Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!
start of a new year is used by many as an opportunity to look back and
reflect on achievements and lessons learned, as well as to look forward
and set goals and make plans for the future. I am looking forward to
opening this new decade by serving as President of the Young Lawyers
Division (YLD) of the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA), and plan to
build on the accomplishments of past YLD boards. I am grateful for the
support of the excellent young lawyers we have in place on the 2020 YLD
Board and thankful for Past President Summer Kaiawe’s leadership,
guidance, and hard work in 2019 laying the groundwork for a successful
But what is the YLD? It’s time to break out the Five Ws and one H.
you are licensed to practice law in Hawaii and (1) are under the age of
36 (or just turned 36 in 2020), or (2) were first admitted to practice
law anywhere less than five years ago, you are automatically a member of
the YLD. There are quite a few of us – one in five active Hawaii
lawyers is a member of the YLD.
YLD is a division within the HSBA. The YLD is intended to stimulate the
interest of Hawaii’s young lawyers in the objectives and activities of
the HSBA. At the same time, the YLD assists the HSBA in its mission to
unite and inspire Hawaii’s lawyers to promote justice, serve the public,
and improve the legal profession. Many of the YLD’s activities center
around projects aimed to create meaningful opportunities for
underrepresented groups in the legal system, and to educate the public
about legal rights and responsibilities, the legal process, and the role
and responsibility of lawyers.
YLD has several projects it administers and is responsible for
staffing. These include the High School Mock Trial program, Law Week,
Junior Judges, Legal Lines, and Disaster Relief Assistance. These
projects take place year-round, and involve months of hard work behind
the scenes by YLD board members and HSBA staff.
of the YLD’s projects involve lawyer volunteers going out to serve in
the community, whether into the schools as coaches for Mock Trial teams
or as discussion facilitators for Junior Judges, or into the broader
community as providers of free legal information to the general public
at pop-up locations statewide.
Why and How
fifth W and the H go together because both the Why and the How relate
to you – the lawyer reading this – whether as a past project volunteer
(thank you!) or a possible future volunteer.
Taking the H first –
how will the YLD successfully execute its projects and perform its
function to advance the mission of the HSBA? The answer is … we need
you! The success of the YLD’s projects relies on the support of
volunteer lawyers, both from within the YLD and from the broader HSBA
membership, who are willing to selflessly give of valuable one to two
hour blocks of their time.
Now for the Why. If you were to ask 10
YLD project volunteers why – as in why did they (or should you)
consider getting involved and volunteering on a YLD project – you might
get 10 different answers, e.g., feeling that they are making a
difference in the community, the joy of meeting new and interesting
people, the thrill of learning something new, and the satisfaction of
being involved in selfless acts of good. Whatever the reason for you, I
hope as you plan the year ahead, if you are able, you will consider
carving out some time to serve the public and promote the legal
profession, whether through a YLD project or otherwise.
would like to get involved with any YLD project, or just learn more
about the available opportunities, please visit the page linked here, then contact me directly, reach out to any YLD Board member, or use the general YLD email address here firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for a great year!