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Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Present at NAPABA Convention

Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Present at NAPABA Convention

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki and Associate Lisa P. Mak spoke at the national convention of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) held in Las Vegas from November 3-6, 2022.

Don was on the panel “Long-Overdue Reparations for African Americans: Why AAPIs Should Care” with Loyola Marymount Prof. Cheryl Grills, and filmmaker Jon Osaki, moderated by Bonnie Youn, Managing Director, The RMN Agency. The panel explored the role of Asian Americans and the fight for Black reparations.

Lisa was on the panel “Gathering Facts, Building a Case and Appearing in Court in the New Normal” with U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona Wang, Mintz Group Chief Legal Officer Patricia Astorga, and King and Spalding LLP Counsel Jenny Pelaez. The panel explored approaches, benefits, and challenges of conducting investigations and litigation in the virtual or hybrid setting.

In related news, Lisa started a two-year term as Alternate Regional Governor for Northern California on the NAPABA Board. She is also serving as President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the largest local Asian American bar association in the country and one of the largest minority bar associations.

Minami Tamaki LLP was the inaugural recipient of NAPABA’s APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year.

Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus 50th Anniversary Gala to Honor Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Peggy Saika

Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus 50th Anniversary Gala to Honor Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Peggy Saika

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus will honor Minami Tamaki LLP co-founder and Senior Counsel Dale Minami, former Managing Partner and Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki, and Peggy Saika with Yuri Kochiyama Visionary Awards at its 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, November 18, 2022, at Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

The milestone celebration theme is “Tomorrow’s World is Ours to Build” and draws from Yuri Kochiyama’s powerful call to action to commemorate 50 years of civil rights advocacy for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. 

The gala will be emceed by actress Tamlyn Tomita and feature musical performances from Jiten Daiko, an exciting comedic performance by Negin Farsad, and a special conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen.

The Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving low-income, immigrant, and underserved AAPI communities. The organization’s event announcement read: “In the spirit of this legacy and Kochiyama’s rallying call, it is our privilege to recognize three leaders who have played critical roles in the vision and direction of ALC. We honor Dale, Don, and Peggy because as ALC staff in our early years, they exemplified the spirit of compassionate community lawyering that continues to inspire our staff today. Dale, Don, and Peggy would emerge as respected civil rights leaders beyond their time at ALC, helping to shape the struggle for social justice over several decades.”

Dale Minami, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP, has litigated significant civil rights cases for Asian Pacific Americans including leading the legal team that overturned Fred Korematsu’s landmark 40-year-old conviction. Minami received the American Bar Association’s highest award, the ABA Medal, and the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall and Spirit of Excellence Awards. He has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in Northern California for 18 straight years. He co-founded the Asian Law Caucus, the first public interest law firm serving Asian Americans in the country, AALDEF, and the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American bar in the country.

Don Tamaki, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP, and former executive director of the Asian Law Caucus (1980-1983), is known for his historic work serving on the pro bono legal team that reopened the landmark Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. the United States. He is co-founder of Stop Repeating History, a campaign focused on drawing parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the targeting of minority groups based on race or religion. In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Tamaki to serve on the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Peggy Saika, Executive Director of Common Counsel Foundation since 2019, has worked for over four decades as a social justice leader in movements for racial equity; gender, sexuality, and reproductive justice; environmental justice; and immigrant and workers’ rights. Previously the Executive Director of Asian Law Caucus from 1983 to 1991, Saika also served as the founding Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network from 1993 to 2001, and as the CEO of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy from 2002 -2015. She is a co-founder of the Asian Women’s Shelter, API’s for Choice, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and the NY Committee to Free Chol Soo Lee.

The Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus 50th Anniversary Gala is on Friday, November 18, 2022, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. The reception starts at 6 p.m., and the evening’s program and dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Purchase your ticket at https://bit.ly/3soFpcf or contact development@advancingjustice-alc.org for sponsorship details.

California Reparations Task Force Releases Interim Report

California Reparations Task Force Releases Interim Report

Minami Tamaki LLP co-founder and Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki serves on the task force.

As part of California’s historic Assembly Bill 3121 (AB 3121), the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Reparations Task Force) today released an interim report providing an in-depth overview of the harms inflicted on African Americans in California and across the nation due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination.

The interim report includes a preliminary set of recommendations to the California Legislature and a final report is expected to be issued in 2023. The Reparations Task Force is a first-in-the-nation effort by a state government to study slavery, its effects throughout American history, and the compounding harms that the United States and Californian governments have inflicted upon African Americans.

