Pro bono partnerships with law firms are critical to the success of our work advance social justice in Hawai‘i. We welcome help with litigation, as well as research and advocacy on our policy proposals. Please for more information on how you can provide support.
Each year, the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission honors individuals who have made a significant difference with their pro bono work. Hawai‘i Appleseed has had the privilege to nominate attorneys for the past five years. Click on the tabs below to view awardee information for each year.
We awarded Raynette Ah Chong a Pro Bono Award at the Access to Justice Commissions’ 2017 Pro Bono Celebration. She bravely stepped out and spoke up on behalf of the roughly 1,000 foster families in the state, serving as class representative in a case that has continued for nearly four years.Ms. Ah Chong and her family have opened their home to more than 100 foster children over the last 20 years and continue to volunteer with Hawai‘i’s foster care system.
In recent years, Ms. Ah Chong and many other foster parents found it impossible to adequately provide for their foster children with the state’s $529 monthly expenses reimbursement that had not been adjusted for 24 years. Had the reimbursement been adjusted for inflation during that time, it would have increased to over $970.
Instead of abandoning the foster care system as many financially stretched foster parents have done, Ms. Ah Chong sought to improve it by challenging the state’s refusal to adequately increase the reimbursement. Her efforts as a foster parent and an advocate for foster families are a shining example of selflessness, courage, and a commitment to justice and equity.
In 2016, we awarded Jennifer Chin of Goodsill Anderson Quinn and Stifel for her work on our landlord-tenant study. The study revealed the unequal level of tenant representation in landlord-tenant courts. The study led to the approval by the Hawaii Supreme Court to authorize the implementation of a model to test the utilization of paralegals to represent clients in evictions and some family matters under the supervision of the legal services program.
In 2015, Appleseed gave the award to John Rhee of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing for his tireless work on our public housing cases, which he worked on for over three years. John helped obtain $300,000 in reimbursements for 250 low-income households and over $4.5 million in repairs and security upgrades at the Mayor Wright public housing project.
In 2014, we awarded Bronster Fujichaku Robbins (formerly Bronster Hoshibata) for their work on our cases ensuring that immigrants from Compact of Free Association countries immigrants residing in Hawai?i have access to necessary medical care.
In 2013, we honored David Reber of Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel for his extraordinary work as founding and current president of our Board of Directors.