Law School recognized for innovation, unique programs

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia Quinn, 956-7986
Associate Dean for Student Services, William S. Richardson School of Law
Bev Creamer, 956-6545
Media Consultant
Posted: Aug 8, 2012

The William S. Richardson School of Law is among the top 20 of the most innovative law schools in the country, according to a new survey completed by preLaw magazine and The National Jurist.

“Legal educators are no longer just talking about change – they are taking the first steps to make it happen,” notes Jack Crittenden, editor in chief of The National Jurist.

Richardson Law School Dean Avi Soifer noted how important it is for legal education to take the lead in innovation, because of the diverse leadership roles that lawyers play in their communities.

“We are extremely lucky to attract the kinds of students we have, and they are en route to playing vital roles throughout their lives. We help to give them practical skills and to assist them in grasping and applying new ideas to changing realities,” Soifer said.

“It is particularly gratifying that, in the same week, one national survey recognized the Law School for the outstanding scholarly work by our faculty members and another study touted their innovative teaching approaches," he added.

Richardson Law School was cited in particular for three innovative programs: the Ulu Lehua Scholars program, the Child Welfare Clinic, and the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i.

  • The Ulu Lehua program creates a supportive learning community for a dozen first-year law students who have overcome adversity and who show promise to serve underserved communities.
  • The Child Welfare Clinic allows law students to collaborate with community groups as well as with students from other professional disciplines, to make a difference in addressing real problems faced by children in their communities.
  • The Medical-Legal Partnership teams pediatricians and the Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services staff with lawyers to combine medical and legal care in one of Honolulu’s poorest urban neighborhoods.

The National Jurist editor said the newspaper was both “surprised and impressed” by the level of innovation in law schools today. The names of all law schools honored will be published in the late August edition of preLaw magazine, focusing on Back to School. At the same time, details of the innovative programs at each school will be published on the magazine’s website.