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Incoming UH Law School students for Fall 2017 already active in social justice fields

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Mar 24, 2017

Incoming UH Law School students tour the campus as part of events during Admitted Students Day.
Incoming UH Law School students tour the campus as part of events during Admitted Students Day.

The UH Law School welcomed the first members of its incoming Fall 2017 class this week during its lively “Admitted Students Day” that included tours with current students and mini lessons taught by faculty members. The incoming class represents a remarkable array of backgrounds, including, for example, varied business experiences, legislative work, military service and social justice advocacy.

For Cherise Braxton-Brooks, a case manager working with children in foster care, law school has long been a goal. “I want to be able to advocate better and do more for the population I work with,” she said. With her daughter about to graduate from college and her son heading into middle school, the time was right to put her dream into practice, said Braxton-Brooks.

“My family is very supportive. My son and I will be doing our homework together and he’s very excited about that,” she added.

Norman Capinpin is also excited, but about adding legal training to his set of advocacy skills. “It's an honor to advocate for those who are too often unheard,” said Capinpin, who has spent his career working with and for homeless and underserved communities. “I believe a knowledge in law provides the tools to affect the necessary change I feel our community deserves, so I can't wait to learn,” said Capinpin, a teacher of religion and a former consecrated religious monk.

The incoming class also includes an entrepreneur who launched a small tour company, an operations manager for a construction company, a medical billing and accounting manager, several legal assistants, a legal aid worker, and a number of people working at the Hawaii State Legislature.

For Neemesh Chheda, an infrastructure designer who currently works with the TransCanada pipeline in Texas, the opportunity that Richardson provides to complete a JD in tandem with an MBA offers him exactly the future that he seeks. “Eventually I want to work in Asia, and Hawai‘i is the gateway,” says Chheda. “This would add to my background and enable me to specialize in corporate law or work in a financial firm.”

William S. Richardson School of Law Admissions Director Elisabeth Steele Hutchison and Law School Visit Coordinator Alyssa-Marie Kau ’18 led the special day’s activities, joined by Dean Avi Soifer and Associate Deans Denise Antolini and Ronette Kawakami ’85, as well as many staff and faculty members. Attendees included both new Full-Time JD students as well as Evening Part Time students, who often continue to work full time during the day.

The Evening Part Time program was specifically designed for those who have professional, financial and family obligations that have kept them from following their dreams. It is popular with mid-career professionals looking to change directions or to add to their sets of skills and it brings even more diversity to a Law School ranked first in the nation for diversity again this year.

In welcoming the new students, Dean Soifer noted that the secret of the UH Law School is its warm, family-oriented atmosphere and the multiple ways in which students care about and support each other’s success. “You don’t have to watch your back, and you know other students will have your back, for you,” Soifer explained.

Richardson Law School will continue to accept students for next Fall until the July 1, 2017 deadline. Prospective law students may find application instructions at