Hilo Attorneys Honored for Providing Free Legal Consultations During the Pandemic
Thirty-one Big Island attorneys were recognized for their volunteer work on the virtual Hilo Self-Help Center.
The group was recognized in July at the Hawaiʻi County Bar Association’s virtual Hilo Self-Help Center Recognition Awards. The attorneys provided more than 470 free consultations to people who sought legal assistance in 2020.
“I am deeply grateful to the attorneys who volunteer at our Self-Help Centers, assisting individuals who are representing themselves in court,” stated Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “The dedication and commitment of these attorneys remain an essential part of our state’s ability to advance the goal of ensuring that everyone has equal access to justice in our civil courts. I thank the Hawaiʻi County Bar Association, Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaiʻi, and all the volunteer attorneys for making this resource available to the community.”
The Hilo Self-Help Center was established in July 2012. Since opening, volunteer attorneys have provided more than 7,100 legal consultations on a variety of civil matters, including divorce, child custody, restraining orders, and landlord/tenant issues.
To date, this center has served more people than any other courthouse self-help center in the state. These services have been provided at almost no cost to taxpayers.
“Despite the temporary closures of the Self-Help Centers statewide in the beginning of the pandemic, we were able to reopen in Hilo to resume service to the community on a new and remote platform,” said Hawaiʻi County Bar Association President Michelle Oishi. “Thanks to the strong commitment of our attorneys, the Hilo Self-Help Center continues to provide the much-needed legal assistance to our community, and remains one of the most active Self-Help Centers, per capita, in Hawaiʻi.”
The attorneys honored for their service in 2020 are: Kimberly Angay, Belinda Castillo-Hughes, Paul Hamano, Jill Hasegawa, Raymond Hasegawa, William Heflin, Charles Hite, Ha’aheo Kaho’ohalahala, Jo Kim, Nelson Kinoshita, Laura Knudsen, Al Konishi, Demetri Lametti, Shaunda Liu, Craig Masuda, Kai McGuire, Jacky Mena, Jeffrey Ng, Michelle Oishi, Melody Parker, Jill Raznov, Joy San Buenaventura, Scott Shishido, Evans Smith, Andrew Son, Roland Talon, Jessica “Jaycee” Uchida, Sylvia Wan, Jennifer Wharton, J Yoshimoto, and Jennifer Zelko-Schlueter.
In 2020, the Hilo Self-Help Center was managed by volunteer attorney Bill Heflin with the assistance of Christy Peace, an AmeriCorps Advocate through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaiʻi.
Attorneys who are interested in volunteering at the Hilo Self-Help Center may contact Jacky Mena at [email protected].
Attorneys who would like to become involved with the Kona Self-Help Center may contact Maya Scimeca, Legal Aid Society of Hawaiʻi’s Engagement Specialist, at [email protected].
Visit the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary website for more information on the courthouse Self-Help Centers.