March 2011 Alumni Newsletter Vol 23, Issue 1

Up-date your Business Contact and Preferred E-mail Information with the Alumni Association

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Hawaii alumni should have received a paper version of this newsletter earlier this week and mainland/foreign alumni should recieve a paper version within a month. If you do not receive a paper version within the week for Hawaii alumni, or by the end of April for mainland alumni, please reply to this message with your name and current mailing address (unless you wish to be contacted only by e-mail) so we can keep you "in the loop."

This e-newsletter includes some additional stories and pictures that we were unable to fit into the paper newsletter.

Community Service/Gardening Work Party for Law School Courtyard Planters on April 3rd.

The Alumni Association will join with Aha Hui O Hawai`i and the Environmental Law Society to weed and plant the planters in the Law School Courtyard on Sunday, April 3rd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (come when you can). Let us know if you can come by contacting Debbie Lee (’82) at For more information, click here: and the link there to the event flyer.

Bring your grubby clothes and shoes, hat, sunscreen, work gloves and gardening tools. If you don’t have gloves or tools, they will be provided.

Wine and Food Extravaganza Following June 30th Annual Meeting at Indigo’s.

Join us following our 5 p.m. June 30th WSRSLAA Annual Meeting for a terrific wine tasting event at Indigo’s Eurasian Cuisine. Indigo’s has some great pupus planned for our dining pleasure and we will feature a broad variety of great wines. More details can be found in the Wine Tasting Flyer and RSVP Form at:

Law Alumni Golf Tournament Returns – See You at Pearl Country Club on Friday, May 20th.

Thanks to the efforts of Event Chair Calvin Young (’82), Debbie Lee (’82), and the Golf Tournament Committee, the Richardson Law School’s popular Alumni Golf Tournament will return this year at Pearl Country Club on the afternoon of Friday, May 20th. Copies of the Flyer and RSVP form can be downloaded at: As always, the event will include lunch, a great buffet banquet dinner, and many great prizes.

Hele on to the All Class Reunion September 23rd at Hale Koa Hotel

Please save the date for our 9th Annual All-Class Reunion on Friday, September 23, 2011, 5:00 p.m. at the Hale Koa Hotel's Banyan Tree Showroom. We will specially celebrate the anniversaries of the following graduating classes of the Richardson School of Law: 1976 (35th anniversary), 1981 (30th), 1986 (25th), 1991 (20th), 1996 (15th), 2001 (10th), and 2006 (5th). We will welcome the Class of 2011 as the newest members of our Alumni ohana as well as recognize the WSRSL Alumnus/Alumna of the Year (yet to be named) (see related note below). One of our featured speakers will be newly minted Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna ('82), WSRSL's first member of the Hawaii Supreme Court and our 2008 Alumna of the Year.

Send in Your nomination for Outstanding Alum of 2011.

If you would like to nominate a worthy alumnus or alumna as the WSRSLAA Outstanding Alum of 2011, please go to the Alumni page of the Law School Website (, click on “Events,” then click on “All Class Reunion” and there will be a link to the Outstanding Alum award form. Be sure to send in your nomination form so that it is received by July 1st.

2011 Lawyers League Softball Looking for Additional Teams/Players

Lawyers League Softball starts up again in May. This slow pitch league is open to everyone in the law community (law students, attorneys, full-time employees of lawfirms/law organizations and their significant others). Individual players may join an existing team or you may form your own team. Come join the fun! Games are Saturdays at Kapiolani Park at 1:00 pm, 2:20 pm or 3:40 pm. Please contact: Michael Ragsdale @ 780-5426 or

Native American Moot Court Competition

The William S. Richardson School of Law had four teams among the top 16 and had two of the top four teams in the Native American Moot Court competition held this year at Columbia University Law School on February 25 & 26. Unfortunately our four teams had to face off against each other, so only two of our teams made it to the final four.

Keani Alapa and Maxwell Kopper, both 3Ls, took 1st Place in the Best Advocate (formerly Best Overall) category, Jeannin Russo and Mark Jensen, both 3Ls, also argued in the semi-final (“final four”) round, and 2L Elika Stimpson took 3rd Place in the Best Oralist category. The team received able assistance from faculty advisor Prof. Williamson Chang, the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, team manager Derek Kauanoe ‘08, and Honolulu attorney Bill Meheula who kindly accompanied the team to New York.

