Disc 2 Track 01. Continuation of Mel Matsuda to Ricky Schwartz, to CJ

Title

Disc 2 Track 01. Continuation of Mel Matsuda to Ricky Schwartz, to CJ

Subject

Disc 2

Source

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

Date

10/20/1969

Identifier

CJWSROH:D2T1

Interviewer

Hawaii State Judiciary Committee

Interviewee

Mel Matsuda and Ricky Schwartz

Transcription

0:00-0:27 Mel Masuda: Now another aspect of the program, of course, would deal with the type of topics that would be covered by the various research projects and courses and the topics obviously are myriad to just name a few: Land tenured, the rights of a person accused of crimes, concept of personal property, etc.

0:27-0:59 For that matter, if you wanted to go across or put more of an international emphasis on comparative law you can also get into, as President Cleveland suggested yesterday in the paper, into oceanographic law, the law of the sea, and territorial dispute and for that matter the entire Pacific area especially South East Asia for example where territorial disputes are still a matter of concern.

1:00-1:1:17 Now the principal caveat and the various courses in clinical research I should think should be to avoid the usual predilection to view legal subjects exclusively from what all the laws school catalogs in the United States called the Anglo-American standpoint.

1:17-1:40 The purpose is rather to discover how the Anglo-American approach differs from that of other legal systems and hopefully this will avert a rather subtle kind of cultural imperialism which can warp the legal systems of countries other than those which have an Anglo-American tradition.

1:43-2:05 Now a program in East-West comparative law seems to me would have both undergraduate and graduate components, most of these things are rather obvious, but they have to be I think put together in a program that will indeed gain some support, not only from the the legislature but also from the university itself and of course from various foundations.

2:05-2:23 Now in having both undergraduate and graduate components once again we have to realize that the undergraduate program would start off very slowly, a small level, perhaps even only 3 or 4 student enrolled in upper-division seminar.

2:24-3:03 On the graduate-level, the program would take notice of the fact that those who graduate students have much more expertise in various field they are much more familiar with details of larger topics and so certainly on that level you would try to provide a lot of those graduate students and for that matter visiting students or visiting lawyers an opportunity to pursue research on their own.

3:03-3:37 Now wherever possible certainly in the curriculum of course work and the clinical research projects would involve context with other departments of the university, for example that sample I use earlier of minority right certainly you would have to draw in experts and professors from the sociology department you cannot ignore them.

3:38-4:08 Now on another level also, conferences in comparative law centered around various subject themes should be revived, the conference which was held in 66’ was the last one and I think that the potential was there, in fact, what happened after the conference was that a new periodical was formed and as of the moment it is rather defunct.

4:08-4:29 I think that covers the general outline of what the University of Hawaii law school approach to a comparative law program should be and like all the other members of the committee, I would certainly welcome any suggestions that any of you would have.

4:33-4:42 CJ: Thank you, Mel, very much we have other ways of which the law school has to serve.

4:42-5:07 One of them was to be covered by Kathleen Cunningham, another local lawyer of some reputation and another of the chief justice’s clerk and she could not be here this morning and I would like to say a couple of words that she might have said because they are extremely relevant at this point and they point at something that perhaps lay people don't know about law school and what they're doing now.

5:08-5:30 It's been found, as Gil Johnson said in Micronesia, the same is true throughout the mainland and throughout the rest of our country's poor people would have their only contact with the law when, one, they are having judgments levied against them by their landlords or by merchants from whom have bought goods or two and they are being convicted of some crime.

5:30-5:45 Their only contact is one of the punitive type of contact and they come to look at law as a tool, or some club being used by wealthy people or by ruling people to subjugate them.

5:45-6:01 This is a little dramatic I suppose, but it still has some ring of truth to it unfortunately as poor people become alienated from other people in society, they begin to look upon law as an instrument of alienation.

6:01-6:04 But the fact of the matter is that law should be just the opposite.

6:05-6:08 Law ought to be the great equalizer in society.

6:09-6-28 Law ought to be that part of the government, that part of society, set up which makes all people fair that is which which makes black and white people equal, poor and wealthy equal which make you able to fight the wealthiest guy in the land if he treading on your rights.

6:28-6:57 If the law doesn't serve this function, then it's not serving the first purpose of which it was established and I think that has been the case in our country for many years and I think that the failure of law to do as it should have done is one of the strong reasons we have a very substantial alienation of poor people in our country and a very substantial gap cultural economical and otherwise between them and the rest of society.

6:57-7:08 One of the paths followed to try one correct this has been the establishment of legal programs which will provide legal assistance, provide lawyers to help poor people.

7:08-7:20 The economics of law practice, which I'm pretty familiar with, are such that you simply cannot afford to represent poor people if you want to eat. If you don't want to eat you can do it.

7:20-7:41 But the fact of the matter is there is no real way for the legal profession as it’s presently instituted to offer legal services much more cheaply than its doing and the answer as many people felt, I think was right, that is that government and private foundations have to get together and provide money to put together dedicated lawyers who will work for poor people.

7:41-8:24 Most all of you have certainly heard of programs of this type, Gil Johnston who talked to you this morning as an employee of the office of Economic Opportunity legal aid program civil nature for Hawaii and thats been an extremely successful program I think one of the program of great hope throughout the country where poor people for the first time are beginning to understand that law can work for them and this tends to bring them back into the system a little bit, to bring them back to see if they can help make the system work to make them better people and it stops the process of alienation by which they can get further away and create tension and the kind of revolutionary talk we hear a great deal of these days.

8:25-8:30 By law this is my way of telling you that there are a number of program such as this in existence in Hawaii already.

8:30-8:46 The public defender program by which the state hired lawyers will be available to provide free defense of people charged with criminal act is now underway, a director ought to be named in the very near future.

8:46-9:03 The OEO is a very active program here that is the legal aid program for civil things helping poor people to defend any suits brought against them helping them to resist the efforts of unscrupulous merchants to cheat them of landlords to charge them high rent for no service, that kind of thing.

9:03-9:25 There's also the organization L.A.W. that I mentioned to you before which is a volunteer lawyers organization that is also the American Civil Liberties Union which most of you have heard of one time or another which I am general counsel which provides free legal assistance to people whose civil rights in our judgement have been infringed.

9:25-9:54 Law students are very aware of all these organizations and they want very desperately to become involved in them, in the fact many of these organization are staffed with some of the brightest graduating law students who turned down jobs paying two, three, and four times as much from major law firms to go to work for organizations such a these which are becoming a very mark trend in our country law student wanted to be involved in these programs and we are embarked on a study now...

Duration

9 minutes 53 seconds
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Citation

“Disc 2 Track 01. Continuation of Mel Matsuda to Ricky Schwartz, to CJ,” The Archival Collections at the University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library, accessed February 28, 2024, http://archives.law.hawaii.edu/items/show/19353.