Rule 6.1 of the Hawai i Rules of Professional Conduct embodies an aspirational goal that lawyers provide 50 hours of pro bono service annually, which would encompass participation in various pro bono activities as described in the rule. The pictured firms and government offices were contacted by a member of the Access to Justice Commission, and they have expressed a willingness to meet the goal outlined in Rule 6.1.

Ashford & Wriston

Ashford & Wriston’s commitment to providing pro bono services to the community stretches back to its founding in 1955. In 2009 the firm has decided to reaffirm its commitment to serving the community and the bar by pledging that each of its attorneys will devote at least 50 hours per year to pro bono services. For the firm as a whole, this commitment will result in a donation of time and effort valued in excess of $250,000.00. Ashford & Wriston is pleased to endorse the Access to Justice Program and to make a difference in our community.

From left to right are: Cuyler Shaw of Ashford & Wriston, Nalani Fujimori Kaina, a member of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, and Kevin Herring of Ashford & Wriston.

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing

How our firm achieves its pro bono goals and, in doing so, exceeds the aspirational goals set by the Court: The answer is three-fold.

First, we give all lawyers full credit toward their annual billing goals for “partner-approved” pro bono work. This makes it easy for every associate to find some matter they are passionate about and treat it as something important, not something that distracts from their “real work.”

Second, we believe that it is imperative for lawyers to recognize the “justice system” is strengthened if the poor, as well as the rich, have access to the courts and skilled advocates. So, we look for opportunities to be advocates for the voiceless. Thus, for example, in 2008 we represented homeless children in a class action against the Department of Education and obtained an injunction, and then a settlement, that gave these children better access to education. The psychic rewards of doing this work are immeasurable.

Third, we recognize that, as a law firm, it is important that we must use our skills to strengthen our community, not just profit from being in the community. Lawyers are often criticized for caring and doing too little for the well-being of the community.

From left to right are: Ellen Godbey Carson, Paul Alston, and Bill Tam.

Ayabe Chong Nishimoto Sia & Nakamura

Seated (L-R): Kenneth T. Goya and Robert A. Chong;

Standing (L-R): Richard F. Nakamura, Monica K. Suematsu, Sidney K. Ayabe,

Gail M. Kang, and John S. Nishimoto

Cades Schutte

Our firm is committed to both the letter and spirit of Rule 6.1 and the goals of the Access to Justice Commission. Providing pro bono legal services to the community is a part of our firm’s mission.

From left to right are: Kawena Beaupre, Jeff Portnoy, Peter Olson, Calvert Chipchase, and Pat McHenry.

Chee & Markham

On the left is Gregory Markham and on the right is Cyd Y. Ignacio.

Carlsmith Ball, LLP

From left to right are: Nathan Nelson, Rodd Yano, Joanne Grimes, and Eric James

City & County of Honolulu Corporation Counsel

Rule 6.1 of the Hawai’i Rules of Professional Conduct embodies an aspirational goal that lawyers provide 50 hours of pro bono service annually.  The Department of the Corporation Counsel for the City and County of Honolulu has joined other public and private sector law offices in adopting a policy authorizing pro bono activities by attorneys in the department.  The policy builds on the efforts of Deputies Corporation Counsel already providing pro bono services, addresses issues related to government attorney participation, and facilitates participation for those not currently engaged in pro bono activities.  In formulating the policy, the department consulted with the City Ethics Commission, which issued an advisory opinion on pro bono activities by Deputies Corporation Counsel.  The opinion concluded that the City’s ethics laws do not automatically prohibit such activities, so long as applicable standards of conduct set forth in the City Charter are followed.  The policy adopted by the Corporation Counsel department is consistent with the Ethics Commission opinion.

City & County of Honolulu Corporation Counsel

From top left to right: Curtis Sherwood, Jesse Souki, Lis Contrades, Gary Takeuchi, Brad Saito, Kyle Chang, Carrie Okinaga, Amy Kondo, and Diane Kawauchi

Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert

From left to right are: Tred Eyerly, Noelle Catalan, Mark Murakami,
Christi-Anne Kudo Chock, James McWhinnie, and Greg Kugle.

Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel

Goodsill’s long history of providing pro bono legal services includes representing indigent clients, staffing Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii’s neighborhood clinics and serving as guardians ad litem through Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and as fact finders in Judge Broderick’s family court program.

From left to right are: David Reber, Gary Slovin, and Regan Iwao.

Department of the Corporation Counsel, County of Hawaii

Back row: Justice Acoba: Gerald Takase, Craig Masuda, Molly Lugo, Renee Schoen, Joseph Kamelamela. Seated: Laureen Martin, Julie Mecklenburg, Michael Udovich, Jill Hasegawa.

Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney

Front row: Justice Acoba, Anson Lee, Jason Skier, Thomas Oakes, Shaunda Liu, Jack Matsukawa. Back row: Johann Smith, Darien Nagata, Shannon Kagawa, Kevin Hashizaki, Jill Hasegawa, Carol Kitaoka

Hawaii Disability Rights Center

The employees of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center look forward to working with private attorneys to represent people with disabilities pro bono. The need includes systemic cases involving civil rights, special education litigation, guardianship proceedings, and the creation of special needs trusts. The response we have received from members of the bar has been most gratifying, and we are pleased to be part of this effort.

From left to right standing are: John Dellera, Michael Rabanal, Louis Erteschik, Howard Lesser, and Steve Walsh.

Seated in the front is Jennifer Patricio.

Henderson, Gallagher & Kane

From left to right are: Harvey Henderson and Patrick Gallagher.
Intermediate Court of Appeals

From left to right are: Judges Craig Nakamura, Katherine Leonard, Corinne Watanabe, Alexa Fujise, and Daniel Foley.

Labor & Industrial Relations Appeals Board

From left to right are: Rock Ley, Lily Ling, Roland Thom, Melissa Mash, and David Pendleton.

Maui County Department of the Corporation Counsel

Back row left: Jeffrey T. Ueoka, Edward S. Kushi, Jr., James A. Q. Giroux, Michael J. Hopper, Ryan Anderson-Teshima, Mary Blaine Johnston, Richard B. Rost. Middle row left: Madelyn S. D’Enbeau, Jane E. Lovell, Cheryl A. Tipton, Kimberly A.B. Sloper.
Front row left: Traci Fujita Villarosa, Brian T. Moto, Justice Simeon Acoba, and Jill Hasegawa.

Office of the Federal Public Defender

Moya Gray, ATF Commissioner, and Peter Wolff, Federal Public Defender.

Office of the Public Defender, State of Hawaii

On the left is Jill Hasegawa, Vice-Chair of the ATJ Commission, and Jack Tonaki, State Public Defender.

Schlack Ito Lockwood Piper & Elkind

From left to right standing are: Derek Kobayashi, Mark Ito, Eric Elkind, Doug Codiga, Matt Matsunaga, and Jeffrey Piper.

From left to right seated are: Adrienne Shimonishi Elkind and Carol Lockwood.

Law Office of Eric A. Seitz

From left to right are: Juli Henning, Ronald Kim, Eric Seitz, Alina Baun,
Lawrence Kawasaki, Della Belatti, and Hilton Lui

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher

Our Directors approved a resolution officially endorsing the Access to Justice Program and encouraging each of our attorneys to dedicate a minimum of 50 hours per year to pro bono work. As part of that endorsement, our law firm will begin to show a new line on our monthly “work efforts” report for each of our attorneys and paralegals showing the time spent by each of our attorneys and paralegals on pro bono work. We will keep track of each attorney’s and paralegal’s pro bono work each year via this report to ensure that we are reviewing and conscious of each person’s level of pro bono work.

Most of our attorneys have been very active over the years performing pro bono work. However, the Access to Justice Program will allow us the opportunity to focus on these work efforts on a more formalized and regular basis, prospectively, than we have in the past.

We look forward to continuing our commitment to be of service to the community through our pro bono work.

From left to right are Ivan Lui-Kwan, Sharon Lovejoy, Peter Starn,
Justice Simeon Acoba, Chair of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, R. Elton Johnson, and Duane Fisher.

Save the date:   Friday, June 21, 2024.   The Hawaiʻi Access to Justice Conference, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission, will be an all-day event at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, Manoa campus.  Please plan to attend for a provocative discussion and varied workshops … [read more]

         On Friday, June 16, 2023, the Hawaiʻi Access to Justice Conference, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission, attracted over 220 individuals for an all-day event at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa.              Honorable Nancy Gertner, former federal district court … [read more]

In 2018, an in-person Volunteer Court Navigator Program was established in the Second Circuit (Maui County).  Volunteer Court Navigators assist unrepresented persons at the Hoapili Hale Courthouse, Wailuku, Maui by answering questions concerning court resources, location, and procedures.  Volunteer Court Navigators cannot provide legal advice or representation.   The Second … [read more]

2022 Hawai‘i Access to Justice Conference          On a warm summer day, over 240 people attended the thirteenth annual Hawai‘i Access to Justice Conference, held on Friday, June 17, 2022, at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i.   This year’s theme was “Continuing to Meet Challenges to … [read more]