Partners

George W. Playdon Jr.  Principal Partner

George W. Playdon Jr.
Principal Partner

Partner

George W. Playdon, Jr.

Mr. Playdon received his engineering degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Los Angeles. Mr. Playdon has served as an adjunct professor of trial practice at the University of Hawaii law school, and is a member of the Hawaii, American and California bars. He is one of a handful of Hawaii Counsel who have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and is an advocate with the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Playdon has tried over 125 jury trials to verdict, and has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Areas of Concentration

  • Litigation: Civil and Commercial;

  • Medical Malpractice;

  • Marine Law


Jerrold K. Guben  Partner

Jerrold K. Guben
Partner

PARTNER

Jerrold K. Guben

Jerrold K. Guben concentrates his practice in commercial and corporate litigation, bankruptcy and corporate reorganizations. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Southern California, his A.M. degree from the University of Michigan and his LL.B. degree from Harvard Law School. Mr. Guben has served as a lecturer in law and as a research associate at Yale Law School, and was on the faculty of the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii. He is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association and the State Bar of California.


Michael J. McGuigan  Partner

Michael J. McGuigan
Partner

Partner

Michael J. McGuigan

Mr. McGuigan obtained his undergraduate degree from Seattle University (B.A. 1970) and his law degree from Gonzaga University (J.D. 1973). He has extensive trial experience as the former Chief of Trials for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu. A member of the firm since 1989, Mr. McGuigan is also a member of the Disciplinary Hearing Committee for the Hawaii Bar Association, the University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College Legal Education Department Advisory Committee and has been a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He is past President and Board member of the Friends of the Children's Advocacy Center-Oahu. Admitted to bar: Washington, 1974; U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1975; Hawaii, 1979; U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, 1980. Arbitrator: State of Hawaii Court Annexed Arbitration Program.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Insurance Defense; Commercial Litigation; Professional Negligence; Product Liability; Personal Injury Defense; Employment Law

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Washington State and Hawaii State Bar Associations


Cid H. Inouye  Partner

Cid H. Inouye
Partner

PARTNER

Cid H. Inouye

Mr. Inouye is a graduate of Punahou School, received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire, and his Juris Doctor degree from Boston College. While at Boston College, Mr. Inouye was managing editor for the Uniform Commercial Code. He has been licensed here in Hawaii since 1986, with the emphasis of his practice in construction-related matters. Mr. Inouye worked in the construction industry prior to attending law school and has extensive experience in all areas of construction litigation, having defended the structural engineers in the Aloha Stadium litigation and in the First Hawaiian Center litigation. He recently negotiated a large settlement with the Federal Government on a (Core-loc supply) project on Lanai. He serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement. Mr. Inouye serves on the AAA Panel of Arbitrators. Mr. Inouye has represented Stanford Carr and all of his development entities, Phillip HO (real estate developer), Alexander and Baldwin, Schuler Homes, Inc. (developers), Erkel Greenfield and Associates (structural engineers), Martin Bravo & Chock (structural engineers), Mitsubishi International Corporation (contractor), Morrison Knudsen Corporation (contractor), Grace Pacific Corporation (paving contractor and material supplier), Ameron HC&D (concrete supplier), Garden Landscaping (landscaping contractor), Reflections, Inc. (glazing contractor), Fuller Glass (glazing contractor), Kalu Glass (glazing contractor) , E. E. Black, Ltd. (contractor), Close Electric (electrical contractor), WE Painting, Inc. (painting contractor), HMF, Inc. (developer of the Hawaii Loa Ridge subdivision), American Piping & Boiler Co. (contractor), Ralph S. Inouye Co., Ltd. (contractor), Dick Pacific Construction (general contractor), Mutual Welding (structural steel contractor), among others.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

  • Construction Litigation;

  • Contracts, Collections, Real Estate, Government Contracting, employment and labor law, Products Liability, Insurance, Personal Injury Defense;

  • Contracts and Commercial Litigation;

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Hawaii State Bar Association


Kelvin H. Kaneshiro  Partner

Kelvin H. Kaneshiro
Partner

Partner

Kelvin H. Kaneshiro

Mr. Kaneshiro received a bachelor of science degree from University of Southern California. After completing the first year at U.S.C. School of Pharmacy, he transferred to the Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri) School of Dental Medicine, where he obtained his doctorate in dental medicine. He practiced general dentistry in Hawaii for six years. He obtained his law degree from Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii where he was a member of the University of Hawaii Law Review. He has been admitted to the bars of the State of Hawaii, United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United State Supreme Court. 

