skip to Main Content

High school students begin free summer legal program at UH Law School

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Jun 8, 2017

Richardson Law and Justice Summer Program participants last year.
Richardson Law and Justice Summer Program participants last year.
High school students working with law student mentors and faculty.
High school students working with law student mentors and faculty.

A unique, week-long summer training program in law and justice for 14 eleventh and twelfth graders from six public high school students begins this week at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. They will participate in a mock trial on Friday, June 9, 2017, from 9:45 a.m. until noon.

This is the third summer that Richardson Law School is offering high school students an intensive immersion into the legal world that includes visits to courtrooms; watching a real trial in progress; attending classes taught by Law School faculty; and running their own mock trial, among additional activities.

The high schools involved this year in the Richardson Law & Justice Summer Program are Farrington, Kaiser, McKinley, Nānākuli, Waianae and Waipahu.

The program is free for students thanks to support from several law firms and other entities. They include the law firms of Bays Lung Rose & Holma, Case Lombardi & Pettit, Deeley King Pang & Van Etten, and Imanaka Asato. Also offering support are the Hawai‘i Bar Foundation, Richardson Law School’s Students for Public Outreach & Civic Education (SPOCE), UH Student Equity Excellence Diversity (SEED) program and Richardson Law School.

The program is aimed at rising juniors and seniors who are especially interested in pursuing careers in legally related professions, said Associate Faculty Specialist Liam Skilling ’07, who heads the program and is also Director of the Evening Part Time Program and Academic Success at Richardson Law School.

“This program could have an impact on college choices and aspirations,” said Skilling. “It provides access to engaging, high-quality civic education because that is not as heavily focused on the high school curriculum. By introducing many aspects of law, this could encourage students to consider legal education or related careers.”

During the program students will sit in on a Circuit Court trial, have lunch at a law firm, visit the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court, and meet a panel of legislators at the State Capitol. They also will be coached and mentored by current law students and taught by faculty, judges and practicing attorneys.

One of the purposes of the program is to introduce students to issues of law and justice, as well as building their skills in debate, analysis, research and discussion.

“We also hope it provides the inspiration for students to become active, involved citizens in their communities,” said Skilling. The program seeks to demystify law for young people who may come from backgrounds and populations that are traditionally under-represented among attorneys, judges and other decision-makers in society.

“It takes countless hours of work by volunteers within the Law School and in the larger community to put together this remarkable program. The Law School is very grateful to them and to the generous supporters who make it possible to offer it at no charge," said Dean Avi Soifer. “It says something significant about Hawai‘i and about our Law School that so many people pitch in to make this unique program such a roaring success each summer.”

For more information, visit: