Something old... Something new
We now enter spring, the season of regeneration, with a number of past programs being resurrected in collaboration with the HSBA. Four of them will be briefly discussed here.
Living Legend Lawyers: This popular Think Tech program was the brainchild of former president Greg Markham. It will once again find new life with the assistance of Jay Fidell, the founder, president, and chief executive officer, and Carol Mon Lee, the executive vice-president and chief operating officer, respectively, of Think Tech. Several volunteer attorneys served as host/moderators, and I had the honor of interviewing two distinguished lawyers. They were my former boss and friend, retired U.S. District Judge Alfred Laureta, now in his mid-90’s, and retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, in a program titled “The Long Road to the Bench.” Justice Acoba continues to provide extraordinary service to the bar in his capacity as the Chair of the Hawai’i Access to Justice Commission, a highly successful program that includes providing the public with volunteer attorneys to assist in navigating the judicial process.
Rapid Response Committee: When judges are unfairly attacked, they are often precluded from responding due to judicial canons. Even if not specifically precluded, judges often choose to refrain from responding due to a sense of judicial restraint and personal rectitude. A prompt response to misinformed, unwarranted criticism is the responsibility of the bar. The rapid response committee, first formally created during the presidency of David Louie, has been reinstated, and will be ready to immediately respond to criticism that often misstates the facts or misconstrues the law that results in unfair criticism of a judge’s ruling.
Hawai’i Trial Academy: This biennial program was created in 2004 in conjunction with the Hawaii State Bar Association. The idea was simple in its conception: to provide local attorneys with the best possible trial skills workshop experience, as an alternative to the time and often prohibitive expense of attending a comparable program on the mainland. The faculty is always composed of the most experienced trial lawyers in Hawai’i. Their skills and enthusiasm in teaching, and their success with participating attorneys, continue to be acknowledged in the overwhelming positive reviews from participants in the programs of past years.
Immigration Law Clinic: The HSBA’s goals include the commitment “to eliminate unfair bias, prejudice and discrimination, and to create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented groups in the legal system,” and “to increase the availability of quality legal services to all who need them.” Recently, William S. Richardson School of Law has recognized the need to establish a full-time clinical program in immigration law. Professor Calvin Pang (former LASH president) and Lowell Chun Hoon (having served our immigrant community for decades with Na Lo’io and the Hawai’i Immigrant Justice Center), have given their full support to make the clinic permanent. Prof. Pang has noted that “the Immigration Law Clinic would provide WSRSL students a rich opportunity to develop a broad variety of lawyering skills while advocating for financially and socially disadvantaged individuals with immigration law problems. “ Mr. Chun Hoon has added that “the history of Hawai’i since the 19th century is in large measure the history of successive waves of immigration and a continuing source of vitality and strength for all of us. With the conflicts over immigration that beset our country and other nations, a permanent immigration clinic ought to be an indispensable component of educating Hawai’i’s lawyers in the 21st century.”
It is anticipated that student advocacy will include appearances in U.S. Immigration Court under the supervision of qualified attorneys.
These and other programs, some of which will be discussed in the future, are part of what makes all of us so important in the realization of our mission statement: “to unite and inspire Hawai’i’s lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession.” Mahalo to all of you for your continuing service to our unified bar.
- Howard K.K. Luke, HSBA President