Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Next on Dale Minami, rock star of AAPI attorneys who took on Supreme Court… and won
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Next on Dale Minami, rock star of AAPI attorneys who took on Supreme Court… and won

Attorney Dale MinamiThe next interview scheduled for Erin and my project is one close to our hearts. The free, live interview on Tuesday, August 25 at 6 PM PT (9 PM ET) will be with with Japanese American attorney Dale Minami.

Dale is a rock star within the AAPI community — in fact, the entire U.S. legal community — as the lead attorney in Korematsu v United States, the landmark case that cleared the name of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who resisted being sent to internment camps during WWII and was sent to prison. A 1944 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision established the constitutionality of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But Dale and a team of young pro-bono lawyers took on the case and in 1983, got Korematsu’s conviction overturned.

He’s most famous for the Korematsu case, which he won on a writ of coram nobis, a legal tactic that forced the court to admit that an error of “fundamental character” had been made in Korematsu’s conviction.

Here’s a must-see video about Dale made for an award ceremony when he received the UC-Berkeley law school’s highest honor:

But Dale has been fighting for the AAPI community all his career.

He filed the first class-action lawsuit over employment by AAPIs on behalf of AAPIs with United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, and he helped the Spokane chapter of the JACL take on Washington State University with a class action suit to establish an Asian American Studies program. He also led a fight against UCLA over tenure that was denied an Asian American professor that revealed the layers of discrimination in the academic community.

He was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, Inc., a community-interest law firm, a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States, the Asian Pacific Bar of California and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, a registered political action committee.

Dale 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 Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California.

Minami’s San Francisco-based law firm, Minami Tamaki LLP, specializes in personal injury law and entertainment law.

His clients include skater Kristi Yamaguchi, playwright Philip Kan Gotanda and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki. He is counsel to several community organizations, including the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA), and the Asian American Journalists Association.

He’s earned more recognitions than you can count, including the 2008 Citation Award from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, American Bar Association’s 2003 Thurgood Marshall Award, the American Bar Association’s “Spirit of Excellence” Award, the 2003 ACLU Civil Liberties Award, the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, an honorary Juris Doctor degree from the McGeorge School of Law, designation of a dormitory at the University of California at Santa Cruz as the “Queen Liliuokalani-Minami” Dormitory, a public interest fellowship in his name established at U.C. Berekley’s School of Law, awards from the Coro Foundation, and awards from the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, the Harry Dow Memorial Fellowship in Boston, the Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Fund, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Japanese American Youth organization of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese Community Youth Council and Centro Legale de la Raza, among others.

Erin and I have seen Minami speak, and he’s a fiery orator (is there a public office, in your future, counsellor?). We’re sure he’s going to make for an exciting interview, so register and join us on!

Register now to join for our live, one-hour conversation with Dale Minami on Tuesday, August 25 at 6 PM PY (9 PM ET). It’s a free teleconference that you can listen to over the phone or via a webcast. Once youy’re registered, you don’t have to be on the call — you can listen to the archive recording at your convenience for a limited time.