At 70, Hawaii woman to be oldest grad of UH Richardson School of Law

Published: May. 9, 2017 at 7:58 PM HST|Updated: May. 13, 2017 at 3:57 PM HST
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At 70, Kay Lorraine will collect a juris doctorate this Sunday from the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law as its oldest graduate and possibly the oldest full-time law student in the country.

"You'd think I'd be really, really excited to be graduating and surprisingly enough, I don't to leave," said Lorraine, with a tear in her eye.

Fellow soon-to-be law school graduates see her as an elder inspiration.

"I would just want to relax. I would definitely not want to go to school again and definitely not law school," said Rochelle Sugawa, 26, who was studying for final exams.

After a full career as a film production company CEO, non-profit executive and even professional jingle singer, Lorraine wanted to beef up her resume with a UH undergraduate degree in public policy, which took three years, and then law school, which took another three years to complete.

"It's insane. It's crazy. It's something that I always wanted, but I never thought would happen. Frankly, I don't know why everyone doesn't go to law school. It's really totally interesting," she said.

Lorraine worked on the Innocence Project, helped incarcerated girls and even pulled all-nighters, just like everyone else.

"This is a terrible thing to admit, but in two of my final exams in the last week, I fell asleep," she admits.

She even threw up twice before her first exam.

"I really have to learn how to handle stress better, but I'm better now. I haven't thrown up in years," said Lorraine with a laugh.

After she dons her cap and gown and graduates this Sunday, there will be more studying -- for the dreaded Hawaii bar exam this summer.

Lorraine hopes to get into health care or elder law and with every challenge, she's motivated by sage advice from late U.H. law professor Jon Van Dyke, who Lorraine says he bluntly told her 'Quit your whining and just do it."

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