Tidbits and Thoughts . . .
Legal Aid's Online News
November 25, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving to your and your family!
Now on to Tidbits!
Legal Aid Helps mother of 3 move forward to better future
Kimberly first contacted Legal Aid for help with a divorce in 2014. She was already separated from her husband but she was concerned about his drug use and she had difficulty contacting him because he was homeless. She also had a newborn child from a new relationship and needed assistance with establishing paternity for the biological father in order to go forward with the divorce.
Legal Aid assisted Kimberly with obtaining a Paternity Judgment and completing a divorce. Fortunately, she was able to obtain full custody and child support for her two older girls. She is looking forward to both of her older girls, Lakaysha and Rylee-Ann, starting school, and raising her youngest child, Jahlynn.
-Maile Shimabukuro, Legal Aid Leeward Office Staff Attorney
Kimberly (far left) and her children posed with Chantrelle Waialae (far right). Waialae, a William S. Richardson School of Law student, volunteered at Legal Aid's Leeward Office through an Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) summer grant program.
Thank you to Leadership Circle Members for supporting Legal Aid's Justice Campaign
The Legal Aid Society of Hawai´i extends its gratitude to the members of the Leadership Circle for their support and committment to Legal Aid's Justice Campaign and its shared vision of
"Building a Just Society."
Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing
The Cades Foundation
Carlsmith Ball LLP
Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel
Hawaii Electric Company
McCorriston Miller Mukai Mackinnon LLP
Perkin & Faria LLLC
Members of Legal Aid's Leadership Circle:
Kona attorneys recognized for volunteering to provide legal help
KEALAKEKUA, HI - Thirty attorneys were recognized for their volunteer service during the Self-Help Recognition Awards on November 6, at the Kona Courthouse in Kealakekua. These attorneys provided free legal information to West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse.
The Kona Self-Help Desk was established in October 2013 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary's commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts. Since opening, the Self-Help Desk has helped more than 1,000 people, with volunteer attorneys providing approximately 400 hours of legal information on District and Family Court civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce. These services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.
"I am grateful to the attorneys who volunteer their time at our Self-Help Desk, assisting individuals who must represent themselves in court. The generous donation of professional services by these attorneys has been essential to advancing our goal of ensuring that all Hawaii residents have equal access to justice," said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.
Top picture: Kona Self-Help Desk Volunteers in 2015. Bottom Left: Legal Aid Kona Office Managing Attorney Dawn Henry with Chief Justice Recktenwald. Bottom Right: Former Legal Aid Kona Office Managing Attorney Joanna Sokolow with Chief Justice Recktenwald.
Legal Aid Homeless Outreach Team
For over a decade, Legal Aid staff attorney Janet Kelly has provided legal services to those experiencing homelessness through outreach and on-site services at locations around Oahu. She's joined by the homeless outreach team of Carly Williamson (outreach specialist), John Kaaihue (GA-SSI), and Maya Scimeca (AmeriCorps advocate) in visiting the beaches of the Leeward Coast, providing intake services at the Institute of Human Services, and answering questions at the Waimanalo Health Center.
The outreach team helps people apply for a copy of their birth certificate and other needed legal documents, apply for SSI or public benefits, and provides community education to prepare people for home readiness and transition out of homelessness.
The impact of the outreach team's work has been the difference for Anthony; who was living on the beach for 14 years. When his health began to fail, he could no longer work on cars and he eventually lost his job. On his good days, Anthony collected cans and bottles to recycle and made about $60 a month. Not wanting to be a burden, Anthony eventually lost contact with his family and friends. The outreach team was able to get Anthony the help that he needed and turn his life around.
"I was at my last stop when I met Legal Aid in Kapolei Park. I was prepared to finish my life-everything was so hopeless-I was alone, my health was bad, and I couldn't work. With Legal Aid's help I am back on my feet . . . . Now, I am feeling better, living in shelter, and getting my life back!" -Anthony
L-R: Maya Scimeca, Carly Williamson, Janet Kelly, and John Kaaihue at a special homeless outreach in Wahiawa.
Jojo Peter (Legal Aid Outreach Specialist) featured on Civil Beat shares more about his community
Jojo Peter at a health insurance enrollment session for COFA migrants in Kalihi last February.
Photo credit: Mark Edward Harris/Civil Beat
Legal Aid at the William S. Richardson School of Law Pro Bono Fair
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii joined APIL's (Advocates for Public Interest Law) Pro Bono Fair at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Legal Aid and other organizations answered questions from law students about summer clerkships and pro bono opportunities. Interest in the Chris Iijima Fellowship at Legal Aid's Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center was particularly high. The fellowship is a commemoration of Chris Iijima, a professor at the law school, active in the Pre-Admission program to assure that all Hawaii residents have an equal opportunity to enter the challenging curriculum of law school by easing them into school with preparatory classes.
Rochelle Sugawa, 2015 Chris Iijima Fellow shared,
My experience at HIJC as a Chris Iijima Fellow is unlike anything I have experienced in my law school classes. I'm receiving practical legal training, which is not emphasized in the traditional law school curriculum, and I have experienced how immigration law intersects with other areas of law such as criminal law, family law, and military law. Through our work with domestic violence and trafficking victims, I now also appreciate the importance of collaboration with various governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. . . I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to give back to my community and will definitely take what I have learned at HIJC with me throughout my career.
Legal Aid's Angela Lovitt answers questions from first year law student Franklin Fergurgur about summer clerkships and volunteer opportunities at Legal Aid. Rochelle Sugawa (center), 2015 Chris Iijima Fellow shares her experience volunteering at Legal Aid's Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center.