Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Professor Dennis Yokoyama Elected as JABA President February 25, 2008
Professor Dennis Yokoyama Elected as JABA President

In February, Professor Dennis Yokoyama officially began his term as president of the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), one of the oldest ethnic minority bar associations in the country. He was elected to the position last spring and will serve until January 2009.

JABA has a distinguished history of providing service to the community, as well as grooming future leaders: six of its past presidents are bench officers of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. JABA's membership also includes notable prosecutors and public defenders, as well as partners and associates from the state's largest law firms. The Association was founded over 30 years ago in Los Angeles to provide a special forum for members of the legal profession with interests and ties to the Japanese American community to discuss issues, network, and serve the community. Past JABA presidents are prominent members of the legal community, and several now serve as bench officers.

The JABA Board of Governors will be installed at JABA's 32nd Annual Installation and Awards Gala on April 4, 2008. This year, the organization will be honoring the legacy of Mitsuye Endo, Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Minoru Yasui, each of whom legally challenged the Japanese American internment during World War II all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  Representatives from each of the four families will be honored. The keynote speaker will be Dale Minami, the civil rights attorney who, in 1983, successfully overturned Fred Korematsu's wartime conviction.

"I want to help JABA continue its many activities and programs," Professor Yokoyama said. This includes a Judicial Candidate Mentoring Program in which JABA members interested in becoming a judge or commissioner can be mentored by judicial officers. JABA has also created a Diversity Committee, which is dedicated to creating partnerships with government agencies and private organizations in promoting diversity across the legal profession. The Committee also directs its efforts in motivating and educating students about the law and career opportunities in the legal field to encourage those with diverse backgrounds to enter the legal profession.

"I understand the great responsibility that I have assumed," Professor Yokoyama said. "My goal as president is to maintain JABA's involvement with issues of concern to Japanese American attorneys and the community at large."

For more information about the Gala and JABA in general, please contact Dennis Yokoyama at