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law school student raising their hand and taking pledge
The incoming William S. Richardson School of Law class takes the student pledge at the Supreme Court.

In an inspirational moment at the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, the incoming University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law Class of 2020 stood and faced Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, raised their right hands in unison and took the law school student pledge. The pledge includes the commitment “to guard zealously legal, civil and human rights which are the birthright of all people, and, above all, to endeavor always to seek justice.”

“You are picking up the torch from an incredible person,” CJ Recktenwald told the students, speaking in admiring terms of the man whose name graces the law school. “You are heirs to the legacy of a great person. It’s exciting to see people come to this law school and find their way, their voice, and to speak up for people in our community. I am confident you will hold those values, and, as CJ Richardson did, make the world a more just place.”

Attorney William K. Richardson, CJ Richardson’s son, shared stories about his father and his commitment to creating equal opportunities—including legal training—for Hawaiʻi’s people. He also encouraged the incoming class to “join together and target the issues of your time” just as his father had tackled racism, lack of access to advanced education, and other issues he and his peers faced in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and beyond.

smiling students sitting at a table
Law students enjoy activities in downtown Honolulu.

The ceremony was part of an intensive week of orientation activities for 107 incoming law students. The class includes 34 graduates from UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and UH West Oʻahu, plus international students from Germany, Canada, Brazil, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and South Korea.

“Given the events over the last few weeks in Charlottesville and other parts of the United States and the world, we believe that it is important to emphasize that at Richardson we recognize that we are all part of one human family, no matter where we come from or what our individual cultural and religious backgrounds and beliefs, or our political views,” said Acting Dean Melody MacKenzie.

For more, read the full story on the school’s website.

—By Beverly Creamer

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