On Being an Asian American Woman in Law


In 1979, there were still not that many women in the legal profession. I think we only had one or two women judges at that point statewide. So there weren't that many women in the legal profession then, but law firms were starting to try to diversify. So in that sense, I think it was helpful for me to be a Japanese-American woman.

But I'll never forget one of the interviews that I had where a um, where a senior partner and a named partner at a law firm asked me, “Well, do you think you're going to work for a couple of years and then quit and get married?”

“Or do you realize that if you come to work at our law firm, you can't leave during the day to go to PTA meetings?”.

So I just smiled at him and I said, “May I ask you a question?”

And he said, “Sure”. I said, “Do you ask your male applicants these questions?”

And then I reported him to our our employment director to say that he was asking illegal questions.

I did get an offer for from that firm, but I went to another firm which I felt was actually wanted really wanted me to be there and was actually recruiting several women. And, you know, I still have very good friends and another Japanese-American woman. She and I started as summer associates at the law firm together. And she became she became like a superintendent of education of Hawaii, Kathy Matayoshi.

So and I was surrounded by other Japanese American women and Asian-American women at that law firm. So it was a good experience there.

日付: July 14, 2022
場所: California, US
Interviewer: Lana Kobayashi
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Asian American women Japanese American women women in law firm




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