Page 7 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - June 22, 2022
P. 7

     Uplifting Communities Through Legal Assistance
  26 in Hawai‘i — such a valuable program to so many. It not only offers a sympathetic ear to those with questions about the law, but also dispenses free and useful in- formation to help them resolve their legal concerns.
more in our communities.”
After having to shelve the pro- gram in 2020 due to the pandem- ic and limit its in-person clinics to O‘ahu only in 2021, Yang and Wong say that members of its divi- sion — made up of young lawyers sworn into the Hawai‘i State Bar Association who must serve for five years or until they reach the age of 36 — are eager to return to a full-scale version of Law Week
Law Week: What’s On The Docket
s former executive director of Hawai‘i
State Bar Association
and president of
its Young Lawyers
Division, Coralie Chun
Matayoshi (pictured
above) knows first-
hand the importance
of Law Week. While
serving at the bar association, in fact, she was the one responsible for partnering with KHON2-TV and launching its popular “Ask-a-Lawyer” news segment, which has been instrumental in guiding viewers with legal questions over the years.
“I am very proud of our volunteer lawyers for working so hard to teach people about the law,” says Matayoshi, producer and host of the station’s “What’s The Law” podcast and someone whom many may recognize as the longtime CEO of American Red Cross in Hawai‘i — a position she retired from in 2019.
“I hope everyone will take the opportunity to tune in to ‘Ask-a-Lawyer,’ call the Legal Line hotline and visit the free statewide in-person legal clinics.”
This year’s Law Week will be held Monday, June 20, through Sunday, June 26, and once again offer Hawai‘i residents opportunities to receive gratis legal information from volunteer lawyers. Several of these attorneys will appear on the “Ask-a-Lawyer” morning segment (scheduled appearances are set for 7:15 a.m. on June 22 and 23; and 7:45 a.m. on June 24) to address issues that currently affect the community. Topics deal with family law, landlord-tenant issues, the District Court system, probate intestate planning, and the law affecting small businesses.
In addition, volunteer lawyers will be on hand to answer questions on the association’s Legal Line from 6 to 7 p.m. through June 24. To participate, call 808-537-1868.
Finally, six in-person clinics will be staffed by attorneys and held across the state during the last weekend in June. These pop-up locations, dates and times are listed in the box above.
Where: Kaka‘ako and Pearlridge farmers markets
When: Saturday, June 25, 8 a.m.-noon Hawai‘i Island
Where: KTA Super Stores in Kona When: Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: KTA Super Stores in Hilo
When: Sunday, June 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Grove Farm Market in L¯ihu‘e When: Saturday, June 25, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Where: Sunday Market at Kahului Shopping Center
When: Sunday, June 26, 4-8 p.m.
 “The biggest benefit that Law Week provides is making the law more accessible to the average community member and letting individuals access resources that our courts have created and put in place for them,” says Yang, who currently serves as the division’s vice president and chair of Law Week 2022. “It’s important that people don’t think the law is only for people or corporations who make a certain amount of money.”
Jasmine Wong, at left, and Lisa Yang play key roles with Young Lawyers Division. Wong is group president while Yang serves as vice president. Yang is also chair of Law Week ’22.
Law. “So while we cannot tell a person whether or not their tenant has breached their lease agree- ment, for example, we can point them toward the resources where they can get affordable legal ad- vice or find information on how to utilize the District Court system to pursue their claim.”
Division hosts each year (other projects include its High School Mock Trial and Junior Judges initiative, which sends volunteer attorneys into elementary school classrooms to help students make “ethical decisions when ‘feeling the pressure,’ ” according to the division’s website), but it’s an important event because, in part, it helps break down stigmas often attached to the law profession.
in 2022.
Wong expects the participation
    During the program’s week- long activities, dozens of volun- teer attorneys will be available to answer questions on a variety of subjects through the bar associa- tion’s call-in Legal Line, as well as at in-person clinics planned for four islands: O‘ahu, Hawai‘i is- land, Maui and Kaua‘i. Addition- ally, several of these lawyers will appear during the “Ask-a-Law- yer” segment of KHON2’s Wake Up 2day morning show to address those topics deemed most import- ant to the community, including family law and landlord-tenant is- sues. (For specifics on Law Week 2022, see additional story on this page.)
of between 50 and 100 volun- teer lawyers this year while Yang predicts the program will attract in-person visits from “100 to 150 people” at statewide clinics and “conservatively, another 50 or more callers to our Legal Line.”
aw Week may be just one of several programs that Young Lawyers
“We keep coming back every year to do this, and we’ll contin- ue to do so,” says the Pālolo-born Wong, who received her bach- elor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from University of Southern California, her law de- gree from UH-Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law and who’s currently employed as an energy contract manager at Ha- waiian Electric.
Those are good numbers, Wong notes, particularly when consid- ering that “after 2020, we had to slam the brakes on all of the events we normally do.”
   But Yang cautions that while legal information will be freely shared with in-person audiences and callers throughout Law Week, no “legal advice” will be offered by the program’s attorneys.
For Yang, Law Week remains one of the best ways for fledgling attorneys to provide invaluable service to island communities.
“What Legal Line and our clin- ics do is simply connect people to the appropriate legal resource for their specific issue,” explains Yang, a Hilo native who graduat- ed from Stanford University with a degree in psychology before receiving her law degree from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of
“It kind of puts a face to the law,” clarifies Jasmine Wong, president of Young Lawyers Division. “A lot of people might have preconceived notions about how attorneys are or how they work, but we’ re really just normal people, too.”
“At the end of day, I think most of us went to law school and became lawyers because we want to help people,” she says in conclusion. “So, we’ re excited about Law Week and we’re ex- cited about interacting with the community. We’re also grateful to all of our attorney volunteers throughout the state who are mak- ing the time and putting forth the effort to uplift everyone in our community.”
  She adds that Law Week is the division’s opportunity to “get out there and provide everyone with information and accessibility, and personalize (ourselves) a little bit

   5   6   7   8   9