Back Row L-R: Sarah Kaopuiki, Sherilyn Tavares, Jeannin-Melissa Russo, Maria Carmichael, Elika Stimpson, Ana Won Pat-Borja.
Front Row, L-R: Adam Roversi, Keani Alapa, Max Kaanohi Kopper, Tyler Gomes and Mark Jensen

The National Native American Law Students Association has sponsored this competition since 1993. The William S. Richardson School of Law first participated in the competition in 1997, and between 1997 and 2011, our Law School has earned a total of 23 awards in this competition.

Mahalo to the following alumni judges for their kokua in preparing our four teams for the national competition: Melody MacKenzie ('76), Charles Crumpton ('78), Hon. Riki Amano (’79), Gail Cosgrove ('81), William Harrison (’81), Greg Lui-Kwan ('82), Judge Karl Sakamoto ('82), Alvin Nishimura ('85), Lisa Ginoza ('89), Cathy Remigio ('92), Mona Bernardino ('97), Tom Otake (’01), Leilani Tan Young (’02), Noa Dettweiler ('05), Jeff Kent ('07), Nam Phan (’07), Moani Colon ('08), Greg Schlais ('08), Richard Wallsgrove ('08), Kee Campbell ('09), David Kopper ('10), Chasid Sapolu ('10), and Scott Shishido ('10). Please let us know if we missed you.

Carolee Aoki ’80 passes away while on a trip to Japan

We are saddened to report that Carolee Misue Tanaka Aoki of the Law School’s Class of 1980 passed away on November 16, 2010 while climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan. Carolee was 71. After a successful teaching career with the State Department of Education, Carolee decided to shift careers and joined the young William S. Richardson School of Law’s fifth entering class in 1977.

Carolee was a proud graduate of Saint Andrew’s Priory and the University of Hawaii (B.Ed.) and kept in touch with her many friends from high school and college through her retirement.

After Law School, Carolee had a long and distinguished career of public service with the Department of the Attorney General, where she represented, among other agencies, the Hawaii Housing Authority, retiring about four years ago. Her friends described her as vibrant, organized, and pragmatic, with a sharp sense of humor and dedication to her family and loyalty to her friends.

Carolee was predeceased by her husband, George, and is survived by her two sons, Todd and Craig Aoki, and her sister, Maureen Tanaka.

Environmental Moot Court Team Reaches Semifinals

Congratulations to the Law School’s Environmental Moot Court Team (Chad Kumagai, Elena Bryant, and Danny Patel) and their coach David Forman ‘93and assistant 2L Mele Coleman for their fine showing at the national competition held at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. Mahalo to alum Ian Hlawati ‘02, who works in White Plains, for helping the team strategize.

Environmental Moot Court Team – L-R 3L Chad Kumagai, 3L Elena Bryant, and 3L Danny Patel

Elena Bryant and Danny Patel each won best oralist recognition during the preliminary rounds, and the team made it to the quarter-finals.

The team would like to thank the many alumni and others who served as practice judges to get them ready for the competition. Alumni judges included: Judge Riki Amano ('79), Judge Lisa Ginoza ('89), Judge Katherine Leonard ('91), Lea Hong ('91), David Forman ('93), Elijah Yip ('99), Cal Chipchase ('02), Chris Goodin ('06), Jael Makagon ('08), Brandon Segal ('09), Jamila Jarmon ('10), and Kristen Yamamoto ('10). Let us know if we missed you in this list.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is Our 2011 Jurist-in-Residence

This year, thanks in part to the generosity of the Case Lombardi & Pettit Law Firm, Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court visited the Richardson School of Law as part of its biennial Jurist-in-Residence Program. After a busy week of activities at the Richardson Law School, Justice Alito and his wife joined the Law School community at a reception at the gracious Nuuanu home of alumna Beadie Dawson ’81. Mahalo also to the Yamamoto & Settle Law Firm for donating wine for the reception.

Alumni Boardmembers join Justice Samuel Alito and Ninth Circuit Court Judge Clifton at Reception in the Justice’s Honor.
Front Row, L-R: Everett Ohta ('09), Debbie Lee ('82), Lori Hiraoka ('00), Justice Alito, Judge Clifton, and Sunny Greer ('08).
Middle Row, L-R: Tracey Kubota ('09), Jill Hasegawa ('04) and WSRSL Dean Avi Soifer.
Back Row, L-R: Dane Anderson ('10), Melissa Farris ('10) and Mars Johnson ('08)

A Letter from Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Sabrina McKenna ('82)

Members of the WSRSL Ohana:

I am deeply humbled by the honor of becoming the first graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, to all of you, for your teaching, guidance, example, and support throughout the years; without you, I would not be here.

