MOHINDER S. MANN, a young attorney of 30 years, was born at Ganganagar, Rajisthan. His father, Sardar Atma Singh Mann was a well-respected Sikh politician and attorney in India. He migrated to United States in 1969 with his family. When he first arrived in California, it was impossible for noncitizens to engage in the practice of law. He and other attorneys challenged this prohibition in the United States Supreme Court. In 1972, the High Court held this law to be unconstitutional. After this landmark decision, Mr. Mann became the first Sikh to be sworn as an California attorney.

Mr. Mann was a founding member and president of El Soberante Gurdwara. He had also provided much free legal assistance to the poor.

Mr. Mohinder Mann met his American wife while he was attending college in San Jose. They were married locally by Bhai Bhadawa Singh of Stockton in July, 1977. Robina attends all Sikh social and religious activities even though she is a practicing Catholic. Manns are the proud parents of Erica Kaur Mann (7 yrs.) and Richard Singh Mann (6 moths.).

Mohinder’s great grandparents first arrived in this country in the 1920s. His great grandfather served in the US. Military during World War II. As a farmer in Arizona, he was one of the first foreigners to become one of the landed gentry.

Monhinder is a practicing attorney in San Jose. He is the sole owner of The Mann Law Firm. The practice was founded by his father in 1972. It is now a well-established firm, specializing in personal injury litigation, and presently is considering merging with a toxic litigation/medical malpractice firm. Mohinder was one of the leading counsels in representation of victims of the recent Bhopal tragedy. He believes that The Mann Law Firm will be one of the most influential and largest law firms in the state, within the next ten years. A great majority of their cases are referrals from friends and previous satisfied clients. The growth in their firm has been phenomenal.

One of the main concerns of Mr. Mann is the present legal religious climate in the community, affecting Sikhs. Mr. Mann recently had the opportunity of defending several gentlemen who were charged with carrying a concealed weapon, in violation of the California Penal Code. He was successfully able to argue that the objects (Kirpan) carried by baptized Sikhs, were important religious symbols though worn publicly on their person. These cases are a prime example for the need for a change in the law, and public education of Sikh traditions and values, and most importantly, the extension of religious freedom. He also feels that in order to accomplish these goals, the Sikh community must get involved in local main stream politics. Many Sikh organizations have already doing this. Mr. Mann received Juris Doctorate from University of Santa Clara Law School.

He got his B.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University in 1979,

Now occasionally he teaches law related courses at local colleges and universities.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 8, 1987