At the outset, over the last 36 years of practicing law in Hawaii, I have personally known and argued cases before every Supreme Court Justice since William Richardson.
My following comments draw upon that personal knowledge and experience as well as my knowledge of Judge Leonard. Judge Leonard has the highest personal character for integrity, honesty, legal knowledge and ability.
Her professional skills involve her long and successful careers both as a practicing attorney and as a jurist. From her experience as an attorney (in particular as a partner with the excellent firm of Carlsmith Ball LLP), she provides our judiciary with a healthy and pragmatic perspective of the law which, unfortunately, is all too often lacking on the bench.
From her experience as a jurist, she has demonstrated superb judicial temperament and a wealth of irreplaceable hands-on skills. She is also a hard-working, practical, well-reasoned and well-prepared jurist.
I am compelled to respond to the unsupported public comments of attorney Eric Seitz.
Mr. Seitz’s premise, that lack of administrative experience disqualifies an attorney from serving as Chief Justice, would have disqualified such superb jurists as Chief Justices Richardson, Lum and Moon. Judge Leonard has the same qualifications to capably administer Hawaii’s judiciary as her predecessor Chief Justices.
More importantly, her long experience as a civil litigator provides her with a great deal of knowledge about the management and administration of an organization.
Michael A. Lilly is an attorney with Ning, Lilly & Jones. http://www.nljlaw.com and a former state attorney general for Hawaii