Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2011

Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2011

By Olivia Lee and Sean Tamura-Sato

Minami Tamaki attorneys recently attended the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Convention, held in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 17-20, 2011. Partners Dale Minami and Brad Yamauchi, and Associates Olivia Lee, Sean Tamura-Sato, and Eunice Yang joined over 1,200 other Asian American and Pacific Islander lawyers, judges, legal scholars, and law students at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center.

Minami Tamaki LLP Associates Olivia Lee (far left), Eunice Yang (third from left) and Sean Tamura-Sato (far right), with Attorney General of Hawaii David Louie (middle).

This year’s Convention theme of “Sustainability” focused on planting the seeds of renewal and growth for AAPIs, and celebrated the achievements of AAPIs in the legal community. Minami Tamaki attorneys reconnected with old friends and made new ones during the four day event filled with CLE panels, receptions, committee meetings, plenary sessions, and after-hours events. Among the dozens of inspiring and dynamic panels were sessions on the impact of 9/11 on the AAPI community ten years later, the introduction of state immigration laws patterned after Arizona Senate Bill 1070, AAPI representation in the judiciary, and an examination of race, color, and citizenship through reenactments of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in the cases of Ozawa and Thind. Members of the Ozawa family also attended these reenactments.

Minami Tamaki Partner Dale Minami (third from right) with Attorney General of Hawaii David Louie (far left), Hawai’i Supreme Court Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna (third from left), California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu (fourth from left) and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (fifth from right).

The Minami Tamaki delegation attended several Solo & Small Firm Committee events, including a Committee dinner and planning meeting. Minami Tamaki is committed to increasing solo and small firm membership and benefits within NAPABA, and to providing a support and referral network for Committee members. Future plans include educational programs focusing on solo/small firm practice, and increased dialogue regarding the interests of consumers, employees, and accident victims.

Associates Olivia Lee, Sean Tamura-Sato, and Eunice Yang also attended several Young Lawyer / First Time Attendee events at the Convention, allowing them to build bonds with the next generation of NAPABA trailblazers. It was truly rewarding to meet so many impressive young attorneys from around the country.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Denny Chin was the keynote speaker at the Anniversary Gala and Celebration Dinner on November 19. Judge Chin entertained the crowd with stories from numerous cases he presided over during 15 years on the U.S. District Court (S.D. N.Y.) bench, including the trial and sentencing of financier Bernard Madoff.

The annual NAPABA Judges Panel featured three AAPI Supreme Court Justices: Justice Ming Chin (California Supreme Court); Justice FernandeDuffly (Massachusetts Supreme Court); and Justice Sabrina McKenna (Hawai’i Supreme Court). California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu also offered special remarks to the capacity crowd regarding his journey to the State high court. The esteemed panelists shared stories from their diverse experiences and dispensed vital tips for oral advocates (“Answer the question asked!”).

Minami Tamaki Partner Dale Minami (right) with, from left, Attorney General of Hawaii David Louie, California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

The Convention also included Plenary Session remarks by Yale Law Professor and best-selling author Amy Chua. Professor Chua’s entertaining and engaging speech ranged from recounting the media firestorm around her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” to providing advice to young AAPI lawyers and law students on how to succeed in legal practice.

The 2011 Convention reinforced Minami Tamaki’s commitment to NAPABA, and our goal of mentoring and supporting members engaged in civil rights, social justice, and small firm practice. We look forward to participating in the 2012 NAPABA Conference in Washington, D.C.

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