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Medical Malpractice Defense; Insurance Defense; General Litigation

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Hawaii State Bar Association


Jeffre W. Juliano  Partner

Jeffre W. Juliano
Partner

Partner

Jeffre W. Juliano

Mr. Juliano received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and attended Nova University Law Center in Florida where he received his Juris Doctor. He also received a Master of Law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Mr. Juliano has practiced law in Hawaii since 1989. He has published in the Hawaii State Bar Journal and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Juliano represents clients in complex litigation and in multi-million dollar matters. Such matters have included issues involving damage to and or failure of refinery land and marine based equipment, jet fuel, as well as issues involving residential and commercial developers and general contractors.

Mr. Juliano has successfully represented clients such as Pacific Resources, Inc.; BHP Hawaii, Inc.; BHP Billiton Petroleum; Tesoro Hawaii Corporation; Mutual Welding Company, Limited; Obayashi Hawaii Corporation; Charles Pankow Builders, Ltd.; and a myriad of smaller yet equally important construction and commercial related businesses.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Civil and Commercial, Construction, Government Bid Protest, Real Estate, and Admiralty.

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Hawaii and Florida Bar Associations


Dennis E.W. O'Connor Jr  Partner

Dennis E.W. O'Connor Jr
Partner

Partner

Dennis E.W. O'Connor Jr.

Dennis O'Connor Jr. earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Economics from University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. During law school he lived in Chuuk and worked as a Law Clerk for Associate Justice Benson of the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia. After graduation from law school he worked as a Law Clerk for U.S. Magistrate Daral G. Conklin, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Mr. O'Connor's primary area of practice is civil litigation. He is admitted to practice before the courts in the State of Hawaii, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Civil and Commercial Litigation, Tort Claims, Product Liability, Insurance, Real Estate Litigation, Trust Litigation, Professional Malpractice, Construction Litigation, Visitor Industry Litigation, and Admiralty and Maritime Claims.


Lahela H.F. Hite  Partner

Lahela H.F. Hite
Partner

Partner

Lahela H.F. Hite

Ms. Hite obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. In May 2010 Ms. Hite received her Juris Doctorate from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

Before entering private practice, Ms. Hite worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kaua‘i and as a Legislative Aide to Representative Derek S. K. Kawakami, and his predecessor, Hermina Morita, prior to Ms. Morita's appointment to Chair of the Public Utilities Commission.

Ms. Hite is fluent ma ka ‘Olelo Hawai‘i, and is admitted to practice in the State of Hawai‘i, and the United States Federal District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Civil and commercial litigation, torts claims, insurance defense, construction litigation, and admiralty and maritime claims.

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Hawai‘i State Bar Association and United States Federal District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.


Counsel

Dennis J. Hwang  Of Counsel

Dennis J. Hwang
Of Counsel

Counsel

Dennis J. Hwang

Mr. Hwang received his Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the University of Rochester, his Master of Science degree in geology and geophysics from the University of Hawaii. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston, where he concentrated his studies in the area of environmental and land use law. Prior to working in the field of law, he worked for eight years as a senior geologist and geophysicist at Exxon Company U.S.A.

Mr. Hwang has published several articles on environmental and coastal matters with the University of Hawaii Law Review and the Office of State Planning, and is author of the current manual ³Hawaii¹s Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook.² He has served as a consultant for the Hawaii Department of Health, Office of State Planning, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Pacific Services Center, and Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He advises clients in the areas of asbestos, assessments for property transactions, clean water, clean air, coastal zone management, cost recovery actions, due diligence, environmental compliance monitoring, hazardous waste, hazard mitigation, lead-based paint, lender environmental issues, medical waste, occupational safety and health, permitting (environmental and land use) and wastewater.

