American Bar Association honors lecturer with lifetime achievement award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Mar 23, 2015

Sherry Broder
Sherry Broder

Sherry Broder, who is a lecturer at the UH William S. Richardson School of Law, Adjunct Research Fellow at the East-West Center and a longtime Hawai‘i attorney with expertise in complex civil litigation, will receive the American Bar Association’s “2015 Solo & Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award.”

She is one of two Hawai‘i attorneys chosen this year to receive this prestigious annual award.  Attorney Leighton Oshima is also being honored for his outstanding legal achievements.  An attorney for 42 years in Hawai‘i, Oshima focuses on insurance defense, workers’ compensation and insurance bad faith.  He is a graduate of George Washington University Law School.

With this award the ABA recognizes solo and small-firm attorneys who are known by their peers to have had significant lifetime distinction and exceptional achievement. They will receive their awards at the GPSolo Awards luncheon in Hawai‘i on Friday, April 17.

Broder’s work over more than three decades has epitomized the ideals of the legal profession and of solo and small-firm practitioners.

In one of her outstanding cases, Broder served as class liaison counsel for the 9,500 victims of torture during the time that Ferdinand Marcos was President of the Philippines. She and the rest of the legal team ultimately won a $2 billion verdict, one of the largest personal injury verdicts in U.S. history.

In another well-known case, Broder won a class action lawsuit on behalf of Hawai‘i mothers and their children exposed to excess levels of the pesticide heptachlor in milk products derived from pineapple debris used as cow feed.

She also has worked on social justice issues for Native Hawaiians  throughout her career. She is a longtime counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and served as Deputy Chief Counsel at the 1978 Hawai’i Constitutional Convention. 

Broder was the first woman president of the Hawai‘i Bar Association; she is currently Vice President/President-Elect of the Federal Bar Association for the District of Hawai’i. She has served as President of Hawaii Women Lawyers and the Hawaiʻi Women Lawyers Foundation. In addition to her law practice and her teaching, she is a mediator, arbitrator and hearings officer for state and federal government agencies, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and private parties. She has also been a consultant to the Foreign Ministry of Turkey.

As a lecturer at the Richardson Law School, Broder teaches Public International Law, International Ocean Law and International Human Rights. She has published extensively in these areas and has lectured at universities, law schools and government venues around the world.

Said Law School Dean Avi Soifer, “This honor is entirely fitting and richly deserved. Sherry Broder has made and continues to make indelible contributions to our Law School, Hawai’i and the nation, as well as being a significant actor in advancing worldwide human rights and environmental concerns.  We are extremely fortunate to have this phenomenon as an integral part of our Law School community.”

Broder is the founder and Executive Director of the Jon Van Dyke Institute of International Law and Justice, which has sponsored symposia, workshops and publications on International Ocean Law, International Environmental Law, Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

She is the widow of the late Richardson Law Professor Jon Van Dyke, whose work in international environmental, ocean and human rights law made him internationally renowned.

Broder graduated in 1970 from Wellesley College as a Wellesley Scholar, and in 1975 from the University of California-Berkeley Law School with highest honors, Order of the Coif.

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