Sandra S. Yamate to Receive ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Liberty Achievement Award
The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section will honor Chicago lawyer Sandra S. Yamate as the 2012 recipient of the TIPS Liberty Achievement Award. The award, sponsored by Thomson Reuters, will be presented to Yamate during the TIPS Welcome and Diversity Reception on Friday, Aug. 3, at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. The event will be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel at 7 p.m.
“TIPS is honored to present our Liberty Achievement Award this year to Sandra Yamate,” said TIPS Chair Randy Aliment of Seattle. “Sandra has demonstrated her passion and commitment to achieving diversity and promoting inclusion in the legal profession in many ways, both personally and professionally. Her past service as the director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and her current leadership as chief executive officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession are among the ways in which she has made a true difference and why she is so deserving of this honor.”
The TIPS Liberty Achievement Award was created in 2008 to honor lawyers and judges who take a leadership role by demonstrating, through choices made in their careers and work done in private and/or public-sector positions, that they have actively promoted diversity in the legal profession.
Yamate is at the helm of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, a not-for-profit organization that, through educational programs, research and publications, addresses the lack of diversity and inclusion that continues to challenge the legal profession and undermine its credibility within the justice system. Previously, she spent 10 years as the director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, served as the first executive director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, and was a litigator in Chicago for 10 years.
Yamate was also a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, where she served as the first Central Region governor. She is a former president of the Japanese American Service Committee, the oldest Asian-American social-service agency in the Midwest, and the Harvard Law Society of Illinois. She is a former member of the boards of the Japanese American Citizens League; the Asian American Institute; the National Women’s Political Caucus of Metropolitan Chicago; the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana; Friends of the Chicago Public Library; the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute; and Asian Americans for Inclusive Education.
In addition to her work in the legal profession, Yamate and her husband are the founders of Polychrome Publishing Corp., the only company in the country dedicated to producing children’s books by and about Asian Americans. Yamate authored Polychrome’s first two books, Char Siu Bao Boy and Ashok by Any Other Name. Polychrome books have been described as exemplary examples of anti-bias children’s literature by Teaching Tolerance magazine, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Institute, and are included in the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference program bibliography of recommended children’s books.
She earned her undergraduate degree in political science (cum laude) and history (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School.
The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section unites plaintiff, defense, insurance, and corporate counsel to advance the civil justice system. TIPS is a national source of expertise in tort, trial and insurance practice and brings lawyers together to share information and speak out on issues of importance. The section has about 25,000 members and over 30 general committees that focus on substantive and procedural matters in areas across the broad spectrum of civil law and practice. For more information about the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, visit the TIPS website, www.americanbar.org/tips.
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With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
Editors Note: Reporters are welcome to attend the award presentation at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.