Mr. Hwang is a member of the American Bar Association (Sections - Natural Resources, Energy & the Environment; Science & Technology). He is also a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association, Natural Resources Section, where he was past Chairperson. Mr. Hwang is on the Board of Directors for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and is current Chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee and the Land Use Committee for the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Environmental; Land Use; Real Estate


Randolph R. Slaton  Of Counsel

Randolph R. Slaton
Of Counsel

Counsel

Randolph R. Slaton

Mr. Slaton represented the State of Hawaii as a Deputy Attorney General in civil litigation in large cases including a class action of 2,700 beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homelands trust; litigation involving 30 related lawsuits regarding the improper removal of some $30 million dollars from funeral trusts; and numerous wrongful death cases. In private practice he represented the interests of U.S. and Japanese clients in commercial and real estate litigation and disputes, and defended the Oahu transit operator over many years. He has served as the lead attorney in more than 50 jury and non-jury trials before the U.S. District Court, Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Claims, and Hawaii State courts and in administrative proceedings and arbitration and mediation hearings, as well as appearing in over two dozen appeals. His cases have included the defense of a Japanese bank in a $35 million hotel sale dispute; the defense of two corporations in a dispute involving $50 million in assets in Honolulu and Osaka; the representation of a Japanese widow in a multi-million dollar estate and trust dispute involving three countries and three states; the representation of the City and County of Honolulu in litigation arising from the development of the Kukui Plaza condominium and sale of its parking stalls for $3.5 million; the defense of individuals arising out of allegations regarding the "Godfather" of Hawaii crime; the representation of former directors regarding seizure and dissolution of a savings and loan; and the representation of a corporation in the embezzlement by a former corporate officer of some two million dollars.

Mr. Slaton was mobilized on to active duty in the Navy after September 11, 2001, serving as the officer in charge of an Office of Naval Intelligence detachment, and then spent one year as the intelligence planner for the Staff Working Group, Joint Task Force 519, Pearl Harbor.

He was appointed by the Hawaii Supreme Court as a bar examiner (from 1994 until resigning in 2002 upon mobilization on active duty); and was appointed as a special deputy prosecuting attorney for prosecution of an attorney for bribery and interference with witnesses.

Mr. Slaton received his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Hawaii, where he graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; and received his law degree from Vanderbilt University, where he served as an Articles Editor on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Insurance defense, real estate and commercial litigation.

BAR MEMBERSHIPS

Hawaii State Bar Association
New Hampshire Bar Association (resigned in good standing)


Associates

Kristi L. Arakaki  Associate

Kristi L. Arakaki
Associate

Associate

Kristi L. Arakaki

Ms. Arakaki obtained her B.A. in biology, BBA in accounting and Master's in accounting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received her J.D. from the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law. Ms. Arakaki clerked for the Honorable Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Supreme Court of Hawaii before entering private practice.

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Estate Planning, Tax Law, Civil and Commercial Litigation and Insurance Defense.


Kelcie K. Nagata Associate

Kelcie K. Nagata
Associate

Associate

Kelcie K. Nagata

Kelcie Nagata is a graduate of Punahou Schools, where she graduated with honors. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Political Science and minor in Law, Societies, and Justice. She received her Juris Doctorate from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2016 and was also admitted into the Hawaii State Bar Association that same year. While in school Kelcie was a competing member and Team Captain of the Manfred-Lachs Space Law Moot Court and was a Quarter-Finalist for the 2016 competition.

Kelcie was a law clerk with the Honorable Glenn J. Kim of the First Circuit Court, 4th Division in Honolulu Hawaii. While with Judge Kim, Kelcie researched and discussed numerous legal issues and performed other duties in court such as called calendar and tended to the jury as the bailiff.

She worked as an extern in the Law Office of Mark S. Kawata where she researched, organized, and digested various legal issues and documents to brief attorneys.

She also worked as an extern in the Court of the Honorable Shirley M. Kawamura, First Circuit Court, 6th Division, where she researched and provided numerous bench memorandums for pending cases and motions.

Kelcie also worked at the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, Honolulu, HI, as a legal intern. While there she conducted critical analysis and provided recommendations of conferrals to the Sexual Assault and Career Criminal Division, conducted research and also assisted deputy prosecuting attorneys with trial preparation.


Justin Y.D. Tsai Associate

Justin Y.D. Tsai
Associate

Associate

Justin Y.D. Tsai

Justin received his Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University in 2007 and received his Juris Doctorate from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in 2012. He is admitted to the State of Hawaii Bar and California Bar.

Justin worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu for four years. During his tenure, Justin prosecuted over 20 jury trials and numerous bench trials. Justin now uses his trial and courtroom experience to assist his clients in civil cases.