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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.

Ember Oparowski Published Case on COVID-related Delays

Ember Oparowski Published Case on COVID-related Delays

Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Ember Oparowski was the lead attorney for the defendant in a case that resulted in the only published case on COVID delays and a plaintiff’s diligence in prosecuting cases within the statutory five-year period mandated by Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310.

Ember defended a stucco contractor in a high-end construction defect case. The plaintiff homeowners refused to provide dates for deposition, meaningfully participate in mediation, provide responses to written discovery, and created numerous obstacles in advance of trial.

Ember drafted and argued a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute the case. Her motion was granted and the case was dismissed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment and ordered the opinion published.

Although this appellate decision stands for a fairly discrete legal issue, it is believed to be the only published case on COVID delays and a plaintiff’s lack of diligence in prosecuting cases within the statutory five-year period. The case demonstrates Ember’s dogged representation of her clients and the use of creative legal strategies to obtain a favorable result.

Dale Minami Honored with Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation

Dale Minami Honored with Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation

The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs bestowed a Foreign Minister’s Commendation on Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami, one of only 150 individuals outside of Japan to be honored in 2023.

The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded by the Foreign Minister of Japan to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas. The Commendations also aim to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipients.

The Commendation was awarded to Dale for his contributions to the status of Japanese Americans, according to a representative of the agency. Among his numerous accomplishments, Dale was part of the legal team that successfully overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction in Korematsu v. U.S. and was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in 1996.

Dale joins firm Senior Counsel and former Managing Partner Donald K. Tamaki in being honored with this distinction. In November 2019, the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded Don with a Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his dedication to “preserving and promoting Japanese culture in San Francisco.” Don was also part of the Korematsu legal team and since 2006 has served as President of the San Francisco Japantown Foundation board of directors.

Nine Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2024 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ Lists

Nine Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2024 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ Lists

The Best Lawyers in America recognized nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2024 edition. Partners Sean Tamura-Sato, B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associates La Verne A. Ramsay and Angela Mapa made the Best Lawyers list. Senior Associate Seema Bhatt and Associate Lisa P. Mak were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

Dale, Mark, and Seema are part of the firm’s Personal Injury practice group. Best Lawyers has recognized one or more of the firm’s personal injury attorneys for the past 11 years.

Suhi, Olivia, La Verne, and Angela are part of the firm’s Immigration and Nationality Law practice group. Best Lawyers has recognized one or more of the firm’s immigration attorneys for the past seven years.

Sean and Lisa are part of the firm’s Consumer and Employee Rights practice group. Best Lawyers has recognized one or more of the firm’s consumer and employee rights attorneys for the past three years.

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

The Ones To Watch awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

These individual awards qualify Minami Tamaki LLP for consideration by the Best Lawyers Best Law Firms list, which is announced in November. The firm has been recognized nine times on the Best Law Firms rankings, which are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

Best Lawyers has published its list for more than three decades, striving to earn the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as a reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

<strong>Remembering Garrick Lew on the 7<sup>th</sup> Anniversary of His Passing</strong>

Remembering Garrick Lew on the 7th Anniversary of His Passing

Seven years ago this Sunday, on March 19, 2016, we lost our dear friend and this firm’s former law partner Garrick S. Lew.

Throughout his life, Garrick stayed true to the principles that guided his life: advancing justice, fighting for the underdog, mentoring young attorneys, and being fiercely loyal to family and friends. His absence is still deeply felt to this day.

We remember Garrick on this anniversary with love to his family – wife Diane Hiura, sons Dillon and Brandon, father Share, sister Sherene, and brother Rictor and Rictor’s wife Patty.

Through the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee Foundation, Dale Minami, Donald Tamaki, Brad Yamauchi, Minette A. Kwok, and Jack W. Lee partnered with AABA Law Foundation to create the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship in February 2017. The fellowship awards $10,000 to a third-year law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation.

