Honolulu Real Estate & Litigation Law Firm

Highly Recognized Real Estate, Business Law & Commercial Litigation Attorneys

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher is a leader among Hawaii’s real estate and business law firms, recognized for its expertise in real estate law, commercial transactions and complex commercial litigation in Hawaii, the US mainland and internationally.

Firm transactional and litigation attorneys often join forces in complex commercial matters that require both business law and litigation experience. The firm’s intellectual power and mental strength and toughness generate winning strategies, strong negotiations and innovative settlements for clients. Above all, the firm’s attorneys have a passion for excellence and responsive client service, earning the firm an international reputation for extraordinary client results.

Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher's senior partners bring impressive depth in both years of practice and a skill level earned from working complex and nuanced cases for many years. Five senior partners have practiced over 40 years and remain actively involved in their legal practice.

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest AV Preeminent® rating, given by our legal peers for achieving the highest standards of professional ethics, excellence and legal ability. Our Hawaii litigation attorneys and transactional team have been selected to the “Top 25”, Hawaii Super Lawyers® list in the practice areas of business litigation and real estate law.  Firm attorneys have earned 26 recognitions as The Best Lawyers in America©, “Lawyers of the Year” in Honolulu (2011-2020), in both transactional and litigation practice areas, having more “Lawyer of the Year” recognitions than any other law firm in Hawaii, in 2014 and 2015.

Our firm is ranked "Tier 1" in Hawaii in 18 specialties by US News & World Report-Best Lawyers in America® “Best Law Firms”. The firm has been selected for inclusion each year since the accolade's inception in 2010.

A Litigation Powerhouse

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher’s litigation powerhouse has extensive experience, including significant jury and non-jury trial work, in complex commercial litigation encompassing business law, and corporate, contract and accounting issues related to real estate development, corporate ownership and management, the hotel and hospitality industry, environmental matters, construction claims, lender liability, class actions and personal injury matters.

Our respected team of litigation attorneys has trial expertise before State and Federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, and has served as litigation general counsel before courts in foreign jurisdictions.

When clients are faced with complex commercial issues concerning matters in Hawaii and beyond, the firm’s attorneys are amongst a handful of select “go-to” lawyers.

Our Trial Approach

Victory in the legal environment means triumph: economic satisfaction, a win-win agreement, or sometimes, just being proclaimed right.

The importance of the path to victory-strategies, players, and desired outcomes — make the selection of the legal trial team critical for success. The job is to design a road map that considers each twist and turn that may be presented. The experience and intellectual brainpower of the client’s trial attorneys often accounts for the outcome of litigation by crafting each strategic move on the battlefield along the way.

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher’s litigation attorneys take the fight for every client as if it were their own battle. To be responsible and involved is a hallmark of the law firm, which is built on the power of its people.

The firm’s litigation attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America©, Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business, The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers ™, Super Lawyers®, Benchmark Litigation and Martindale-Hubbell®.

All Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher’s litigation Directors are rated AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest possible rating, given to them by their peers for achieving very high ethical standards and professional ability.

Litigation Attorneys

DIRECTORS

Terence J. O’Toole has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© multiple times, selected to the “Top 25," Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, and named a “Star” by Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business and Benchmark Litigation.

Sharon V. Lovejoy has been selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation in the United States” (2011-2014). Ms.Lovejoy has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© multiple times, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Benchmark Litigation, in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and the Federal Bar Foundation.

Trevor A. Brown has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in ten litigation and transactional categories, named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu multiple times, and in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business and Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide. Mr. Brown has been selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, named a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, and has served as Chair of the Litigation Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

Judith Ann Pavey has been named a "Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© multiple times, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, and a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation. Ms. Pavey is a member of the American Board of Trial Lawyers, American Association of Justice and the American Inns of Court. Ms. Pavey practices and is recognized for her work in both commercial and personal injury litigation matters.

Andrew J. Lautenbach has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® list, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, is in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business and named a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation. Mr. Lautenbach is rated "AV Preeminent"®, Martindale-Hubbell's® highest rating possible for his skill and integrity, and serves as a Director on the Board of the Hawaii Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Doug Chin has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® list and is rated “AV Preeminent”, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible, for his skill and integrity. Mr. Chin served as Hawaii Attorney General, appointed by Governor David Ige.

Stephanie E.W. Thompson has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America®, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list as a “Rising Star” (2014, 2015) and named a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation. Ms. Thompson is rated "AV Preeminent"®, Martindale-Hubbell's® highest rating possible for skill and integrity, and served as the 2015 Chairperson of the Litigation Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

Paul H. Sato is Counsel to the firm.  Mr. Sato is a seasoned Hawaii litigation attorney who has over 40 years of experience and focuses on commercial litigation, real estate law, corporate law and administrative law. Mr. Sato is rated "AV Preeminent"®, Martindale-Hubbell's® highest rating possible for legal skill and integrity.

