Distinction and Diversit

Dean Soifer (right) with William S. Richardson, Chief Justice, Hawai‘i Supreme Court 1966–1982


I am pleased to introduce you to our exciting Environmental Law Program (ELP). From its inception in 1988, our ELP has grown into a comprehensive program with a regional, national, and international reputation for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and public service. The success of ELP is hardly happenstance, but rather the product of the inspiration and perspiration of our noteworthy faculty, very dedicated and talented students, and the generous support of friends of ELP. The diverse interests and expertise of our core and affiliate faculty allow us to offer a rich program of study. Varied perspectives of government, public interest, and private sectors are particularly accessible and important in Hawai‘i. Our students have unparalleled opportunities to engage directly in activities that include arguing mock cases before Hawai‘i, national, and international judges; externing with the government, corporate law firms, public interest law firms, and state agencies; testifying before law-making bodies; and participating in national conferences. They also work in the lo‘i (taro fields) with community groups, clean up streams and beaches, and take service field trips to help restore native vegetation to deforested areas. ELP graduates are working for the U.S. Department of Justice, serving in the Hawai‘i Legislature, representing private landowners, and litigating in federal court for environmental groups, together making remarkable contributions to enlightened environmental stewardship in Hawai‘i, the Pacific region, the U.S., and internationally. We invite you to meet, learn from, and one day become part of a remarkable community of lawyers by becoming a member of the ELP ‘ohana (family).

Dean and Professor of Law


THE WILLIAM S. RICHARDSON SCHOOL OF LAW at the University of Hawai‘i is located in beautiful Manoa Valley on the island of O‘ahu. Opened in 1973, it is the only law school in the State of Hawai‘i. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the American Association of Law Schools. The School of Law’s Juris Doctor (JD) program prepares degree candidates for active and effective professional participation in legal counseling, advocacy, and decision-making—whether in court or at the legislature, attorney’s office or corporate board room, state agency or federal commission, community center or international conference. At the School of Law, students are encouraged to study law and legal institutions as integral parts of larger social, political-economic, and ecological systems.

The School of Law’s accomplished student body of approximately 300 is the most ethnically diverse in the nation, attracting students from a number of Pacific/Asian countries, as well as from Hawai‘i’s many ethnic groups. Our law school has one of the highest faculty- to-student ratios in the country. In this ‘ohana setting, student-faculty interactions are encouraged—whether it involves a lively class discussion of cutting-edge land use issues, a field trip to a polluted waterway, service trips to remove alien species, or collaborative efforts to teach community workshops.

The School of Law offers a rich curriculum that includes two specialty certificates—Environmental Law and Pacific-Asian Legal Studies—providing students focused courses of study and an advantage in launching their careers. Students can also select from a number of clinics, both live-client and simulated. Our moot court teams (including two different types of environmental law teams) have an impressive history of success in both national and international competitions, including several regional and national championships. The School of Law was among the first in the U.S. to adopt a pro bono (public service) graduation requirement. In academic year 2003–04, the School of Law instituted an LLM (Master of Law and Letters) for foreign lawyers.

The School of Law is proud of its very successful placement rate for graduates, both in judicial clerkships and in a variety of rewarding careers in Hawai‘i, the U.S. mainland, and throughout Asia and the Pacific. The student body takes advantage of the vibrant intellectual atmosphere at the School of Law and the University of Hawai‘i by participating in student organizations, law journals, conferences, public service, and Hawai‘i’s legal and social communities. Outside the classroom, students can enjoy the unique recreational opportunities in Hawai‘i, such as paddling, surfing, Hawaiian music, and hiking in native forests. Visit our website at to learn more about our outstanding School of Law.


To request application materials now, visit: