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Don W. Joe's father, David Joe, immigrated to America in 1920 at the age of 13, landing at Angel's Island after a month at sea. His surname "Chou" was anglicized into "Joe". After working in San Francisco, he followed the oil boom to Louisiana and settled in Dallas, where he and his brother opened the China Clipper Restaurant, one of the city's first Chinese restaurants. During World War II, David wore an "I am Chinese" button to prevent beatings; he never owned a Japanese car. When Chinese- Americans were allowed to become American citizens, enabling them to leave the U.S. without forfeiting their American residency, he flew back to Hong Kong to marry. Soon four children, including Don Wayne Joe, were born. (A very Texan name, indeed). After David died, a woman wrote to thank him for feeding her and her sister during the Great Depression.
Don graduated with a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School.
After law school, he practiced with the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation in Washington, D.C., helping to resolve the savings and loan debacle.
Don was a trial attorney in FDIC v. Henderson
(E.D. Tex.), in which the jury found liability and damages of $7 million, but under a Fifth
Circuit precedent, found no tolling of the statute of limitations before the FDIC acquired
the claims. FDIC v. Henderson, 849 F.Supp. 495 (E.D. Tex. 1994) and 61 F.3d
421 (5th Cir. 1995). The Henderson case and corrective legislation were
Because of allegations the University of California at
Berkeley imposed quotas or ceilings on the admission of Asian-Americans, Don has been
collecting, since 1991, data on the admission of Asian-Americans to the nation's 25 most
selective colleges. He distributed the data to Asian-American
organizations and now posts the information at Colleges.
Don also compiles statistics identifying law firms which have poor records of hiring Asian- American attorneys. See Law Firms. He distributes the data to Asian-American in-house counsel and encourages them to boycott these law firms. He compiles an ever-growing mailing list of 1800 Asian-American in-house counsel.
He has filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against law firms which have poor records of hiring Asian-American attorneys, such as Rutan & Tucker of Costa Mesa, California. At the time it had the worst record of employing Asian-American attorneys of any large California law firm, even though most of its clients were municipalities.
Don has also raised funds for: