$600K raised to help poor hire attorneys
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has raised $600,000 toward its goal of $1 million to help improve access to justice for Hawaii's poor, one year into its three-year campaign.
"We've had a very generous response to this drive from corporate counsel, law firms, individual attorneys and businesses," said attorney Susan Li, who chairs the campaign with David L. Fairbanks. "They all recognize the critical legal needs and they want to do something about it."
Only one in five low and moderate-income people in Hawaii has their legal needs met, according to a report released last year by the Hawaii Justice Foundation.
On May 1, the Hawaii Supreme Court created an Access to Justice Commission, headed by Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, to substantially increase access to justice in civil legal matters for low and moderate-income residents.
On June 16, the Supreme Court amended one of its rules to boost the interest income paid by banks that goes to support legal services for the poor. The rule requires banks to pay the same rate of interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts that is paid on comparable accounts.
The trust accounts pool clients' funds that are too small or short term to generate net interest on their own.