Presidents' Messages


January 2019

Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing everyone good health, continuing success and prosperity in 2019. I am truly honored and humbled by the privilege of serving as President of the Board of Directors during the 120th year of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association.

Looking back, I wholeheartedly appreciate the diligent and capable leadership of Past President Howard Luke. I thank Howard for his stewardship, guidance and professionalism. He has indeed set a high bar for me to aspire to meet. I also thank Executive Director Pat Mau-Shimizu, Assistant Executive Director Iris Ito, and the HSBA staff for their quality and dedicated service to the Board and our membership.

Looking forward, I am excited, optimistic and admittedly anxious as we embark on another year of opportunities and challenges for the HSBA. In addition to Pat, Iris and the HSBA staff, I am buoyed by the service of my fellow officers and directors whose diversity is truly reflective of the composition of our membership; including attorneys from across Hawai‘i in government service, practicing in civil litigation, criminal law, real estate law, corporate law and family law. I am inspired by these committed attorneys as we work on fulfilling the HSBA’s mission “to unite and inspire Hawaii's lawyers to promote justice, serve the public and improve the legal profession.”

One priority will be sustaining existing opportunities and developing initiatives for our members to serve the public, through the delivery of pro bono legal services and toward increasing access to justice. For example, since 2011 and as of June 2018, 574 volunteer attorneys served over 16,100 customers at the access to justice rooms and self-help centers.

On Oahu at the Access to Justice Room in Honolulu District Court, volunteer attorneys provide discrete legal advice to self represented litigants in District Court civil cases and at the Family Court in Kapolei, family law attorneys provide discrete legal advice to self represented litigants in a civil case in Family Court. On Maui, Kauai and the Big Island in Hilo and Kona, volunteer attorneys provide legal information at courthouse-based self-help centers. In exit survey responses, customers consistently praise the services they have received from our members. Please take a hold of this opportunity and click on the following link to volunteer. Each additional volunteer will enhance capacity to continue delivering services, especially on the Neighbor Islands.

Additional opportunities to serve are through the programs of the Young Lawyers Division such as Law Week, Mock Trial, Legal Line Hotline and Junior Judges. Please click on the link to learn more about these programs and to volunteer.

Another priority is to meet the challenge of ensuring that the HSBA remains relevant and that our attorneys find their membership to be meaningful and vital. Later this month, I’ll be attending seminars at the National Conference of Bar Presidents and the ABA Midyear Conference. I am eager to learn from other bar leaders about their initiatives in this area, towards working with the Board on such initiatives for the HSBA.


- Derek R. Kobayashi, HSBA President

Happy New Year!

We are here to serve our members and community.

Young lawyers make up approximately 20% of the active members of the Hawai‘i Bar. Until the end of the calendar year in which you turn 36 years old or if you have been in practice less than five years anywhere – you are automatically a member of the Young Lawyers Division or YLD. I strongly encourage members to become actively involved in the YLD by participating in any one (or all) of the member benefit and public service programs that we will host this year.

The YLD is a launching pad for members, providing programs and tools for our members to thrive, receive networking opportunities, and resources to grow practical skill-sets and gain substantive knowledge.

Member benefit programs, e.g., CLEs, socials, are driven by the interests and needs of YLD members, so please contact me or any YLD board member to share your ideas. We want to hear from you! Bar involvement is a rewarding investment in your legal career, and a fun way to interact with others in the profession and community.

Follow us on Facebook (YLD Hawaii), Instagram (yldhawaii), and Twitter (YLD Hawaii) or contact any YLD board member to learn more.

We collaborate.

We value our relationships with other HSBA divisions and sections, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with these and other partners to deliver programs of mutual interest and benefit. It’s a small world after all, and there’s much that we can accomplish together.

We do it all, with heart.

The YLD continues to serve our communities through service projects, such as the Mock Trial program, Junior Judges, Law Week, Legal Lines, Disaster Relief Assistance, and more. These programs promote access to justice in the community and provide valuable learning opportunities for everyone involved.

The Hawai‘i High School Mock Trial Competition, is already underway. Led by volunteer attorneys, the competition helps students develop critical thinking, public speaking and presentation skills through intensive weekly trial simulations before sitting judges. Weekly competitions begin on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. Semi-Final and Final Competition rounds will be held on March 9, 2019 at the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. Contact YLD Vice-President Addison Bonner at yldmocktrial@gmail.com for volunteer opportunities.

A great opportunity to volunteer throughout the year is with the Legal Lines program held at the HSBA office every Wednesday from 6-7 pm. Attorney volunteers provide callers with legal information. Special thanks to Cades Schutte, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel, McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, Damon Key, Carlsmith Ball, and returning volunteers Miriah Holden, Richard Sakoda, Manmeet Rana, and Bryan Chee for signing up. We have room for more volunteers, so don’t hesitate to sign-up by contacting us at yldhawaii@gmail.com.

If you’re interested in participating or partnering with the YLD on future member or public service projects, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit our web page.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

- Summer H. Kaiawe, HSBA YLD President