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Lawyering Program

Lawyering Director Spends Semester Teaching at University of Hawaii

September 29, 2020

  • Steve Johansen in Hawaii.

Professor Steve Johansen, Director of the Lawyering Program at Lewis & Clark Law School, spent the Spring 2020 semester at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i, teaching two courses: the Legal Foundations and the Second Year Seminar.

The Legal Foundations course at the University of Hawai’i is focused on written and oral advocacy, similar to Lawyering II at Lewis & Clark. Johansen also taught the Second Year Seminar, a required course at the University for law students, where he helped students engage in an in-depth exploration of a legal topic and produce a scholarly paper on that topic.

Johansen felt welcomed and a part of the community during his time in Hawaii. “The teaching experience was wonderful,” stated Johansen. “Hawaii generally, and the law school in particular, has rich and diverse cultural traditions. In addition to working with my students, I was able to meet with visitors from throughout the Pacific Rim and learn about everything from US-China economic relations to adding juries to civil litigation in Japan.”

Aside from teaching the two courses, Johansen also had time to explore the islands with his wife. “One of my favorite memories was when my wife and I watched the sun set over the Pacific on New Year’s Eve and then watched it rise over the ocean on New Year’s morning,” Johansen said. “The sunrise was spectacular and we watched from a place called the Dragon’s Snout with a few thousand other people. Just as the sun appeared on the horizon, we heard a band of drummers welcoming in the new decade with traditional Hawaiian songs. And then they were followed by a group of bagpipers.”

Johansen was still able to explore the islands of Oahu and Kauaii before plans got altered due to COVID-19. “My favorite hike was at Ka’ena State Park where in January I was able to walk among nesting albatrosses,” Johansen stated. “Even better was a few weeks later when I returned and was able to walk among the newly born chicks. At the other end of our trip, the day after the Governor announced Hawaii’s COVID lockdown, we walked through an eerily deserted Waikiki Beach. Just the day before, it was packed with people from all over the world and suddenly, everyone was gone.”

Despite the unexpected ending to his time teaching in Hawaii, Johansen appreciated the opportunity to teach at the University of Hawai’i. “Being able to spend an extended time in Honolulu let me appreciate the island’s pace of life in a way one can’t on vacation,” Johansen said. “And I got to live next door to a parrot!”

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