Remembering Garrick Lew on the Fourth Anniversary of His Passing

We lost our dear friend and former law partner Garrick Lew four years ago today, on March 19, 2016.

We remember Garrick on this anniversary with love to his family – wife Diane Hiura, sons Dillon and Brandon, father Share, sister Sherene, and brother Rictor and Rictor’s wife Patty.

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. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.

To honor Garrick’s lifetime of accomplishments, we established the Garrick S. Lew Legacy Fund through our MTYKL Foundation.

Because of the generosity of numerous donors to the Fund, the MTYKL Foundation was able to partner with the AABA Law Foundation in creating the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship, which awards $10,000 to a third-year law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation.

The AABA Law Foundation will announce the fourth recipient of the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship later this year.

We express our deepest appreciation to the donors who made the Fellowship possible:

There will never come a time when Garrick won’t be greatly missed.

Dale, Don, Minette, Jack, and Brad
Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee Foundation

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 for a list of donors.

To apply for the Garrick S. Lew Fellowship, visit 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.


MTYKL Foundation and AABA Law Foundation Launch the Garrick S. Lew Scholarship


The Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation and the AABA Law Foundation have launched a new scholarship for law students in remembrance of Garrick S. Lew, who passed away March 19, 2016, after a distinguished career as one of the Bay Area’s top criminal defense attorneys.

The Garrick S. Lew Scholarship awards $10,000 to a third-year law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation. The scholarship is funded through a grant from the MTYKL Foundation’s Garrick S. Lew Legacy Fund to the AABA Law Foundation, which administers the scholarship and selects the recipients.

UPDATE: The AABA Law Foundation awarded the first Garrick S. Lew Scholarship to Christopher Gueco of U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

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Immigrant Rights and Advocacy Nonprofits Receive Total of $200,000 from San Francisco-based MTYKL Foundation


SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 7, 2017) – Ten Bay Area and Washington, DC. nonprofit organizations have received a total of $200,000 to date from the MTYKL Foundation, which was founded by five San Francisco lawyers in 2014.

The grants are part of the foundation’s Immigrant Rights Initiative and support programs aimed at women and children detainees; immigrant rights fellowships; research on implicit bias; labor trafficking; and education, legislation, and media campaigns to change hearts and minds and reform policy.

The following organizations each received $20,000 from the MTYKL Foundation’s Immigrant Rights Initiative:

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MTYKL Foundation Awards $100,000 in Grants as Part of Immigrant Rights Initiative


The board and grantees of the MTYKL Foundation at the kick-off reception in January 2016.

The San Francisco-based Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation announced in February 2016 that it has awarded a total of $100,000 to nonprofit organizations involved in immigrant rights and advocacy. The foundation awarded $10,000 to ten nonprofit organizations, most based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The MTYKL Foundation’s Immigrant Rights Initiative supports organizations advancing and protecting the rights of our vulnerable immigrant communities. The Foundation intends to support existing efforts to re-shape the national debate on issues such as DACA, family detention, new statewide legislation, and human trafficking.

“We urgently need to fight back against the madness of racist insults and demeaning attacks on immigrants in this country,” said MTYKL Foundation director Minette Kwok. “The hostility is aggravated by inflammatory comments by demagogues using immigrants to advance their own political aspirations.”

Through this initiative, the MTYKL Foundation is encouraging the grantees to explore opportunities to collaborate with one another to achieve the greatest impact in combatting this dangerous anti-immigrant trend undermining the charitable and democratic values of our country.

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