One our mentors, an Of Counsel to our firm, and just a good friend, passed away in May.
Bill Hirose was one of the first Asian American attorneys to graduate from Boalt Hall (Berkeley Law) in the 1950s. With his law degree, Bill pursued a career as a tax accountant, but because big accounting firms were not hiring Asian Americans back then, he started a small accounting firm.
We met Bill in 1972 when his firm, Hirose, Oto and Bailey, donated pro bono services to an upstart group of attorneys and students at the newly formed Asian Law Caucus. He later became the first donor to a secret project we were working on, which we couldn’t even describe to him except in general outlines.
Bill would find out later that he invested in our efforts to overturn the convictions of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui. He was a generous supporter of our work on those cases, as well as the redress movement, and all of our civil rights work.
Bill Hirose offered us great financial wisdom, legal support, and a quirkiness that we loved. He was a person of principle, generosity, humor, and warmth. He was lucky enough to be married to May, a remarkable woman, gracious wife and lifelong partner. They had one son, three daughters and eight grandchildren; his son, Paul, former President of NAPABA, is a good friend of the Partners. Bill will be missed.