Pepperdine Caruso Law Provides Pro Bono Legal Services to Maui Wildfire Survivors
Pepperdine Caruso Law and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) are actively partnering on a pro bono legal services project for Native Hawaiians impacted by the Maui wildfire disaster.
“The Hawaiian people are our Pacific neighbors, and we will always offer support and Aloha, just as the people of Hawaii would do for us,” said Peter Fendel, executive director of externship and pro bono programs at Caruso Law. “We are honored as a university and a law school to serve the Native Hawaiian population of Maui.”
The Pepperdine Caruso Law Pro Bono Program, part of the Clinical Education Program, has partnered with NHLC to provide direct legal assistance to survivors of the fires that destroyed the Town of Lahaina in August of 2023. Caruso Law students are actively working with NHLC attorneys to assist with FEMA and SBA appeals, and ensuring survivors have pro bono legal assistance to navigate the federal disaster relief process. Caruso Law student-volunteers provide NHLC attorneys with additional capacity for more efficient in-person legal services in the disaster zone.
To date, 19 second and third-year Caruso Law students have generously volunteered to provide supervised legal services for their Hawaiian neighbors in their time of need. All student-volunteers are working while attending classes full time, many while externing at law firms or government agencies, without expectation of compensation or academic credit.
The partnership with NHLC builds on Caruso Law's extensive experience providing pro bono legal services through its Disaster Relief Clinic, beginning in 2017 in response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, and continuing for years after 2018 in the aftermath of the Woolsey Fire that devastated Malibu and Pepperdine's own community.
More on pro bono legal services may be found at Pepperdine Caruso Law Pro Bono Programs