President Message

Welcome to the New ASBA Website


The American Samoa Bar Association (ASBA) was founded 40 years ago with the mandate of “improving the administration of justice.” From its humble beginnings, the ASBA has taken up the cause of promoting the rule of law and advancing the interests of justice in American Samoa. With members from almost all of the 50 states and several jurisdictions of the English common law, the ASBA boasts a diversity in membership that perhaps no other association of its kind can claim. In this diversity, the ASBA is able to draw from legal experiences from all backgrounds and walks of life, thereby making it a melting pot of ideas and legal theories. The contrastive legal perspectives of the members of the ASBA contributes to the growth of not only the Organization, but jurisprudence in American Samoa as well.


For the past 40 years, the ASBA has been the torch-bearer of law and justice in the Territory. As part of its efforts to improve the practice of law, the Association continues to place priority on its focus to keeping its membership appraised of the developments in the law. This year, the emphasis will be on continuing legal education, with focus in the areas of practice and procedure. Special committees on mediation and practice will work with the courts to lay the groundwork for a process of dispute resolution as an alternative to judicial intervention. In the area of professional responsibility, improvements will be made in the filing and handling of claims regarding professional misconduct and related issues so that attorneys will remain, as always, accountable to their clients.


Increased community involvement is also a priority this year. Our very first Annual Law Conference was held in March 2012 and the intent is to expand upon it this term. Committees on the Bar Justice Foundation and Legal Aid Clinic have been diligently working to bring free legal aid and assistance to the public and are near completing their work. Since last year, a special committee on mock trial has been cooperating with the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) to put in place a trial advocacy or moot court program involving the pre-law students of ASCC. This year, that plan becomes a reality. In early May, the ASBA announced it was accepting applications for its annual Legal Education Scholarship for local students who are ready to enter law school. Announcement of the successful candidates is slated for mid-July after the Committee deliberates.


This will be a very exciting year for the ASBA. With the recent adoption of its Five Year Strategic Plan, the Association is in full gear in order to meet its set goals and targets. Improving the administration of justice is a task that requires all the tools that can be made available. That is why I am very happy to welcome you to this new and improved website of the ASBA. This site is the culmination of many months of hard work of several dedicated individuals. I wish to acknowledge the efforts of former President Sean Morrison and all of those who labored to make this new site a reality. It is my hope that it will be a useful tool for all ASBA members and all others who visit it. 


As ASBA President for 2012-2013, and on behalf of Vice President Vincent Kruse, Treasurer Marian McGuire Rapoza and Secretary Karen Shelley, I say Talofa!, and I look forward to working with all of you to make this year one to remember.


Soifua ma ia manuia.