ASSOCIATES

Maile S. Miller represents clients in litigation matters. Ms. Miller is admitted to the Hawaii Bar, and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. Ms. Miller has been selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers® list as a “Rising Star”.

Kukui Claydon focuses her practice in the area of commercial litigation. Ms.Claydon is admitted to the Hawaii Bar, and earned her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating with honors. Ms. Claydon has been selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers® list as a “Rising Star”.

John W. Kelly focuses his practice in the area of commercial litigation with particular concentration in intellectual property rights. Mr. Kelly is admitted to the New York and Hawaii Bar and earned his Juris Doctor from New York Law School.

Robert J. Brown focuses his practice in the area of civil litigation. He is admitted to the Hawaii Bar, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Mr. Brown earned his Juris Doctor from University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Brown served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City & County of Honolulu. He prosecuted more than 20 felony jury trials on charges ranging from drug possession to murder. Mr. Brown has been selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers® list as a “Rising Star”.

Business-Focused Real Estate Attorneys

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher’s real estate and business law attorneys are known for sophisticated case analysis and innovative business solutions for complex matters. Our attorneys have significant experience in real estate development and transactions, hotels, hotel management agreements, corporate finance, international transactions, secured transactions, mergers and acquisitions, construction law and complex commercial matters, in Hawaii, the US and internationally.

The firm’s impressive skill and experience in strategic case planning, ingenious solutions and powerful negotiations in all aspects of complex real estate transactions has opened many doors for domestic and international clients, and have helped many navigate Hawaii's complex land use and permitting laws.

Our Transactional Approach

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher transactional attorneys have an innate talent for critical thinking through each complex commercial matter. What’s more, they excel in solving the pieces of a puzzle, examining the players, unraveling the details of agreements and handshake deals, to identify the keys that will give the client the clear advantage.

In today’s complex competitive environment, firm transactional attorneys shine when approaching the deal table. Strong, experienced and prepared for endless possible moves and counter moves, firm attorneys drive for exceptional results for every client whether they are a family owned business or an international corporation.

Our transactional attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America©, Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business, The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers ™ and selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list.

All transactional Directors are rated "AV Preeminent"®, the highest rating possible given by Martindale-Hubbell®, a distinction given by our legal peers for achieving the highest standards for professional skill, ethics and integrity.

Real Estate Attorneys

DIRECTORS

Law firm founder, Peter Starn, has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business, and is recognized for his expertise in real estate and corporate law, with a particular focus on the hotel and resort industry. Mr. Starn is a former Naval Aviator and a board member of the Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor.

Kenneth B. Marcus is selected to The Best Lawyers in America® list, named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©, selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business and is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC). Mr. Marcus has structured numerous successful hotel management agreements and authored the Hawaii State Bar Association Real Estate Manual chapter.

Duane R. Fisher is co-founder of the firm, is named a“Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©, selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business and is recognized for his expertise in real estate, corporate and construction law.

Trevor A. Brown is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© for both business and litigation matters, named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©, selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, is in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business and Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide and named a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation. Mr. Brown is often called upon to work on client matters that require business and litigation strategy.

Ivan M. Lui-Kwan has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list and rated "AV Preeminent"® by Martindale-Hubbell®. Mr. Lui-Kwan is the Ambassador to the US for the Maori King Tuheitia, and National Board Member of The American Judicature Society. He is Past Chairman of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Board. Mr. Lui-Kwan was the recipient of the “2014 Lifetime Achievement Award” given by Pacific Edge Magazine.

Norman H.Y. Cheng is Managing Director of the firm. Mr. Cheng has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® list, is in Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business and selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers® list. Mr. Cheng is rated "AV Preeminent"®, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible for his skill and integrity. He practices in the area of real estate law, and is participates with various community non-profit boards.

Christina N. Ohira has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® list and Hawaii Super Lawyers® Rising Star list. Ms. Ohira concentrates her practice in the areas of real estate and commercial transactions, and has received Martindale-Hubbell's® highest possible “AV Preeminent”® rating for her legal skill and integrity.

Lindsay E. Orman focuses her practice in the areas of real estate acquisitions and sales, land use and entitlements issues, business structure and operations, business transactions, and legislative and other government relations work. Ms. Orman has been selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list as a “Rising Star.” Ms. Orman is rated "AV Preeminent"®, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible for her skill and integrity. Prior to joining SOM&F, Ms. Orman served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Emily Hewitt in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. 

ASSOCIATES

Sara S. T. Strona focuses her practice in the areas of real estate, commercial transactions, and business structure and operations. She is admitted to the Hawaii Bar, and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.

Nainoa J. Watson focuses his practice in the areas of real estate and commercial transactions. He is admitted to the Hawaii Bar and a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Mr. Watson earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law graduating with honors.

