Sid Kanazawa | Candidate for President-Elect

Headshot of Sid Kanazawa

 Sid Kanazawa 

 Candidate for President-Elect

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Candidate Statement #1

I humbly seek the office of President-Elect because I believe this is our moment and, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” “we can’t throw away our shot.” In this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Asian and Pacific Islanders have shown a remarkable ability to respect each other and appreciate our collective responsibility to each other. The low numbers and rates of infection are not simply because of location. Rather, I believe they stem from cultures that seek harmony rather than absolutes. We can and must help our fellow lawyers and citizens understand and see the value of this perspective. It goes beyond stopping hate and being treated as an “other” and as a perpetual foreigner. It goes to the harmonizing value of singing karaoke together, breaking bread together, and listening to each other. It goes to an appreciation that the adversarial model of “one way” and “one truth” is a myth. We settle 98% of the cases filed without determining “one truth.” In trials, different trial courts and appellate courts regularly come to different “truths.” Even at the U.S. Supreme Court, we accept a “truth” pronounced by a 5-4 majority, where four justices disagree with that final “truth.” It goes to a recognition that we are all imperfect and that our march to a “more perfect union” will be imperfect but, like our karaoke singing, our imperfection does not mean we cannot find a way to smile, harmonize, and collectively move forward. I believe that we as APIs can and must “rise up” and lead.

I became NAPABA’s Pro Bono General Counsel and served for 10 years to bridge conflicts and was proud to see the respectful way in which differences were addressed and embraced. It was imperfect. But we came together for the larger good.

Consistent with the existing Strategic Plan, I want to help each and every NAPABA member hone their talents, develop strong relationships, and get the recognition they deserve for their contributions to our larger community. It is not in our nature to brag. So it falls upon NAPABA and its leaders to brag for you. To spotlight the sometimes less than glamorous things we do to “get the job done.” I will be doing everything I can to help tell and spread your stories.

The hate by some directed at our community should not deter us. We have been here before. And time and again, we have quietly and effectively overcome all of these obstacles by heeding Abraham Lincoln’s words - “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend,” Our Lobby Day, our collaboration with diverse and other community organizations, our efforts to maintain and spread contacts in government and in the private sector, our promotion of judges, our invitations to speakers, our regional conferences, our mentoring, and our in-house counsel programs and connections to outside counsel are all examples of our collective effort to make friends. This is our strength. I will be doing everything I can to provide more opportunities to connect and strengthen bonds within and outside of NAPABA through our nationwide network of friends.

I want to help educate our internal and larger community about how our self reflection, listening, and respectfulness are the very tools we all need right now in this time of change. We want to “be in the room where it happens.” We want to show how our organization of different cultures comes together as one. We want to show how our membership of Democrats and Republicans, big firms and solos, government and private sectors, in-house and outside counsel, academics and judges, coastal cities and inland towns, plaintiffs and defendants, immigrants and native born, young and old, and all the nuanced cultures of Asia and the Pacific can somehow unify with one voice. We want to show how we unite rather than divide. We want to show how we embrace and appreciate difference rather than fear it. We want to show how we stay in the present looking forward rather than wallowing in the unchangeable past. We want to tell our stories – our imperfect stories – about our imperfect past and imperfect present and how we creatively instill imperfect harmony for an imperfect future with our imperfect “friends.”

As a full-time mediator/arbitrator, I have seen first-hand how bombast, bullying, and uncompromising purity – the tools of “one way” “one truth” “my way or the highway” advocacy – are ineffective in bringing people together and moving us forward. We’ve seen it in the streets. When armed police tried to bully unarmed protesters, counter-violence erupted. By contrast, when police took off their helmets, kneeled, listened, and showed respect, they were met with an equally respectful response. We have the tools. We need to use our internal networking, education, and support to strengthen those tools and our external voice to promote, recognize, and spotlight our members as they effectively deploy those tools. As reflected in our NAPABA founding documents, we are part of an organization that took a clear- eyed look at the present and future and created an organization and representation that did not simply bow to who had more numbers but instead structured the organization for the good of all of us. In this moment, we need more who think of the larger good than those who think only of themselves. Our fellow professionals and fellow citizens need our balanced approach more than ever. If elected, I will do my best to direct NAPABA toward an appreciation of our history, our strengths, and our challenges, and will tell your stories so that you can help all of us by being “in the room where it happens”

This is our moment. “Rise up.” We’re not going to “throw away our shot.”

