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 featured in:
– a front page story in the May 25, 1994 Washington Post,
– page 50 of the July 4, 1994 Business Week, and
– an op ed article by the FDIC chairman in the July 15, 1994 New York Times.
As a result, Section 201 of the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 was enacted a few months after the jury verdict. In October 1998, the Office of Thrift Supervision settled with Henderson by ordering him to pay $1.25 million in restitution and prohibiting him from working in a financial institution.
While in Washington, Don and attorney Robert Kwan helped a Chinese-American restaurant owner deal with a racist boycott led by a black minister. The owner outlasted the boycott and stayed in business. (Oct. 3, 1986 Washington Post).
Don has also raised funds for:
(1) Korean-American grocers in New York City subject to racist boycotts, and
(2) Korean-American victims of the Los Angeles riots. He urged Asian-Americans to deposit funds in Hanmi Bank of Los Angeles, which made loans to Korean-Americans.
Thanks to their local attorneys (such as Richard Izzo), the NYC grocers remained in business and after a while sold their stores to other Korean-Americans. (May 23, 1990 Wall Street Journal) Some of the LA victims have recovered while the rioters’ economic status does not appear to have changed much.
After Don moved back to Dallas, he co-founded the Dallas Asian-American Bar Association (www.daaba.org) and served as its first president.
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 posts the information at Colleges. (http://www.asianam.org/colleges.htm )
Mr. Jian Li scored a perfect score on the SAT but he was rejected by several Ivy League colleges. He read the information at Colleges (http://www.asianam.org/colleges.htm) and Reverse Discrimination (http://www.asianam.org/statistics%20reverse.htm) and filed a civil rights complaint against Princeton in November 2006. Bigots for the Left mocked and taunted him.
Don also compiles statistics identifying law firms which have poor records of hiring Asian-American attorneys. See Law Firms. (http://www.asianam.org/law%20firms.htm) 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 1500 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.
From 1996 to 2006, Don was a litigation attorney at RadioShack Corporation. He worked on these cases:
– Tandy v. OSullivan (tax arbitration) and RadioShack v. Fried Frank and Harvey Pitt (legal malpractice). Tandy collected over $21.5 million
– Philips Electronics v. RadioShack in which he negotiated settlement of patent claim and saved client $1 million.
In 2005, Don finished second in the RadioShack charity poker tournament and won an iPod. The winner won a RadioShack home theater projector.
After rioters during the Black Lives Matter protests destroyed and looted businesses owned by Asian Americans, Don contributed to many Gofundme pages to rebuild the businesses.
From October 2020 until October 2022, Don was one of the 30,000 volunteers in Moderna’s phase 3 vaccine trial.
Because the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Organization of Chinese-Americans, and the Asian American Legal Defense Fund support reverse discrimination against Asian American college applicants, Don stopped contributing.
He now contributes to APIA Scholars (https://apiascholars.org), Transfiguration School (https://www.transfigurationschoolnyc.org), and Asian American Republican candidates. Don has contributed to the National Right to Life Committee since 1983. He usually votes Republican.