Justice Harry Low passed away last week. He was a great friend to our firm, but even more importantly, he was an outstanding jurist, supporter of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, mentor to many young attorneys, and a fierce advocate for civil rights. Our profound condolences to his wife, Mayling, and his family.
Harry was San Francisco’s first Asian American judge, a Justice of the California Court of Appeal, California’s 38th Insurance Commissioner, a mediator, an arbitrator, and leader of numerous organizations.
Despite his success, he eschewed titles and allowed us to just call him “Harry.” This reflected his humility and deep sense of humanity. You could talk to him casually and without formality with such ease in the presence of someone so accomplished.
Harry was a wonderful supporter of our firm and its attorneys. He encouraged large nonprofits to retain us, a minority-owned firm, to diversify the professionals they relied upon. He stopped evictions of our clients in Japantown during the “urban renewal” devastation removing Japanese Americans from Nihonmachi and African Americans from the Fillmore in San Francisco during the ‘60s and ‘70s, lobbied for the appointment of Asian American judges, and supported civil rights causes we fought for. He was an early activist and inspired us to continue our journey for equal rights and equal dignity.
And he did this all with grace, finesse, and civility, which belied his strong commitment to our communities. Harry had an effortless manner, as a judge, mediator, and arbitrator, which mirrored his kindness to everyone in personal interactions.
We at Minami Tamaki LLP owe a special debt to Justice Low – “Harry“ – and will honor his legacy in law, civil rights, and commitment to the community.