Presidents' Message

January 2021

Levi K. Hookano

Hawaii State Bar Association President

Aloha and happy New Year. Like many of you, I am ready to put 2020 behind me, and put in the work to make 2021 a better year. Former President Greg Frey had the difficult task of navigating the HSBA through the tumultuous times. He handled the situation with unwavering dedication to the Bar and its mission. I truly appreciate his leadership and will continue navigating the HSBA through this storm until we can return to normal. With the help of my fellow Board members, the HSBA staff, and especially all of you, I know we can accomplish anything.

Here are my current priorities for the year, in no particular order. Support for our Judiciary. There is no question that the economic impacts of COVID will affect the Judiciary's budget during the legislative session. Severe cuts to the Judiciary's budget will cause significant delays and harm to the judicial process and to those who need access to State Courts. As attorneys, we must do our best to ensure that the Judiciary is properly funded so that justice is not delayed or denied for our clients and unrepresented parties.

Support for our Neighbor Island members. I am committed to ensuring Neighbor Island representation on HSBA committees and developing programs and opportunities for our Neighbor Island members. I look forward to working with the Neighbor Island representatives on the HSBA board, especially President-Elect Shannon Sheldon from Maui, and the Presidents of each Neighbor Island Bar Association. When it is safer to travel between islands, I would like to visit your community of members to "talk story" in person.

Support for community projects through fundraising. Many HSBA community service projects are funded by non-member dues that are usually raised at the Annual HSBA/HSBF Fundraiser. Since COVID took a hammer to the Bar’s plans last year, I am evaluating alternatives to an annual fundraiser dinner so that we can continue to partner with the Judiciary and other legal entities to provide services to the community. Please stay tuned for more information on opportunities to participate in our fundraising efforts.

Last, but not least, is leadership development. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the HSBA’s first Leadership Institute class of 2009 and Shannon Sheldon is a graduate of the class of 2011. HSBA board members Erin Kobayashi and Jessica Domingo are members of the 2015 and 2016 classes respectively. I will continue to support this program to ensure future generations of our members are prepared to take on leadership roles within our legal community and beyond. I encourage all of our members to review the annual reports for the Leadership Institute, and encourage someone you know to apply or submit an application yourself. I look forward to meeting the incoming class of 2021.

Be sure to take care of yourselves and each other. I look forward to working with all of you this year. Imua!

- Levi K. Hookano, HSBA President