Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Kesha Tanabe, First Asian American Appointed to the Bankruptcy Bench in the Eighth Circuit

Mon, November 08, 2021 4:25 PM | Stephanie Chen (Administrator)

The Eighth Circuit has appointed MNAPABA member Kesha Tanabe to the federal bankruptcy bench for the District of Minnesota. Judge Tanabe's 14-year term on the bench will commence on January 7, 2022. She will become the first Asian American woman on the federal bench in Minnesota. 

MNAPABA congratulates Judge Tanabe, a seasoned bankruptcy attorney and trustee in Minneapolis, on the historic appointment. The Eighth Circuit's appointment represents a first for an Asian American on the bankruptcy bench in the District of Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit, and she is the second Asian American ever appointed to the federal bench in Minnesota (after Magistrate Judge Tony Leung). 

While MNAPABA naturally celebrates another first among its members, Judge Tanabe's appointment comes after many years of experience in her field. Judge Tanabe has excelled in diverse forums—making partner in “big law” and also opening her own thriving solo practice. She represented the State of New York as a public servant in tobacco litigation and up until her appointment, made it a priority to take on pro bono matters assisting businesses in the Twin Cities, including those recently plagued by the economic realities of the pandemic and those affected by the protests of the summer of 2020. 

MNAPABA supported Judge Tanabe's appointment with an endorsement which read in part, "we are proud to endorse her application and hopeful that, while her appointment would make history in at least one sense, the public and community will find themselves with a fair new judge of excellent temperament, agile docket management skills, and the will to represent Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit as a service-minded member of the judiciary on a Court with a sterling reputation for the same."

MNAPABA seeks to represent the interests of more than 500 Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, and law students in the State of Minnesota. That includes the work of pursuing a career on the bench. If you are interested in learning more about MNAPABA's endorsement and candidate preparation assistance, please contact judicial committee member Ben Kwan (ben@hallerkwan.com) or MNAPABA President Mayura Noordyke (mnoordyke@cozen.com).
Mailing Address:
MNAPABA c/o Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380, Minneapolis, MN 55402

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