Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami participated on a panel at the Rebellious Lawyering Conference, held October 5, 2023, at UCLA School of Law.
Dale presented on the roundtable, “One Hell Of A Radical Ride – The Past, Present, And Future Of,” along with moderator Shauna Marshall (Professor Emerita and Co-Director of the Center for Racial and Economic Justice, UC College of Law, San Francisco) and panelists Martha L. Gómez (Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice); Gina Hong (Attorney and Collective Member, LA Center for Community Law & Action); and Sunita Patel (Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty Director, UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic, UCLA School of Law).
UCLA Law’s Critical Race Studies program devoted the symposium to looking at the practice of rebellious lawyering, past, present, and future. The approach was introduced by Gerald P. López in his 1992 book “Rebellious Lawyering: One Chicano’s Vision of Progressive Law Practice.”
Dale met Gerald on a basketball court at the University of Southern California and they traveled very similar paths while becoming great friends. Professor López influenced and inspired a generation of attorneys to practice law creatively for the disadvantaged. “He is a hero to me,” said Dale.
Through “fictional characters and settings as real as can be,” Rebellious Lawyering illuminated how people do what they do when collaborating with others as equals. To fight subordination of every sort. To transform institutions, systems, nations, and transnational life. To personify – and not just prefigure – the concrete utopias they seek. Militantly challenging subordination in all forms and transforming life as we know it are at the center of the rebellious vision.
Dale and the other panelists founded and helped develop organizations, programs, and agencies that, working with individual clients and subordinated communities and diverse allies, challenged the racism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, xenophobia practiced by employers, landlords, local and state governments; that forced the United States to admit and to repair the generational damage it caused through the internment of Japanese Americans; that held universities accountable for illegal denials of tenure and for the neglect of low-income, of color, and immigrant communities surrounding campuses; that overturned school districts’ racist targeting of Latinx and Black students for suspension and expulsion and challenged governmental targeting of Muslims in the wake of 9/11.
The panelists have called out everything from the failure of all government to provide robust support for unhoused and housing-insecure populations to the self-promoting regnant practices pursued by well-heeled public interest “impact organizations” and high volume “service work.”