The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected five attorneys to receive its highest honor – the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award.
The award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys.
Among the honorees is Hawaii State Supreme Court Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna.
“Justice McKenna was a trial judge for 17 years before joining the Hawaii Supreme Court in 2011 as its third woman and as the first open member of the LGBT community of Asian Pacific heritage to serve on a state court of last resort. Throughout her career, she has pursued civil rights, social justice, and equality in access to justice for all,” NAPABA said in an announcement.
In the early 1980s, McKenna successfully advocated for her firm to provide 50 hours of annual billable hour credit for pro bono time, a policy that was also later adopted by other Hawaii firms. As a judge, she oversaw the implementation of Hawaii’s court interpreter certification program, and instituted a policy requiring free language access for all participants in Oahu’s family courts.
The 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazers Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Nov. 6, during the NAPABA Convention in New Orleans.
Other recipients include: David Louie, Kobayashi Sugita & Goda LLP; Captain Benes Z. Aldana, United States Coast Guard; Rob Bonta, California State Assembly; and Judge Amul Thapar, United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky.