Working in the Law

Community Contributed

By Eileen M.S. Nims, Esq.

Question: How hard is it to become a lawyer?

Answer: Not as hard as you think!

Young people on Molokai often wonder what they can do when they grow up. Being on a small island, it seems that many options are out of reach. However, in today’s world, education is at our finger tips as long as we have a laptop! Starting this August, there is a new part-time program offered through Richardson School of Law that is completely online.

In order to apply to Law School, all you need is a bachelor’s degree in whatever field interests you. If you enjoy studying Hawaiian language and culture, you can start with a degree in that. If you enjoy psychology or music or environmental science, those are also great degrees to get your bachelor’s in. The most affordable and easiest way to start a bachelor’s is to get an associate’s degree from our statewide community college system. Many courses are online and allow you to graduate from the comfort of your Molokai home. With the assistance of an academic counselor, you can then transfer those credits over seamlessly to your preferred area of study at the bachelor’s level. Then you only have to find funding for two years of UH upper-level courses. 

Once you have completed your bachelor’s, you can apply to the Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This school is designed and dedicated to serve students from the islands. The tuition is the lowest of any comparable law school in the nation, offers many scholarship programs, offers a special track for students who need extra time adjusting to the academic rigor of law school, and even offers an evening program for working adults or for students who are parents and need to rely on other working adults for their child care. The full-time program is only six semesters. In August, a new part-time program starts that is completely online! For more information on these programs, you can contact the school at (808) 956-7966.

If seven years of schooling is not for you, but you still want to work in a law office and be part of the action in court, you are in luck. At Kapiolani Community College there is a 60-credit Paralegal Degree Program and an 18-credit Legal Secretary Certificate option. These can prepare you for the work of assisting an attorney with all of their legal work, including preparing for court, legal research and legal writing. For more information on these programs, you can contact Flo Abara at (808) 734-9107.

Eileen M.S. Nims is a trust and estates attorney who makes regular contributions to the Molokai Dispatch. If you want guidance with Estate Planning-related matters and receive individualized legal advice with regards to your Estate Planning, please feel free to contact Eileen M.S. Nims, J.D. at or by phone at (808) 664-1834.


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