New Attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole
We are excited to introduce our newest staff attorney, Peter Kamakawiwoole! Peter, who joined HSLDA’s legal team in November 2011, will assist with litigation, handling cases, and defending parental rights. He will also serve as the contact attorney for Hawaii, Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
HSLDA’s new litigation attorney, Peter Kamakawiwoole.
“Our trial-work level has really escalated recently, and this has served to remind us all that we need to be getting ready for the long-term future in this area. Additionally, we will be looking to be more aggressive in litigating situations where there has been a miscarriage of justice impacting homeschoolers, homeschooling issues, and parental rights,” says HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, adding that besides trial work, “Peter will help me write law review articles to counter the left’s attacks on homeschooling.”
Peter grew up in Hawaii, where his parents homeschooled him and his four younger siblings from kindergarten through high school. “My mom didn’t follow a set curriculum,” he says. “She built our homeschool program around our interests and skills. I got to focus on history, literature, and—as I got into high school—competitive speech, debate, and extensive reading and writing for the worldview curriculum we used.”
When he graduated from high school, choosing a college was easy: “I wanted an education that would both strengthen my faith and prepare me to be an effective advocate.” Peter went on to attend Patrick Henry College. While there, he honed his writing and legal skills with courses in logic, rhetoric, debate, constitutional law, and moot court, in which he distinguished himself as the college’s first moot court national champion. During the summer of his sophomore year, he interned with HSLDA’s litigation team. He also met his wife, Corrie, a fellow PHC student.
Upon graduating from PHC, Peter enrolled at St. Louis University Law School, where he participated in moot court and trial advocacy and joined his school’s Christian Legal Society chapter. In September 2011, he was admitted to the Missouri bar.
By the time he finished his law degree, HSLDA had an eye on him to fill a current need. “Mike Farris called and said that they were creating a new position to help out with litigation,” Peter recalls. “He wanted to know if I’d be open to that. And I said, ‘Yes, for sure!’ ”
“As a parent, I know how important it is to invest in the lives of my children, so I can’t imagine a better job than helping other parents do the exact same thing. And so here I am. Thrilled to be back!” Peter says.
And HSLDA is thrilled to have him back. Senior Counsel Jim Mason, head of the litigation department, says, “As a PHC student, Peter worked for us one summer and was on Mike’s moot court team, so he was well known to us. He is extraordinarily gifted in legal research and writing, and talented in oral advocacy as well. He will probably be a Supreme Court justice one day.”
Peter and Corrie live in Purcellville, Virginia, with their son Kaalo, and are expecting twins this spring.
About that Name
Peter Kaaloehukai Kamakawiwoole Jr.’s family name was originally even longer: Kamakawiwoole o’ Kamehameha Ekahi. The last part was dropped a few generations ago for practicality—making it fit on car titles, land deeds, marriage licenses, and credit card applications.
Kamakawiwoole means “the fearless eye.” Kamakawiwoole o’ Kamehameha Ekahi means “the fearless eye of Kamehameha I,” Kamehameha being the first great chieftain who united the Hawaiian tribes, around 1800.
It was a violation of the code of the chiefs for any common person to look upon the chief’s face: the penalty was death. One day, while Kamehameha was leaving his hut to go down to the sea, he passed through a village. The common people bowed before him, hiding their faces, except for one young man who stood erect, looking straight at the face of the chief. As Kamehameha’s guards moved forward to kill the young man, the chief stopped them and instead asked the young man to become a member of his bodyguard, because he knew no fear. Kamehameha then bestowed the family name, “The Fearless Eye.”
“My dad, who’s a pastor, likes to say that while we no longer serve a native chieftain, we are still called to stand fearless for the King of Kings,” Peter says.