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Kouliev new county Bar Association president

Damir Kouliev

New Maui County Bar Association President Damir Kouliev said he wants to see the organization continue projects, including providing free legal information at the Judiciary’s Self Help Center, in the new year.

“We look forward to building on last year’s successes, like the expansion of the Self Help Center, upgrading MauiBar.org as a resource, and our myriad of educational and philanthropic events,” Kouliev said. “Another point of emphasis is improving communication between our members and the Judiciary.

“My general goal is to improve the morale and camaraderie of attorneys, and generally nurture a healthier legal community with more of a collaborative approach to solving legal issues.”

Kouliev was inaugurated as bar association president Jan. 24, after serving as vice president last year.

Kouliev, who was born in Switzerland and raised in the Soviet Union, studied anthropology at Reed College in Portland, Ore., before attending law school at Golden Gate University in San Francisco and the University of Hawaii. He was admitted to the Hawaii bar in 2007 and has a practice focusing on criminal and family law.

The association’s board of directors includes new members Magdalena Bajon, Annalisa Bernard Lee, David Cain, Christina Lizzi, Leslee Matthews, Valerie McKelvey and Jill Uehara joining incumbent members Lauren Akitake, Bevanne Bowers, Mike Collins, Elizabeth Cuccia, Yukari Murakami, William Pannell, Sarah Simmons and Nancy Zhao.

Akitake, who is serving on the board for a second year, was the 1999 Baldwin High School valedictorian and now practices in areas of estate planning, probate and trust litigation, guardianships and conservatorships.

She is a frequent volunteer at the Self Help Center and a member of the association’s new Access to Justice and Health and Wellness committees. The importance of the Health and Wellness Committee has been highlighted, with Akitake noting, “the pressures of law practice are enormous.”

According to the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Attorney and Judges Assistance Program, the state lost five of its lawyers to suicide last year, including one on Maui.

Kouliev said the association welcomes feedback from the community about how the legal community can better serve the island. He can be reached by email at damir@808attorney.com.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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