Sherry Broder


10 Who Made a Difference

January 1, 1996

Each year, the Star-Bulletin recognizes 10 individuals or groups instrumental in bringing about change in Hawaii. Some worked quietly behind the scenes, others were bold in their public acts. The people selected this year come from the areas of education, entertainment, sports, community activism, law, medicine and government. Their actions have not always been popular, but their devotion is without question.

When attorneys gather in Hong Kong next month to try to resolve a long-running, multimillion dollar legal drama involving the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a Honolulu attorney is expected to be at the table.

Sherry Broder has been part of that drama since the beginning.

As a member of the legal team representing nearly 10,000 human rights victims of the Marcos regime, Broder has helped them fight back in court.

Juries in Honolulu in 1994 and earlier this year awarded the victims some $2 billion in compensation, though the Marcos family has been fighting the awards.

A $100 million settlement reached in September between the Philippine government and the victims was rejected by Marcos' widow, Imelda.

Philadelphia attorney Robert Swift, lead lawyer for the victims, said he asked Broder to join jim in Hong Kong next month to meet with representatives of Marcos and the Philippine government to try to negotiate another settlement.

The 9-year-old case involves many complex legal issues, including whether a U.S. court applies to Marcos bank accounts in such far-flung places as Switzerland. The case was tried in Honolulu because the deposed leader lived here in exile until his death six years ago.

Swift said Broder helped craft the legal strategies leading to the jury awards.

"She has had lots of imaginative ideas in this case," he said. "She's an excellent lawyer and great colleague ... Her heart is in the right place."

He recalled one time when Broder had to question a victim who had been gang-raped and tortured. The witness was crying, and Broder expertly guided her through some painful testimony, Swift said.

Though Broder is perhaps best known for her work in the Marcos case, she has had at least one other high profile post in the past few years. Broder in 1993 served as the first female president of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

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