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‘Mr. Elder Law’ honored for distinguished community service

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: May 23, 2017

James H. Pietsch
James H. Pietsch

Law Professor James H. Pietsch, an authority on elder law and veterans issues at the William S. Richardson School of Law, has been honored with the University of Hawai‘i’s Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service for 2017.

Pietsch, who heads the UH Elder Law Program and holds a joint appointment as an adjunct professor of geriatric medicine and psychiatry at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, has played a leadership role in organizing regular public workshops that provide important information to elders, veterans and their caregivers. He also has co-authored a series of handbooks that go into detail about end-of-life and aging issues, and the handbooks are provided free throughout the community.

Dean Avi Soifer called Pietsch a backbone of the UH Law School and praised his longstanding elder clinic and, more recently, his veterans’ clinic. In addition to the public elder care workshops that Pietsch has developed over the years, he has created a similar free public series for veterans.

“He has focused his efforts on assisting our state’s elderly and disabled, disenfranchised, abused, and socially and economically needy residents,” said Soifer. “He is known as ‘Mr. Elder Law’ for inaugurating this specialized field of law in Hawaiʻi, and his stellar reputation in the medical, social work and legal community places him at the nexus for legal and ethics consultation on the multiple and complex issues that arise at the end of life.”

Since 1991 Pietsch has led the Elder Law Clinic at the UH Law School, serving more than 10,000 vulnerable elders and their caregivers since then. He regularly updates the free accessible handbook that he co-authored with his assistant, Lenora H. Lee, covering a broad spectrum of elder care issues. He also has developed an international reputation for his scholarly articles and his witty presentations across the globe.

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