University of Hawaii law school graduate Kamaile Turčan will serve as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor starting this summer, UH announced in a release Monday.

It’s the first time a UH law school graduate has had such an opportunity — and the first time a person of Native Hawaiian ancestry has served as a law clerk with a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Kamaile Turčan

Kamaile Turčan

Courtesy: UH

“The opportunity to work on some of the biggest legal questions of our day, to help Justice Sotomayor, is the ultimate opportunity for a young lawyer and an unparalleled experience,” said Turčan, who was known to friends and colleagues as Kamaile Nichols before her marriage in 2013, according to the release.

Turčan grew up in Mililani and graduated from Kamehameha Schools before going on to get her BA in integrative biology from UC Berkeley and then attend the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Manoa.

“One of the exciting things about the Court is one never knows what nationally important issue will present itself,” she said. “The Court is always faced with ‘hot topics,’ such as civil rights, the scope of the 4th Amendment protections in light of rapidly changing technology, and weighty legal disputes between Congress and the President.”

Turčan said nudges in the right direction from UH Law Dean Avi Soifer and others helped her land the position.

“Kamaile is an outstanding example of the high level of achievement and diverse talents of our students,” he said. “For an attorney, one simply cannot do better than to clerk for a United States Supreme Court Justice. The opportunity for Kamaile to assist and be mentored by Justice Sotomayor, whose life story is so inspiring, is even more special.”

Read more about how Turčan first met Sotomayor here.

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