Access to Justice Room Attorneys Recognized

Sidney Ayabe, Representative Della Au Belatti, and Chief Justice Mark RecktenwaldPictured from left: Attorney Sidney Ayabe, Representative Della Au Belatti, and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. Mr. Ayabe's firm, Ayabe Chong Nishimoto Sia & Nakamura, is one of several firms providing pro bono service for the Access to Justice Room.

In February, the Access to Justice Commission held a recognition event in the Supreme Court courtroom. The purpose of the event was to encourage lawyers to do pro bono service and to thank the law firms, legal organizations, and individual attorneys who are providing pro bono legal services to pro se litigants at the Honolulu District Court’s Access to Justice Room (AJR).

Each of the eleven law firm and legal organization has staffed or will staff the Access to Justice Room for an entire month. The firms and organizations are: Ayabe Chong Nishimoto Sia & Nakamura (January); Cades Schutte (February); Carlsmith Ball (April); Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel (May); Ashford & Wriston (June); Bronster Hoshibata and the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association (July); Schlack Ito and the James S. Burns Aloha Chapter, American Inns of Court IV (August); Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing (September); City & County of Honolulu Office of the Public Defender (October); Damon Key Leong Kupchack Hastert (November); and Kobayashi Sugita & Goda (December). The month of March is staffed by attorneys who are volunteering as individuals. They were also recognized at this event.

First Circuit Deputy Chief Judge Barbara Richardson and Representative Della Au Belatti presented certificates of appreciation to the AJR volunteers.

Representatives from various nonprofit groups spoke about the pro bono opportunities available at their organizations. The speakers were: Gregory Kim, Business Law Corps; Louis Erteschik, Hawaii Disabilities Rights Center; Kanani Tamashiro, Domestic Violence Center; Victor Geminiani, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice; Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; Dew Kaneshiro, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii; Tracey Wiltgen, The Mediation Center of the Pacific; and Professor James Pietsch, University of Hawaii Elder Law Clinic.

In his remarks about “Partnerships in Justice,” guest speaker Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said, “This is a time of innovation and promise for access to justice in Hawaii.” The Chief Justice noted that the Judiciary has self-help centers in every circuit, and, thus far, more than 1,000 people have been helped at no cost to the State.

Access to Justice Pro Bono Initiative Task Force

The Access to Justice Pro Bono Initiative Task Force members were recently photographed with the Hawaii Supreme Court.
(Back row, left to right:) Judge Barbara Richardson, Audrey Stanley,Tracey Wiltgen, Kristin Shigemura, Dew Kaneshiro,
Judge Ronald Ibarra, Carol Muranaka,Pro Bono Initiative Task Force Co-Chair; and Regan Iwao. (Committee members
Rex Fujichaku and Jill Hasegawa were not available for the photo.) (Front row, left to right:) Justices Sabrina McKenna and
Paula Nakayama; Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald; Justice Simeon Acoba, Pro Bono Initiative
Task Force Co-Chair; and Justice Richard Pollack.

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