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A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law alumna, and a lecturer, launched a free webinar series to assist and accelerate the restart of small businesses in Hawaiʻi impacted by the pandemic.

The webinar series, launched by UH law lecturer Gregory Kim, who started the nonprofit Business Law Corps with attorney and former student Catherine Taschner, began last week and continues every Thursday at 10 a.m. through April 29, 2021, via Zoom. Participants can register online.

“If you lost your job or had to close your business because of COVID-19, or maybe you are ready to start your side hustle—all are welcome,” said Kim, a corporate attorney who has an MBA in addition to his JD degree.

The series is aimed at jumpstarting companies that have been hit hard by the pandemic, and offers an expansive series presenting advice from experts in the field. Each webinar will have helpful forms and handouts which will be explained during the session.

“The current series came out of the pandemic and my frustration that businesses are going under,” said Kim. “I always think that corporate lawyers can make a difference. We have the tools to make business work. So I thought why don’t the business lawyers of Hawaiʻi unite and do something valuable for the small business owners and people who have lost their jobs, so we assembled this roster of attorneys who already do a lot of volunteer work for us.”

Classroom beginnings

Kim, who founded his own virtual law firm, Vantage Counsel, and Taschner, who is now deputy director of the City and County of Honolulu–Department of Land Management, founded Business Law Corps a decade ago. It came about as the result of discussions in class at the UH law school where Kim has taught for 13 years. Taschner was a student in his entrepreneur and small business clinic and fascinated by the idea of creating a Peace Corps for business—a pro bono concept where small companies could get legal advice and guidance.

Since the corps began, Kim said they have advised and consulted with thousands of small companies.

UH law Dean Camille Nelson is impressed by and grateful for the time and effort Kim and Taschner have put into this project to assist struggling businesses in the state as they cope with the effects of the pandemic.

“Our alumni, students and faculty continue to serve the state in myriad ways, in all areas of law and multiple sites of legal practice,” said Nelson. “We greatly appreciate the ongoing commitment of Greg and Cat to use their corporate legal skills and business savvy to uplift and empower the community. Their work demonstrates that every area of law can be harnessed to further justice.”

For the webinar lineup, see the UH law school website.

–By Beverly Creamer

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