woman smiling
Meleana ‘Mana’ Shim.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law student Meleana “Mana” Shim was among 10 law students across the country named “2022 Law Students of the Year” in National Jurist preLaw magazine.

The Student of the Year honor is an annual feature in the magazine’s spring issue which recognizes talented, exceptional law students with a dedication to their community. Shim was selected from approximately 200 American Bar Association-accredited law schools nationwide.

The third-year law student and retired professional soccer player is committed to activism, athletics, mental health and public service.

Professor Dina Shek said, “Mana is both unafraid and self-aware, and she is a constant and supportive student, classmate and ally.”

Shim has courageously spoken out against sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, working towards policy changes and using her voice to raise awareness to ensure a safer environment for athletes, advocating for change within the league nationally as well as locally in Hawaiʻi—all while a full-time law student.

Molly Levinson, advisor to the U.S. Women’s National Team players, recognized Shim’s courage in speaking out publicly. “Mana Shim embodies the qualities of an extraordinary advocate, trusted counselor, visionary leader and courageous change maker. Behind the scenes, she has made even more of a difference, dedicating her time, energy and numerous talents to a wholesale re-making of league leadership, culture, policies and procedures. It is both comforting and inspiring to know that she is the future of the law,” Levinson said.

More on Shim

Shim’s exceptional dedication showed in her work with the Office of the Public Defender along with her work ethic, commitment and compassion for clients.

She has been an active member of the UH law school’s Mental Health Committee, speaking on LGBTQ+ and mental health issues, and continuing to work toward change and awareness. Shim also engaged in mental health community outreach as a volunteer for the Institute of Human Services.

The inaugural student member of the UH law school’s wellness committee, Shim is also co-president of Lawyers Against Sexual Violence and the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach and collaboration on issues of law, culture and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples. She was awarded the Advocates for Public Interest Law grant and worked for the Hawaiʻi Land Trust.

Shim was a member of the UH law school’s inaugural Island Leadership Lab seminar, an immersive leadership experience focused on training next-generation leaders for success; the initiative was launched by UH law school Dean Camille Nelson.

Nelson said, “I am inspired by Mana’s courageous leadership. Her integrity and bravery are carving a better path for those in similar situations, and those seeking to effect transformative justice-seeking change in myriad spaces and places. I am grateful for her empathy, dedication and tireless advocacy.”

For more information, see the UH law school website.