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UH Mānoa student honored as one of the top 10 law students in the country

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UH Mānoa’s Meleana “Mana” Shim was honored as one of the top 10 law students in the country by National Jursit preLaw magazine. Photo Courtesy: UH

National Jurist preLaw magazine honored Meleana “Mana” Shim, a student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law, as one of the top 10 law students in the country. 

Shim was selected from about 200 American Bar Association-accredited law schools nationwide.

She is a third-year law student and retired professional soccer player who is committed to activism, athletics, mental health and public service. 


“Mana is both unafraid and self-aware, and she is a constant and supportive student, classmate and ally,” said UH Law Professor Dina Shek.

Shim has courageously spoken out against sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League, working towards policy changes and using her voice to raise awareness to ensure a safer environment for athletes. She has advocated for change within the league nationally and locally in Hawaiʻi — while a full-time law student.

“Mana Shim embodies the qualities of an extraordinary advocate, trusted counselor, visionary leader and courageous change maker,” said Molly Levinson, advisor to the US Women’s National Team players. “Behind the scenes, she has made even more of a difference, dedicating her time, energy and numerous talents to a wholesale re-making of league leadership, culture, policies and procedures. It is both comforting and inspiring to know that she is the future of the law.”


Shim’s exceptional dedication showed in her work ethic, commitment and compassion for clients at the Office of the Public Defender. 

She has been an active member of the UH law school’s Mental Health Committee, speaking on LGBTQ+ and mental health issues, and continuing to work toward change and awareness. Shim also engaged in mental health community outreach as a volunteer for the Institute of Human Services.

Shim also is co-president of Lawyers Against Sexual Violence and the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach and collaboration on issues of law, culture and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples. She was awarded the Advocates for Public Interest Law grant and worked for the Hawaiʻi Land Trust.


Shim was a member of the UH law school’s inaugural Island Leadership Lab seminar, an immersive leadership experience focused on training next-generation leaders for success; the initiative was launched by UH law school Dean Camille Nelson. 

“I am inspired by Mana’s courageous leadership,” Nelson said. “Her integrity and bravery are carving a better path for those in similar situations, and those seeking to effect transformative justice-seeking change in myriad spaces and places. I am grateful for her empathy, dedication and tireless advocacy.”


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