The Law School's Legislative History

House Resolution 284 from the Journal of the House of Representatives of the Fourth Legislature State of Hawaiʻi, General Session 1967


H.R. No. 284 requested the Governor to conduct a study about the feasibility of establishing a law school at the University of Hawai'i.

Source: Law School History Collection, Series 10: General Box 1, Folder 0.011
Kosaki: Office of the President, "The Feasibility of Establishing a Law School at the University of Hawaiʻi"


As a result of H.R. 284, the Hamilton and Kosaki report, The Feasibility of Establishing a Law School at the University of Hawaiʻi, analyzes

  • National interest in Legal Education;
  • Hawaiʻi’s composition of lawyers and potential interest of Hawaii students in legal education; and
  • Requirements for new Law Schools to act in accordance with the Association of American Law Schools.
Source: Law School History Collection, Series 10: General Box 1, Folder 0.006
Warren & Mearns: "The School of Law, University of Hawaiʻi: The Feasibility and Social Importance" 1969 CJ Richardson legislative advocacy. Excerpt on how he advocated for a Law School in Hawaiʻi.


The School of Law, University of Hawaiʻi: Its Feasibility and Social Importance, by William C. Warren and Edward A. Mearns Jr.

  • Discusses facts written in 1967 Guideline Statement of the Association of American Law Schools going through rapid change in the philosophy of legal education, new institutions should embrace this in their development.
  • Discusses the situation of legal education in Hawaiʻi such as the geographical location of Hawaiʻi Bar Association Members employed in the islands, number of years admitted to the bar, and the law schools that successful Hawaiʻi bar schools were educated in.
  • The local advantages of establishing a law school in Hawaiʻi. 
  • A draft blueprint of the Program of the Law School, building and space requirements, planning and financing of the law school, and other appendices explaining the details of each.

Also, an excerpt from CJ Richardson's testimony on why he advocated for the creation of the Law School at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature is connected to a broader oral history exhibit "Legislative Testimonies for a Law School for Hawaiʻi." This oral history exhibit documents testimonies of individuals who were for and against the creation of the Law School. The Chief Justice William S. Richardson Archival Collection also provides insight into Richardsonʻs personal background and career, which led him to advocate and realize the creation of the law school until the last years of his life.  

Meller: Hawaiʻi Law School Study


Hawaiʻi Law School Study by Norman Meller and Carla Ley applies a cost benefit analysis and examines the startup and annual cost of a law school. It lists law school curriculum trends and alternative law school models discussed by Ehrlich and Manning,

  • Financial “facilitating model”;
  • Time model;
  • Undergraduate model;
  • Multi-track legal training model;
  • Truncated model; and
  • Integrated model.

Meller and Ley asserted that establishing a Hawaii-based law school would benefit the composition of the Hawaiʻi Bar by increasing its diversity. Before the creation of Richardson Law School, many students from lower socio-economic backgrounds were unable to afford mainland legal education. This limited access to the legal profession. Indeed, Meller and Ley concluded that the Hawaiʻi Bar “tend[ed] to be from the middle and upper socio-economic classes.” Because of this, the Bar “face[d] the prospect of becoming progressively unrepresentative of the Island Community.” A Hawaii-based law school would provide an opportunity for students from all socio-economic levels, which would in turn widen the recruitment base of the Hawaiʻi Bar and furnish new leadership, thus leading to a more equal representation.


Ehrlich & Manning: "Report to the President of the University" in Programs in Law at the University of Hawaiʻi


This report by Thomas Ehrlich and Bayless Manning,

  • Suggests guidelines and an action agenda for establishing law programs;
  • Surveys members of the Supreme Court, Legislature, University, and Bar Association; and
  • Suggests alternative models for legal training, cost and benefit analysis.
Act 146 from the 1971 House Journal. This act was initially heard as H.B. 937, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and as committee reports HSCR 633, 694, and SSCR 797. Programs in Legal Education at the University of Hawaii Act 165 from the 1972 House Journal. <br />


In accordance with Act 146, this report Programs in Legal Education at the University of Hawaiʻi by Harlan Cleveland, outlines the establishment of a Law School by 1973; discusses the proposed training of legal paraprofessionals and other programs in legal education; and Discusses logistics, including,

  • Student size of no more than 250;
  • 1L curriculum, with greater flexibility after the 1st year;
  • J.D. and  joint degrees;
  • Requirement of 15-20 faculty members;
  • Proposal for school location,
    • Downtown near Supreme Court Library; or
    • Build into phase 2 of Hamilton Library;
  • Operating costs from $500,000 for startup year to under $1 million per year; and
  • Other legal programs for paraprofessionals and legal education for the  judiciary, the bar, public executive, and the general public.

Act 165 reappropriates $67,000 and appropriates $125,000 as noncapital investment costs for operating costs for the maintenance of the University of Hawaiʻi Law School from 1971-1973. 

Senate Committee Report 230-72 mentions “Programs in Legal Education at the University of Hawaii.” This report discusses the

  • Academic plans for a  basic, 3-year professional law program;
  • Guidelines for training legal paraprofessionals at community colleges;
  • Continuing education programs for the bar, judges, and public at-large; and
  • Budgeting needs for next 6 years.