"UH Law School Graduates Can Sleep Easy Knowing Their Degrees Are Highly Valued"
By Avi Soifer
What's the point of going to law school if you will face a big tuition bill and declining job prospects?
That was the question posed in Nanea Kalani's excellent story, "Law less alluring as field of study" (Star-Advertiser, Dec. 23).
But as radio personality Paul Harvey — can you hear his voice? — liked to say: "Here's the rest of the story."
Each prospective law student must make her or his own long-term decision, of course, but here are some facts about the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law that set us apart:
» We have not lowered our admission standards to keep enrollment up.
This sets us apart from most law schools in the United States and it means that prospective employers will know our graduates have been rigorously selected and highly trained.
» We are the most diverse law school in the country.
This is important not just in Hawaii, where we treasure our diversity, but across the nation as the United States and the rest of the world becomes increasingly multicultural and multiracial. No matter where our students end up, they will have cultural fluency and can become ambassadors for diversity, without ever forgetting their own origins.
» Our hiring rates are very high compared to other law schools.
Our bar passage rates are also high and trending higher. And our faculty truly is renowned not only for scholarship but also for their teaching skills. We are small enough that these great teachers can give one-on-one attention to our students as they continue to exemplify and to teach practical skills. Students who choose Richardson need not fear for their career prospects.
» Our students support one another wonderfully.
This helps to explain why our graduates face a considerably better job market that do most law graduates. Those making hiring decisions tend to know that Richardson graduates understand the cultures and aloha spirit of Hawaii and will bring that sensitivity to their work.
» Yes, law school can be expensive.
Even here. But our tuition rates are considerably lower than most other law schools and we are increasing scholarship funding and waiving application fees for many more people.
» We have increased opportunities for those who are considering going to law school by establishing a flexible, rolling admissions process and by offering the evening part-time program for those whose work and family commitments make it difficult or impossible to enter a full-time day program.
In keeping with the vision of the late Chief Justice Richardson and his allies, we are deeply committed to affording opportunity for all qualified applicants who otherwise could not attend law school.
This is the opportunity not only to become the leaders of the bench and bar in Hawaii and beyond our shores, but also to be the leaders in any other settings wherever our graduates choose to live.
This is an important responsibility and we stand by it.
Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law will provide a free training course to state and county lawmakers, decision-makers, staff and members of various boards, commissions and councils at the Law School tomorrow. The course will focus on state and county governments’ trust obligations, particularly in relation to Native Hawaiian cultural and natural resources. The specific subjects include the public land trust, traditional and customary rights, water and the public trust doctrine, and the law relating to iwi kūpuna (Native Hawaiian ancestral remains).
The Law School's J-Term, which invites outstanding legal scholars and judges to teach a week-long seminar concludes tomorrow with a day of classes open to the community. Topics will include ocean litigation, race and law in the civil rights movement, refugee and asylum law, the intricacies of the Hawai‘i Constitution, and court oversight of elections.
This year's J-Term instructors include Harvard Law School Professor Kenneth W. Mack, who is the Law School’s Frank Boas Harvard Visiting Professor for 2014; Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr.; Michelle McKinley, Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law; Richard H. Pildes, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law; and Steve Roady, Staff Attorney for Earthjustice in Washington D.C. See "UH Manoa Law School 'January-Term' attracts top legal scholars" in the Hawaii Reporter on January 8.
J-Term Final Classes, Saturday, January 11:
8:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.: Refugee and Asylum Law (Prof. McKinley) (Classroom 3)
10:40 a.m. -12:40 p.m.: Race and Law in the Civil Rights Movement (Prof. Mack) (Classroom 3)
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: The Law of Elections, Democracy & Politics (Prof. Pildes) (Classroom 3)
5:10 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.: Construing the Hawaii Constitution: Criminal Procedure Protections (Justice Acoba) (Classroom 3)
5:10 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.: Strategic Ocean Litigation (Mr. Roady) (Classroom 1)
Avi Soifer wrote: "I am pleased to announce that, in addition to the final J-term classes tomorrow that are open to the public, our 2014 J-Term faculty members have agreed to take part in a Forum to discuss their work on Monday, January 13. The Forum will be in Classroom 2 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and a light lunch will be provided. Please come if you can to learn and to help express our appreciation. Mahalo and aloha."
Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Justice Simeon Acoba (front row, center right)
Steve Roady, staff attorney for Earthjustice, Washington D.C. (front row center)
Richard H. Pildes, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law(front row center)
Michelle McKinley, Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law(front row center)
Kenneth W. Mack, Professor, Harvard Law School and Richardson Law School’s Frank Boas Harvard Visiting Professor for 2014 (fourth from right)
The Law School welcomes Ja Yun Lee as the new Administrative Officer to support Associate Deans Denise Antolini and Ronette Kawakami '85.
Ronette wrote: "Ja Yun brings a wealth of experience to her new role replacing Melissa Matsuura.
Ja Yun has been working for the last two years at the University of Vermont as a Student Services Specialist in the Dean's office. She previously worked for five years at the New York University School of Law as an Assistant in the Office of Admissions. Ja Yun graduated from Queens College, City of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Ancient Greek, and she received her Master of Arts in Classics at Fordham University. Ja Yun will be located outside the Associate Deans offices. Please join me in warmly welcoming Ja Yun to our Richardson 'ohana!'"
Clare Hanusz '99 joined Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert law firm. Clare practices in the areas of immigration and civil rights. She serves as a member of the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigration Reform, and the Hawaiʻi Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Clare is also the advocacy co-chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Hawaiʻi Chapter.
Jennifer M. Porter '13 joined PKMC as an associate attorney. Jennifer will practice in the areas of community and condominium association law as well as construction, commercial and real estate litigation.