Boalt alumnus Harry Low ’55, who forged a distinguished legal and public service career, was named “San Franciscan of the Year” at a banquet in the city on May 18.
When he graduated from Boalt 52 years ago, Low was one of only five Asian Americans represented on the California bar. In 1956, he was appointed deputy attorney general, civil and tax division.
After a decade in the attorney general’s office, Governor Pat Brown appointed Low as San Francisco’s first Asian American Municipal Court judge. In 1974, he became a Superior Court judge, and in 1982 was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Court of Appeals. Low retired from the bench in 1992.
He immediately went on to assume a series of challenging posts beginning with presidency of the San Francisco Police Commission. After steering the commission through a tumultuous period, Low became president of the city’s Human Rights Commission in 1999, and insurance commissioner for the State of California in 2000. Low remains active as a mediator and arbitrator.
Beyond his public service record, Low received an Emmy Award for his part in the production of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams, a documentary on the Chinese Exclusion Act. Low was also the cofounder of the Chinese American International School, the first private bilingual school in San Francisco.
Low’s career has earned many acknowledgements, including the Judge Lowell Jensen Public Service Award at Boalt Hall in 2000 and the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award in 2002.