLE requirements at the conference!

We received a great deal of positive feedback about our firm’s newsletter and acknowledgment of our firm’s practice groups.  The conference reinforced the reason we continue to be active in NAPABA.  We look forward to participating in next year’s NAPABA Conference in Atlanta.

About the Author