Candidate Statement #2

Dear NAPABA Members, 

In this special moment of racial reckoning, NAPABA needs a leader experienced in transforming conflict into unifying paths forward.    
My name is Sid Kanazawa and I was urged to run for President-Elect of NAPABA by many of my endorsers because they know I can turn danger into opportunity and enemies into friends for the benefit of our big tent of 50,000 diverse APA legal professionals.   
I am excited and aiming high. Amidst our current politics of angry shouts, APAs offer real hope for sustainable change right now. As John Lewis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Norm Mineta, Daniel Inouye, and so many of us have recognized, minorities cannot change majorities by answering hate with hate, drawing lines between us, or yelling at those who refuse to hear. Hate breeds fear, and fear breeds fight, flight, or freeze. Entrenchment. Not change. NAPABA was formed in the aftermath of the death of Vincent Chin, murdered because his killers were angry at Japanese automakers invading Detroit. He was not Japanese. We recognized then and must recognize now that we are stronger and more powerful if we unite within and unite with others outside of NAPABA and use our smart power. Our cultural heritage of humility, empathy, and respect are the perfect vehicles for bringing people together. We, APA lawyers, must lead and change the narrative. Our country needs us now.  
This is our APA moment. Despite all the historical and current attacks on APAs as undesirable “foreigners” or “others,” COVID-19 has shown us that our bias toward a collective approach over a selfish “me first” entitlement is powerful. When the richest country in the world, with only 4% of the world’s population, has more than 25% of the COVID-19 infections and deaths and its citizens are banned from traveling to Europe and Asia, you’ve got to ask why. The answer is simple. Leadership grounded in humility, empathy, and respect – hallmarks of APA culture – is the same type of leadership taught in military academies and business schools and is being employed by the great leaders who inspire a path forward for all. This is our moment to change the narrative about who APAs are and what we contribute.   
All my life, I’ve been a leader who highlighted others, opened doors, and brought people together. I’ve done this as a teacher, state legislative staffer, local, state, and national bar leader, trial lawyer, law firm partner, industry group leader, and invited member to various exclusive national organizations.   
But I am particularly proud of bringing people together who do not agree. For NAPABA, as pro bono General Counsel for 10 years, I suggested higher planes to bring disparate views together. For JABA, in the “Comfort Women” statue controversy, I initiated a path forward that brought potentially opposing parties to join in a unified position. For the State Bar of California, I brought together divergent views to create a unified position on new proposed legislation before the California legislature. For the American Bar Association, I instituted a new rule requiring diverse voices in ABA CLE programs, something that had been talked about for more than 20 years without action.  For the American Law Institute, I helped the Reporters shape the Restatement of Torts 3d: Product Liability. With the Days of Dialogue project in Los Angeles, I’ve facilitated many difficult discussions among community groups and the police. As a writer, I’ve opened eyes to new perspectives (samples at ARC website).  As an invited speaker, I’ve opened hearts and minds to new possibilities (samples at IILP/AT&T/Dallas and NAPABA/Jen Won/John Iino/Sid Kanazawa). And now, as a mediator, I bring people together who never thought it possible.  
If elected, in addition to implementing the Strategic Plan being spearheaded by President Bonnie Wolf and President-Elect A.B. Cruz and improving upon NAPABA’s existing programs, subsidies, and tasks forces (including the Hate Crimes Task Force), here are my plans for NAPABA:   

  • In my first 90 days, I will work with NAPABA’s Regional Governors to visit virtually all 90 affiliates and national associates and hear directly from them how we can best serve each other’s needs, wants, and hopes.  I will simultaneously reach out to the new leaders of other minority and majority bars and our nation’s government leaders to expand upon and deepen the dialogue with them, finding and building upon common ground for future collaborations. 
  • To build pipelines of leadership, I will develop programs to teach how minorities change majorities and will work with our affiliates to design effective strategies for programs, publications, news releases, videos, social media, and other actions to raise the profile of our young members, ensure they take center stage, and connect them with our elders (“kupuna”) who forged earlier paths forward. 
  • To connect our members, I will propose an ambassador program to connect new members within and outside of NAPABA. 
  • To make our external voice stronger and more thoughtful, I will conduct town halls and discussions throughout the year to clarify and refine our thoughts about the divides and challenges that lie ahead for all of us, e.g., affirmative action and voter referenda, and explore the possibility of establishing think tanks to further our voice. 
  • To address the busy schedules of our affiliate leaders, I will explore an Executive Director-sharing program.   

Real sustainable change does not happen without listening, reaching out to friends and strangers, developing trust, and engaging in honest, and sometimes difficult, conversations. Real sustainable change needs a broad network of people who are engaged and feel a part of the movement. Real sustainable change needs thoughtful leadership that can lift disparate voices to new levels of common purpose inside and outside of NAPABA. That’s what I bring.

I would be honored by your vote for me and work hard to make you proud. The last day to vote is September 4, 2020 at 8:00 PM Eastern. PLEASE VOTE.   


