Presidents' Messages


May 2018

Kokua Kauai: A Deluge of Support from the HSBA;

Lava Legal Clinic: An Outflow of Support for the Big Island


The terrible flooding and its catastrophic toll on Kauai last month was, according to the National Weather Service, the result of the heaviest recorded rainfall over a 24-hour period in our nation’s history.

The response from the HSBA membership also set a record. There has been an unprecedented deluge of donations of monetary contributions, food and other necessary flood relief items, and an outpouring of goodwill from our members. 

Legal support clinics have been set up in various locations on the island. The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has shared its expertise with Kauai attorneys who are willing to help in legal clinics, but lack the requisite training.

All sectors of the HSBA Ohana—lawyers from the private sector, government attorneys and the judiciary-- have opened their wallets and rolled up their sleeves to help. It would be impossible to acknowledge all who have participated so generously in the space afforded here. But special recognition must be made to Noah Gibson, who organized the YLD’s response, worked tirelessly with the HSBA to set up drop-off sites for donations, and obtained crucial support from his law firm to maximize the relief effort. On Kauai, HSBA director Kai Lawrence, with the assistance of Mauna Kea Trask, Allison Lee, Laurel Loo, Jonathan Chun, Becky Vogt Like, and so many others, spearheaded the Kauai lawyers’ response.

* * *

Just when it appeared that we started to turn the corner in the chaos that followed the torrential downpour on Kauai, a second major disaster erupted, this time on the Big Island.

Unlike the sudden, massive downpour on Kauai, followed by steadily receding water, the dramatic events on the Big Island unfolded slowly. It first appeared to be consistent with the unstoppable, though relatively benign, flow of lava experienced in recent years. The notice of an impending disaster was not fully recognized initially. Madame Pele announced her first appearance with some small fissures in the landscape near Pahoa. The pace of volcanic activity was leisurely, and no homes were immediately affected. Then the flow of lava increased inexorably in magnitude. Within days, there were an increasing number of eruptions, each more volatile. The flow of lava entered the Leilani Subdivision. Homes were destroyed, and an increasing number of our Big Island neighbors were forced to evacuate. Now, there is the very real possibility of volcanic explosions in Kilauea that may cause additional, major damage to property and an increasing threat to life.

The Hawaii County Bar Association has been in contact with the HSBA in responding to the existing and impending catastrophes. Leaders of the Big Island bar who have stepped up include long-time HSBA board director Geraldine Hasegawa. County Bar President Sherilyn Tavares, Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, Young Lawyers Division (YLD) representative Ryan Caday, Senior Counsel Division (SCD) representative Charlene Iboshi and many other dedicated attorneys on the Big Island are coordinating with the HSBA and LASH to provide the optimal delivery of legal services and other relief to the beleaguered residents and others affected by this latest challenge.

My apologies to the many selfless attorneys on Kauai and the Big Island, whose names should be included, but are not mentioned here. We have seen the best of ourselves in our members’ response to the Kauai disaster. We continue to see our best again, as we respond to the needs of our neighbors on the Big Island. In doing this, we are fulfilling that part of our mission statement: to inspire Hawaii’s lawyers to serve the public.

- Howard K.K. Luke, HSBA President

It’s May, my born month!

A lot has been happening in Hawaii and we really want to thank those who have stepped up within our legal community to help with aid and legal information.

A big Mahalo goes out to Greg Frey and Noah Gibson of Coates and Frey for their work in coordinating Kokua for Kauai. In addition, thank you to the locations that in short notice provided spaces for collection of goods, Carlsmith Ball, Coates and Frey, Kleintop Luria, The Pacific Law Group, Watanabe Ing, and the HSBA. If you would still like to provide monetary donations to the Kauai efforts, please direct those donations to the Kauai Independent Food Bank. 

It was officially proclaimed by the State of Hawaii and City and County of Honolulu as “Law Week” from April 30 – May 4, 2018. We’d like to thank all the attorneys who gave their time to provide legal information through KHON’s Wake Up 2 Day, Action Lines, and at the Law Day Clinics. We took a record number of calls this Law Week, successfully partnered with two new locations for Law Day, and through these efforts were able to provide legal information throughout the state. There are some great photos of the Proclamations and Law Day sites on the YLD’s Facebook Page!

Here’s our ask for this month: We’re looking for volunteers for Legal Line in May! Legal Line is held every Wednesday, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm at HSBA. Legal Line is our ongoing project and if you’d like to get involved as an individual or firm to sponsor a month (or team up with another firm for the month) contact the YLD Board anytime at yldhawaii@gmail.com. If you have a free Wednesday this month, we’d really appreciate your help!

We are always looking for volunteers for YLD programs and information about the YLD Board and our programming can be found on the HSBA YLD webpage and you can follow us on Facebook (YLD Hawaii), Instagram (yldhawaii), and Twitter (YLD Hawaii).

Until next Month!

- Jamila Jarmon, HSBA YLD President