Being Denied as a Japanese American Lawyer

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But I remember when I was at the law firm, a new matter came in from a client- a client had a long relationship with another lawyer in the firm, a real terrific lawyer, a fellow named John Austin. And John asked me, “Listen I want you…would you take this matter for me? I think you can do it” and all this kind of stuff, and I said “Sure.”

So I met with the client, and then, on the way out, the client stopped to see John Austin, and John came to see me and told me that the client didn’t want me to be his lawyer, and I couldn’t figure out why. He never did say, but since he had just met him, I think it had to be because I was Japanese. And John said to his credit, “Well, that’s who we are gonna have to do this case so if you don’t want him then we can’t take the matter.” So John Austin refused it much to his credit.

But anyway, things like that would happen during that era, that period. Something like that would happen much less today, I think.

Date: July 2, 2014
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Sakura Kato
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

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