Candidate Bio

Sid Kanazawa is a mediator/arbitrator with ARC and a prolific writer and speaker.

He was a trial lawyer at Lillick McHose; Pillsbury Winthrop; Van Etten, Suzumoto, & Becket; and McGuireWoods for 40 years, a “Southern California Super Lawyer” since 2004, a National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) instructor and program director for 30 years, and a LCA Senior Fellow in 2019.

Sid served as NAPABA’s Pro Bono General Counsel, with his firm (McGuireWoods), from 2007 to 2017 and received NAPABA’s President’s Award in 2014 for their service and establishment of two annual NAPABA Internships.

As subcommittee chair for the ABA Standing Committee on CLE, he successfully changed the ABA’s diversity and inclusion rules for all ABA CLE programs. He has also served as an Executive Board Member for JABA, PLAC, and the California State Bar Litigation Section; as Chair of the DRI Trial Tactics Committee; and as Chair of the California State Bar Committee on the Administration of Justice.

Through a petition to the California Supreme Court, and with the help of many NAPABA friends, Sid obtained posthumous admission and recognition for Sei Fujii, a lawyer/activist who could not be admitted to the bar during his lifetime but was instrumental in overturning the Alien Land Laws in California. Sid also chairs the Board of Trustees for a Japanese community center in Hawaii.

Sid is a graduate of the University of Hawaii (B.Ed.), University of Southern California (J.D.), and numerous negotiation/mediation programs. He is licensed in California and Hawaii.


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  • Endorsements will be posted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by 12 p.m EDT.

NAPABA Affiliate Endorsements

Affiliate Name 
Japanese American Bar Association 
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Solano County 
Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance 
Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Ontario 
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Indiana 
Asian American Bar Association of Houston 
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
Asian American Bar Association of New York 
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley 
Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California 


Individual Endorsements

*All work or organizational affiliations disclosed are for identification and disclosures purposes only, and do not constitute endorsements by those institutions. 

