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William S. Richardson School of Law

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Academics

In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 10 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Asian studies), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Adminstration), J.D./M.P.H. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health), J.D./M.S.W. (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work), J.D./M.U.R.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Urban and Regional Planning), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy in psychology).

The William S. Richardson School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, international law, labor law, litigation, maritime law, tax law, torts and insurance, and Pacific Asian legal studies. In addition, clinics for 3 or 4 credits each are assigned by lottery to upper-level students who meet the prerequisites. Clinics include Prosecution, Elder Law, and Native Hawaiian Rights. Upper-level students are offered a variety of seminars in advanced legal studies and Pacific-Asian Legal Studies for 1 to 3 credits per seminar. The required Second Year Seminar is offered for 4 credits. One externship per semester may be taken by upper-level students; a maximum of 2 externships may be taken for 2 credits each. Alternatively, a 14-credit externship in an approved Pacific Island jurisdiction may be taken. Under the directed studies program, any upper-level student may elect to conduct special research for 1 to 3 credits. Research can be repeated. Field work is linked to those clinics that include live client representation as well as actual court appearances under a special state Supreme Court rule. Special lecture series are offered for no credit; any student may attend. Annually, there is a Distinguished Fujiyama Visiting Professor, a George Johnson Visiting Scholar, and Jurist-in-Residence Program. There is also a Pacific-Asian Legal Studies lecture series for visiting Asian legal scholars. Study abroad can be accomplished by special arrangement for varying credits or by a full-semester externship in certain Pacific Island jurisdictions for 14 credits. Tutorial programs are available and administered through the Student Bar Association for no credit. The Pre-Admission Program is a 1-year program prior to matriculation for 12 students from among those groups underrepresented in the Hawaii Bar; Special interst group programs, offered for no credit, include the Filipino Law Students Association, ‘Ahahui ’O Hawai’i (a Native Hawaiian organization), Advocates for Public Interest Law, and the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Organization. The most widely taken electives are Evidence, Wills and Trusts, and Corporations.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 89 total credits, of which 42 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Appellate Advocacy, Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts I and II, Criminal Justice, Legal Bibliography, Legal Method Seminar, Real Property Law I, and Torts Process I and II. Required upper-level courses consist of Constitutional Law I, one clinical course, Pro Bono legal service (60 hours), Professional Responsibility, and Second Year Seminar. All students must take clinical courses. The required orientation program for first-year students is 1 week consisting of introductions to faculty, students, career issues, registration, and academic regulations; discussion of stress and personal issues; and a group introduction to the Legal Method Seminar.

In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.

Admissions

In the fall 2007 first-year class, 1091 applied, 203 were accepted, and 96 enrolled. Figures in the above capsule and in this profile are approximate. Ten transfers enrolled in a recent year. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 74; the median GPA was 3.43 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 23; the highest was 99.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement, GPA, and LSAT results. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, TOEFL, if applicable, a non refundable application fee, 2 letters of recommendation, and residency declaration. Notification of the admissions decision is in early April. Check with the school for current applicatin deadlines. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

In a recent year, about 70% of current law students received some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, was $12,680; maximum, $23,614. Awards are based on need and merit. Some merit grants are available. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. Check with the school for the current application deadlines. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students consist of grants from the Bishop Estate for Native Hawaiians and, through the University, special tuition waivers for state residents; Native Hawaiians qualify for resident tuition rates regardless of residency. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at some time after acceptance, which occurs in March or April, but before enrollment in August. Most students are notified about financial aid in June.

Students

About 48% of the student body are women; 60%, minorities; 1%, African American; 54%, Asian American; 2%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The majority of students come from Hawaii (83%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 22 to 59. About 20% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 10% have a graduate degree, and 63% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 5% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 92% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit the University of Hawaii Law Review and the Asian Pacific Law Policy Journal. Students participate in the annual Susan McKay Moot Court Competition, held internationally and in Honolulu; the Environmental Law Moot Court, held in New York; and the Jessup International Moot Court competition. Other competitions include client counseling and Mock Trial. Law student organizations include the Student Bar Association, Environmental Law Society, and Hawaii Association of Women Law Students. Local chapters of national associations include the American Inns of Court, ABA-Student Division, and Phi Delta Phi, Rutherford chapter.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered primarily during the day, with a few evening courses and must be completed within 5 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is a summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.

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