Jump to content

Lynn Nakamoto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lynn Nakamoto
Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
January 4, 2016 – December 31, 2021
Appointed byKate Brown
Preceded byVirginia Linder
Succeeded byRoger DeHoog
Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 4, 2016
Appointed byTed Kulongoski
Preceded byJack Landau
Succeeded byRoger DeHoog
Personal details
Born (1960-05-24) May 24, 1960 (age 64)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materWellesley College (BA)
New York University (JD)

Lynn R. Nakamoto (born May 24, 1960) is an American judge who is a former justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. She was appointed to the court by Governor Kate Brown, and previously served on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 2011 to 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Nakamoto was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Orange County, California. Nakamoto, who is the first member of her family to graduate college, received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy with honors from Wellesley College in 1982. She then earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1985 at New York University School of Law.[1][2]


From 1985 to 1987, she worked at Bronx Legal Services in New York City before moving to Oregon in 1987, when she became a staff attorney and acting director of Marion-Polk Legal Aid Service. In 1989, she joined Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, a Portland law firm focusing on business litigation, eventually becoming its managing shareholder. She worked there until her appointment to the bench in 2011.[2]

She served as vice chair of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners in 2001 and chair of the Oregon State Bar's affirmative action committee in 2006.

The Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association (OAPABA) presents an award called the Lynn Nakamoto Award at its annual gala dinner.[3]

Judicial service[edit]

In 1989, Nakamoto had served as a summer clerk for United States District Judge Helen J. Frye.

In 2011, Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Nakamoto to the Oregon Court of Appeals, to fill the seat created by Jack Landau's appointment to the Oregon Supreme Court.[4] She was elected unopposed to a six-year term at the 2012 election.

In 2015, Governor Kate Brown named Nakamoto to the Oregon Supreme Court, to fill the vacancy created by Virginia Linder's retirement. Nakamoto is of Japanese descent,[5] and her appointment made her the first Asian American to serve on the supreme court.[1] Nakamoto retired from the court on December 31, 2021.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Nakamoto was a founding member of the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association and sat on the board of the Q Center, an LGBT community center in North Portland.[4]

Nakamoto is a lesbian.[7] As of 2021, she was one of twelve openly LGBT state supreme court justices serving in the United States. Nakamoto and her partner have a daughter named Eleanor adopted from Vietnam.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Friedman, Gordon (December 7, 2015). "Lynn Nakamoto first Asian-American on Oregon Supreme Court". The Statesman Journal.
  2. ^ a b Oregon Court of Appeals. "Judge bios: Lynn Nakamoto".
  3. ^ Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association (OAPABA). "OAPABA is pleased to announce Julia Markley as the recipient of this year's Judge Lynn R. Nakamoto Award during its Annual Gala Dinner".
  4. ^ a b Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf (December 7, 2011). "MHGM Managing Shareholder Lynn Nakamoto appointed to the Court of Appeals". Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Lynn Nakamoto Becomes First Asian American to Serve on Oregon Supreme Court", Pacific Citizen, February 20, 2016
  6. ^ Wong, Peter (August 9, 2021). "Justice Lynn Nakamoto will retire from Oregon Supreme Court". Portland Tribune. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN). "Openly LGBT elected in Oregon".
  8. ^ Weinberger, Dawn. "A Good Move". Oregon Super Lawyers.
Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
Preceded by Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court