• September 5, 2023

Are there any Maui fire lawyers who offer pro bono services?

Maui fire lawyers

A new online service called Hawaii Online Pro Bono provides legal advice for low- and moderate-income Hawaii residents. It is part of the American Bar Association Free Legal Answers national project and connects users to volunteer lawyers who can help with a variety of civil legal questions. Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii launched the site in partnership with the Hawaii State Bar Association.

The number of people who remain unaccounted for after Maui’s deadly wildfire dropped on Friday. The official list of Maui fire lawyers, which had been updated to 388 names who were credibly considered missing after the fire, was narrowed down from an earlier total of more than 1,000, police said. The FBI has urged families of those on the list to submit DNA samples in an effort to identify them.

In the aftermath of a disaster like this, it’s easy to focus on what’s burned and on the people who lost their homes. But a growing group of community organizers on the island of Maui says that’s not enough. They’re pushing to ensure that the rebuilding of Lahaina doesn’t end up kicking out the people who call the area home. NPR’s Jennifer Ludden reports.

Are there any Maui fire lawyers who offer pro bono services?

Across Maui Komohana, communities like the Palakikos and many others are fighting to retain their ancestral lands and to restore streamflows that were lost through centuries of settler colonial pillage. The fights are framed by a term that activists have been calling plantation disaster capitalism — a form of neocolonialism that combines contemporary forms of climate profiteering with long-standing colonial practices of resource theft and trickery.

One of those involved in the fight is lawyer Lance Collins, who recently received an award from the Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii Supreme Court for his work with Front Street Apartment residents who are trying to keep affordable rents at their 142-unit complex. He also works on cases that are important to other low-income communities in the state.

Maui wild fire attorney

He has taken on challenges to the Office of Elections practice that disenfranchises voters, contested Department of Health efforts to put elders in care homes into vulnerable situations and challenged agency practices that allow fishing ships to confine non-immigrant workers to their vessels when they are docked.

In addition, he volunteers with the Maui Mediation Services, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides alternative dispute resolution, facilitation and training on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Its trained volunteer mediators, who are all licensed attorneys in the state of Hawaii, help parties reach their own mutually agreeable settlements. The program is financed by grants and donations from private foundations and individuals. For more information, visit the MMS website. The program is also funded by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the Maui County Law Foundation. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii provides legal services to low-income persons and organizations in a wide range of areas. They include defending civil rights, family law, landlord-tenant issues, small claims, veterans benefits and other areas of law.

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