California Supreme Court Posthumously Admits First Lawyer of Chinese Descent to California Bar
The California Supreme Court granted Hong Yen Chang posthumous admission as an attorney and counselor at law in all courts of the state of California. Hong Yen Chang was a native of China who came to the United States in 1872 as part of an educational program to teach Chinese youth about the West. The California Supreme Court’s decision granting him admission recounts his personal history and extraordinary achievements. Ultimately, Mr. Chang was denied admission to the California Bar. But more than a century later, Chang’s descendants and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association at the University of California, Davis School of Law have sought to right this wrong.
The Court noted, “Even if we cannot undo history, we can acknowledge it and, in so doing, accord a full measure of recognition to Chang’s pathbreaking efforts to become the first lawyer of Chinese descent in the United States. The people and the courts of California were denied Chang’s services as a lawyer. But we need not be denied his example as a pioneer for a more inclusive legal profession. In granting Hong Yen Chang posthumous admission to the California Bar, we affirm his rightful place among the ranks of persons deemed qualified to serve as an attorney and counselor at law in the courts of California.”
The decision is interesting and informative and worth reading.
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