Monday, August 30, 1999

Name: Richard Turbin
Age: 54
Education: Cornell; Harvard Law
Occupation: Attorney
Hobbies: Tennis, running, skiing, coaching son's basketball team

Bringing law to China

Richard Turbin is looking forward to bringing legal expertise to China this November.

"I'm excited about helping to network between American and Hawaii lawyers and their Asian counterparts," he said.

Turbin and a committee of about 50 others from the American Bar Association's Tort and Insurance Practice Section have been invited to go to China to discuss America's personal injury and insurance system. The country is presently reforming its legal system.

He hopes that bringing the idea of equal opportunity for everyone in politics, government and the economy will help spread democracy to Third World nations.

"By bringing rule of law to China and Asia, it can help to expand democracy and also advance trade and business between Hawaii and Asia," Turbin said. "It will also help Hawaii's economy by expanding business opportunities in China for lawyers and business people."

While one focus of the tort and insurance section is to help developing countries improve their systems, one of Turbin's specific goals as newly installed chairman is to increase the presence of minorities and women in the field of law.

He plans to address the issue of diversity in the system when he brings the association's annual leadership conference to Honolulu on Oct. 14-17. During the conference, Hawaii lawyers and judges will speak to 300 leaders in the tort and insurance profession on ways to make the legal and judicial system more diverse in other states.

By using what he calls the "Hawaii experience" -- the state's diversified legal system of minorities and women -- Turbin hopes that the largely white male profession will become more diverse. Minorities make up only 12 to 13 percent of the legal and judicial system nationwide.

Turbin, who has practiced in Hawaii since 1970, is the first Hawaii lawyer elected to head the section, which has 30,000 members.

Dawn Sagario, Star-Bulletin

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