Lecturer in Law
JD, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2004
MPH, University of Hawaii, 2004
BA, Miami University, 2000
Scott C. Suzuki, J.D., M.P.H., has been in private practice since 2004, serving as the Principal of the law firm of Scott C. Suzuki, Attorney at Law, LLC, since 2008. With a unique background in Gerontology and Public Health, Scott has dedicated his career to serving the needs of seniors, persons with disabilities, caregivers and families in the State of Hawaii.
Scott’s private practice has four primary focuses:
- Estate planning and administration. Through this focus, Scott commonly helps clients establish wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives. Scott also represents trustees and Personal Representatives in administering trusts and probate estates.
- Elder Law. Through this focus, Scott implements innovative strategies of “preventative law” to help families avoid and navigate complexities often associated with aging. This work frequently entails long-term care planning, avoiding and/or developing Guardianship and Conservatorship proceedings for individuals with diminished capacity, and estate planning.
- Special Needs Planning. Scott is Hawaii’s first and only member of the Special Needs Alliance, (www.specialneedsalliance.com), a national, non-profit organization consisting of some of the most credentialed public benefits and disability law attorneys in the country, committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them. Scott strives to be one of the country’s top innovators in special needs planning. Commonly, services in this area relate to public benefit (e.g. Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income) eligibility planning, the developing, drafting, and administering special needs trusts, and transition planning for all ages of life.
- Catastrophic Injury Planning. Scott is one of the first and only practitioners in the State of Hawaii having a practice emphasis on catastrophic injury planning. Through this focus, Scott consults in personal injury matters involving complex estate, public benefit and special needs planning issues. Services range from obtaining probate court approval of settlements for decedent’s estates, minors and persons with disabilities, Medicare Secondary Payer Act analysis, and settlement preservation strategies, including trust planning.
Scott’s career and educational highlights include:
- Juris Doctorate from the University of Hawaii (2004)
- Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree in Gerontology from the University of Hawaii (2004)
- Participating as an assistant attorney at the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program (UHELP) for approximately 15 years.
- Receiving professional awards including the Pro Bono Award from the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, being named as a Fellow in the Hawaii State Bar Association Leadership Institute, a being designated as a Super Lawyer, and a Lawyer of Distinction in Elder Law.
- Lecturing and writing, both locally and nationally, on the topics of elder law and special needs planning, including but not limited to:
- Long-Term Care in Hawaii, Hawaii Bar Journal, vol. 19, No. 13. (2015)
- Articles for the Special Needs Alliance (Connecting through Sports; Changing Attitudes Towards Guardianship; Making School Sports Accessible; Transferring Guardianship Across State Lines; Choosing an Attorney to Help With Special Needs Planning)
- Does Your Child Qualify for Supplemental Security Income? Parenting Special Needs Magazine, March/April 2018
- What are the things you need to know about special needs trusts? Sequence Media News
- National Business Institute seminars, including:
- “Using Trusts in Medicaid and Disability Planning”, September 2018
- “Trusts from A to Z”, August 2017
- Hawaii State Bar Association Continuing Education programs including:
- Settlement Planning for Claimants with Special Circumstances (Catastrophic Injury, Age and Public Benefits), August 2020
- Special Needs Planning: New Rules 2020, May 22, 2020
Scott is also an active member of our community, participating in numerous charitable endeavors, including:
- Special Olympics Coach for the past ~20 years
- Hawaii State Bar Association Member
- University of Hawaii Elder Law Program
- Past President and past national board member of the Special Needs Alliance
- Former national Vice President for Family Voices
- Founding and current board member of Aloha Independent Living of Hawaii
- Board member of The Arc in Hawaii
- Member and past Magister of Phi Delta Phi Honorary Legal Fraternity
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Board of Directors of Hawaii Association for Justice
- Board of Directors of Fuller Lives Hawaii