Attorney and civil rights champion Dale Minami will receive one of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law’s highest honors, the Citation Award, on Friday, May 2, at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
Created in 1961, the Citation Award recognizes outstanding achievements by a Berkeley Law graduate who has made substantial contributions to the bar, the bench, legal scholarship and society. Minami ’71 is among three award recipients to be honored at the gala celebration. Mallun Yen ’95 will receive the Young Alumnus Award and Professor Mel Eisenberg will be presented with the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award.
Minami is the first Asian American to receive this award. Previous Citation Award recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren; California Supreme Court Justices Allen Broussard, Cruz Reynoso, Roger Traynor, and Matthew Tobriner; and U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson.
“Dale’s tireless commitment to civil rights has been an inspiration to his fellow lawyers and to the many disenfranchised groups he has so brilliantly represented,” said Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. “His lifelong work as a champion of social justice fighting various forms of discrimination represents the very best of his profession, and is a shining example to everyone at Berkeley Law.”
“My deepest gratitude goes to the Boalt Hall Alumni Association for this honor,” said Minami. “I feel a bit ambivalent about receiving this award as I never expect awards just for doing the right thing. Still, just reading the list of previous distinguished awardees is quite humbling.”
Minami is a partner with Minami Tamaki LLP in San Francisco and specializes in personal injury and entertainment law.
He has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, most notably Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit that overturned a 40-year-old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II – a case originally upheld by US Supreme Court in landmark decisions. Other cases 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 which resulted in the granting of tenure and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia.
A co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, a co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the Asian Pacific Bar of California and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, Minami has received numerous awards including the American Bar Association’s 2003 Thurgood Marshall Award and the 2003 ACLU Civil Liberties Award. The Asian Pacific American Law Students Association at Berkeley Law also renamed their public interest fellowship after Minami earlier this year.
Minami has been recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Bay Area. Law & Politics Magazine selected him as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in 2005, 2007, and 2008, one of the Super Lawyers every year from 2004 to 2008 in Northern California in the Personal Injury category; one of the Top Lawyers in the Bay Area in the Personal Injury category by Bay Area Lawyer Magazine in 2006; and one of the 500 Best Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine.
For information on the dinner, visit https://www.law.berkeley.edu/alumni/citationaward.