William S. Richardson School of Law Strategic Plan: 2012-2017


The William S. Richardson School of Law is a collaborative, multicultural community preparing students for excellence in the practice of law and related careers that advance justice and the rule of law.

We develop highly qualified, ethical professionals through excellence in teaching, scholarship, and public service.

We embrace Hawai‘i’s diversity and values and recognize a special responsibility to our state and the Pacific region.

We lead in environmental law, Native Hawaiian law, and Pacific-Asian legal studies.


A community of creative problem solvers, effective advocates, and courageous leaders who seek justice.


Kuleana:  to accept responsibility and the privilege of having responsibility

Nā‘au Pono: to foster a deep sense of justice or balance; what is appropriate

Aloha aku, aloha mai:  to respect and to receive respect

Huli Ao: to strive for enlightenment; to seek out knowledge

Mālama kekahi i kekahi: to care for one another

Kūpale: to defend and protect; to strongly advocate

Ho‘owaiwai: to create wealth and well-being for the community

No‘eau:  to become a skilled expert; to achieve excellence


Facilitate curricular improvements and innovations essential for the Law School in the 21st century.

Curriculum review will be a three-to five-year process, jointly coordinated by the administration and faculty, with the goal of maximum engagement by the Law School and legal community, achieving desired changes in a collaborative consensus-based manner, and emphasizing incremental, sequenced changes in areas identified as priorities by the faculty. 

1.1  Create a collaborative, engaging, and inclusive process for reviewing the Law School curriculum.
1.2  Focus curriculum review on creating practice-ready and versatile graduates, positioned to become highly skilled, compassionate, and thriving professionals in their chosen careers.

1.3 Review entire curriculum for coherence, rigor, developmental logic, and career relevance; develop pedagogical methods and assessment frameworks that support a culture of continuous improvement in curriculum development, teaching, and student mentoring.   

1.4  Promote early course planning and career counseling. 

1.5 Assess need and determine specific curricular areas for focused strategic development and promotion.

Attract, develop, and retain highly qualified and diverse faculty, staff, and students.

This priority reflects the Law School’s continuing goal of excellence, focusing on the people who create that excellence on a daily basis and who foster a sense of community at our Law School.  Our faculty, staff, and students are the true assets of the William S. Richardson School of Law.  We aim to draw outstanding individuals to our community, providing support consistent with their needs to cultivate the best in them. 


2.1 Identify and remove obstacles to faculty excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

2.2 Develop and improve mechanisms to facilitate the transition of new faculty into our Law School and community.

2.3. Enhance the school’s national and international reputation. 


2.4  Develop and improve mechanisms to facilitate the transition of new staff into our Law School and community.

2.5  Continue to provide and support professional development opportunities for all staff.


2.6  Recruit from a diverse array of undergraduate fields of study and life experiences.

2.7 Develop and improve mechanisms to facilitate the transition of new students into our Law School and community.

2.8 Provide students with essential resources to compete successfully for employment. 

Acquire sufficient financial resources, utilizing diversified strategies, to fulfill our Mission.

We need a vigorous revenue stream, fed by many sources, to fulfill the ambitions of this Strategic Plan.  This will be a challenge in a time of constrained individual, corporate, and government budgets.  We aim to prove our value to the community, providing a worthy investment to those who entrust us with their financial support.

3.1 Mobilize alumni and other supporters to demonstrate their financial commitment to and stewardship of the Law School.

3.2 Provide new and attractive funding opportunities for individual and corporate donors, and foundations.

3.3 Work with the University of Hawai‘i Foundation to optimize benefits from the Foundation’s fundraising campaigns.

3.4 Design and implement budget strategies that incorporate sustainability and cost cutting measures to ensure efficient and effective use of tuition resources.   

Improve our physical facilities and technological capacities to provide a professional, comfortable, and secure facility.

Groundbreaking for our Law School building occurred over thirty years ago.  As much as our then-new home equipped us for the expanding role and status of our Law School, we have outgrown our facilities and technological infrastructure.    Although we have developed ingenious “band-aids” over the years, a long-term investment in our physical and technological capacity is essential for becoming the Law School we envision.    