But most of all, without CJ Richardson, none of us would be here. I only wish he had lived another year. But as I walk through the hallowed halls of Ali’iolani Hale, I feel his spirit, his sense of history, his grace. He continues to watch over all of us with his kind, gentle, caring smile.

I’ll never forget my 1L luau in the quarry in the fall of 1979. I can still picture CJ sitting down at the long table covered with white paper and ti leaves, to take a seat across from me and a few of my classmates, just to talk to us. As a 21 year old, I couldn’t believe that the Chief Justice was actually taking an interest in my life and education!

I’ll never forget my 25th birthday. I had a lawyer’s league volleyball game that night, at Manoa Gym. As usual, CJ was there to cheer on everybody that was there. When he found out it was my birthday, he told everyone to come over to his house in Manoa, and he sang Happy Birthday to me, over a cake with candles.

I’ll never forget that after a law school related event at Bishop Museum in the 90’s, he took me along to a UH baseball game, and we cheered on the Bows together.

I’ll never forget him sitting in the courtroom on the first floor of Ali’iolani Hale on August 20th of 2009, sharing his memories regarding the road to statehood.

I’ll never forget the honor of being able to join the Casualettes at CJ’s 90th birthday party, singing his favorite songs, CJ beaming, and the big hug that followed.

And there are so many other memories. These are the things he did over and over again, and for so many of us. He loved us all. We are his legacy.

As I learned from CJ, I know that my actions, my decisions, will impact the lives of others, for generations to come. I will do my best to honor CJ’s memory, and to fulfill the awesome responsibility that comes with the honor of being an alumna of our beloved William S. Richardson School of Law.

Aloha and mahalo,

Alumni Boardmember Stuart Kaneko congratulates Justice McKenna at her swearing-in ceremony
Mahalo to Steve Okumura '77 for the picture

Chief Justice Recktenwald administers the oath to Justice McKenna. (Mahalo to Derwin Hayashi '82 for the picture.)

Alumni Tidbits.

1978 – Our best wishes to former Senator Dwight Takamine ('78) on his recent appointment by Governor Abercrombie and confirmation by the Senate to serve as the Director of the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Dwight follows in the footsteps of Darwin Ching (‘76) who was DLIR’s last director under the Lingle Administration. Dwight served in both the State House of Representatives (1985-2007) and the Senate (2008-10), representing the Hamakua Coast of his home Island of Hawaii for many years and maintained a private solo practice in Hilo.

1983 – We congratulate Leslie E. Kobayashi (1983 WSRSL Visiting Student and Boston College Law School graduate) upon her confirmation in December as U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Hawaii. Leslie had served as Magistrate Judge in the District Court for over 10 years (appointed in 1999 and reappointed in 2007) following a career as a litigator with Fujiyama, Duffy & Fujiyama.

1988 -- Congratulations to Janeen-Ann Ahulani Olds (1988 WSRSL Visiting Student and Boston College Law School graduate) on her recent selection to the Kamehameha Schools Board of Trustees. After a long career at the Kobayashi Sugita & Goda law firm, more recently Janeen has served as legal counsel with Waimana Enterprises, Inc.

1992 – Our best to Patrick Kanoholani Wong, who was recently appointed by Mayor Arakawa and confirmed by the Maui County Council to serve as the County Attorney for Maui County. Patrick becomes the first WSRSL alumnus to serve as Maui County’s chief civil lawyer. He follows in the footsteps of alumni David Arakawa ‘82, who served as Honolulu’s Corporation Counsel and Lani Nakazawa ‘76 and Alfred Castillo ‘81, who have served as County Attorney for Kauai County.

1999 – Congratulations to Herman Andaya who was recently named Chief of Staff for Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. Herman had most recently been serving as a Special Asst. to the Chancellor of Maui Community College and had previously served as a deputy department head during Mayor Arakawa’s prior term as Mayor.

2000 -- Hats off to former Representative Maile Shimabukuro on her recent appointment as State Senator from the 21st District (Leeward Oahu and Ko Olina). She had served since 2003 as representative for House District 45 before being elevated to the Hawaii Senate due to the election of Colleen Hanabusa '77 to the U.S. House of Representatives. Maile remains with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Waianae office.