Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, April 19, 2019


Page 3


Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association Honors a Founder: Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert


A little-known fact about Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of this district’s Div. Six is that he is a founder of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association. That emerged Wednesday night at the group’s 44th anniversary installation and awards banquet.

Gilbert was presented with the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award. After being introduced by Div. Two’s presiding justice, Elwood Lui, and speaking some words in Mandarin, Gilbert told the crowd of about 850:

What I tried to say in Mandarin, rough translation: This is an unexpected honor that I feel so privileged to receive.

In 1975 Elwood, the late Loren Miller and I went to luncheon meetings of the fledgling Chinese Lawyers Association. We met in a small meeting room upstairs at the Grand Star Restaurant on Broadway.

I fondly remember among our small group the late George Lee, with his ironic sense of humor and that perpetual twinkle in his eye. And AI Lum, the only Chinese person I met with an Oklahoma accent. And his talented daughter Jennifer who was an extern for me when I was first appointed to the Court of Appeal. And a hero of mine, the fearless Nowland Hong who stood up and fought for his clients in front of one particularly intractable Municipal Court judge. I was a young deputy city attorney, and [the late] Johnnie Cochran and I were in charge of the master calendar court.

This evening’s ceremony brings back memories of Elwood and I attending the Chinese lawyers’ dinners and performing some memorable skits that engendered legislation banning them from future performances.

This award means a great deal to me, and I will always treasure it.

Albert Lum, the group’s first president, and Hong, its second president, shared a table Wednesday night. The table included A. Justin Lum, Albert Lum’s son, also a past president.

George Lee, mentioned by Gilbert, was SCCLA’s third president.

Its fourth leader, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Ronald S. W. Lew of the Central District of California, was also in attendance, as were several other past presidents.

Among those honored was Paul S. Chan, managing principal of Bird Manella, who received the Trailblazer Award.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elaine Eu installed the 2019 officers and members of the Board of Governors. Outgoing President Shirley Wei and Incoming President Stephanie W. Tang presented remarks.


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