Admission to the law school is based on an applicant's academic achievement, aptitude for the study of law, and professional promise. Included among the specific factors evaluated are undergraduate grade point average, results of the Law School Admission Test
(LSAT), academic work beyond the bachelor's degree, academic rigor, writing ability, work experience, and volunteer and civic activities. The admission committee also takes into consideration the diversity of the class and unusual accomplishments or achievements. Residency in Hawai'i or special experience relevant to Hawai'i, the Asia Pacific region, or the law school's programs is also a significant admission criterion.
All applicants must have earned, by the entrance date, a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or a foreign degree that is fully equivalent. Other requirements include the LSAT results, submission of transcripts to the Law School Data Assembly Service
(LSDAS), two letters of recommendation, and a completed law school application.
Applications for admission must be filed with the School of Law and must be submitted on the current year's forms. Contact the law school for up-to-date deadlines and applications. Late or incomplete applications are not considered. Applicants are notified of the admission decision in late March/early April for August entry. In 1998, the law school received about 450 applications for admission.
Established in 1974, the Pre-admission Program provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to do law school work. Each year, 12 students are selected from among applicants with academic records not strong enough to justify admission to the regular program, but who, nevertheless, demonstrate potential for successful completion of law study and significant contribution as lawyer.
There is no separate application process for this program. Those invited to participate are identified by the admission committee during its review of regular applications to the JD program. Students who successfully complete the Pre-admission Program are admitted to the first-year class the following year.
The JD program is a three-year, full-time course of study that begins in August with a one-week orientation for new students. The JD degree is awarded upon completion of six semesters of full-time study and the satisfactory completion of 89 credit hours, including a selection of required courses. Completion of the program must be attained within five years of the date of first registration. Full-time study is defined as registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester plus regular and punctual attendance at scheduled class meetings. In addition, all law students must complete 60 hours of pro bono legal service in order to graduate. The School of Law does not offer part-time or evening programs, and its classes are open only to law students and selected classified graduate students with prior departmental and law school approval. Contact the law school for a detailed description of the degree requirements.
The first-year curriculum is entirely prescribed and offers a conventional format of substantive courses and intensive small group seminars in legal writing, research, and advocacy. The program for the second and third years is primarily elective and includes writing and research seminars, clinical workshops (some of which involve students in actual litigation under the Supreme Court's Student Practice Rule), and a variety of courses in both traditional and new areas of law.
Most grading within the law school is done anonymously and on a C+/B- curve.
For complete information on school policies and programs, request a School of Law Catalog from the Office of Admissions at 2515 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI 96822.
Dual Degree and Graduate Certificate Programs
Law students may integrate their law school work with graduate work in other schools and colleges at the University of Hawai'i and receive both the JD degree and a graduate degree.
The most popular dual degree programs have been the JD-MBA, the JD-Master of Urban and Regional Planning, and the JD-MA in Asian studies, although other dual degrees may be approved in consultation with the law school. Students may also pursue graduate certificate programs include ocean policy, resource management, or gerontology.
Students interested in dual degree or certificate programs must apply separately and be admitted to both the School of Law and the graduate or certificate program. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other.
Elder Law Program
The University of Hawai'i Elder Law Program
(UHELP) consists of two components: the course on legal problems of the elderly and the Elder Law Unit. The course is part of the law school's educational program for training law students in elder law. The Elder Law Unit, housed at the law school, provides direct delivery of legal services to elderly who are socially and economically needy. It is an important source of cases assigned to law students in the Elder Law Clinic.
Students interested in this area of law may also undertake the UH Advanced Certificate in Gerontology.
Pacific-Asian Legal Studies
Because of Hawai'i's location, population, culture, and economic relationships, the law school faculty has developed the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Program (PALS). The program has the twofold purpose of conducting new research and enriching the JD curriculum. A number of faculty have expertise in Pacific-Asian research, teaching, and consultation. Course offerings have included Chinese law and society, Chinese trade and investment law, Japanese criminal law, Japanese trade law, Japanese constitutional law, Korean law, and Pacific Islands legal systems. The program benefits from an exchange with the law faculty at Hiroshima University in Japan. Other exchanges are also being explored.
Interested law students can elect to do a full semester externship for academic credit with selected courts in the Pacific. With prior approval, students may also plan to study with a law faculty in Asia for one semester and transfer credits toward the JD degree.
The current list of student organizations at the School of Law includes the following:
Advocates for Public Interest Law
'Ahahui O Hawai'i
American Bar Association-Law Student Division
American Inns of Court
Christian Legal Society
Client Counseling Team
Delta Theta Phi International Legal Fraternity
Environmental Law Society
Environmental Law Moot Court Competition Team
Hispanic Law Students Association
LAMBDA Law Students Association
Native American Moot Court Team
Pacific-Asian Legal Studies Student Organization
Pacific Islands Legal Studies Association
Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity, Richardson Inn
Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Team
Student Bar Association
University of Hawai'i Law Review
Women Law Students Association