Some of the key findings noted in the interim report include:

  • In order to maintain slavery, colonial and American governments adopted white supremacy beliefs and passed laws in order to maintain a system that stole the labor and intellect of people of African descent;
  • In California, racial violence against African Americans began during slavery, continued through the 1920s, as groups like the Ku Klux Klan permeated local governments and police departments, and peaked after World War II, as African Americans attempted to move into white neighborhoods;
  • Due to residential segregation and compared to white Americans, African Americans are more likely to live in worse quality housing and in neighborhoods that are polluted, with inadequate infrastructure;
  • American government at all levels, including in California, has historically criminalized African Americans for the purposes of social control, and to maintain an economy based on exploited Black labor; and
  • Government laws and policies perpetuating badges of slavery have helped white Americans accumulate wealth, while erecting barriers which prevented African Americans from doing the same. These harms compounded over generations, resulting in an enormous gap in wealth between white and African Americans today in the nation and in California.

Minami Tamaki LLP firm co-founder and Senior Counsel Donald K. Tamaki serves on the task force as an appointee of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Learn more about the interim report and the next steps of the task force.

Media Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Dale Minami: ‘This country is on the edge of a disaster’

Dale Minami: ‘This country is on the edge of a disaster’

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami appeared on a recent episode of Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast, a program hosted by retired pastor Dr. Ken Fong. Dale recounted the background and details of some key moments in his life and his efforts as part of the legal team representing Fred Korematsu.

Dale also spoke with Dr. Fong about the precarious moment we’re in with anti-democratic forces “allied with white supremacists, and the [right-wing] Supreme Court, and the lack of protections for civil rights” … threatening “us as minorities as people of color on the streets every day.” “… Maybe I read too much, maybe I watch the news too much, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t know that this country is on the edge of a disaster.” Listen to the episode here.


On May 21, Dale visited the Minnesota Historical Society, to give a presentation in conjunction with the ongoing traveling exhibition “Right a Wrong,” developed by the National Museum of American History and adapted for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Dale recounted how a fraud on the United States Supreme Court resulted in upholding of the conviction of Fred Korematsu and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II at a lecture titled “Echoes of History: The Japanese American Imprisonment Resounds Today.”


“No History, No Self: The Fight for Asian-American Studies at Hunter College” is a new documentary released on May 20 that includes an interview with Dale. For the past 15 years, students and faculty at CUNY’s Hunter College have protested for an institutionalized Asian American Studies Program. This documentary serves to remind CUNY of its imperative responsibility to pursue an Asian Studies Program to combat ongoing racialized violence. 

I think it’s important to “humanize people and show that their history is not that different than other minority groups, people of color,” says Dale in the film. “That would help at least mollify some of the criticisms about Asian Americas being the model minority, which is one of the worst constructs ever promoted to divide us with other minority groups, other people of color.”


In March, Dale was the featured speaker on a program hosted by the Asian American Federal Employees for Nondiscrimination (AAFEN), an advocacy group that seeks fair and equal treatment and inclusive representation of Asian Americans in the federal government. Dale’s talk was “Asian Americans and Loyalty: What Can We Learn from the Japanese American Incarceration Experience?”

AAFEN co-founder Aryani Ong hosted the program, with opening remarks by White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Deputy Director Rebecca Lee.

Watch the program here.

Lisa P. Mak Leads AABA Gala in Honoring Community and AAPI Legal Luminaries

Lisa P. Mak Leads AABA Gala in Honoring Community and AAPI Legal Luminaries

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA), one of the largest Asian American bar associations in the nation, held its 46th Annual Gala on March 30, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. Minami Tamaki LLP was proud to be a Title Sponsor for the gala this year. Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Lisa P. Mak is serving this year as President of AABA.

Some of the Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys and staff at the AABA gala (from left): Katie Chan; Lisa P. Mak; Jack W. Lee (retired); Donald K. Tamaki; Gail Lang; Mark Fong; and Dale Minami. Photos by Bob Hsiang and Lowell Downey.

The AABA gala theme for this year was “Speak Up, Rise Up.” In her President’s Address at the gala, Lisa said the theme “was inspired by how our community and our allies spoke up and fought back against the rising anti-Asian hate and violence in the Bay Area and across the country in the last two years.” Lisa shared her family’s experience with racism after they immigrated to this country, emphasized the importance of speaking up in unity, and encouraged the AABA community to think about how they can make a difference.

