Ground broken for new law school clinical building where students can provide free legal help


University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, Richardson School of Law
Dan Meisenzahl, (808) 348-4936
UH Spokesperson, University of Hawai‘i System
Posted: Nov 30, -0001

Architectural rendering of the new Clinical Building
Architectural rendering of the new Clinical Building

Link to video and sound (details below):

What: Groundbreaking ceremony held for the new Clinical Building at the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa 

Where: In the UH Mānoa Law School parking lot in the space where the new structure will be erected.  

Who:  Speakers included Governor David Ige and UH President David Lassner. entrepreneur and attorney William "Bill" K. Richardson and Law School Dean Avi Soifer.

Why: The new building will serve as space for the growing clinical care offered by Law School students and faculty as part of course work for graduation. This clinical service provides thousands of hours of free legal help to some of Hawai‘i’s most vulnerable people, including the elderly, troubled and incarcerated youth, veterans, and families living at or near poverty levels. It will also provide much-needed space to develop practical trial and advocacy skills.  Students are required to serve a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono work in order to graduate.

Other Background: 

  • Funding of $7 million was approved by the state legislature in 2013.
  • Scheduled to open during the fall 2017 semester.
  • Before they graduate, students at Richardson Law School must give 60 hours of pro bono service, but many give far more as part of projects throughout the community. This hands-on training with real clients – under the guidance of experienced attorneys – is an important part of the curriculum at Richardson, and is one of the areas in which the UH Law School scores high nationally.
  • One of the many service projects undertaken by law students is the Access to Justice project overseen by the Judiciary, the Legal Aid Society and AmeriCorps, which offers free legal assistance to those involved in civil court actions. Volunteer community attorneys provide 12 hours of free assistance weekly to clients at the District Court Building at 1111 Alakea St., with law students learning from the experience and assisting the attorneys by providing forms and research.
  • With the additional space provided by the new Clinical Building, the Law School will be able to expand its outreach into the community. It’s estimated that in the last 24 years – since pro bono service became a graduation requirement – the Law School has provided more than 100,000 hours of free legal assistance to people in need such as veterans, the elderly, immigrants, and families living below the poverty level.

Link to video and sound:


2 shots: architect’s rendering and fly-through
2 shots: District Court exterior and Access to Justice Room sign
6 shots: UH law students assisting lawyer/client in Access to Justice Room
6 shots: groundbreaking ceremony


Alyssa Kau, student, Richardson School of Law (:12)

“The new clinical building is important to the students because most of what we learn and what we end up practicing comes from these experiences that we give to disadvantaged or lower-income communities.”

Avi Soifer, dean, Richardson School of Law (:19)

“This building could not be more important to the services we provide.  Public interest service has been something we are commited to from the very start and weʻre very proud of the clinics that we have serving all kind of vulnerable clients. We see law as a helping profession and this building is going to be the center for that.”