AABA Membership Spotlight: Garrick S. Lew (1950 - 2016)

01 Apr 2017 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

April 1, 2017

One year ago, we lost AABA sustaining member and former board member Garrick S. Lew. On this one year anniversary, we pay tribute to him with words from other AABA members.

"We lost our dear friend and former law partner Garrick Lew one year ago on March 19. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone. 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. Hundreds of Garrick’s friends last year attended a celebration of his life and legacy last year. Garrick wanted his life remembered with laughter and friendship. He brought that to us, and we threw him one hell of a farewell party. This led to a number of generous donors contributing to a fund that the MTYKL Foundation was able to grant to the AABA Law Foundation in creating the Garrick S. Lew Scholarship, which awards $10,000 to a third-year law student committed to a criminal defense practice after graduation. 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. There will never come a time when he won’t be greatly missed." -- Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Minette A. Kwok, Jack W. Lee, and Brad Yamauchi.

"My Partner and friend for over 40 years.  One of the best criminal defense attorneys, craziest, big-hearted, most disruptive, generous, funny and strangest dude ever.  Instrumental in starting the Asian Law Caucus and our private firm.  Spent a lot of money on clothes, cars and dates.  Gave a lot of money away too.  I had to bail him out of jail twice at 4 am.  He saved my ass a lot of times too.  Never be another one like him.  He was greatly loved by us all." --Dale Minami


"Garrick was a spectacular lawyer, and an even better friend. He practiced law with incredible passion, thought, energy, aplomb, honesty, integrity, caring, kindness, professionalism and civility. His brain constantly fired on all cylinders with his equal facility with the written and spoken language, and with complex legal and theoretical concepts, as well as with fast cars, state-of-the-art computers, audio-visual equipment, cooking, fine dining, extravagant watches, popular music, sports, and men’s fashion. And he was a blur on black diamond ski runs. Life was always special around Garrick. He had an incredible sense of humor, loved challenges and taking risks, could carouse with the best, and was the life of every party. He cared deeply about social values, justice and equality, and he was totally devoted to, and engaged with, his extended family and friends. He was absolutely one-of-a-kind, and I will always miss him terribly.
--Michael Lee

"He was a champion of justice, a comedian with a quick wit, and a man with a heart as vast as our galaxy.  His ability to love, give back, and be empathic truly knew no bounds.  I marvel still at his quality to make you feel like the most special person in the room, his ability to embrace those in need whatever the consequences, and his unfailing commitment to social justice.  I see your smiling face now, Garrick, and I hope you know how much we all love you, miss you, and still mourn your passing.  I know you would say get over it, but I say right back, that’s not going to happen anytime soon bro." --Joan Haratani

"Although it is impossible to describe Garrick in words alone, I will try.  As a criminal defense lawyer, he was a tour de force. His deep, commanding and powerful voice filled many a courtrooms and his sense of style, always wearing the most fashionable suits and ties, set a new standard of cool. Garrick once gave me an Armani tie and said, "This is how you need to look when you walk into a holding cell."  But most of all, I learned from his generous mentorship that preparation was the key to success.  No one prepared a case better than Garrick, considering every potential advantage and pitfall, ensuring that his case was fully supported by the best and most learned experts, the mightiest briefs, the most comprehensive investigation and the ideas of the brightest criminal defense attorneys, who Garrick constantly consulted with.  I can honestly say that he did more for me than anyone else I'd ever known, providing me with opportunities I would have never had, including helping me to be hired as a Deputy Public Defender, and I will always be in his debt.  The only way I can cope with his absence is to honor it by following his example, and trying to provide new lawyers and law students with the selfless support he provided me." --Jeff Adachi

"Garrick Lew was a true original. Brash, irreverent, and irrepressible. Some might say borderline obnoxious. He loved to represent the underdog, advocate against conventional wisdom, and challenge authority. He could be pugnacious and combative and true to his upbringing, was a street fighter but with high intellect and integrity. He had an unmistakable presence and was the antithesis of BORING. He loved nothing better than to stir things up. We got to know one another when we served together with Joan Haratani on the AABA Social Committee. He proposed some crazy ideas to bring lawyers together that invariably involved serving booze. Always dressed to the nines. When we first met, he chastised me for wearing a button down shirt with an Armani suit and tie. I haven’t worn a button down shirt since." --Wesley Lowe

"While I didn’t have the opportunity to know Garrick during his legendary younger days, the man I knew was kind, generous with his time and talent, and loved and admired by many, especially within the criminal defense community, the civil rights community, and the Asian American legal community. He was also known as a fearsome fighter on behalf of his clients and his community, never backing down from a fight or an injustice. His life is an inspiration to all us fighting in the trenches." --John Hamasaki

"More than being a great lawyer, Garrick was just a great guy.  He was well liked even among the prosecutors who regularly did battle with him.  He had a larger-than-life persona -- charismatic without even a trace of bombast.  Whether he was in a courtroom, an attorneys meeting, or a cocktail party, he could command a room like few others.  While I regret that I won't be able to attend tomorrow's celebration, you can rest assured that I will have a drink to his life at some point in the near future.  And, of course, it will be a martini with two olives." --Sol Wollack

For more information about Garrick, please visit http://www.garricklew.org/garrick.

Read the rest of the April 2017 Newsletter here

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