Guest Column — Need Legal Help? Where To Get Legal Assistance

jill raznov wedgwoodBy Jill Raznov-Wedgwood

Aloha. My name is Jill Raznov aka Jill Raznov-Wedgwood. I am an attorney in the Puna/Hilo area and have volunteered to write a legal column in the BIC as a way of giving back to our Island Community.  As an introduction, I am originally from the East Coast of the US Mainland and graduated from the venerable William S. Richardson School of Law in the spring of 2003 after a circuitous route of travel and living around the country.  I learned to surf at Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz and after passing the Hawaii bar exam, landed a coveted clerkship with the Honorable Richard W. Pollack of the First Circuit Court, who is now, I am pleased to say, Justice Pollack, the newest member of our Hawaii State Supreme Court.

I met my husband early one morning checking the surf at Diamond Head.  After a three-year stint at the small Honolulu boutique firm of Ning, Lilly and Jones, specializing in complex commercial litigation, my husband and I decided in 2007 to move (back) to the Big Island, where my husband had lived on and off since the early 80’s, initially in Kalapana, where he learned to surf at Drainpipes (sadly, covered under many feet of lava now).  I worked for the Hilo office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, representing and advising qualifying clients (due to age, financial status, or a qualifying legal issue) on matters ranging from family law to child protective services cases, to guardianships, landlord-tenant cases, and debt and credit concerns. Two and a half years later, I had my son, and started a solo practice.  For the past year and half, I have been Of-Counsel with the Law Offices of Yeh & Moore LLLC, a small firm in Hilo, practicing in the areas of insurance defense, real property and land use matters, and limited plaintiffs’ work, mostly germane to contracts, real property and commercial issues.  

After practicing law in Hawaii for 10 years, it is clear that there are plenty of different types of people, from all walks of life, in need of a range of legal information and advice who often do not know where to turn.

So, for starters, I wish to tell people where they might be able to find assistance.  If you wish to consult an attorney, a great place to begin searching for one is the phone book, which lists attorneys as a general group and also by specialty, as many of us specialize in certain issues.  If you have access to the internet (the Hilo Circuit Court Library at 777 Kilauea Avenue, 2nd floor, has computers available to the public for legal research), many attorneys maintain websites and can often be searched via  You might also consider contacting the Hawaii State Bar Association at (808) 537-1868 or for names, specialties and if available, pro bono (free) or sliding scale attorneys.  The HSBA also maintains information about attorney client relations, attorney disputes and making a formal complaint about an attorney.  You might also check your homeowner’s or building insurance as some policies provide a defense to tort claims, even if the triggering event did not occur in your home or business.

For self-help, pro bono legal information (not advice) from attorneys is available on a first-come first-serve basis at the Judiciary’s Self Help Center (Hilo Circuit Court Jury Room, 1st floor) every Monday and Friday from 11:15 to 12:45.  There is always at least one attorney available to assist, and sometimes more.  But, go early as this is a popular program.  You might also consider visiting the Hawaii State Judiciary Website at for information regarding the various Hawaii courts (small claims, district, family, circuit and appellate); court forms (in pdf format), which you can fill out on-screen; various court rules; links to related sites, including the Hawaii State Law Library System; and more.  The complete Hawaii Revised Statutes and legislative service is available online at  The Hawaii Administrative Rules and other legal information (such as name changes and certifications) are also available online at  You can get vital records via the Department of Health at

If you are in the middle of a dispute, either in active litigation or pending, you can request mediation.  The Kuikahi mediation center in the Hilo Lagoon Center, 101 Aupuni Street, (808) 935-7844, is very affordable and works on a sliding scale, where the parties split the cost.  Their staff of trained, volunteer mediators, many of them attorneys, assists the parties to reach a self-directed settlement of their dispute without resorting to or continuing with litigation.  If you are a victim of domestic or non-domestic harm or threat of harm and wish to petition the court for a restraining order, you can download the necessary forms from the Judiciary Website (listed above).  For the latter, you may also visit the Administration and Services Section at the Hilo Circuit Court (1st floor clerk’s window) or call (808) 961-7430.  For the former, you may call the Adult Client Services Branch of Family Court (ACSB) at (808) 969-7798 or contact Turning Point for Families/Alternatives to Violence at 1266 Kamehameha Ave., Ste. A5, (808) 935-7798,, which provides services and advocacy for victims of domestic violence only.  Finally, you may wish to seek assistance, if you qualify financially or otherwise, with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii by calling their intake hotline (808) 934-0678 between 9:00 – 11:30 and 1:00 – 3:30 M-F (it is best to call right at 9:00 or 1:00) and the Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii intake line at (808) 528-7046.  Both organizations also maintain lists of pro bono attorneys, but neither assists with criminal matters.  For criminal matters, if you are a witness or victim, you must work directly with the police and prosecutor’s office. If you are accused of a crime, you may seek to have a public defender appointed or hire a criminal defense attorney.  You might also seek self-help using some of the above information.  Stay tuned for next time when I delve into the subject of landlord-tenant law in Hawaii. A hui hou!

Jill D. Raznov, Esq. is a 2003 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, in Honolulu, Hawaii and has practiced in the areas of family, commercial, landlord-tenant and real property for the past 10 years. She currently resides in Puna and is Of-Counsel with the Law Offices of Yeh & Moore, LLLC in Hilo. She can be contacted at (808) 961-0055 or via emial at  

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not intended to create any attorney-client privilege or be construed as legal advice.


5 replies
  1. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Jill D. Raznov,

    Your sharing of information of options for those in need of legal advice is well needed in Puna. Most people in Puna are not aware of their rights nor their options to pursue representation concerning legal matters without first being discouraged by the cost of this information.

    I’m sure your information will be well used.


  2. tia
    tia says:

    Aloha Jill,
    Mahalo for your input. I have many questions for you that our ex ass. DA couldn’t/didn’t answer. For now, if you could tell us about jury nullification and common law grand jury. None of my lawyer friends nor family (1 has been practicing for 30+ years) neither know what they are nor could explain adequately. Mahalo.

  3. Jill Raznov
    Jill Raznov says:

    Thank you Handyman and Kit. My aim as an attorney has always been to assist people if I can.

    Tia: My goal with my column is to assist people to help themselves and also to give some insight into certain areas of the law that many people come into contact with in their lifetimes. (although certainly those who might seek to retain the services of my firm may inquire). I cannot speak individually to everyone re their personal legal issues but that is why we have our self help centers. I did, however, neglect to state in my column that there is also a self help center in the Kona Courthouse. It states on the judiciary website that they only give info re civil matters. I have never volunteered there and do not know personally. I do know at the Hilo Self Help Center there are often criminal attorneys volunteering.

    The Kona courthouse is at :
    Keakealani Building
    79-1020 Haukapila Street
    Kealakekua, HI 96750

    Self-Help Desk (located at desk in back of Law Library)
    Hours: Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    As for criminal law and your questions I do not know the answers as I have never practiced criminal law. you can also simply do an internet search for these terms.

    Good luck!

  4. Dr. Gail H. Raznov
    Dr. Gail H. Raznov says:

    Hi Jill,

    Your first legal article in the newspaper is well written. Dad and I are very proud of you and your accomplishments as well as fact that you are “giving back”, a key virtue we lived and taught our children.

    You are honest, intelligent, a great mother, and fighter for justice.

    Love, Mom and Dad

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *