Disc 1 Track 01. CJ William S. Richardson begins his 1969 testimony to the Judiciary Committee on reasons to create a Law School in Hawaiʻi. It also begins the testimonies of other committee members coordinated by Judge Ricky Schwartz.


Disc 1 Track 01. CJ William S. Richardson begins his 1969 testimony to the Judiciary Committee on reasons to create a Law School in Hawaiʻi. It also begins the testimonies of other committee members coordinated by Judge Ricky Schwartz.


Disc 1


Series 1: Memorabilia
Oral History/Testimony - A Law School for Hawaii




University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library


Oral History




Hawaii State Judiciary Committee


Chief Justice William S. Richardson and Judge Ricky Schwartz


Disc 1: Track 01: Chief Justice Richardson

I'm Chief Justice Richardson.

It's a great privilege for me to appear before you this morning.

I should start by saying some four years ago when I became chief justice I should tell you what I found here.

I thought that there was a real shortage of lawyers in Hawaii.

I started out to look for a law clerk and couldn't find one.

The continuing legal education was being handled by the members of the bar.

They were doing a pretty good job but needed help from something like a law school.

The business in Hawaii was encountering problems and that they needed legal help from countries that they were dealing with in the Pacific.

There was no real research going on, in Hawaii, a legal research.

The University of Hawaii was beginning to expand.

East-West Center was just taking shape.

I sense that many prospective law students were taking the LSATs with a sense of hopelessness and that they have feeling that the mainland private institutions had not expanded for some 20 or 30 years.

The public institutions on the mainland were catering to their own state residence, and Hawaii students respective students were just finding other fields of study.

I found that the the opinions of the Supreme Court of Hawaii are not...

(NOTE: the audio was cut off from 2:13-2:15)

being scrutinized, the justices were getting no help from other states, the union.

Law was changing.

We did need our own writing.

Mainland courts had tremendous backlogs and therefore their opinions really were not very helpful to us.

So shortly after that we got to work on this and the governor saw fit to go to the legislature to ask them to start, or at least look into the possibilities of having a law school here.

The legislature then responded by passing the resolution, asking the University of Hawaii to conduct the feasibility study.

The university did that.

They made the preliminary study, in 1968, presented after the legislature.

And then I came in.

I went to the legislature asking them for more funds for a more comprehensive study.

At that point, however, I was able to convince, Dean Warren of Columbia Law School and Professor Mearns of Northwestern to write a comprehensive report, which they did.

So this is a contribution, in a way, from those two universities.

At the same time many other deans of law schools including Dean Manning of Stanford began to give us a good deal of assistance in how I might start one; began to give us new ideas on how law schools should go and how they were going.

So that I did find that we did have the advantage of not having to change something, but go into something new.

We could tell what the law students were thinking about, that they were in effect trying to change the system of teaching law.

Soon after that, I should say the President of the Bar Association, came out for this as an individual.

The Bar, prior to that, I felt was opposed to having a law school here on the University of Hawaii campus

However, the new Bar Association Executive Committee apparently has gone all out for this and they have now an active committee working on this project.

And Ricky Schwart wh--Schwartz who will be speaking to us shortly, and will introduce some of his members and take off from where we are today.

Perhaps I should say then that for today, rather than going into the question of whether or not we should have a law school in Hawaii, that we should start thinking about how we're going to start--start one; what are we going to do with one; what potential does it have; and where is it going generally.

, we have had some foundation money, um, not very much but I think the potential is there.

, nationally we know that there's a great deal of interest in--in the study of law.

, here in Hawaii, back in 1961, we found that we--we had the fewest number of lawyers per hundred-thousand population.

And in 1963, which of the last time we had any figures, we're about fifth among this term, among the States.

On the yesterday, I noticed that President Cleveland indicated that he might rob me for a law school, for which I'm very happy.

And since he's in the audience today, perhaps one of the reasons for being here is to try convince 'em even more that (we?) should start tomorrow, and--and , start hiring a dean.

, a business--man have indicated to me that they too would like to have a law school to help them in their research.

I would like to at this time indicate that we will have last, Ricky Schwartz to introduce some of the members his--of his, --, panel.

And that after he's through, we will have two guest who would (rehearse?) us on--on special subjects of concern towards this morning.

At this time, I would like to ask Ricky Schwartz Judge Schwartz I should say, who’s a--a magistrate in our city and a member of one of the larger and reputable law firms in our city, and , one who has been a member of the Constitution of Convention a recent Constitution of Convention to lead away.

Ricky Schwartz.

Ricky Schwartz:

Thank you very much.

I think it's fair to say, I--I wasn't in on the beginnings of the work that the chief justice did.

And the--the , planting and developing work that was done to start the idea of a law school hear, but I got in as quickly as they let me in.

, and--and I think it's fair to say that one of the things that we encountered, both among the bar and among political leaders, generally was--was a fair amount of skepticism initially about the idea of a law school.

, it wasn't terribly difficult to overcome the skepticism once we found out what it was.

It was really based upon a--a general feeling they had and a fear they had, that if we started a law school here it might not be a first-class kind of institution.

And there's a general fear that we might turnout lawyers who will practice in Hawaii who are not highly trained, who are not really top-notch people.

Well, almost all of us who are active in trying to get the idea started had exactly that same fear in the beginning.

And all of us have had to convince ourselves and workout details to ensure ourselves that this need not be the case and will not be the case.

And so we decided th--that that if we (had?) sold ourselves, we ought to be able to sell all those on it too.

And we did talk to all the people we've talked to, on the basis that a law school, if started here, would be committed to excellence right from the very beginning.

I think it's fair to say that there is now a good deal of support for the idea of a law school among political leaders, and among the Bar generally.

While all of that support, or certainly 95% of it, is based upon a commitment from us to them initially, that the law school, once started, would be a top-notch, first-rate kind of institution or just as first-rate as we could possible make it, and that it would stay that way.

, I'm--you certainly need no statement from me that the president of the university has exactly the same feeling in mind.

And I just wanted you to know that the commitment to that idea runs as deeply as the commitment to a law school runs.

When the Bar Association set up a committee to--to study the idea of a law school, it wasn't very long ago the committee got itself together and we decided that there really wasn't any controversy left over whether there should be a law school.


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“Disc 1 Track 01. CJ William S. Richardson begins his 1969 testimony to the Judiciary Committee on reasons to create a Law School in Hawaiʻi. It also begins the testimonies of other committee members coordinated by Judge Ricky Schwartz.,” The Archival Collections at the University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library, accessed February 28, 2024, http://archives.law.hawaii.edu/items/show/19346.