HONOLULU – Attorneys who volunteered their time to assist people going to court without a lawyer; non-profit legal services providers; and attorney volunteers in Hawaii’s Appellate Pro Bono Program, were honored during a virtual Hawaii Access to Justice Commission 2020 Pro Bono Celebration in late October. In addition, six winners of the Commission’s statewide high school essay contest were also recognized.
Thanks to the generosity of Jay Fidell and ThinkTech Hawaii, this 8th annual celebration was held virtually and included a month-long series of programs on his “Life in the Law” program.
• Providing Free Legal Services for the Community
• Elder Law and Appellate Mediation and Pro Bono Program in Hawaii
• Mediation Center of the Pacific
• Legal Aid and Legal Self Help in Hawaii
The celebration, which was also featured on ThinkTech, included Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, former Hawaii Access to Justice Commission Chair Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), current chair Judge Joseph Cardoza (ret.), Associate Justice Michael Wilson, Judge Greg Nakamura (ret.), Hawaii State Bar Association President P. Gregory Frey, Judge Brian Costa, Judge Melanie May, and Pro Bono Initiatives Committee members Tracey Wiltgen and Shawn Benton.
This year’s civil legal provider honorees are:
Sam Kasnetz, Mediation Center of the Pacific
Clarissa Malinao, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii
Benjamin Acob, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
Christy Matsuba, University of Hawaii Elder Law Program
Law firms, organizations and attorneys who volunteered at the Access to Justice Rooms at the Honolulu District Court, Kapolei Court Complex, and neighbor island Self-Help Centers, volunteer settlement masters, appellate mediators, and appellate pro bono attorneys were all recognized.
The annual essay contest winners wrote inspirational compositions about “Standing Together, Six Feet Apart: How Did You Serve the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Three students from Oahu, and one each from Hawaii island Maui, and Kauai, each received $500 awards and their teachers each accepted $100 to be used for educational purposes.
Mahalo to the law firms of Case Lombardi & Pettit; Chong, Nishimoto, Sia, Nakamura & Goya; Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert; Ota & Hara: Schlueter Kwiat & Kennedy; and Tateishi & Tanaka for sponsoring the essay contest.
The Pro Bono Celebration, held annually during National Pro Bono Week, was sponsored by the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission with the support of the Hawaii Justice Foundation, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation.
The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission was created in May 2008. The Commission’s primary purpose is to substantially increase access to justice in civil legal matters for low- and moderate-income residents of Hawaii.
The Hawaii Justice Foundation is an independent, tax-exempt grantmaking organization whose sole purpose is to achieve justice for Hawaii’s people. The Foundation was established in 1969 as a vehicle for philanthropic law-related projects in the State of Hawaii.
The Hawaii State Bar Association is the unified bar association for all persons admitted to the practice of law in Hawaii, and serves to unite and inspire Hawaii lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession.
The Hawaii State Bar Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to promote justice through programs such as Access to Justice for persons in need of legal services, civics education, and other public service programs and projects, including programs and projects of the Hawaii State Bar Association.