AABA Law Foundation Invites Applications to the 2018 Garrick S. Lew Fellowship


The AABA Law Foundation has opened applications for its 2018 Garrick S. Lew Fellowship, a $10,000 award to a 3L law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation. The application deadline is February 16, 2018.

The Garrick S. Lew Fellowship is funded through a grant to the AABA Law Foundation from the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation’s Garrick S. Lew Legacy Fund, created in conjunction with the Lew family to support efforts that continue Garrick’s legacy of advocating for our Asian American communities, AAPIs in the legal profession, and criminal defense.

The AABA Law Foundation administers the Fellowship and selects the recipients. The Foundation awarded the inaugural Garrick S. Lew Fellowship last year to Christopher Gueco of U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

Garrick passed away March 19, 2016, after a distinguished career as one of the Bay Area’s top criminal defense attorneys.

The MTYKL Foundation extends its deepest thanks to the donors of the Garrick S. Lew Legacy Fund and to Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus in Garrick’s memory. Visit https://mtykl.org/garricklewfund for a list of donors.

To apply for the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship, visit http://bit.ly/garricklew2018. Applications are due on February 16, 2018, to the AABA Law Foundation. The Garrick S. Lew Fellowship recipient will be recognized at the Asian American Bar Association Annual Dinner in San Francisco on March 22, 2018.


Statement from Christopher Gueco, Recipient of the 2017 Garrick S. Lew Fellowship 

I would like to again thank the Asian American Bar Association, the entire MTYKL Foundation, and the Lew Family for making this fellowship possible.

At the time I was selected as the recipient of this fellowship, I was in the middle of my last semester of law school and had applied for post-bar positions at multiple public defenders’ offices. Although these positions offer the experience necessary to be a great criminal defense attorney, the majority of these positions are unpaid.

Being awarded this fellowship removed this financial barrier and enabled me to select an office solely based on the experience that they offered. This allowed me to accept a post-bar position at the Solano County Public Defender’s Office, which later turned into an extra help contract as a Deputy Public Defender.

The Garrick S. Lew Fellowship provided me with not only financial support but the support of a community of lawyers representative of the kind of lawyer I aspire to be, and the type of lawyer Mr. Lew will always be remembered as – a tireless advocate in the war for social justice and equality.

Although I did not have the privilege of meeting Mr. Lew, being a recipient of this fellowship has brought me closer to a community of individuals who consider Mr. Lew as their mentor, friend, and inspiration. Meeting these individuals proved just how much of an influence Mr. Lew had in his community.

Fierce advocates like Abigail Rivamonte, Jonah Chew, Edwin Prather, Sue Ra, and many more attorneys who consider Mr. Lew as their mentor have continuously offered their support and have mentored me throughout the post-graduation process. Just like the individuals who supported me post-incarceration, these individuals are a major factor in my success.

In my personal statement, I shared the last words my grandma told me: “É mu kakalingwan ing pibatan mu” (“don’t forget where you came from”). I am truly grateful for the financial support the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship has provided me and for the community it has introduced me to. In my office, I hang the award provided to me during the scholarship dinner. On that award is a post-it stating “earn it.” With the support I continuously receive by my community, I am confident I will.

About Garrick S. Lew

Garrick will be remembered as a skillful and talented attorney, a tireless advocate in the fight for social justice and equality, an icon in the Asian American community, a devoted husband to his wife, Diane Hiura, a loving and engaged father to his two sons, Dillon and Brandon, and an indispensable friend to those who knew him.

Garrick, the first of three children, was born on July 25, 1950, in Oakland, Calif., to parents Share and Jennie Lew. A product of Oakland’s public schools, Garrick received his B.A. with Honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971, and his J.D. from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1974. From his first years as a student at Cal, he fought for the establishment of an ethnic studies program, demonstrated in the Third World Strike, and helped establish youth organizations in Oakland’s Chinatown.

Throughout his legal career, Garrick was an ardent champion of civil rights and social justice, and a staunch defender of those unable to defend themselves. As a fearless young lawyer, he represented Wendy Yoshimura, the fugitive who was caught with Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army.  He was also part of the legal team fighting the eviction of tenants from the International Hotel, and provided pro bono services to demonstrators arrested in anti-Vietnam war protests.

It was out of this sense of justice and pride in his heritage as an Asian American that he helped establish the Asian Law Caucus while still a law student. Garrick later co-founded Minami, Tomine and Lew, one of the first Asian American law firms in the country. The firm later became Minami Lew & Tamaki, and then Minami Tamaki LLP when Garrick started his own practice in 2006.

In his 42 years of practicing law, Garrick specialized in criminal defense trial work with a focus on complex white-collar cases, but also served on the federal court’s Criminal Justice Panel for 30 years, handling hundreds of cases for indigent clients. In a testament to his belief that every person charged with a crime deserved representation, he was the defense attorney for notorious serial killer, Charles Ng.

Garrick received numerous honors, awards, and recognitions for his professional accomplishments. He was also one of the funniest people alive, sometimes unintentionally. Throughout his life, Garrick stayed true to the principles that guided his life: advancing justice, fighting for the underdog, mentoring young attorneys, and being fiercely loyal to family and friends.