4.1 Identify and address immediate needs for adequate technology throughout the Law School.  

4.2  Continue to address physical facilities needs to maximize the use of space currently available.

4.3  Pursue the vision of physical expansion for the Law Library building to meet the needs of the Law School. 

4.4  Develop and implement “green guidelines” for current and future building use and space planning to be a sustainable educational environment.

4.5 Create and implement a technology plan that anticipates the Law School's technology needs for the next five years to achieve the efficient and effective use of resources.

4.6  Use technology to facilitate a paperless culture within the Law School community where appropriate.


Cultivate strong relationships within and external to the Law School.

The Law School recognizes and acknowledges that its unique and invaluable networks cultivated throughout its history are important to its success. The way we communicate, interact, and support each other both within the Law School and beyond is critical. Communication must inform, educate, and inspire everyone about our Law School and the good work it provides.  Collaboration and support throughout the Law School ‘ohana (i.e., students, administration, faculty, and alumni), and among the larger University and community promote effective use of resources, attract support for our programs, and enhance learning and service to our larger community.

5.1  Centralize, coordinate, and streamline effective communication both within and external to the Law School.

5.2  Facilitate awareness of and interactions between different Law School programs and units to optimize engagement of, sensitivity to, and support for each other’s work.     

5.3 Further build multidisciplinary relationships with other professional schools and units in the University of Hawai`i  System.

5.4  Identify and develop regular and relevant public educational programs with a law or justice focus that might benefit from our participation. 

5.5  Enhance our clinical legal education program to extend our reach in serving the public by partnering with legal service providers in the community.

5.6 Decide the process and methods for distributing this Strategic Plan and informing stakeholder groups of the contents of the Plan.     

Deepen and enrich the intellectual life of the Law School

The Law School fosters a culture of intellectual exploration, rigorous scholarship, and the interaction of diverse ideas and perspectives. Faculty, inspired by their research and scholarship, bring their insights and knowledge into the classroom. Students, through research and writing opportunities, develop critical analytic skills and a life-long commitment to learning.  Grounded in practical experience, we are cognizant of the local, national, and international dimensions of legal issues and the importance of scholarly examination and analysis. We seek not only an understanding of current law, but also to challenge convention, propose imaginative solutions, and direct our scholarship and innovative ideas to make a positive impact on the development of law. 

6.1  Increase our engagement with each other’s scholarly work.

6.2  Encourage joint scholarship initiatives among law faculty members and with those in other disciplines.

6.3  Increase opportunities for students to engage in legal research and writing and publish their legal scholarship.

6.4  Provide support and create incentives for faculty and students to produce substantial scholarship.

6.5 Increase opportunities for faculty to showcase and share their scholarship to maximize its impact and enhance the Law School’s reputation.

6.6 Design and implement a planned and thoughtful process to identify and bring accomplished and innovative scholars from diverse fields of expertise to teach and lecture.

6.7 Provide a forum to engage in intellectual inquiry with the larger community, including alumni, policy makers, and business and civic leaders.

Expand information services and resources to support the educational and scholarly activities of the Law School, the University of Hawaii, and the extended legal community.

The Law Library’s primary purpose is to build collections and provide services to support the teaching and research needs of the Law School.  It is a place where students gather to share ideas, access resources, and connect.  The Law Library’s professional staff select and organize information resources and instruct the Law School community on efficient legal research skills essential to practicing law and fulfilling the scholarly and educational mission of the Law School.

7.1 Update the Law Library’s strategic plan to support the Law School’s strategic plan.

7.2 Refine and maintain the library collection to reflect the curriculum and scholarship needs of the Law School curriculum in keeping with American Bar Association requirements and Association of Research Libraries guidelines.

7.3 Improve the integration of legal research instruction in the curriculum.

7.4 Enhance the information literacy and research skills of our students, faculty, and staff as we transition to a mixed media research center.

7.5 Promote law library services through outreach to the Law School, the University, and the extended legal community.

7.6  Develop, preserve, and make accessible special collections that reflect the history of the Law School and Hawai`i’s legal community.


Denise E. Antolini

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
(808) 956-6238