Dale Minami

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Dale Minami (born October 13, 1946) is a San Francisco-based lawyer best known for heading the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, whose defiance of the World War II Japanese American internment order lead to Korematsu v. United States, one of the most controversial United States Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century.

Biography and career[edit]

Minami was born in Los Angeles, California, graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1968 from the University of Southern California, and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1971 from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Minami's cases have often involved the civil rights of Asian-Pacific Americans and other minorities. In the early 1980s, Minami helped lead a legal team of pro bono attorneys in successfully reopening Fred Toyasaburo Korematsu v. United States, resulting in the erasure of Fred Korematsu’s criminal conviction for defying the internment. United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield was the first employment class action lawsuit brought by Asian-Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian-Pacific Americans. Spokane JACL v. Washington State University was a class action to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University. Nakanishi v. UCLA involved a claim for unfair denial of tenure that resulted in the granting of tenure after several hearing and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia.

Minami has been involved in the judicial appointment process and in public policy and legislation. He served as a member of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and has chaired the California Attorney General's Asian Pacific Advisory Committee. He has also served as a Commissioner on the California State Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Nominee's Evaluation, Senator Barbara Boxer's Judicial Screening Committee and was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in 1996.

Minami is a co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus, 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, 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, and the designation of a dormitory at the University of California at Santa Cruz as the “Queen Liliuokalani-Minami" Dormitory.


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

Clients include Kristi Yamaguchi, Philip Kan Gotanda and Steven Okazaki. He is counsel to several community organizations, including the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA), and the Asian American Journalists Association.

External links[edit]