Foreign Lawyers, Lingle Bullying

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - February 28, 2007
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Foreign lawyers: (front, from left) Koichi Fukushima (Japan), Tomoko Nakanishi (Japan), Asma Bashir (Pakistan), Cindy Yang (China), Samnang Sun (Cambodia). (back) Koichi Hayashi (Japan), Eihab Babiker (Sudan), Zhiyong Wang (China), Mohamed Hassan (Sudan), Svitlana Campbell (Ukraine)
Foreign lawyers: (front, from left) Koichi Fukushima (Japan),
Tomoko Nakanishi (Japan), Asma Bashir (Pakistan), Cindy
Yang (China), Samnang Sun (Cambodia). (back) Koichi
Hayashi (Japan), Eihab Babiker (Sudan), Zhiyong Wang
(China), Mohamed Hassan (Sudan), Svitlana Campbell

One of the good things about Hawaii that you’ve never heard of is all the foreign lawyers who get a taste of the American way of justice at the UH Law School.

Newspapers love to give space to things such as a study on gay sheep in Oregon while ignoring non-sexy hometown happenings.

Local example: the UH Law School international program and the Freeman Foundation that funds fellowships for public-service lawyers from China,Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia to complete Master of Law degrees here.

Where have you heard about this except in MidWeek?

“We’ve had about 30 students so far from 15 countries,” says professor Alison Conner, the program director. “We integrate them with our students. They bring us an international prospective.”

One got terribly homesick but stuck it out. Another never had a written examination in his home-country law school.

Current students: Kenneth Animalu is from Nigeria. He wants to go to New York City and practice there.

Ahab Babiker is from Sudan and handles dispute resolution with a large law firm there. He wants to open his own law office in Sudan.

Asma Bashir is with a law firm in Pakistan. She specializes in spousal and child abuse cases and plans to use her new knowledge to concentrate on human rights.

Lizabeth Cordoval is from Peru and worked with Amnesty International for four years.

Koichi Fukushima is from Japan, holds a corporate job as a lawyer and hopes to use his knowledge of American law in various business projects.

One downside of the program is that paid fellowships are so scarce. Most have to fund their own way. That limits applicants to the moneyed or those supported by rich law firms they work for.

I’ve met the perfect candidate for this program in China’s Guizhou province. His name is Zhen Guixian, aka “Wilson.” But he hasn’t the money to fly here, support himself and his wife and child, who would remain in China. He’s a great scholar. He’s fluent in vernacular English and wants to bring legal aid to Guizhou’s village people.

Money’s always the key, isn’t it? We seem to have so much of it. It just isn’t always spread around properly.

If you’ve got some extra, please consider the UH Law international program.


three star

Gov. Lingle’s use of her bully-pulpit to push the State Employees Retirement System to invest $100 million of pension money in high tech start-ups in Hawaii is bad bullying.

I say this as an investor who’s always looking for opportunities with acceptable risk. I don’t count local start-ups among them.

That SERS fund for retirees has $10.7 billion and is run by pros.

They know that for every one high tech that turns a profit there are dozens who burn through $100 million in a flash and remain nonprofit 15 or 20 years later.

If you bought biotech Avitar in 2004 at $17.50, your shares are now worth 3 cents. Kona’s Mera Pharmaceuticals has piled up nearly $6 million in debts since coming out of bankruptcy in 2002.

I’d be shocked if our pension-fund plunked down on some local outfit’s heart-drug or algae research.

Let Lingle put her retirement money in those.

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