On this anniversary of Garrick’s passing, we recognize the six recipients of the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship selected by AABA Law Foundation:

  • 2017: The inaugural recipient, Christopher R. Gueco, graduated from University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (UC Law San Francisco, formerly UC Hastings). He worked in the Solano County Public Defender before opening his own law practice.
  • 2018: John So graduated from UC Law San Francisco, and worked in the Alameda County, San Francisco, and Ventura County public defender offices. He later served as a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles County.
  • 2019: Belle Yan clerked in the public defender offices in the District of Columbia and Alameda County and was a paralegal at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. She later served as a Deputy Public Defender in Santa Clara County. Belle graduated from UC Law San Francisco.
  • 2020: Stephanie I. Kim graduated from UC Law San Francisco and worked as a Post Bar Law Clerk in the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. She was previously a Certified Legal Intern in the Marin County Public Defender’s Office and a Trial Law Clerk in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles.
  • 2021: Diana Li graduated from Stanford Law School and the next year served as a fellow in the special litigation section of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
  • 2022: Richard Lee was a 3L at UC Law San Francisco, where he was Editor in Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. Richard planned to work at the San Francisco Public Defenders after graduation.

Garrick will always be greatly missed, and his legacy continues with those who walk the path he helped blaze.


The AABA Law Foundation administers the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship. Donate to the Fellowship online at https://bit.ly/gsl2023. For information on donating by check, visit the AABA Law Foundation web page. Please write “Garrick Lew Fellowship” in the memo of your check.

<strong>Minami Tamaki Announces New Inclusive Healthcare and Family-Forming Benefits to Employees</strong>

Minami Tamaki Announces New Inclusive Healthcare and Family-Forming Benefits to Employees

Minami Tamaki is proud to partner with Carrot to offer a new inclusive reproductive health, family planning, and family-forming benefit to all employees. This is the first time that such a benefit became available to Minami Tamaki, and our firm immediately coordinated to offer this benefit.

Carrot provides equal access to fertility care regardless of gender, sexual orientation, fertility diagnosis, or geographic location. The service is not just for people struggling with fertility but runs the full spectrum of reproductive health and family planning issues for men, women, and gender non-binary, which includes diagnostics/exploration, IUI/IVF, egg/sperm/embryo freezing, adoption, gestational carrier, pregnancy, low testosterone, and menopause.

Our firm is committed to each person in our firm. “This plan really has something for everyone, giving everyone the ability to plan for our personal futures and address any current issues while still having the ability to focus on our careers. We understand how this can be a very emotional and difficult path, and we hope that this benefit can provide support in your journey,” says partner Olivia Lee.

Carrot Fertility is the leading global fertility benefits provider for employers and health plans, built to support employees through their lifelong fertility healthcare journey. Companies use Carrot to customize an inclusive fertility benefit that provides employees financial, medical, and emotional support as they pursue parenthood and fertility care, reducing healthcare costs and resulting in better clinical outcomes.

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.

Minami Tamaki LLP Welcomes Ember Oparowski to Personal Injury Practice

Minami Tamaki LLP Welcomes Ember Oparowski to Personal Injury Practice

Minami Tamaki LLP announces that Ember Oparowski has joined the firm as an Associate. She brings to the firm a decade of litigation experience involving complex matters with catastrophic injuries and multimillion-dollar claims.

She has worked for civil defense firms in the Bay Area representing general contractors, restaurants and bars, insurance companies, property owners, and product manufacturers. In addition to her experience at private law firms, Ember was a fellow and a law clerk at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where she handled arraignments, motions, and served on trial teams.

Ember received her J.D. from Golden Gate University. She participated in the Honors Lawyering Program, made the Dean’s List, and completed the Certificate in Litigation with Distinction. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Politics.

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2022. Both Senior Counsels have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 19 consecutive years.

PERSONAL INJURY
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2022; Super Lawyers, 19 years)
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 13 years)
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars)

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers, 2 years)
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 4 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars)

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Sean Tamura-Sato (Super Lawyers. 2 years)
Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars)

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 19 years)

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.

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. The 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.

PHOTO – Top Row (L-R): Sean Tamura-Sato*, B. Mark Fong*, Olivia Serene Lee*, Suhi Koizumi*; Middle Row (L-R): Lisa P. Mak**, Dale Minami*Top 100, Donald K.Tamaki*, La Verne A. Ramsay; Bottom Row: (L-R): Angela C. Mapa, Dian Sohn**, Seema Bhatt**, David Palmer. Not pictured: Ember Oparowski.*Chosen to 2022 Super Lawyers **Chosen to 2022 Rising Stars