Name Company*
Michael Wu Madewell, Inc.
Vincent Gonzalez  Southern California Gas Company
Craig Nakanishi  Cades Schutte LLP
Jayanne Hino Davis Wright Tremaine LLP 
Annette Kwok  Cronos Group Inc.
Marissa Machida  Bank of Hawaii
John Ratnaswamy  The Law Office John Ratnaswamy
Riya Kuo  Culver City, CA 
Ryan Iwasaka GreenbergGlusker LLP
Sandra Yamate Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Judy Lam Maynard Cooper & Gayle LLP
Anthony Wang  O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Alan Tse Jones Lang LaSalle
Jin Hwang  West Orange, New Jersey
Joseph Centeno Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Diana Iorlano  Iketani Law Corporation
Tirzah Lowe  Fox Corporation
Gina Shishima  Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
Parkin Lee  New York, NY
Peggy Nagae  Peggy Nagae Consulting
Don Liu  Target Corporation
Donald Tamaki  Minami Tamaki LLP
Jim Goh  Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP
Paul W. Lee  Goodwin Procter LLP
Lily Hughes  Arrow Electronics, Inc.
Fiona Ong  Shawe Rosenthal LLP
Angela Hsu  Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
James Derry  Roku
Ruthe Ashley  American Canyon, CA
Dale Minami  Minami Tamaki LLP
Bryce Kumimoto  Holland & Hart, LLP
Aimee Contreras-Camua  Pircher, Nichols & Meeks LLP
Jeffrey Hsi  Wolf Greenfield & Sacks PC
Dale Minami  Minami Tamaki LLP
Diane Tan  Tan & Sakiyama,  a Prof.Corp.
Danika Marshall  Golden, CO
Jen Won  Larson O'Brien LLP
Susan Moon  The Walt Disney Company
Michael Yap  Gen Mobile
Benes Aldana  The National Judicial College
Les Jin  Washington, DC
Javade Chaudhri  Jones Day
Wendy Shiba  Altadena, CA
Teddy Kapur Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP
Kenzo Kawanabe  Davis Graham & Stubbs
Gary Yoshimura  Santa Barbara, CA
Millicent Sanchez  Swerdlow Florence Sanchez Swerdlow & Wimmer
David Louie   Kobayashi Sugita & Goda
John Iino  Pacific Palisades, CA
Daniel Hu  Houston, TX
Martin Tachiki  Los Angeles, CA
Kimberly Kam  Starbucks Coffee Company
Kenneth Tanaka  MUFG Union Bank
Caroline Tsai  Western Union
Carlton Chen Kurien Oullette LLC
Rahat Babar  Trenton, NJ
Bettina Yip  Petco
Nancy Eng Eng Law, PC
Dean Zipser  Umberg Zipser LLP
Mike Madokoro  Bowman and Brooke LLP
John Kuo  Charles River Laboratories
Edward Toyozaki U.S. Department of Energy
Kira Conlon  Sheppard Mullins Richter & Hampton LLP
Bruce Yamashita  Law Office of Bruce I Yamashita PLLC
Paul Hirose  Perkins Coie LLP
Cedric Chao  Chao ADR, PC
Bruce Ishimatsu Ishimatsu Law Group P.C.
Vivian Hsu Hsu & Associates LLC
Evelyn Gong  Perkins Coie LLP
Eric Nishizawa  Law Office of Eric Y. Nishizawa
William Simonitsch  K&LGates LLP
Marcine Anderson   King County, WA
Steven Wong The Home Depot
Ekwan Rhow Bird Mirella Boxer Wolpert et al.
Wilson Chu McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Michele Lau McKesson Corporation
Marty Lorenzo Petco
Hon. Howard L. Halm (Ret.)  ADR Services, Inc.
Ronald Low  Marina Del Rey, CA
Anne Benedict Summit Materials, Inc.
Jason DeJonker Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Priscilla Park   Law & ADR Office of Priscilla Kim Park
Cyndie Chang Duane Morris
Linda Mar Weidman Marriott International Inc.
Tsiwen Law Law & Associates
Joan Haratani Morgan Lewis
Andrew Hahn Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
Yankun Guo Goldstein & McClintock
Robert Yap Gen Mobile
Pankit Doshi McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Simone Wu Choice Hotels International
Nimesh Patel Akin Gump  Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Ivan Fong 3M Company
Rudy Figueroa Mitsui Rail Capital, LLC
Henry Su  Constantine Cannon LLP
Justin Im Superior Essex
Timothy Wang Delta Air Lines
Bobby Woo King & Spalding LLP
Bonnie Lau Morrison & Foerster LLP
Emily Kuo The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Lawrence Tu Austin, TX
Yuri Mikulka Alston & Bird LLP
Paul Chan Bird Mirella Boxer Wolpert et al. 
Felix Woo FTW Law Group
Carolynn Beck Goldstein & McClintock LLLP
Brian Sun Jones Day
Catherine Chuck McBirney & Chuck PC
Alice Truong Summit Law Group
Barbara Lum Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Diana Lin Chicago, IL
Lee Cheng Maschoff Brennan
John Chou  AmerisourceBergen Corporation
Robert Zung Chevy Chase, MD
Debbie Crockett Cheffy Passidomo, P.A.
John Rhee  Dentons US LLP
Quynh Truong-Johnson Cruz & Associates
Sandra Leung  Bristol-Meyers Squibb 
Ted Ting Bank of America
Melissa Lin Righi Fitch Law Group
Bryce Suzuki Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Kathleen Chen University of Pennsylvania
Rakesh Gopalan McGuireWoods LLP
Donna Chin Donna C. Chin, Esq.
Jeannie Kim Sheppard, Mullins, Richter & Hampton LLP
Lynn A. Whitcher Md7
Randy Aoyama Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Kevin Fong Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 
Toni Nguyen Holland & Knight
Vanessa Lee Seattle City Attorney's Office
Marla T. Reschly  K&L Gates LLP
Curtis Jung  Jung & Yuen LLP
Louise Ing Dentons US LLP
Eileen Sullivan Coconino County Legal Defender
Tony Chan  Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP
Julia Markley Perkins Coie LLP
Tina Matsuoka Arlington, VA
Sang-yul Lee K&L Gates LLP
Christopher Yook  King & Spalding LLP
Marie Oh Huber eBay Inc.
Julie Cheng New Bamboo Consulting
Laura Hong Tucker Ellis LLP
Paul M. Igasaki Alexandria, VA
Ed Lew Los Angeles, CA
Paxon Sinsangkeo Charlotte, NC
Grace Yoo  Law Offices of Grace E. Yoo
Rob Vasquez Ewa Beach, HI
Naho Kobayash McGuireWoods LLP
Alexander Su LimNexus LLP
Julie D. Soo  California Department of Insurance/Commissioner, San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women
Ruoya Burns  Northeastern University School of Law
Mimi Nguyen  Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Tina Ngo Alston & Bird LLP
Sam Yoon L3Harris Technologies, Inc.
Kevin Lyn Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
Benjamin Lumicao Allstate Insurance Company
Karen Narasaki Washington, DC
Laura Hong  Tucker Ellis LLP
Tina Dorr  Cantor Colburn LLP
Mark Uyeda Washington, DC
Monkia Oyama Masuda Funai Eifert & Mitchell Ltd.
Christine Noma Wendel Rosen LLP
Clara Ohr  Goldwind USA, Inc.

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