Presidents' Messages


February 2020

As I enter my second month as YOUR HSBA President, please allow me to share a frequent telephonic exchange between my supportive wife, Mia, and my equally devoted paralegal, Miki. It oft-times goes like this: Mia: Is Greg available? Miki: I can pencil you in for 5 minutes in a couple of days. No joke, folks. This HSBA Board Officer position keeps me THAT busy. TRULY. Thankfully, however, I get things done mostly because of those who have my back and quite frankly work harder than I. The HSBA Staff, Board members, Committees, and YOU, the HSBA Members, pull together every day to help me lead. MAHALO for that. MAHALO for everything. It’s not easy, BUT together, we will continue to get things done.

I’m starting to figure out my role as YOUR HSBA President. In a few words, it’s to get out there and be there, for our HSBA Board and for each of YOU. Truth be told, my paralegal Miki sorts a “high stack” of email & letters re: HSBA “stuff” to calendar each and every invitation and event, and then tells me “where I gotta go, and when I gotta be there.” Then, off I go…“being there” for YOU.

In January & early February alone, I enjoyed a discussion and screening of MINIDOKA at Ali’iolani Hale in tribute to Civil Liberties & The Constitution Day, coordinated by our hardworking HSBA Civil Education Committee. Stunning. Shocking. Consider joining Friends of Minidoka. I have leant comments, opinions, aloha & welcome at a couple of JSC evaluation interviews and at a few formal swearing-in ceremonies for newly appointed Circuit & District Court Judges, to include a sensational ceremony at Second Circuit Court. The Maui Court staff, Maui County Bar President, bar members and Chief Judge, Hon. Richard T. Bissen, Jr. (Fun Fact: my College Classmate “back-in-the-day.” Go, Broncos), were so welcoming and hospitable. Their collective efforts were “top shelf.” My dedication & loyalty to this new role then really got tested when our esteemed Chief Justice asked me and our HSBA Exec. Dir., Pat Mau-Shimizu, to attend a Welcome Pa’ina for the Conference of Chief Justices Midyear Meeting held at Washington Place on Super Bowl Sunday. Yep, you read it right. We made it, believe it or not, and our Island State was again wonderfully represented on the national stage thanks to the tremendous work of our High Court, staff and the Judiciary as a whole.

As I press on into February & March, please allow me to remind you all that I’m always approachable re: “anything & everything HSBA.” Just give me a call or drop me an email. Certainly, if you are willing to devote energy and effort to our HSBA Committee system, contact me. We need your interest, effort & philanthropic spirit, NOW & going forward. In closing, I humbly ask every HSBA member to support our 2020 HSBA / HSBF Annual Dinner & Fundraiser on August 29, 2020. Until next time, stay involved.

- P. Gregory Frey, HSBA President

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

The start of a new year is used by many as an opportunity to look back and reflect on achievements and lessons learned, as well as to look forward and set goals and make plans for the future. I am looking forward to opening this new decade by serving as President of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA), and plan to build on the accomplishments of past YLD boards. I am grateful for the support of the excellent young lawyers we have in place on the 2020 YLD Board and thankful for Past President Summer Kaiawe’s leadership, guidance, and hard work in 2019 laying the groundwork for a successful 2020 YLD.

But what is the YLD? It’s time to break out the Five Ws and one H.

Who

If you are licensed to practice law in Hawaii and (1) are under the age of 36 (or just turned 36 in 2020), or (2) were first admitted to practice law anywhere less than five years ago, you are automatically a member of the YLD. There are quite a few of us – one in five active Hawaii lawyers is a member of the YLD.

What

The YLD is a division within the HSBA. The YLD is intended to stimulate the interest of Hawaii’s young lawyers in the objectives and activities of the HSBA. At the same time, the YLD assists the HSBA in its mission to unite and inspire Hawaii’s lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession. Many of the YLD’s activities center around projects aimed to create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented groups in the legal system, and to educate the public about legal rights and responsibilities, the legal process, and the role and responsibility of lawyers.

When

The YLD has several projects it administers and is responsible for staffing. These include the High School Mock Trial program, Law Week, Junior Judges, Legal Lines, and Disaster Relief Assistance. These projects take place year-round, and involve months of hard work behind the scenes by YLD board members and HSBA staff.

Where

Many of the YLD’s projects involve lawyer volunteers going out to serve in the community, whether into the schools as coaches for Mock Trial teams or as discussion facilitators for Junior Judges, or into the broader community as providers of free legal information to the general public at pop-up locations statewide.

Why and How

The fifth W and the H go together because both the Why and the How relate to you – the lawyer reading this – whether as a past project volunteer (thank you!) or a possible future volunteer.

Taking the H first – how will the YLD successfully execute its projects and perform its function to advance the mission of the HSBA? The answer is … we need you! The success of the YLD’s projects relies on the support of volunteer lawyers, both from within the YLD and from the broader HSBA membership, who are willing to selflessly give of valuable one to two hour blocks of their time.

Now for the Why. If you were to ask 10 YLD project volunteers why – as in why did they (or should you) consider getting involved and volunteering on a YLD project – you might get 10 different answers, e.g., feeling that they are making a difference in the community, the joy of meeting new and interesting people, the thrill of learning something new, and the satisfaction of being involved in selfless acts of good. Whatever the reason for you, I hope as you plan the year ahead, if you are able, you will consider carving out some time to serve the public and promote the legal profession, whether through a YLD project or otherwise.

If you would like to get involved with any YLD project, or just learn more about the available opportunities, please visit the page linked here, then contact me directly, reach out to any YLD Board member, or use the general YLD email address here yldhawaii@gmail.com.

Best wishes for a great year! 

- Addison D. Bonner, HSBA YLD President

Aloha kākou!

We are off to a good start in 2020. Mahalo to John Radcliffe for sharing his personal journey with the one year old Physician Assisted Aid In Dying Law at our February coffee hour.

Please join us at noon on the first Thursday of the month in the HSBA conference room for our free coffee hour presentations.

  • On March 5, 2020, Jane Burigsay will speak on the Social Security law.
  • On April 2, 2020, Martha Khlopin will provide practical tips on Social Security and Medicare benefits.
  • On May 7, 2020, Alexander Silvert will unravel the Kealoha mailbox conspiracy from an insider’s perspective.

Mark your calendars and reserve a seat for these upcoming events.

In September, the 2020 free Rural Agricultural Legal Clinic is tentatively scheduled to take place on Hawaii Island. More details will be announced as the planning progresses.

In October 2019, the SCD and the YLD joined forces for a spirited and well received Attorney Wellness competition. Plans are in the works to make this an annual October event.

On November 14, 2020, the SCD Palolo Free Legal Clinic will take place on Saturday morning, 9:00am to 12 noon, at the Palolo Learning Center. Volunteers are welcome!

Mahalo nui loa to our SCD dedicated board members, our monthly coffee hour speakers, the volunteers for our free legal clinics and HSBA Executive Director Pat Mau-Shimizu and her excellent staff.

- Gregory Lui-Kwan, HSBA SCD President