Law School ranked on Top 10 national list for pro bono service to community

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Dec 17, 2014

Courtyard of the William S. Richardson School of Law.
Courtyard of the William S. Richardson School of Law.

The UH Law School has again been recognized nationally – this time for its rigorous and generous pro bono requirements for graduation. The William S. Richardson School of Law, situated on the UH Manoa campus, was named to the Top 10 List of Law Schools with pro bono requirements. It is in the same company as Columbia Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The list was compiled by the Super Lawyers website, a rating service that, among other things, evaluates the nation’s top attorneys. Super Lawyers Magazine also lists top attorneys, as rated by their peers.

While many of the other Top 10 law schools were recognized for their 40-hour pro bono requirement, Richardson Law School actually requires 60 hours of free community legal service done by students in order to graduate.

Law Dean Avi Soifer pointed out that, more than 20 years ago, it was Richardson law students themselves who asked for the pro bono requirement as part of their requirements to graduate. “Our students are exceptional, and faculty and staff members often find them truly inspirational," he said.  "This is a prime example of their ongoing commitment to law as a helping profession.”

Over the years Hawai‘i law students have provided thousands of free hours to assist some of our community’s most vulnerable people as they deal with legal problems. In fact Richardson law students are part of the reason Hawai‘i was recently ranked third in the nation on a list of highly successful Access to Justice Initiatives.

That ranking was done by the National Center for Access to Justice, which conducts "Justice Index" findings annually to measure how accessible state legal systems are for people with low incomes, disabilities, English language difficulties, and those who represent themselves.

The Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission that oversees many of these efforts was formed in 2008 by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.  The commission works in partnership with numerous community agencies and organizations, including the Richardson Law School, where its annual summit is held.

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