Lauren K.O. Kagawa focuses her practice in the areas of real estate and commercial transactions. She earned her Juris Doctor from University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, graduating with honors. Ms. Kagawa is admitted to the Hawaii Bar.

Hawaii Real Estate & Business Law, Commercial Litigation
Practice Areas

Our Hawaii business lawyers and litigation attorneys form a team of fighters who are prepared to go the distance, but who are also on the lookout for rational business solutions and outside-of-the-box opportunities.  Almost every case has a moment in time when a settlement is to the client’s advantage.  A good trial team pays close attention to this dynamic and proactively keeps the client informed about settlement opportunities and risk/rewards of further litigation versus settlement. And when we are called to the fight, we go full throttle.

We are experienced in Hawaii real estate transactions and development, hotels, corporate finance, international transactions, secured transactions, mergers and acquisitions, construction law, mold litigation and complex commercial litigation, including “bet-the-company” litigation.

Our Hawaii real estate law, business and litigation attorneys have been selected for inclusion to the The Best Lawyers in America© list, Hawaii Super Lawyers®, Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Appellate, Benchmark Plaintiff, the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™, Chambers and Partners USA Legal Directory of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide and have earned Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest AV rating.

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What People Say About Us

"A very aggressive litigation group with some highly talented lawyers."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"A top notch law firm — highly impressive. Strategic thinkers with an uncommon ability to sift through complex issues to get to common-sense solutions."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"The individuals we work with come with high recommendations and take an assertive stance."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"Starn O'Toole clearly stands out above the rest in what they do."

Benchmark Litigation

"An impressive reputation as a go to commercial litigation law firm for regional and global corporations."

Benchmark Litigation

"We were looking for the best litigators in Hawaii, and we found them."

Benchmark Litigation

"The team is praised for comprising"excellent attorneys"who are"highly knowledgeable."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"thoughtful, creative problem solvers. They have the courage to challenge the client when it is their best interest."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"They have been an excellent representative for us. They are thoughtful in their analysis of the situation, have explored a variety of available options, offered sound advice and followed through with persistence."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Client Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher has excellent lawyers. They are great advisors, and are very professional and polished."

The Best Lawyers in America©, Client Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher is an excellent and responsive firm that understands business needs and issues."

The Best Lawyers in America©, Client Comment

"An excellent firm. Excellent service and very responsive, with well trained junior associates. They provide sound commercial advice."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"The thing that really makes them stand out is their business advisory capabilities — they are very insightful about the business side of real estate acquisitions."

Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Comment

"The best attorneys are in this firm. They are sensitive to the client's needs, most professional and won all of my litigation cases. I would highly recommend this law firm."

The Best Lawyers in America©, Client Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher is the best firm I’ve had the pleasure of working with over a 38 year career. To a person, they are all professional, caring, effective and ethical."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers®, "Best Law Firms”, Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher has strong partners and associates in both real estate and commercial litigation. They are well respected by peers and local judges."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher is first rate. The level of professionalism is extraordinary, and the competence is off the charts. Their negotiating ability with opposing counsel was superb; professional, courteous, and firm. They were able therefore, to reach good settlements and serve us very well while maintaining fine relationships with opposing counsel. This is a confident firm, with confidence based on achievement."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher is one of the best most competent firms and attorneys I have ever used."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"I never cease to be surprised at the skills Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher brings in solving my legal issues. They are well connected and well regarded around town."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"When we got into a litigation matter in Hawaii, we got a reference to Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher. They not only exceed in their expertise, they understand the culture and politics of the area as well. Stephanie Thompson and the staff in particular showed impeccable integrity. I usually refrain from participating in these types of surveys, but I wanted to share how great this firm is."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers

"The attorneys at Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher have proved to be extremely efficient and responsive and while they are a top rate firm, their efficiency in work keeps costs reasonable. I enjoy and appreciate working with them, especially Ken Marcus."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"Doug Chin, at Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher, has been a wonderful partner in our government relations efforts. He is a consummate professional and well respected in our community, so he is able to open many doors for us. We appreciate our partnership with Doug and with Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"Stephanie and Trevor, at Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher, helped us through a very difficult case with patience, compassion and diligence. Their attentiveness and candor got us the best possible outcome. I highly recommend!"

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

"The real estate team at Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher are true professionals. They are very knowledgeable on matters of Hawaiian law, and take a practical business approach to negotiations and problem-solving. They possess excellent research, drafting and negotiating skills. The presence of a government relations capability at the firm is a definite plus. I have worked with the firm for many years and look forward to many more."

US News & World Report-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, Comment

Worldwide Capabilities

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher is a proud member of TerraLex and SCG Legal, two of the world’s leading networks of independent law firms. Together, the networks provide the Firm access to the expertise of over 31,000 attorneys across the globe, so we may better serve our clients, wherever in the world their legal needs may arise.