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Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2024 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2024 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that eight Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2024.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in California are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive Super Lawyer honors and no more than 2.5 percent are selected to receive the Rising Star recognition.

PERSONAL INJURY
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2024; Super Lawyers, 21 years)
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 15 years)
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars, 8 years)

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers, 4 years; Rising Stars, 7 years)
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 6 years, Rising Stars, 8 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars 4 years)

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Sean Tamura-Sato (Super Lawyers, 4 years; Rising Stars, 8 years)

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 21 years)

Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Seema Bhatt, and Dian Sohn will also be listed in the Super Lawyers Women’s edition.

The Super Lawyers annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

Dale Minami on Stage with Kronos Quartet in Avant-garde Music Festival

Dale Minami on Stage with Kronos Quartet in Avant-garde Music Festival

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel and firm co-founder Dale Minami will be the special guest of a special unscripted, on-stage conversation with Peabody-winning journalist Brooke Gladstone, host of WNYC’s “On the Media,” preceding a performance of the pioneering Kronos Quartet on Friday, June 21, 2024, at SFJAZZ, 201 Franklin Street in San Francisco. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.

The Kronos Quartet has been called a “vital force in the forward-moving evolution of the string quartet world, and as a group with its finger ever on the pulse of new and as-yet-materialized ideas in the string quartet world, it has somehow seemed young beyond its years.”

Dale explained how this unique event came about: “I had received an award from the Center for Justice and Accountability, an incredible human rights organization. The Kronos Quartet was featured at the event. Carmen Cheung Ka-Man, the Executive Director, who nominated me for the award, was friends with David Patterson, founder of the Quartet. She arranged a lunch with David who, with his restlessly creative mind, suggested a live Q&A onstage with me discussing the Korematsu case while his quartet played music. Not sure how this would play out but it has to be more interesting than one of my boring presentations!”

The Library of Congress recently acquired the quartet’s collection and announced that Kronos’ pioneering and influential 1992 album Pieces of Africa was inducted into the National Recording Registry of audio treasures.

The 2024 Kronos Festival celebrates five decades of musical innovation, collaboration, and boundary-pushing artistry. The Festival will feature a slate of world and Bay Area premieres commissioned as part of the KRONOS Five Decades season and include guest artists Wu Man (pipa virtuoso and composer), Brooke Gladstone (journalist), David Lei (community activist), Tanya Tagaq (singer/composer), Nathalie Khankan (poet), Dale Minami (civil rights lawyer), Mahsa Vahdat (singer/composer), Sam Green (filmmaker), and the San Francisco Girls Chorus conducted by Valérie Sainte-Agathe.

A highlight of this year’s Festival is the farewell performances of violinist John Sherba and violist Hank Dutt, long-standing members of Kronos Quartet for more than 45 years. Their retirement marks the end of an era, making this Festival a poignant moment for both the quartet and devoted fans. The final day of the Festival features A Thousand Thoughts, a live documentary chronicling the quartet’s career, written and directed by Sam Green and Joe Bini. This will be the 41st and final performance of A Thousand Thoughts, which has been seen around the world since its debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

This year the Festival will also feature six world premieres from Luna Composition Lab (LCL), a project founded in 2016 by composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid that provides mentorship, education, and resources for young female, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming composers ages 13-18. Kronos has partnered with LCL as their ensemble in residence this season, providing mentorship and workshop opportunities to the six 23–24 LCL Fellows as they developed their new compositions. Kronos is proud to showcase these premieres across the Festival in celebration of our next generation of musical voices.

Kronos Festival is produced by the Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) and is part of the San Francisco–based 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s KRONOS PRESENTS program. It is made possible by support from San Francisco Grants for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Bernard Osher Foundation.

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee Recognized by Who’s Who Legal

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee Recognized by Who’s Who Legal

Who’s Who Legal (WWL) included Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee in its latest edition of “WWL: Corporate Immigration,” recognizing Olivia as one of the foremost legal practitioners in immigration law based upon WWL’s comprehensive, independent research.

WWL: Corporate Immigration was the first area of business law to be covered by WWL back in 1996, and features the leading corporate immigration experts around the world. Those recognized are highlighted for their exceptional work advising domestic and international clients on a range of matters including visa applications, corporate immigration strategy, employee transfers, naturalization of skilled workers, and regulatory matters.

Who’s Who Legal publications feature over 27,000 of the world’s leading private practice lawyers and consulting experts in over 150 countries. Publishing both international editions and jurisdiction-specific reports, WWL’s research identifies leading individuals across 35 different areas of corporate and commercial law, as well as providing in-depth editorial analysis of each area and a breakdown of the leading firms overall. 

Who’s Who Legal does not accept paid entries into their listings.

Partner Olivia S. Lee Selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

Partner Olivia S. Lee Selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

Minami Tamaki LLP congratulates Partner Olivia S. Lee on her selection as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honor society of the nonprofit founded by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1952.

