There is no better place in the United States than the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa for anyone, like yourself, interested in the study of the Pacific and Asia.

With strong support across the university, including from its leadership, as well as from the various ethnic communities that comprise Hawai‘i, it has historically made the study of both central to its mission and is able to engage in cutting edge research and teaching across the region, bridging east and west. Together, the university’s faculty and students make it a vibrant place of learning. Today, the university has some 400 faculty in its programs researching and teaching in the field, offering more than 600 courses covering the region to an exceptional group of students.

Through the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, whether you choose to concentrate your JD studies in Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (PALS) or not, you can also enrich your education in Pacific and Asian studies through dual study, by pursuing a dual degree or certificate, taking additional courses to specialize your studies or undertaking a language program. Availing the university’s centers, you can connect to others with shared interests and avail a vast web of resources.

Learn More: University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa & Pacific-Asian Studies


At the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law, we follow in the footsteps of great pioneers, including our patriarch, William S. Richardson, who established our law school against seemingly insurmountable odds, and who had the foresight to forge a new, distinctive path in the emerging field of Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (PALS).

As a result, today, Richardson is unparalleled in the field, with an exceptional Program dedicated to scholarship, scholarly exchanges and training, that is solidly posed to lead the field into the future.

If you chose Richardson to pursue your JD, you will be part of something special as you join a spirited collaborative community of faculty, visiting scholars, and students with shared interests dedicated to the collective pursuit of excellence as such.

We boast faculty specialized in every area of East Asia, including China (& Taiwan), Japan and Korea. Throughout the year, from around the world, the Program also draws visiting scholars in cross-cultural exchanges who also share their expertise in all of Asia, including Southeast Asia. We also attract JD students, like yourself, who comprise a remarkably diverse group, many of whom have lived and/or worked in the Pacific or Asia and have strong research or practical interests in Pacific and Asian law.

Our Community: Our Faculty  |  Our Visiting Scholars  |  Our Students  |  PALSO


Evocative of our stature in the field, our prolific shared scholarship, comprised in both our faculty and student research, is among the most respected, widely-read and cited scholarly legal work dealing with issues of Pacific and Asian concern.

Covering a wide spectrum of the Pacific and Asia, across nearly every area of law, our faculty’s scholarship is especially diffuse. Nearly all Richardson faculty are actively engaged in research projects and have expertise and interests that touch regional issues. And, Richardson faculty specifically working within PALS are actively engaged in research projects and have expertise and interests, generally focused on China (& Taiwan), Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Our faculty’s work is extensive and is featured in various medium, including books, law reviews, journals, and other periodicals.

In addition, throughout the year, from around the world, PALS draws visiting scholars; all engaged in regional research projects. Through these scholarly exchanges, our faculty and visiting scholars are able to share their respective research, often leading to new joint projects.

Capitalizing on these strengths, Richardson is the proud incubator of the Institute of Asian-Pacific Business Law, which strives to be the premier academic center of Pacific and Asian business law, actively engaging international dialogue via scholarship and training in the rapidly growing field, and which has already held several symposia to this end.

Working under our faculty, our students’ research is also diffuse, likewise covering a myriad of issues in many specializations, and is widely published in innumerable reputable publications, including our very own Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal. As well, under the direction of our faculty, nearly all students, concentrating their legal studies with a PALS Certificate, complete a Second Year Seminar which undertakes a research project in the field.

With the guidance of our faculty and visiting scholars, scholarly endeavors abound, and you have the discretion of contributing to these projects or starting your own. And, of course, you have the chance to work on one of the most widely recognized publications in the field, the Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal.

In any of these endeavors, our Law Library will be an invaluable resource to you, housing an extensive collection of Pacific and Asian law holdings and features a myriad of digital and print resources including multi-jurisdictional and specialized databases, treaties, loose-leaf services, periodicals and a wide range of monographs. To help you navigate this vast web of resources, our law librarians are eager to assist, well-equipped, able to bring to bare their own expertise in the field along with advanced language skills.

In addition, the Library has prepared a PALS Research Guide, to assist you in your research.

Learn More: A Tradition of Scholarship


To add to the diversity of your Richardson JD, and so you can prepare for practice in a rapidly developing area of the world, PALS allows you to enrich your legal education by concentrating your studies in the field with a PALS Certificate to equip yourself with the requisite knowledge and experience. In doing so, given our program’s scope, you can choose from a wealth of diverse course offerings, or augment your coursework with upper campus courses, to further cement your specialization.

Given historical trends, you will be in great company as nearly 10% of your fellow students are likely to do so.

Or, leveraging PALS, you can simply broaden your legal education without concentrating your studies and opt to take as many of these courses as you’d like. Again, you’ll be in great company; nearly all your peers will probably take at least one PALS course during their studies.

Learn More: PALS Program: Certificate & Courses


Through PALS, you also will have the opportunity to explore wide extracurricular opportunities.

You can serve on our law school’s esteemed moot court teams, including the award-winning American Society of International Law, Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team.

If you’d like to broaden your horizons beyond our own community, PALS holds partnerships with esteemed institutions throughout the region, allowing you a myriad of choices to pursue internships and/or externships, or to study abroad.

Learn More: Internships/Externships

Learn More: Study Abroad

And, all along the way, the PALS community will be right there lockstep with you, to ensure you succeed. PALS provides advising to help you craft your professional and/or personal development through your legal education to help you achieve your goals. PALS will also actively support you in your career pursuits and provide resources including a new career portal and a career database to assist you along the way.

Learn More: Advising

Learn More: Careers

Moreover, the Pacific Asian Legal Studies Organization (PALSO), your very own student organization, envelops an enthusiastic and active cadre of your fellow peers, providing a springboard for you to explore the wealth of opportunities that abound and providing a network of support to you in your professional development, legal studies and career pursuits.

Faculty At Asian-Pacific Law Symposium

At UH, Pacific-Asian Studies Is Robust