The League of Women Voters strongly supports SB 1861 which would create a loan repayment program for licensed attorneys who practice public interest law in Hawaii. The need is great for those who cannot afford expensive legal advice and assistance or representation in court to seek redress for some civil problem to have access to such services. The need is great also for attorneys who are willing to work for these non-profit law firms who cannot afford to pay them the salaries they deserve.
This program may attract some young attorneys who are burdened by loans taken to finance their education to at least serve the minimum number of years if not more in these firms in the public interest. This in itself would be a great learning experience for them and of benefit to them and to the state in its aim to provide access to legal advise and to the courts for all regardless of one’s ability to pay.
The experiences gained in such service might even inspire some of these attorneys after they have moved on to more lucrative practice or even the judgeship to continue contributing some time to the non-profit firms or contributing some time after retirement. This program would, we believe, create a constituency for the non-profit program to aid those who cannot afford the expensive legal fees.
We urge the passage of SB 1861. Thank you.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on this bill.