American Bar Foundation Fellows are limited to one percent of the lawyers of each state. They are selected from the legal sector’s leadership who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and the highest principles of the profession.

The American Bar Foundation is a research institute committed to the principle that a deep understanding of the law is vital to a more just, equitable world. It conducts rigorous, empirical research that explores the intersection of law and society—creating insights that underpin today’s most pressing issues and affect millions of people every day. 

Although the ABA created the Foundation, it remains an independent organization, ensuring research projects have full academic freedom and are not influenced by the views of the ABA. Its interdisciplinary approach yields nonpartisan and actionable research that people and institutions use to shape laws, inform policy, and influence society.

Olivia’s selection as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation highlights her continued leadership in the legal profession and the community. She serves as an Elected Director on the Board of Governors American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and a member of the Editorial Board for AILA’s Law Journal.

Olivia also serves on the ABA’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council and helped to draft the ABA’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge for AAPI Heritage Month. She is also a Board Member of Chinese for Affirmative Action.

In recognition of her work, Olivia received an AILA Presidential Commendation in 2021, AILA’s Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award in 2022, and the Unity Award from the Minority Bar Coalition in 2018.

Mark Fong to Take Senior Counsel Position at Minami Tamaki LLP

Mark Fong to Take Senior Counsel Position at Minami Tamaki LLP

Minami Tamaki LLP today announced that Partner B. Mark Fong will transition to a Senior Counsel position, effective January 1, 2024.

Mark has led Minami Tamaki LLP’s personal injury practice since 2019 after Dale Minami transitioned to a Senior Counsel position. He became a Partner in 2014 after joining the firm in 2006.

As the Partner in charge of the firm’s personal injury practice, Mark has worked together with attorneys Seema Bhatt and Ember J. Oparowski to continue the practice’s success in fighting for the rights of people who are injured or suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others.

“Mark played a critical role as a bridge between the new generation of firm leadership and the founding Partners,” said Dale Minami. “When Don Tamaki, Minette Kwok, Jack Lee, Brad Yamauchi, and I planned our transitions, we depended on Mark to provide the firm with the institutional knowledge critical to serving our clients and continuing our tradition of community service.”

Dale continued: “Mark became a dynamic and effective leader of our Personal Injury Practice Group, who expanded the capacity of our group far beyond my tenure and achieved great victories for our clients. We were lucky to have him join our firm years ago!”

After January 1, 2024, Mark will continue to provide his expertise on personal injury cases alongside Senior Counsel Dale Minami, Senior Associate Seema Bhatt, and Associate Ember J. Oparowski, with Managing Partner Sean Tamura-Sato as the practice head of litigation. In addition to his trial work, Mark will continue to help guide Minami Tamaki’s involvement in the community, work on business development, and advise other attorneys on cases.

Recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Bay Area, Mark was a finalist for “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association in 2019 and made the Northern California Super Lawyer list for 12 years as well as the Top 100 list in 2015 and 2016.

The Personal Injury practice group received a Tier 1 ranking in the 2015 through 2022 Editions of U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” under the category of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs for the San Francisco metro area.

Mark’s cases were recognized by Top Verdict’s Top 50 and Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016, and by Leaders in the Law in its “Northern California’s Leading Lawyers” 2017 publication.

Mark is a Fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), one of the most prominent organizations of trial attorneys in the country, whose members are selected by invitation only upon demonstration of significant jury trial experience. He is also a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mark has been rated “AV Preeminent” by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for the past three decades, signifying the highest level of legal ability and professional standards of ethics.

Mark is a third-generation San Franciscan with roots in Chinatown and has spent much of his life giving back to the community he grew up in. For more than a decade he has served on the board or committees of Chinatown Community Development Center, and for six years on the board at Donaldina Cameron House. He also served on the board of Town School for Boys, of which he is an alumnus.

Mark received his B.A. in Political Science with high honors in 1978 from the University of California Berkeley, and his J.D. from UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings ) in 1981. Mark was admitted to the California Bar in 1981 and is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California.

Dale Minami on Panel at UCLA Rebellious Lawyering Conference

Dale Minami on Panel at UCLA Rebellious Lawyering Conference

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.”

$925,000 Settlement in Department Store Injury

$925,000 Settlement in Department Store Injury

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Associate Seema Bhatt and Associate Ember Oparowski demonstrated exceptional legal acumen in securing a $925,000 settlement for our client who suffered a crush injury to her foot at a department store in Petaluma.

The case presented significant challenges: there were no eyewitnesses and the defense strongly contested the circumstances of the incident as well as the extent of injuries.

Undeterred, our team employed a strategic approach. Despite the initial lack of evidence, we uncovered crucial information by conducting a thorough investigation. We found former employees who revealed the décor item that caused the injury was improperly placed in violation of store policy and created a falling hazard when jostled by customers, which is what we believe happened to our client.

