WASHINGTON - The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, has announced the 2010 recipients of NAPABA's highest honor, the NAPABA Trailblazer Award, at an awards ceremony on Friday, November 19, 2010, during NAPABA's 22nd Annual Convention in Los Angeles, CA.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of NAPABA lawyers who have paved the way for advancement of other APA attorneys. Each year, NAPABA honors a member from each of its nine membership regions who meets these criteria. Awardees are selected by each region and represent diverse career paths and achievements. Each of the award recipients has demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their careers, and has made substantial and lasting contributions to both the legal community and the broader APA community. For their extraordinary accomplishments and for serving as role models who inspire other APA lawyers, NAPABA congratulates these trailblazers:
Holly J. Fujie - Central California Region
Holly J. Fujie is a litigation shareholder at Los Angeles-based Buchalter Nemer. She was the 84th president of the State Bar of California and the first APA and the third woman to hold this position. Among her many achievements, Ms. Fujie has received the National Association of Women Lawyers' M. Ashley Dickerson Diversity Award, the ABA's Difference Makers Award, the Leadership Institute of Women of Color Attorneys' Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award, and the 2009 Leadership Award of the Bench-Bar Coalition of California.
Stuart J. Ishimaru - Southeast Region
Stuart J. Ishismaru has been a member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2003. He was designated by President Obama as acting chairman of the Commission on January 20, 2009, a position in which he served until April 7, 2010. Under Mr. Ishimaru's leadership, the agency obtained record budget allocations from Congress and embarked on an aggressive hiring initiative to significantly increase its front-line enforcement staff.
Edward Kiel - Northeast Region
Edward Kiel is an experienced litigator with Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman and Leonard. Mr. Kiel has served as a cooperating attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense Fund and served as pro bono counsel to the Korean American Association of New Jersey. Mr. Kiel was the first Korean American attorney to become a partner at a large New Jersey law firm. He is the co-chair and founding member of his law firm's diversity committee and is an active member of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey.
Marty Lorenzo - Southern California Region
Marty Lorenzo is a partner in the corporate and securities group DLA Piper LLP. He chairs its Asian Pacific Islander South Asian Affinity Group and serves on the National Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He also co-chairs DLA Piper's San Diego Signature Pro Bono Projects, which focuses on veterans and military families, and serves as the general counsel for the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. He is on NAPABA's Nominations Committee, co-chairs the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and was previously honored with the Best Under 40 Award.
Thanh Ngo - Northern California Region
Thanh Ngo is a Deputy District Attorney for Santa Clara County. He began advocating on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities as an undergraduate student and continues to be an advocate for LGBT equality. During law school, he co-founded the Southeast Asian Legal Outreach Program, a legal clinic serving low-income Vietnamese Americans in Orange County. Upon graduation, Mr. Ngo was awarded a two-year Echoing Green Public Service Fellowship housed at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. He also helped found the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and was a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley.
Honorable Peter Sakai - Southwest Region
On November 7, 2006, the Honorable Peter Sakai was elected to the 225th district court bench with nearly 60 percent of the entire Bexar County vote. Judge Sakai was the highest vote-getter among the contested judicial races. Judge Sakai has demonstrated a continued commitment to protecting children and, through his leadership, adoption of foster children in Bexar County increased by 1000 percent from 1995-2005. For his efforts, President (then Governor) George W. Bush recognized Judge Sakai and his model court on the Governor's Committee to Promote Adoption.
Sharon A Sakamoto - Northwest Region
Sharon A. Sakamoto taught in the Seattle Public Schools until she became a lawyer in 1984. Ms. Sakamoto began her career with a team of attorneys working on the Hirabayashi coram nobis case. Currently a partner at Aoki & Sakamoto LLP, her practice reflects her commitment to community. Ms. Sakamoto was the first president of the Asian Bar Association of Washington and remain involved today in local, minority, and state bar associations supporting efforts to diversify the bar and increase access to the law and legal system for attorneys and communities of color.
Christina M. Tchen - Central Region
Christina M. Tchen is currently the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Before joining the White House, Ms. Tchen was a successful litigation partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Ms. Tchen has served as an honorary board member of the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago and has been the recipient of many awards, including the Women's Bar Association of Illinois's Leadership Award and the Anti- Defamation League's Women of Achievement Award.
Honorable Mikio Uchiyama - Eastern California Region
The Honorable Mikio Uchiyama's college education was cut short by being interned in the Gila River, Arizona, Japanese American internment camp but eventually was able to leave to attend the University of Texas. He is the first Asian American graduate from the University of Texas Law School. Judge Uchiyama became the first Japanese American City Attorney in California for the city of Fowler, before being appointed to the bench as the first Japanese American judge in Central California (1968-1990). He was also the first Justice Court Judge to ever sit on assignments with the California Supreme Court.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 62 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.