Honolulu attorney Rick Fried pledges gift for tomorrow’s promising lawyers
“Tennis is a little like litigation,” L. Richard Fried, Jr. told the Honolulu Advertiser in 2008 on the occasion of his induction into the Hawai‘i Tennis Hall of Fame. “You've got to be a little competitive so you don't get walked over, and you have to do it ethically."
This longtime Hawai‘i resident would know. In addition to multiple amateur tennis titles through the years, one of Honolulu Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Hawai‘i has earned many judgments for clients in high-profile personal injury and medical malpractice suits.
In recent years he’s spoken on legal ethics and medical ethics in the Will Weinstein Ethics Lecture Series at the William S. Richardson School of Law, co-sponsored by the Shidler College of Business. Now Fried is strengthening his connection to the Law School with a pledged gift and a bequest intention, and the school’s Classroom 5 will be named in recognition of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks, the firm he co-founded.
Why are you making this gift to the Law School?
I've become very close to a number of the professors, particularly Dean Avi Soifer, and have been very impressed with the level of students from the Law School. I think it's critically important that we train residents who want to stay in Hawai‘i and help their community.
What sets a Richardson graduate apart from students at other law schools?
We need empathetic lawyers who can deal with tragedy in a way that helps people when something changes their lives. As a general rule, the students at Richardson have those qualities and are extremely hard working in addition. Growing up in Hawai‘i does make a difference in connecting to the people we represent.
For decades, the Law School’s graduates have been very involved in all aspects of Hawai‘i’s community and have done great work, whether they’re working in the Public Defender's office or Legal Aid or doing pro bono work, which seems to be a much higher priority for Richardson graduates than others.
Do personal injury lawyers in Honolulu need an approach different from lawyers in other places?
Yes. Our culture is generally not responsive to bluster and an aggressive style. People who grow up in Hawai‘i and attend the Richardson Law School have this understanding in their DNA. I have tried cases against mainland people who try their customary strategy here, with local juries, and it is almost uniformly unsuccessful. I also think a necessary strategy in Hawai‘i is to work with all sides. Richardson lawyers can be fierce advocates and yet not push ethical limits.
Doesn't Hawai‘i have enough lawyers?
It can be very difficult, particularly in the public sector, to have enough high quality attorneys. There is always a need for well trained, diligent attorneys.