We also enlisted the expertise of seven medical specialists to meet the defense’s claim that our client had no objective injury. An EMG (nerve) test conducted by a renowned doctor revealed nerve damage in the client’s foot. Furthermore, our vocational rehabilitation and functional capacity experts provided compelling evidence that our client’s injury significantly impacted her ability to re-enter the workforce, even at a desk job.

Our thorough and multifaceted approach culminated in a $925,000 settlement two weeks before the trial. This outcome vindicates our client’s claim and underscores our firm’s dedication to uncovering the truth and advocating for our clients in even the most challenging cases.

Don Tamaki Joins Leadership of New Reparations Alliance, Secures Additional Endorsements of Reparations Task Force Report

Don Tamaki Joins Leadership of New Reparations Alliance, Secures Additional Endorsements of Reparations Task Force Report

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki joined a distinguished group of leaders and organizations in the launch of Alliance for Reparations, Reconciliation, and Truth on November 16.

The California Black Power Network (CBPN), Equal Justice Society (EJS), and six former members of the California Reparations Task Force – Dr. Cheryl Grills, Lisa Holder, Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Senator Steven Bradford, and Don –  announced the new collaboration.

The Alliance’s mission is to educate the public about reparations; amplify the California Reparations Task Force’s report and its recommendations; achieve broad-based, multi-racial public support of reparations; and grow the base of multi-racial and multi-sector allies who support reparations in California.

The Alliance also includes a growing list of Black-led and non-Black ally organizations such as Black Equity Collective, Catalyst California, AAPIFORCE, PICO California, Nikkei Progressives, and Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR).

Statement from Don Tamaki: “Now that the task force has accomplished its objectives, this new alliance will carry the torch and help drive the movement forward. We have a societal obligation to repair the harms that began in 1619 and continued through every chapter of American history thereafter, right to the present day. We call upon the Legislature to develop a feasible approach, spanning years, in good economies and bad, to study the 115-plus recommendations and address the harms that have been decades, if not centuries, in the making.”

The historic report by the California Reparations Task Force draws a throughline from the harm of 246 years of enslavement, 90 years of Jim Crow and racial terror, and decades more of continuing discrimination, resulting in today’s grossly disparate outcomes for Black Californians. The report includes 115-plus policy recommendations to the California State Legislature to stop the harm from continuing and to determine a feasible long-term approach to address the harms that were centuries in the making.

A May 2023 poll from UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies found strong support in California for a range of reparations measures for Black Americans, particularly those focused on systemic reforms and investments in communities.

Don, with former Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Minette Kwok, and together with Holder and Dr. Grills have spent months organizing philanthropic support for repairing the harm and obtaining endorsements from nearly 600 0organizations and businesses supporting the report or the study of reparations in California. View the list of endorsements and sign on at https://supportreparations.org

Japantown Foundation Osechi Ryori Fundraiser Returns in January After Four Years

Japantown Foundation Osechi Ryori Fundraiser Returns in January After Four Years

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation’s annual New Year’s fundraiser returns for the first time post-COVID and again features Osechi Ryori, the traditional dishes carefully prepared and presented for the New Year to wish for good health, happiness, and prosperity.

The event is on Thursday, January 4, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown. This special dining experience is made possible through the generous assistance of the owners and chefs at Sanraku, Sushi Ran, Delica, Iichiko, and more. Buy tickets online.

Managing Partner Sean Tamura-Sato and Senior Counsel Donald Tamaki are on the board of directors of the Japantown Foundation. The January 4 event is a special occasion, marking the end of Don’s 17 years as Board President, although he will remain on the board.

In December 2006, Don led the formation of the foundation through generous endowments by Kintetsu Enterprises of America, Jack Hirose, Hats and Amey Aizawa, Union Bank, and Minami Tamaki LLP. Since 2007, the Foundation has raised and issued grants totaling $1,422,700 in support of the Japanese American community.

The Osechi Ryori event is the Japantown Foundation’s primary fundraiser and funds the organization’s grants to Japantown and Japanese American-related nonprofit organizations.

Osechi Ryori refers to many unique dishes that are prepared once a year to celebrate the New Year. Many of the items require hours of preparation, and are preserved in ways to make sure that they are delicious to eat throughout the first three days of the year–the traditional way of celebrating the Japanese New Year.

From the Japantown Foundation website: “Many of us remember waking up on New Year’s Day to have our bowl of ozoni and then patiently wait as all of the other osechi items were unveiled by our grandparents and great grandparents for us to eat. Being able to eat osechi ryori today, however, is a rarity.

“That is one of the reasons the board of the SF Japantown Foundation continues to hold our annual Osechi Ryori event. It allows us to introduce and re-introduce the special food items that are prepared during the New Year that will bring us good luck, good health and prosperity throughout the year.

“With the generous assistance of our restaurant partners, we are able to share authentically prepared osechi dishes that are expressly prepared for the event. We sincerely thank our culinary experts for supporting us in carrying on this important culture and tradition.”

Learn more at https://japantownfoundation.org.