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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
Attorney • (808) 845-2211

808 not 800: Hire a Kama’aina lawyer to explain your rights and represent you if you choose to seek Justice

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I live and work in Hawai‘i as a lawyer and it has been my home for me since 1967.

I mention “Kama’aina” in the title. It means “child of the land”. Of course you want your lawyer to be excellent. But you also want them to understand you and to respect Hawai‘i an its people.

Who at we anyway? The state motto means more in Hawai‘i than state mottos in other states:

Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono

Often it is translated into English as “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”.

Aina” is an important concept in the Islands. But there is more to  Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono than the common translation.

What does that have to do with choosing a lawyer? What does that have to do with finding te right person to talk to you about your rights and represent you if you decide to stand up for your rights?

Everything.

Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” are the words of Kamehameha III spoken on July 31, 1843. The King had restored independence for the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi following five months of British occupation. Kaʻiwakīloumoku the Hawaiian Cultural Center offers a broader perspective:

If your “hanabata days” were spent in public school classrooms, you probably recognize this saying as the motto of the State of Hawaiʻi, and have heard its most common translation, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” This is one possible meaning of the saying, yet it makes no reference to the original sentiment that makes the saying so memorable.

Given the circumstances, perhaps a better interpretation of the saying would be “The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated through justice.” Yet a slightly different analysis of the word “pono,” to mean universal balance and harmony, also offers a holistic explanation: “The life or sovereignty of the land is maintained in harmony.”
As a lawyer I am committed to follow the meaning of Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. I am proud of the lawyers in Hawai‘i and when I was President of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association I made it a point to educate the public about the quality of our Kama’aina lawyers and judges.
I have also spent my career travelling to the mainland and getting involved in many national lawyer organizations where I have worked with the greatest lawyers in the country.  Hawai‘i lawyers can match or exceed lawyers anywhere in ethics, skill and levels of excellence. Hawai‘i judges, Federal and State, also are held in the highest regard by national legal authorities. We are a small community, and far away, but we can be proud of our legal profession in Hawai‘i.
I call them “808” calls. A local resident calls and asks if I handle a case involving something that is in the news like Genki Sushi food poisoning or the Morcellator cases or baby powder and ovarian cancer. The caller tells  me  that they called the 800 number that was on TV  but  didn’t like  what they heard  and were concerned  that this was some mainland operation that was taking advantage of Hawai‘i  people. Local people want to deal with local lawyers. A lawyer who has a long-time office here. They want someone that they can meet with here, and call and talk to  without dialing an 800 number.
I am not the only lawyer that the local community can call.  There are many top quality 808’s. Mark Davis and Rick Fried and Marty Fritz and Judith Pavey and Michael Cruise are great Kama’aina lawyers. There are many others. I’d like to think that I am one of them but that is for you to decide. As my good and great friend Ernest Matias told me on Maui many years ago “the main thing is to be humble, Wayne.” Ernest was right. I’ve learned a lot from people like him since I got here.
Hawai‘i  residents don’t have to  settle for an 800 number.  Our lawyers are as good or better than anyone you will find on the mainland, and if  some particular, special legal expertise  is needed  your  Hawai‘i  lawyer  will find the best national law firm to associate with  on a particular type of case.