The program celebrated several distinguished honorees, including Michael G.W. Lee as the recipient of this year’s Minami Impact Award, named after Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami to acknowledge attorneys who have had a positive impact on the Asian American community and the legal profession.

Dale Minami presents Michael G.W. Lee with the Minami Impact Award, honoring attorneys who have had a positive impact on the Asian American community and the legal profession. Photos by Bob Hsiang and Lowell Downey.

Judge Lucy H. Koh from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit received the AABA Trailblazer Award. The late Justice Harry W. Low was recognized, along with an announcement of the new Justice Harry W. Low Fellowship that will be administered by the AABA Law Foundation later this year.

The gala concluded with a fireside chat between Lisa and Michelle MiJung Kim, an entrepreneur, activist, and author of “The Wake Up: Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change.”  

AABA President Lisa P. Mak, a Minami Tamaki LLP attorney, in a fireside chat with Michelle MiJung Kim. Photos by Bob Hsiang and Lowell Downey.

Over 500 guests attended the Gala this year, including over 30 judges, and San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. Betty Yu from KPIX 5 CBS was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. The gala opened with a musical performance from the Oakland Youth Chorus, the longest-running youth chorus in the East Bay.

Minami Tamaki LLP Managing Partner Sean Tamura-Sato (right) with Doris Cheng (middle) and AABA Treasurer John B. Lough, Jr. Sean is a former AABA board member. Photos by Bob Hsiang and Lowell Downey.

Through her term as AABA President this year, Lisa will aspire to honor and continue AABA’s history of speaking up for our community while elevating our members in the legal profession and keeping our voice at the table.

Watch Lisa’s president’s address below and view the other presentations of the gala awards on YouTube.

Fireside Chat with AABA Women Presidents Shared Insights and Inspiration

Fireside Chat with AABA Women Presidents Shared Insights and Inspiration

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area hosted a special fireside chat with former women presidents of the organization on March 23 at Morgan Lewis’s San Francisco office. The program featured Judge Margaret Fujioka, Judge Joni Hiramoto, Joan Haratani, Edith Ho, Emi Gusukuma, and Miriam Kim sharing their insights for AAPI women in leadership and the legal profession. AABA President Lisa P. Mak, a Minami Tamaki LLP attorney, said that the event was part of advancing one of her goals to support and uplift the women in the AAPI community.

Lisa Mak to Keynote UC Davis APALSA Banquet

Lisa Mak to Keynote UC Davis APALSA Banquet

Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Lisa P. Mak will keynote the annual banquet of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) at UC Davis School of Law on April 14, 2022. Lisa is President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.

UC Davis APALSA is an organization of law students interested in Asian American legal issues and in the growth of the Asian American legal community. The group sponsors social activities, speaker series, and community service events. Its goal is to foster relationships with professors and practicing attorneys to educate the community about Asian American issues.

Through its annual banquet, UC Davis APALSA expresses its gratitude to the Asian Pacific American legal community for paving the path for future lawyers. To promote this spirit of service, the group aims to award summer grants to students pursuing public interest careers. They also commit funds above the cost of the banquet to future projects that benefit the unique needs of Asian Pacific Americans.
The banquet on April 14 starts at 7:00 p.m. in Alpha Gamma Rho Hall at The Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center, 530 Alumni Lane, Davis, CA 95616. Tickets are $30 to $60 and can be purchased at https://store.law.ucdavis.edu/apalsa.

We Lost a Great Friend, Justice Harry Low

We Lost a Great Friend, Justice Harry Low

Justice Harry Low honored with the alumni award at the 2018 Dale Minami Berkeley Law Alumni Fellowship Event.

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.

Dec. 16 Virtual Event ‘A Stain on American Jurisprudence: What ‘Korematsu vs. United States’ Means for Us Today’

Dec. 16 Virtual Event ‘A Stain on American Jurisprudence: What ‘Korematsu vs. United States’ Means for Us Today’

The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority.” – Chief Justice John Roberts on Korematsu v. United States, 2018.

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami headlines a free virtual event on Thursday, December 16, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Korematsu Institute, in a discussion facilitated by actor and independent filmmaker Lane Nishikawa.

REGISTER HERE

As an attorney on the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, Dale will share behind the scenes stories from the case and the implications and relevance of Korematsu in our world today.

See biographies for the panelists here.

This program is co-sponsored with the San Diego Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. This panel is part of the program series: The Rebellious Miss Breed: San Diego Public Library & the Japanese American Incarceration. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a partner of the NEH. Visit calhum.org.