Esq. Senior Counsel, Minami Tamaki LLP
Dale Minami, Senior Counsel of Minami Tamaki LLP, was recently awarded the American Bar Association (ABA) Medal, the association’s highest honor for his career working toward inclusion and civil rights for Asian Americans. It will not be the first ABA award for the attorney, who is also a past recipient of the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award and Spirit of Excellence Award.
Dale has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, such as Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40-year-old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II, originally upheld by U.S. Supreme Court.
Other landmark decisions involving Mr. Minami include: United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans; Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University; and Nakanishi v. UCLA, a claim for unfair denial of tenure that resulted in the granting of tenure after several hearings and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia.
He was a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, the first community interest law firm serving Asian Pacific Americans in the country; a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States; an original incorporator of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Asian Pacific Bar of California; and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, one of the nation’s first political action committees focused on Asian American candidates and issues.
Mr. Minami has been involved in the judicial appointment process and in establishing or influencing public policy and legislation. President Clinton appointed him as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in January 1996. Mr. Minami has served as a member of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and has chaired the California Attorney General’s Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, advising the State’s Attorney General on key issues. He has also served as a Commissioner on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominee’s Evaluation, and on Senator Barbara Boxer’s Judicial Screening Committee, which made recommendations for federal judicial appointments.
Currently, Mr. Minami serves on the advisory boards of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the Korematsu Institute, the Asian Pacific Fund and Seattle University’s Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He is a founder of the Judge Robert M. Takasugi Fellowship, dedicated to providing stipends to law students who commit to public interest work. He has taught at U.C. Berkeley and Mills College in Oakland and was Co-Executive Producer (with Philip Kan Gotanda) of “Drinking Tea” and “Life Tastes Good”, both of which were screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
He was born in Los Angeles, California, and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1972. Mr. Minami 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 the University of California Berkeley School of Law, University of California and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. In 1982, he was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court.