Each year, the Admissions Committee selects ten to twelve applicants to join the first year class as part of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program. There is no separate application process for the Program. However, applicants who are interested in being considered are asked to include an additional statement in their application discussing how they meet the Law School’s criteria for admission as an Ulu Lehua Scholar. These include:
- Activities and/or employment manifesting a strong commitment to social justice, the public interest, and service to legally, socially, and economically disadvantaged communities;
- A record of overcoming social, educational, economic, or other sources of adversity;
- The ability to serve as a role model for and mentor to members of legally underserved and economically disadvantaged communities who are striving to overcome adversity and reach their full potential;
- The ability to bring distinctive viewpoints and life experiences to the law school community, enriching the understanding of all who work and study here; and
- Educational and other achievements suggesting that the applicant’s ability to succeed in law school is inadequately reflected by numerical admissions indicators, such as the LSAT score and/or undergraduate grade point average.
Ulu Lehua scholars benefit from participation in a small, supportive learning community within the Law School, and course load flexibility in their first year. In their first semester, Ulu Lehua Scholars, like all first year (1L) law students, take Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Legal Practice. However, in place of Criminal Justice, which they take in their second year, first semester Ulu Lehua 1Ls take American Legal Systems, an introduction to the legal institutions and processes and to interdisciplinary perspectives on the relationship between law and social change. American Legal Systems provides participants with structured and individualized instruction in legal reasoning, legal writing, law school study techniques, and other foundational legal skills.
Entering Ulu Lehua Scholars benefit from and contribute to a strong and cohesive Lehua community. Upper division Lehua and Ka Huli Ao students provide a structured tutoring program for first year Ulu Lehua and Ka Huli Ao students. Lehua students often assume leadership roles in such organizations as the Hawai‘i Law Review, the Ahahui o Hawai‘i, the Asian Pacific Law Journal, the Student Bar Association, and the School's award-winning moot court teams. Upon graduation, they become part of a large and influential Lehua alumni community, which includes many current judges, government leaders, social justice advocates, business administrators, and prominent attorneys. Recent graduates have obtained prestigious judicial clerkships, including clerkships with Justices of the Hawai’i Supreme Court, the Hawai’i Intermediate Court of Appeals, and the Hawai’i Circuit Court.