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

  • Before I started Law School I taught high school English at my alma mater for a few years. After teaching, I worked with the local organization that managed AmeriCorps programs in American Sāmoa.”
  • I would describe my law school classmates as “social characters.” Everyone came to this law school from many different places, financial backgrounds, and ethnicities.”
  • I think I would like to end up in the court room as a litigator. But who knows, I learn something new every day. There's no telling what will spark my interest next.”
  • I chose UH Law because I wanted to experience studying in Hawaiʻi, and I learned that the School has an excellent Environmental Law program. My graduate degree fellowship with the East-West Center is also tied with enrollment at UH.”
  • 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 consider the program as a pioneer on the frontier of legal education. One gets to experience the best of legal education while maintaining a critical eye on the process as a whole.”
  • What do you wish someone had told you before you started law school? Read what you want to before you go to law school.”
  • UH Law school has not only a good educational program but also diverse cultural environment. I thought I could experience something that I couldn’t get from the Mainland.”
  • Keep the balance and communication open with your loved ones. You'll hear this 1000 times but it really is important.”
  • There is a feeling of being one family. Everyone is working to help us to succeed.”