James Pietsch


William S. Richardson School of Law, &
Department of Geriatric Medicine

Professor James Pietsch at the William S. Richardson School of Law is recognized as an expert at the intersection of law, aging, health care and bioethics, teaching courses that intersect with the Center on Aging, John A. Burns School of Medicine and the School of Nursing at Mānoa. It is widely recognized by colleagues and students that his areas of expertise and the consequent evolution of his teaching have directly influenced how these areas of scholarship and community impact thrived and been sustained. While embracing opportunities to expand programs, courses and the scope of students through synchronous and asynchronous technology, his preferred methods of engaging students include rhetoric, dialogue and the Socratic Method as well as enabling students through innovative, experiential “clinics” that cannot be replicated in a textbook or classroom. A former student, now attorney-at-law in in Honolulu, describes Pietsch taking students “to a disadvantaged client’s home to assist with a last will and testament…students who were possibly for the first time confronted with realities of poverty, loneliness and concerns facing too many people with disabilities in our community.” In that case, while students provided legal services as requested they learned to arrange for on- going social services and learned the value of an attorney may extend well beyond the practice of law. Professor Pietsch’s teaching practices create significant roles within classroom and professional contexts where students spend much of their time as co-teachers, presenting materials and leading discussions, then contacting and counseling clients, following the progress of cases to their conclusion—all in accordance with Hawai’i Supreme Court Rules of Practice for Student Interns. His own sustained commitment to bringing university expertise to community contexts is so manifest, so embedded in his teaching, that upon leaving UH on highly diverse professional paths, considerable numbers of Pietsch’s students are inspired to replicate those practices as their own.

William S. Richardson School of Law

Department of Geriatric Medicine