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2016 Pro Bono Celebration Honors Volunteer Attorneys and Student Essay Contest Winners

Posted on Oct 28, 2016 in Featured News
Arlette Harada was recognized at the 2016 Pro Bono Celebration for volunteering more than 100 hours at the Access to Justice Room.  Legal Aid Society of Hawaii recognized her for holding the record for the most volunteer hours this year!  Pictured from left to right is Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Representative Della Au Belatti, Arlette Harada, Nalani Kaina, and Justice Michael Wilson.

Arlette Harada was recognized at the 2016 Pro Bono Celebration for volunteering more than 100 hours at the Access to Justice Room. Legal Aid Society of Hawaii recognized her for holding the record for the most volunteer hours this year! Pictured from left to right is Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Representative Della Au Belatti, Arlette Harada, Nalani Kaina, and Justice Michael Wilson.

Attorneys who volunteered their time without compensation to non-profit legal services providers and self-represented litigants were honored at the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission’s 2016 Pro Bono Celebration on October 27. The Commission also presented awards of $500 each to the six award recipients from its 2016 high school essay contest titled, “What you’ve done as a volunteer and how do you encourage others to volunteer?”

As events were held around the country in observance of National Pro Bono Week, nearly 140 people gathered in the Hawaii Supreme Court courtroom to celebrate the outstanding pro bono attorneys who assisted non-profit legal services providers, and the volunteer attorneys who helped staff the Access to Justice Rooms at Honolulu District Court and the Ronald T.Y. Moon Kapolei Family Court. Since the first Self-Help Center opened on Kauai in 2011, more than 13,700 people have been assisted by volunteer attorneys providing free legal assistance.

“There is a growing number of people who cannot afford representation in civil legal cases, which poses a significant problem for our justice system, both nationally and in Hawaii,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “For this reason, I am grateful to the many attorneys who have volunteered their time and expertise to those in our community who need it the most. These attorneys are helping us to fulfill our mission of providing justice for all.”

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Access to Justice Commission Chair Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), Associate Justice Michael Wilson, Hawaii State Bar Association President Jodi Lei Kimura Yi, and Hawaii State Bar Foundation President Rai Saint Chu honored the following outstanding volunteer attorneys who were selected by local legal services providers:

Kristin Holland and Nick Kacprowski acknowledged by the American Civil Liberties Union; Judi Morris acknowledged by the Domestic Violence Action Center; Jennifer Chin acknowledged by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice; Howard Luke acknowledged by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation; Erika Ireland acknowledged by The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc.; Arlette Harada acknowledged by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; and Dyan Mitsuyama acknowledged by Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii.

The attorneys and law firms that were recognized for their pro bono service at the Honolulu District Court and the Kapolei Family Court Access to Justice Rooms in 2016 were:

Honolulu District Court
Individual Attorneys: Justin Bracket, Miriah Holden, Mateo Caballero, Jefferson Willard, Bruce Paige, Connie Liu, Arlette Harada, Stacey Djou, Tred Eyerly, Catherine Gutierrez, Kurt Kagawa, Sharon Lim, Cheryl Nakamura, Shannon Wack, Sam Yee, Dan O’Meara, Chrystn Eads, Alana Peacott-Ricardos, Elton Johnson (paralegal who provided support services to the Access to Justice Room).

Law Firms/Offices: Chong Nishimoto Sia Nakamura & Goya, LLP; Office of the Public Defender (Honolulu); Chun Ker; Carlsmith Ball; Cades Schutte; Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel; Hawaii Filipino Lawyers; Bronster Fujichaku Robbins; Schlack Ito; Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher; Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing; Consortium of Banks and Friends; Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert; Marr Jones & Wang; Yamamoto Caliboso;

Kapolei Family Court
Ann Isobe, Carol Tribbey, Dyan Mitsuyama, Elizabeth Paek-Harris (2016 KAJR Coordinator), Ellen Politano, Erin Kobayashi, Evans Smith, Gemma-Rose Poland Soon, Greg Frey, Jackie Thurston, Jessi Hall, Jill Hasegawa, John Bryant, Jr., John Hughes, Juan Montalbano, Lynnae Lee, Marianita Lopez, Mei Nakamoto, Michelle Moorhead, Sandra Young, Seth Harris, Stephen Hioki, and Tom Tanimoto.

In addition to acknowledging the volunteer attorneys, the award recipients from the Access to Justice Commission’s 2016 statewide student essay contest were praised for their work.

This year, over 120 essays were submitted by public and private high school students in grades 10 through 12 on, “What you’ve done as a volunteer and how do you encourage others to volunteer?” The 2016 essay award recipients were (in alphabetical order): Kiana Anderson, Waiakea High School; Sydnie Ito, Punahou School; Aimee Nathan, Maui High School; Chad Schuler, Trinity Christian School; Mahealani Sims-Tulba, Sacred Hears Academy; Charlene Tan, Kauai High School.

Each of the students received a cash award of $500, donated by American Savings Bank, Starn O’Toole, Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, Damon Key Kupchak Hastert, Chong Nishimoto Sia Nakamura & Goya, LLP, Carlsmith Ball.

“Our pro bono celebration is about service to our state community,” said Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), who serves as the Chair of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission. “We commemorate such service by encouraging thoughtful essays among students about the virtue of volunteering in helping others and by recognizing lawyers who voluntarily donate their legal services to those in need.”

The 2016 Pro Bono Celebration was sponsored by the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation.