Bob Page, Grace Brown and Jessica Vapnek sat down to a meeting sometime after 4 p.m. on Jan. 12 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They were there working on a project to strengthen the country’s shaky judicial system and had come to talk with local lawyers.

Just before 5 p.m., there was a huge roar and shaking, “like a train coming right through your living room,” recalls Page, 65, a former court administrator and the co-founder of San Francisco-based DPK Consulting, which helps build judicial systems in developing countries.

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