California Bar Journal
CBJ - October 2008 #01.
Fujie: high energy at the helm
California Bar Journal October 2008 Fujie: high energy at the helmBy Diane CurtisStaff WriterHolly Fujie sits in her 14th floor law office with a view of downtown Los Angeles opposite a Notre Dame Law School student who has come for a mock interview, a service Fujie regularly provides as a mentor to young Asian Americans.
"If, at the end of the interview, your mother would have been proud of the way you acted, you didn't get the job," Fujie, a shareholder at Buchalter Nemer, tells Bora Chon, a Korean American who had contacted Fujie through a friend who had worked at Bet Tzedek, where Fujie is on the board. "You have to fight the stereotype of the quiet Asian woman."
"It was very helpful," Chon said of her hour with Fujie, concluding that, alas, her mother would have been proud. "Yesterday morning was my first round of interviews. I won't be expecting callbacks."
Fujie told Chon that she knows what Chon is going through because she has been there herself, and it is easy to see that this effort at inclusiveness, at having people, as well as organizations, meet their potential is a theme she will emphasize in her role as the State Bar's 84th president-the third woman to take the helm of the 217,000-member organization and the second Asian American.
She wants people to know the good things that lawyers do. "It bothers me a lot that lawyers do so many great things and don't get a lot of publicity," Fujie said while meeting members of the California Young Lawyers Association, referring in this instance to the many pro bono efforts of lawyers. Another of her major goals as president is to involve lawyers who are active in such minority bar associations as the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA), where she is an advisory board member, in the State Bar. She also wants to spark young lawyers' enthusiasm about their profession and interest them in the activities of the State Bar. She has a reverence for lawyers that she would like others to share. "From the moment you take the oath, you gain credibility"-a credibility that requires living up to, she says. She also wants to promote diversity, something she has done in myriad bar associations, wants to improve orientation for new board members and ensure efficient bar operations.
Already Fujie has found that her higher profile alone can help achieve her goals. At an APABA meeting, she says, an Asian American lawyer came up to her and confided: "I never thought of doing something with the State Bar or a mainstream bar until I saw that you were elected president."
"The idea that I can inspire people just about blows me away," says Fujie. "For Asians, it's a big thing for me to be president. I want to celebrate...