R. Charles Bocken (1921-2020)


  • University of Nebraska (J.D. 1948)
  • Georgetown University, Business Administration (B.S. 1943)

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Before joining the firm in 1968, Charlie was a judge advocate in the United States Air Force at the Pentagon.

His practice emphasized business law, commercial litigation, bankruptcy reorganization and arbitration. He was appointed to represent several thousand Guamanians whose lands were taken for military bases after World War II and to supervise the distribution of a settlement fund approximating $40 million dollars.

He was responsible for an upset victory in the United States Supreme Court in a landmark case defending private property rights, Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164 (1979).

Charlie acted as an arbitrator in over 300 commercial and labor arbitrations since 1969, and practiced law in the areas of general business law, commercial litigation and bankruptcy reorganization proceedings. In the course of his legal practice, he regularly experienced adversarial situations which required careful, experienced negotiating in an effort to settle the dispute rather than resort to expensive litigation.

His significant arbitration experiences included acting as impartial arbitrator in a multi-million dollar dispute between the City & County of Honolulu and the contractor regarding construction of a refuse to energy plant. Other cases involved acting as arbitrator in disputes between:

  • developers and contractors involving claims in excess of one million dollars
  • a hotel chain and its Hong Kong licensee for the Far East regarding hotel development
  • labor unions and owners or government entities involving contract interpretations

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Arbitration Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Catholic Diocese of Honolulu (Development Committee)
  • Federal Judicial Selection Commission (1984-88)
  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (Labor Arbitration Panel)
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Hawaii Supreme Court Committee on Lawyer Professionalism (1985-88)
  • Industrial Relations Research Association
  • University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center


  • The Best Lawyers in America (listed under Bankruptcy)