San Francisco Attorney Magazine

Summer 2021

Joan Haratani Receives Margaret Brent Award

By Arshpreet Multani

Joan Haratani

A partner at Morgan Lewis, Joan Haratani has mentored and opened doors for many young lawyers, earning her the 2021 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. The American Bar Association’s highest award for women in the profession was established in 1991 and celebrates the achievements of women lawyers who have dominated their field and led the path to success.

Haratani was acknowledged for a breadth of work including her leadership experience, active community engagement, and mentorship activities. Haratani has mentored over 50 women lawyers, continues to work with mentees today, and offers valuable career guidance to young lawyers.  She is also the third recipient of this award who additionally received the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence Award. Haratani is the fifth past president to have won the honor. 

“The Bar Association of San Francisco is extremely proud of past President Joan Haratani for all of her many accomplishments and for winning the top legal award for women in the nation. Joan has given back, mentored and sponsored other women throughout her career. Her influence and guidance has truly helped to shape the legal profession in the San Francisco Bay Area. Congratulations Joan, we appreciate all that you do.” — Yolanda Jackson

Earlier recipients include previous past presidents of BASF: Joanne Garvey (2003) The Honorable Angela Bradstreet (2007) The Honorable Therese Stewart (2013) and Kelly M. Dermody (2019), as well as former BASF executive directors Teveia Barnes (2004) and Drucilla Stender Ramey (1997).

In order to be selected as the recipient of the Margaret Brent Award, an attorney must reflect the following: 

  • Influences women to pursue a career in the legal field 
  • Opens doors for women lawyers that were traditionally closed off 
  • Advances opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession 

For more than 30 years, Haratani has defended her clients in class actions ranging from product liability litigation, licensing agreements, and trade secret indemnity issues. A large portion of her current practice is centered around the banking and finance industries; however, her litigation experience also extends into retail. Haratani is currently a member of the Morgan Lewis Advisory Board and is a member of the board of directors of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). She is also a former president of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2006. 

In addition to Haratani, the other 2021 honorees are as follows: Hon. Irma Gonzales, US District Judge (retired), San Diego, California; Joyce Hughes, professor, Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago; Pamela Karlan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice; and Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon attorney general. Join us in recognizing all honorees during the American Bar Association virtual awards ceremony on August 5.