Dale Minami is recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was selected as a Super Lawyer for each year from 2004 through 2020 in the Personal Injury category, one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers for Northern California in 2005 and from 2007 to 2020, and in the Top Ten Super Lawyers in the Personal Injury Category from 2013 through 2018.
He was also named as one of Northern California’s Best Lawyers by Best Lawyers, recognized four times as one of the 500 Best Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine (2005, 2014, 2015, 2018), one of Top 100 Litigation lawyers in the State of California by the American Society of Legal Advocates in 2014, and in the top 3% of attorneys in the nation by The Legal News.
In 2019, Mr. Minami was honored with the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor. He is the first Asian American to receive the award in its 90-year history.
He has an “AV” rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating for competence and ethics issued by that publication, and reserved for attorneys designated as outstanding in their field. He is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates forum, which admits only attorneys who have achieved more than one million dollar award for their clients.
Mr. Minami’s practice focuses on the areas of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, involving claims by persons who have suffered injury, or the death of a close relative through the negligence of another party. He has handled these cases for over 40 years, including claims arising from auto accidents, defective products, slips and falls, accidents involving pedestrians and other situations where persons were injured through the negligence of others. A number of these cases have resulted in verdict and settlement results of over $1 million.
He has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, such as Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40-year-old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II, originally upheld by U.S. Supreme Court.
Other landmark decisions involving Mr. Minami include: United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans; Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University; and Nakanishi v. UCLA, a claim for unfair denial of tenure that resulted in the granting of tenure after several hearings and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia.
He was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, the first community interest law firm serving Asian Pacific Americans in the country; a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States; an original incorporator of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Asian Pacific Bar of California; and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, one of the nation’s first political action committees focused on Asian American candidates and issues.
Mr. Minami has been involved in the judicial appointment process and in establishing or influencing public policy and legislation. President Clinton appointed him as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in January 1996. Mr. Minami has served as a member of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and has chaired the California Attorney General’s Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, advising the State’s Attorney General on key issues. He has also served as a Commissioner on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominee’s Evaluation, and on Senator Barbara Boxer’s Judicial Screening Committee, which made recommendations for federal judicial appointments.
Currently, Mr. Minami serves on the advisory boards of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the Korematsu Institute, the Asian Pacific Fund and Seattle University’s Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He is a founder of the Judge Robert M. Takasugi Fellowship, dedicated to providing stipends to law students who commit to public interest work. He has taught at U.C. Berkeley and Mills College in Oakland and was Co-Executive Producer (with Philip Kan Gotanda) of “Drinking Tea” and “Life Tastes Good”, both of which were screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
He was born in Los Angeles, California, and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1972. Mr. Minami received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1968. He received his J.D. in 1971 from the University of California Berkeley School of Law, University of California and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. In 1982, he was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
San Francisco’s SPUR Silver Spur Award
American Bar Association – ABA Medal
American Bar Association – Thurgood Marshall Award
American Bar Association – Spirit of Excellence Award
University of California Berkeley School of Law Citation Award and Alumni Award
ACLU of Northern California Civil Rights Award
State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award
Employment Law Center’s Matthew Tobriner Award
Designation of a Dormitory at the University of California at Santa Cruz as the Queen Liliuokalani-Minami Apartments
Honorary Juris Doctor degrees from the McGeorge School of Law and the University of San Francisco School of Law
Coro Foundation Leadership Award
Santa Clara University School of Law’s Social Justice Award
Harry Dow Memorial Fellowship in Boston
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Trailblazer Award
Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Fund Award
Award from Asian Law Alliance
Justice in Action Award from Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Japanese American Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Award from Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County
Award from Asian Pacific Fund
Award from Japanese Community Youth Council
Award from Chinatown Community Children’s Center
Award from Centro Legal de la Raza
Minami Fellowship for Public interest established at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Law
KQED Local Hero
Award from Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California
Award from Organization of Chinese Americans, San Mateo Chapter
Japanese American Citizens League Award from Japanese American Youth organization
Award from Japanese American Bar Association
Award from Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
Dream Maker Award from Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation
Award for Community Leadership from U.C. Berkeley’s Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Legacy
Japanese American Citizens’ League, San Diego chapter, Lifetime Achievement Award
J.D., University of California Berkeley School of Law, 1971
B. A., University of Southern California, 1968
Political Science, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
– Alameda County Bar Association
– Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
– Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
– Bar Association of San Francisco
– Member, California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Advisory Committee