What does it mean when one of the state’s most influential and connected lawyers leaves the firm that carries his name and jumps to become a corporate officer and legal counsel for Hawaiian Telcom? That’s what John Komeiji, a senior partner in the firm of Watanabe Ing & Komeiji, did last week. The move was noted, briefly, by PBN and the Star-Bulletin, but only as part of a Hawaiian Telcom announcement of several executive appointments.
I can’t see that this move to join a struggling telcom is a step up in prestige or influence, or is that just my bias? Perhaps it’s an indicator of business woes in the legal world. Does a regular paycheck and other perks, including perhaps entering the globally connected world of The Carlyle Group, outweighs the benefits of being at the top of the private practice world in the state? The answer is obviously affirmative. But I’m disappointed that the news of Komeiji’s move was reported straight from a press release without anyone stopping to ask what it tells us about what’s happening in the structures of power.
The White Collar Crime Prof Blog muses about the fate of investigative reporting amidst all the layoffs and cutbacks in newspapers. It’s definitely something to worry about.
Many a white collar case arose as a result of someone in the media culling through government documents and speaking with relevant people to find corruption, discrepancies, and criminal conduct. Likewise, it is print media that investigates and exposes government improprieties. The small Watergates that occur throughout the world are brought to light by the hard work of investigative journalists.
With newspapers reducing personnel and the web being an insufficient substitute – at least at present – for advancing this form of reporting, it raises concerns about an important check on government. It isn’t likely that the government will be bailing out this industry, and certainly conflicts arise in even considering this option. But one has to wonder if white collar crime prosecutions, and other prosecutions of this nature will decrease as the press will no longer be there to expose criminality that is often difficult to prove. And more importantly, will there be an appropriate check on government conduct when print media becomes a mere skeleton.
Here’s one for your reference list–the Policy Archive, described as ” a comprehensive digital library of public policy research containing over 12,000 documents. ” You might also check out Swiss Army Librarian, a much less formal blog on finding things in this complicated world.
She’s just one of this week’s Morning Dogs. Just click on the photo to check them out.