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Two Lawyers Named “Sportsmen of the Year”


— December 30, 2003

San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter Gwen Knapp has picked lawyers Mike Lee and Don Tamaki as 2003’s Sportsmen of the Year. Why? They represented Patrick Hayashi, one of two men who claimed to have come up with Barry Bonds’ 73rd home-run ball in 2001. A judge eventually ordered the ball sold and the proceeds split, and it ended up fetching only $450,000 — less than half its estimated value. Although the lawyers’ fees and costs exceeded their client’s share of the loot, they agreed to waive most of the fee so their client could afford finish his masters degree and pay off other bills “from a year and a half of living crazily.” And this isn’t Mr. Tamaki’s only recent honor: The ACLU honored him and his law firm at a dinner this month for their work on the case of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American man who refused to report to an internment camp during World War II. Read all about it here.


San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter Gwen Knapp has picked lawyers Mike Lee and Don Tamaki as 2003’s Sportsmen of the Year. Why? They represented Patrick Hayashi, one of two men who claimed to have come up with Barry Bonds’ 73rd home-run ball in 2001. A judge eventually ordered the ball sold and the proceeds split, and it ended up fetching only $450,000 — less than half its estimated value. Although the lawyers’ fees and costs exceeded their client’s share of the loot, they agreed to waive most of the fee so their client could afford finish his masters degree and pay off other bills “from a year and a half of living crazily.” And this isn’t Mr. Tamaki’s only recent honor: The ACLU honored him and his law firm at a dinner this month for their work on the case of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American man who refused to report to an internment camp during World War II. Read all about it here.

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