Each attorney has a narrative surround their success. In the most recent issues of Super Lawyers Magazine, our cover subjects show how critical it is for a lawyer to showcase resilience. Whether that’s through hardship, representing a difficult case or leading through change, these stories show how top-rated attorneys guide their clients through the highs and lows. Take a look at the stories below to witness the breadth of their abilities.
In 1981, Dale Minami retried history and in 1983, he won. Minami was representing Fred Korematsu, an Oakland resident who was convicted in 1943 for not reporting to a Japanese-American internment camp.
Growing up just south of LA, Dale Minami rarely heard his parents speak about the three years they endured at Rohwer, one of 10 locations where the U.S. government incarcerated 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Representing Korematsu, Minami became a voice for the internees by leading the landmark civil rights lawsuit that overturned a 40-year-old conviction for Korematsu.
As a youngster in Gardena, Minami hardly seemed the type to buck authority. He was student-body president at his high school, where he played varsity basketball and baseball.
“Our folks were so scarred from being incarcerated because of their ethnicity that they didn’t want us to be too Japanese and risk other humiliating and devastating deprivations of our rights,” he says. “So we tried to fit in, assimilate, become well-spoken, wear button-down shirts. We were encouraged to participate in school activities, make sure we got good grades, obey rules and the law, not bring shame on the family.”
Learn more about how Minami overturned the conviction, how he started the nation’s first nonprofit to help poor Asian-Americans with legal problems and how he founded his own firm in the 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine.
Lymari Santana, a founding attorney at Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C. in Minneapolis, grew up in Vega Alta and Bayamón along the northern coast of Puerto Rico. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was an OB-GYN.
“When I was a kid, I used to go to his law school classes with him because we didn’t have someone to take care of me,” she remembers. “The funny part is, years later, when my mom was talking to me about going to school, basically the conversation was, ‘Which are you going to be? You’re either a doctor or a lawyer.’ Well, I knew I couldn’t handle seeing blood. And watching my dad prepare for his cases, and seeing his passion for his work, really drew me to it.”
In more than 18 years in private practice, Santana has cultivated a reputation for tenacity and smarts that has made her a star in Minnesota’s family law circles.
“You have to be the type of person who can deal with change in real time,” she says “And you have to be passionate and committed to it. Because if you’re not, I just don’t know how you can do this work.”
Access the issue to read Santana’s story about becoming an attorney, starting a family and returning to her native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Since 1990, the population in the metro area has grown by nearly 60 percent-from 1.5 million to 2.4 million. In the last five years, the median home price has almost doubled, with some neighborhoods seeing home prices triple. A commercial construction boom that stalled during the global financial meltdown of 2008 has more than made up ground. Cranes dominate the landscape.
“Portland has just changed so much, especially in the last five years,” says Alexander. “We have a city that rightly is focused on some equity issues that are serious societal and community issues, but it’s put a lot of pressure on the development community in particular when you’re talking about affordable housing.”
Alexander grew up in Salem. Even though her father was a plaintiff’s attorney, she didn’t know she wanted to be a lawyer until college. And even then, she was more interested with what business leaders were up to than the litigators.
After attending Willamette University College of Law, Alexander became a real estate associate at Bogle & Gates in Seattle in 1996-a time when tech giants Google and Amazon were remaking the idea of the physical workspace. She later moved to San Francisco, in part because of a relationship, and ended up at Cooley Godward, a multinational firm that has been integral to the building of Silicon Valley.
She’s continued to work with developers who dreamed big dreams, even after the downturn of 2008.
“I don’t think any of us quite anticipated anything like 2008 and just the magnitude of the impact on real estate,” she says. “People definitely saw we were in an overheated condo-building cycle, that a lot of money deals were moving fast and furiously. But did we see that Lehman Brothers would go bankrupt? I didn’t.”
Read more about how Alexander helps Portland through the complexities of growth in the 2018 Oregon Super Lawyers Magazine.
And to read all the articles in issues of Super Lawyers Magazine, access the digital editions online.