Minority lawyers to focus on law in the new century

Minority attorneys throughout the state will be gathering at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel on June 22 to examine ideas for staying competitive in the legal arena as the new century approaches.

Setting the tone of the 1996 annual Statewide Minority Attorneys' Conference will be Nathaniel Jones, a federal court judge from Cincinnati and chair of the American Bar Association's Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

Jones was assistant general counsel to the Kerner Commission, established in 1967 to study the cause of urban riots of the 1960s. In 1969, he became general counsel of the NAACP and, 10 years later, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In 1985, he traveled to South Africa on behalf of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he was a legal observer at a treason trial of 16 blacks. While on that mission, he was arrested for violation of apartheid laws.

Following Jones' remarks, conference participants will address the plenary session topic "Equal Opportunity: Is the Landscape Changing?"

Featured speaker at the "Our story" luncheon will be newly appointed State Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin.

The youngest of eight children, Chin grew up on a potato farm in southern Oregon and received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of San Francisco. His parents, who emigrated from Canton, did not speak English.

Chin is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who began his legal career as an Oakland prosecutor. He was in private practice from 1973 to 1988, when he was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court. Two years later, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal.

MCLE-approved workshops at the conference will cover a variety of subjects and include, "Conquering Domestic Violence: Legislation and Prosecution," "Nuts and Bolts: Winning Law and Motion" and "Bridging the Gap to Justice: The Federal Services Corporation Cutbacks and Minority Communities."

Registration, which costs $85, begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and the day ends with a networking reception, from 5:30-7 p.m. A "welcoming" reception will be held from 6-8 p.m Friday. For more information, call Robin Wu at 415/561-8815.