Sherilyn Tavares

Hometown: Hilo, Hawaiʻi

Degree: University of Hawaiʻi - Hilo, BA in Political Science, Administration of Justice, and Sociology, May 2008

Why did you choose UH Law?
I chose UH Law because Hawai'i is my home and I plan on staying here to practice. Also, as a Hawaiian, I am interested in Native Hawaiian Rights under the law, thus, the program here allows me to explore this interest in great depth.

What were you doing before you started Law School?
I was completing my undergraduate degree and helping out at my family's restaurant business in Hilo--Millie's!

Where are you headed after you graduate?
I am headed home to Hilo to clerk for Judge Glenn Hara.

Describe UH Law using three words.
Responsibility, Dedication, and Honor (when given the opportunity to attend law school in Hawai'i, we must never forget that we are giving a gift to preserve our culture, prepare the future, and protect our way of life).

What surprised you most about UH Law?
Well, coming in I knew it was going to be harder than anything I had done before. What I didn't realize was that I was joining a community of amazing, supportive, and encouraging people. I guess I shouldn't be surprised....this is Hawai'i. I was told it would be competitive, but I have never felt the need to compete with anyone. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and everyone is so willing to do whatever it takes to see that we each succeed. That is priceless!
My classmates are AMAZING. We have a bond that I never thought would be possible. We are able to get so much done by working together and I truly value that. I never thought I was coming here to make real friends, but what I have learned is that these individuals with whom I share this experience will be the only ones who will truly understand what it was/is like. They are the ones I have studied with, laughed with, cried with, encouraged, and been encouraged by. And that has been such a wonderful surprise!
The opportunities here at Richardson are completely unbelievable. The faculty, staff, and alumni are dedicated to giving us every possible opportunity to succeed. At just about ANYTHING you can imagine. The best part is that the faculty are so eager and willing to help students get to their desired destination. You just have to ask. And it is all right there. I never thought that it would be so easy to interact with such distinguished individuals, and to be able to do so as often as I have.

What advice would you give to an entering law student?
Law school is what you choose to make of it. It is hard. It is overwhelming. It is easy to give up. But if you always remember, and allow yourself to be guided by your reason for choosing to go to law school in the first place, if you don't loose sight of that, it will be the best experience of your life. Take all the opportunities that are offered, and have an open mind. There is so much to do, so much to learn, so many people to meet, and so much stressing out to get through. But you will get through it. If you feel like it is hard, you are doing something RIGHT. Persevere. It is supposed to be hard, but it should NEVER change who you are at your core. Keep things around you that allow you to remember that, if not, you are going to hate the experience. And that is the most truthful thing I can share.
I have been given the opportunity to do things since coming to law school that I never even dreamed I would do - like work in Washington, D.C. in the U.S. House of Representatives. I never would have experienced that if I didn't have an open mind and a desire to better myself. That experience has left a profound impact on my life. I also had the opportunity to spend time working on Kaho'olawe during my 1L spring break. Again, this is something I would likely have never ever done had I not jumped at an opportunity without thinking about it. My time on Kaho'olawe has changed me eternally, forever. Law school gave me these opportunities and I took advantage of them.

Where can we find you when you're not in class?
When I am not in class, I am at home on the Big Island or at the beach. Those are the places that allow me to decompress and remember who I am. I need those things, and so I make time for them. I also surround myself by people I admire and enjoy. Good food, great friends, and a really good laugh can take the stresses of law school and put life into perspective.

Students Speak

  • Entering law school as an Ulu Lehua Scholar was the greatest gift. Our program is a symbol of Richardson’s commitment to social change in Hawai‘i.”
  • American Inns of Court provides law students an opportunity to participate in interactive instruction with local judges and lawyers.”
  • 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 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 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.”
  • The student body has been gracious and keeps a good balance between academics and social engagements.”
  • 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. ”
  • I knew my family and I would be happy here, and I've always wanted to live in Hawaiʻi. I was also attracted by WSRSL's small size compared to other Tier One law schools.”
  • What surprised you most about UH Law? How hard one has to work. You can't roll out of bed and get a B here.”