John Reiss

Hometown:  San Francisco, CA

Degrees: BS, Anthropology, University of Utah; MA, Diplomacy, Norwich University

Why did you choose UH Law?
I chose UH Law because I am in interested in the courses it offers and because of its small size.

What were you doing before you started Law School?
I worked as a teacher in Chile, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Where are you headed after you graduate?
I would eventually like to work in international arbitration.

Describe a highlight of your law school experience.
I enjoyed having an FBI agent speak to our criminal law class as a guest lecturer. He brought live evidence from a famous murder case with him, including some human remains! It beat every “show and tell” experience I’ve ever had.

Describe a fellow student or professor or mentor who has inspired you.
All of my fellow students are not only very dedicated to their work, but are also very willing to help each other out with problems and questions. I try hard in class because they try hard.

Describe your favorite organization and some activities related to that organization.
I like being involved in the Ambassadors program. I’m proud to be a student here, and being a Law Ambassador allows me to let potential students know why the William S. Richardson School of Law is such a unique place to study law.

Describe your UH law school experience in 3 words.
Lots of work.

What advice would you give to an entering law student?
Remember to try to maintain a good balance between your studies and your social life. It’s important to be serious, but not to take things too seriously.

What surprised you most about UH Law?
I am surprised that I need to bring a sweater to class. The air conditioning in the large lecture rooms can be a bit cold.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started law school?          
I wish I knew that because I’m now a law student, all of my friends and colleagues who aren’t law students or lawyers think I am their free source of legal advice.

What law school organizations/activities are you involved in?  
In addition to the Ambassadors, I am a member of the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Organization and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

Which professor has most inspired you the most?  How?
All of the professors at the William S. Richardson School of Law have impeccable credentials and backgrounds, and I’m sure they stand up with the best professors at the best law schools in the mainland United States. I look forward to coming to class because they have the ability to make otherwise arcane and unexciting subjects like contracts or civil procedure fun and interesting.

Where can we find you when you're not in class?
If I’m not in my apartment, I’m probably wandering the streets of Honolulu. It’s my way of clearing my head. Also, I don’t have a car.

What do you like most about UH Law?
The UH Law community exemplifies the Hawaiian word ʻohana. Students, faculty, and other staff are very friendly and welcoming.  here is no aggressive competition between the students, and the professors are welcoming and accessible. I don’t think there is a stronger sense of friendship and amity at any other law school.

How would you describe your classmates?
I am happy to be surrounded every day by a large group of intelligent, humorous, and friendly people. My law degree will be my third academic degree, and at no other university I attended in the past have I considered my peers to be both friends and colleagues as much as I have here.

Students Speak

  • It's the total package for me. I am able to attend law school at home, be around my family and friends, watch my nephew grow, dance hula, and be a part of a really special community at Richardson.”
  • As a practicing attorney in Environmental Law in Japan, I was drawn to the strength of the Environmental Law Program at UH. I am striving to earn a specialization in Environmental Law.”
  • When I'm not in class, I can most likely be found in the library, it's the best place to study that I know. However if I'm not on campus, I'm usually spending time with friends or family around town, especially trying out the latest restaurants!”
  • Keep the balance and communication open with your loved ones. You'll hear this 1000 times but it really is important.”
  • What I was most surprised about was the diversity of my 1L class. It’s amazing how many different backgrounds, interests and personalities are represented. ”
  • Hawai‘i is home, and the William S. Richardson School of Law is Hawai‘i’s law school. UH Law School alumni include successful practitioners and valuable contributors to Hawai‘i in a variety of other roles.”
  • I was under the impression that law school was a ruthless numbers game, but I've seen for myself that even lawyers 40+ years out from Richardson will stop each other on the streets in downtown to reminisce about their time in school.”
  • I chose UH because they offer a specialization in Criminal law. The other reason is the fact that I wanted to live in Hawai'i.”
  • I love that I feel at home on campus. The faculty, administration, staff, and students create an inviting, peaceful environment. Everyone is dedicated to your success. I also get to see rainbows on a weekly basis, don’t need to wear a coat and boots durin”
  • I was working at the Al Lawati law firm which provides legal service to Oman Oil in Oman. I had previously practiced law in Iran since 2001.”