President's Message

September 2023

Rhonda Griswold

Hawaii State Bar Association President

The last few weeks have been such a time of unfathomable loss. My heart is still breaking from last week’s unexpected passing of Executive Director Pat Mau-Shimizu, and I know that I speak for others. Pat was such a tremendous champion of the HSBA organization, the HSBA Board, and the HSBA staff. She truly cared about each and every one of us and our profession and its members, and she worked tirelessly on our behalf. Pat was especially driven to help the next generation of lawyers and leaders and took great pride in the HSBA Leadership Institute. At the request of Pat’s family, the HSBA is working with the Hawaii State Bar Foundation to establish a fund in Pat’s name to continue the great work of the Leadership Institute so that it can continue to train leaders for generations to come.

And I am very grateful to the entire HSBA staff, and especially Acting Executive Director Iris Ito, who despite their personal grief, have stepped up and are continuing Pat’s hard work. Pat would be proud.

And, of course, there are the losses on Maui and lots of work remaining to be done on that front. Thank you to all of you who have volunteered to assist with the legal hotline. To date, the hotline has assisted more than 285 callers, who have called with questions about FEMA, insurance, landlord-tenant, and property damage issues. We are working to make the hotline more accessible to foreign-speaking callers and may also have a 24-hour message service in the future. The Probate and Estate Planning Section is also sponsoring its first in-person probate clinic on Maui this Saturday to help those who lost loved ones in the fire and many in the section have volunteered to provide pro bono services for such families. I know that other sections are stepping up to provide services within their practice areas as well.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer their condolences and share their stories about Pat. And thank you to everyone who is continuing to work to help those on Maui. These are challenging times, but witnessing the outpouring of love and support reminds me of all the good in our profession. Keep up the good work, take care of yourselves, and tell those in your life that you love them.