Member Groups

Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the LawThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law

November 2012, vol. 23, no. 1

Spotlight on accomplished committee member Gary Zhao

Our Committee members consider themselves very fortunate to have Gary Zhao among us. Over the past two bar years we have come to know and appreciate Gary through his active participation in our meetings and projects, including the planning and first-class delivery of special CLE and community outreach programs and his promotion of diversity both within and outside the bar. His leadership roles outside the confines of our meetings, his participation in our e-mail exchanges and his life as a practitioner and educator in his chosen fields all redound to our collective benefit as reflections of his commitment to the profession and his community. Gary embodies the values the ISBA encourages in all of us and cherishes in its best attorneys.

Gary has many talents but what sets him apart from other accomplished attorneys is the manner in which he integrates his intelligence, talents, skills, passion, concern for others, and a strong work ethic into his everyday life. With grace and apparent ease, Gary manages a successful career and an impressive agenda of volunteer activities that achieve meaningful results. Among other places, this phenomenon is reflected in Gary’s commercial litigation practice which focuses on complex business matters and construction, fraud and other deceptive trade practices. Gary has already made a significant mark as lead attorney in federal court cases. He is that rare lawyer who brings special gifts to his practice every day he shows up for work.

Not content simply to achieve excellent trial results for his firm and its clients, Gary regularly plans and participates in CLE programs. Gary was the driving force behind the creation of our well-attended March 2012 webcast panel program entitled “Protecting Personal Information,” which focused on data security breaches, their consequences to businesses and consumers and how these groups can prevent and detect security system failures. For that program, co-sponsored with the ISBA Government Lawyers Committee, Gary proved adept at securing well-respected legal and security experts to analyze this topic of emerging and critical importance and also worked closely with other committee members to develop the program format and identify issues to be covered. Additionally, he served as program moderator.

As an integral part of his desire to fully inform affected legal and business communities of the risks and consequences of breaches and identity theft, Gary writes informative articles on this subject. His co-authored piece on “Breach Notification Laws-What every business owner needs to know” appeared in the February 2011 issue of The Counselor, the newsletter of the ISBA Section on Business Advice & Financial Planning of which he is a member.

It would probably be no surprise to the reader to learn that Gary is the 2012-13 President of the Chinese-American Bar Association and that his beloved organization has gotten off to a good start for this bar year. Gary’s leadership within several minority bar associations reveals how Gary’s diverse character traits are manifested through helping and giving credit to others. It is clear that Gary wants to make a difference in the lives of minority students and young attorneys. Gary does not just talk about such a goal; rather, he reaches out to and connects with those who can benefit from his guidance and experience, including many law students he has mentored. One of his law student mentees recently noted Gary’s dedication and the impact Gary has had on her through the Asian American Bar Association (“AABA”) mentoring project, one of many worthwhile bar activities Gary has added to his ever growing agenda.

Although Gary serves in an editorial capacity and on several committees of the American Bar Association related to his focus on business law, he is also devoted to promoting the interests of the minority bar. Through his service to the AABA, the CABA and the Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law, Gary generously shares his love of the law and, fortunately for the broader legal community, his appreciation of cultural differences. Gary shows by example how we can and must build partnerships among various ethnic and racial communities within our profession toward a goal of deeper understanding of each other and greater unity of purpose.

In shining this spotlight on Gary Zhao, we express our appreciation and gratitude for Gary’s presence among us and commit to nurturing partnerships within our diverse communities. ■


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