Attorney objects to Lingle appointee for Chief Justice - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Attorney objects to Lingle appointee for Chief Justice

Katherine Leonard Katherine Leonard
Eric Seitz Eric Seitz
Karl Kobayashi Karl Kobayashi
Sen. Sam Slom Sen. Sam Slom

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a letter to the Hawaii Bar Association, attorney Eric Seitz calls Katherine Leonard "ill equipped and unqualified" to be Hawaii's next Chief Justice.

"I have overheard enormous numbers of things about her, that she is extremely difficult to communicate with, extremely condescending," he said.

Seitz said the criticism comes from attorneys and past presidents of the Bar Association.

But attorney Karl Kobayashi disagrees with Seitz's assertions.

He worked with Leonard for fifteen years when she practiced law at Carlsmith Ball LLP.

Kobayashi said Leonard has a great ability to analyze complex situations, then find a law and apply it.

"Judge Leonard was an elected member of our compensation committee. That's the committee that determines the compensation for all of our partners. And that's one of the key management committees in the firm," he said.

At her nomination last week, Leonard touted her experience as an appeals court judge.

On Tuesday she goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The one thing that we don't want is for somebody not to disclose something. We want them to give full disclosure on anything - the beauty spots as well as the warts," said Sen. Sam Slom, (R - Diamond Head, Hawaii Kai).

Seitz said he's not alone in objecting to Leonard's nomination.

"We have somebody who is an unknown quantity who has been now thrust into that position and about whom a number of people have said things that question her ability to perform those tasks," he said.

Meantime, Kobayashi is writing his own letter to the Bar supporting Leonard

If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman in Hawaii history to be named Chief Justice.

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