Five UH law school alumni among Hawaii Business Magazine's "25 People for the Next 25 Years"

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Mar 9, 2007

HONOLULU — Five alumni of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa were among those recently identified by Hawaiʻi Business Magazine as the "25 People for the Next 25 Years — Hawaiʻi‘s Bright People and Bright Future." The magazine profiled individuals who will make a difference in the coming 25 years. The UH law school alumni include Kapua Sproat (ʻ98), Maile Shimabukuro (ʻ00), Billy Kenoi (ʻ96), Scott Simon (ʻ98) and Lea Hong (ʻ91).

According to Hawaiʻi Business Magazine, the selection was based on "people who give us reason to believe that the state can overcome its many challenges. Of course, there are many more than these 25 people, but our "25 for The Next 25" list, at the very least, shines a needed light on Hawaiʻi‘s vast potential."

Kapua Sproat is counsel for the environmental legal group Earth Justice and part of the UH Environmental Law Program. She grew up in an active, community-minded family with strong Hawaiian roots on Kauai‘s North Shore and "often banded with other local families to fight the rapid, poorly planned development occurring in their backyards." Sproat decided she wanted to be a lawyer in elementary school after realizing that "their passion and commitment, no matter how strong, was no match for the tough legal eagles they encountered in court. "It is her hope that, through teaching, she might inspire the next generation of environmental and cultural steward."

Maile Shimabukuro, a House State Representative for her hometown, District 45 (Waianae, Makaha, Makua), noted that she never planned on being a politician. When she was asked to run for the House seat, "the former attorney thought it‘d be an opportunity to do something good for Oʻahu‘s west-side communities." In her four years as a representative, "Maile‘s gained a reputation as a sharp up-and-comer, one whose votes are guided by her values and principals. Not everything she does is popular and praised: She‘s introduced some pretty progressive housing bills even as a freshman legislator — but then again, she represents a district with one of the highest homeless rates in the state."

Billy Kenoi is executive assistant to Big Island Mayor Harry Kim. Kenoi is described by his current boss and childhood coach as "always been really smart, but also very rascal. He‘s overcome a lot to get where he is." The magazine stated, "with the gift of gab and a real knack for collaboration, Billy‘s spearheaded some of the county‘s toughest projects, from health care reform to drug control. Some say he‘ll be the next Big Island mayor, some say future governor."

R. Scott Simon, associate general counsel of Hawaiian Electric Company, is described as "the guy your mother meets and then asks you things like, ʻWhy can‘t you be more like him? Why didn‘t you marry someone more like him?‘" Hawaiʻi Business Magazine believes that as well-educated, both a civil engineer and an attorney, and an accomplished professional, including a stint with local law firm Watanabe Ing & Komeiji, devout family man and a dedicated community volunteer, "his greatest attribute is his ability to lead quietly, collaboratively and passionately. His professional abilities and community spirit make for a powerful two-punch that Hawaiʻi needs."

Lea Hong, director of the Trust for Public Land in Hawaiʻi, was selected for her accomplishments while at Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing where she handled environmental and cultural issues and pro bono work. She puts community first and is "an attorney who knows when to fight and how to win. But more importantly, Lea also knows how to mediate. She understands how business works and understands how to broker deals in a way everyone benefits. She‘s a person who can rise above the scuffles that have stalled many movements in Hawaiʻi over the years."

For more information, contact Cynthia Quinn, Director of Communications and External Relations, at 956-5516.

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