The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i is the largest non-profit law firm in the State of Hawai`i.
Legal Aid currently has a staff of over 60 attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, and administrative staff statewide who are dedicated to assisting the people of Hawai`i with their legal concerns.
“BUILDING A JUST SOCIETY” – The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is a public interest, not-for-profit law firm dedicated to achieving fairness and justice for Hawaii’s people through quality legal representation, advocacy, advice, community partnerships, education and outreach.
As long as there have been attorneys, there has been legal aid, or legal assistance offered at little or no charge to persons who otherwise would not be able to afford it. In a sophisticated age of legal services delivery, powered by megabytes, computer chips, and the infinite universe that is the Internet, we sometimes forget or discount the humble origins and continuing foundation of legal services: individual attorneys who believe that “justice for all” is not a truth ensured by its rhetorical inclusion in historic documents, but an ideal that must be actively and incessantly pursued by personal, everyday actions.
Founded in 1950, by pillars of the Hawai`i legal community, such as Betty Vitousek, Vincent Yano and Samuel King, Jr., the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i (“Legal Aid”) was created to “…secure justice for and to protect the rights of the needy and to promote measures for their assistance in such connection.” Its broad, sweeping mission reflects the expansive nature of its services, then and now, as the oldest and largest provider of legal services in the State of Hawai`i.
Initially, Legal Aid provided assistance to low-income persons in both civil and criminal law, serving as a “catch all” for persons living in poverty and plagued with legal issues. However, its single office in Honolulu could not accommodate the needs of a program charged with the daunting task of serving indigent people statewide.
Over time, therefore, offices cropped up across our island landscape, first with a Big island office in Hilo, established in the late 1950s, then offices on Maui, Kaua`i, and in Kahaluu, until Legal Aid offices had been placed on each of the six primary islands (three offices on O`ahu, two on the Big Island, and one each on Maui, Kaua`i, Moloka`i, and Lana`i). Funding cuts in the 1970s and 1980s necessitated the closing of our Lana`i and Kahaluu offices, which have since been reopened as the program’s budget has grown and diversified.
For a more detailed history of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i
Consumer Law: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/CONSUMER_LAW.htm
Housing Law: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/HOUSING_LAW.htm
Fair Housing: http://www.fairhousinghawaii.org/
Family Law: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/FAMILY_LAW.htm
Public Benefit: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/PUBLIC_BENEFITS.htm