January 3, 2023  |  Articles

Providing Legal Help for Nonprofits

Articles-Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae (POW) Photo

Although community service is woven into its culture, in its centennial year Cades Schutte renews its dedication to giving back.

Large, private companies are accustomed to working with law firms on a wide variety of legal issues on a regular basis. Nonprofits and community organizations, however, may have less frequent opportunities to work with lawyers, let alone access to high-quality advisors.

This turned out to be the case with Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae (POW), a community of approximately 250 people living unhoused on the edge of the Waiʻanae Boat Harbor on the leeward side of Oʻahu.

Since last year, however, a team of attorneys from the law firm of Cades Schutte has been providing legal assistance on various matters for POW on a pro bono basis, including assistance with POW’s development of a new village mauka of its current location. A full-service law firm with five offices across the islands, Cades Schutte has been able to assist POW with construction contracts, documents, and a myriad of other issues that have come up during the planning and building of the new village. It takes a larger firm with the knowledge and expertise to navigate such a complex project, said Trever K. Asam, Tax partner and the firm’s pro bono coordinator. He notes that although many attorneys across the State can and do provide pro bono assistance to clients, there is a much smaller pool of firms with the ability to take on a more complicated project such as the village. “We’re happy to be one of those firms,” Asam said.

The work is part of the firm’s Hoʻokupu for 100 initiative, which celebrates the firm’s 100th anniversary through a series of community service and pro bono projects. Asam notes that the firm’s successes over a century of service to Hawaiʻi would not have been possible without a recognition that the legal system can only be effective when it is accessible to all.

This article was originally published in December 2022 by Hawaii Business Magazine.

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