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Peggy Nagae ’77 to receive ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

January 06, 2017

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    Peggy Nagae '77

Lewis & Clark law school alumna Peggy Nagae ’77 has been selected by the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession as one of four recipients of its 2017 Spirit of Excellence Award for her commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami.

The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Also being honored along with Nagae are attorneys Thomas W. Fredericks of Boulder, Colo.; Kenneth G. Standard of New York; and Stephen N. Zack of Miami.

Nagae founded the firm Peggy Nagae Consulting in 1988 in Portland and is currently the COO of White Men as Full Diversity Partners, a leadership development consultancy. She earned an A.B. from Vassar College in East Asian Studies, a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and an M.A. from the University of Santa Monica. She is also a graduate of Harvard’s Educational Management Program.

Nagae was a trial attorney at Betts Patterson and Mines in Seattle; assistant dean at the University of Oregon Law School; a partner in Nagae, Nash and Hoarfrost; and senior trial attorney at the Urban Indian Council. She also served as president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, vice-chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, president of the Asian Bar Association of Washington and board member for the Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Nagae represented Minoru Yasui to reopen his World War II Japanese-American curfew case and ensure his conviction was vacated. In 2013, as co-founder of the Minoru Yasui Tribute Committee, Nagae spearheaded Yasui’s successful nomination for a Presidential Medal of Freedom, which President Obama awarded posthumously in November 2015. Earlier this year, Nagae led the legislative and community effort to create a permanent Minoru Yasui Day (March 28, annually) in Oregon.

The mission of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is to promote racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. The commission serves as a catalyst for change, so that the profession may more accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of society and better serve society. The commission promotes the recruitment, hiring, promotion and advancement of attorneys of color and works to ensure equal membership and employment opportunities for diverse lawyers in the ABA. The commission accomplishes all this through many initiatives, activities and programs, including the annual Spirit of Excellence Award.

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