In Memoriam

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. Six senior partners have practiced over 45 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 36 recognitions as The Best Lawyers in America©, “Lawyers of the Year” in Honolulu (2011-2023), in both transactional and litigation practice areas.

Our firm is ranked "Tier 1" in Hawaii in 21 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.

The firm is Benchmark Litigation’s “Hawaii Litigation Firm of the Year” for 2020-2022, and a "Highly Recommended" law firm since 2011.

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®, Martindale-Hubbell® and as Benchmark Litigation's Litigation Law Firm of the Year-Hawaii.

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

A. Bernard Bays has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© and selected to the “Top 25," Hawaii Super Lawyers® list.  Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) and the Supreme Court of Hawaii. Mr. Bays is one of only two Hawaii lawyers who are certified by the NBTA.

Trevor A. Brown has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in fourteen litigation and transactional categories, named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu multiple times and is 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.

Doug Chin has been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list, named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu, named a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation, and is rated AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible, for his skill and integrity.  Mr. Chin focuses his practice on commercial litigation, administrative law and government relations. Mr. Chin served as Hawaii Attorney General, appointed by Governor David Ige.

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.

Sharon V. Lovejoy has been selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation’sTop 250 Women in Litigation in the United States”(2011-14) and Pacific Business News’ 2018 “Women Who Mean Business”.  Ms. Lovejoy has been named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America©,  multiple times, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, named a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation, is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and is a Fellow of the Federal Bar Foundation.

Maile S. Miller has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America©, Ones to Watch list, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers®, “Rising Star” list each year since 2018, named a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®. Ms. 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.

Terence J. O’Toole has been named “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 "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation.

Judith Ann Pavey has been named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© multiple times, 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.

Paul H. Sato has been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list.  Mr. Sato is rated AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible, for his skill and integrity. He is a seasoned litigation attorney who has over 40 years of experience and focuses on commercial litigation, real estate law, corporate law and administrative law.

Stephanie E.W. Thompson has been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list, selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, in Chambers and Partners USA Leading Lawyers for Business, 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.

ASSOCIATES

Robert J. Brown has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©: Ones to Watch list and selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers®, "Rising Star" list 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. 

Kukui Claydon has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©: Ones to Watch list and selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers®, "Rising Star" list. Ms. Claydon earned her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating with honors.

John W. Kelly has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©: Ones to Watch list and selected to Hawaii Super Lawyers®, "Rising Star" listMr. Kelly is admitted to the New York and Hawaii Bar and earned his Juris Doctor from New York Law School.

Kari K. Noborikawa earned her Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School graduating with honors. Ms. Norborikawa focuses her practice in the area of commercial litigation and is admitted to the D.C. and Hawaii Bar.

Eric S. Robinson earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law graduating summa cum laude.  Mr. Robinson focuses his practice in the area of commercial litigation and is admitted to the Hawaii Bar.

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

Trevor A. Brown is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© for both business and litigation matters, named by The Best Lawyers in America©, “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu multiple times, 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.

Norman H.Y. Cheng is Managing Director of the firm. Mr. Cheng has been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list, selected to the “Top 25” Hawaii Super Lawyers® list, is in Chambers and Partners USA Directory of Leading Lawyers for Business. 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 participates on many non-profit boards.

Duane R. Fisher has been named “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.

Ivan M. Lui-Kwan has been named “Lawyer of the Year” in Honolulu by The Best Lawyers in America© and selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® list. Mr. Lui-Kwan is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®, is the Ambassador to the US for the Maori King Tuheitia, and National Board Member of The American Judicature Society. 

Kenneth B. Marcus has been named “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.

Christina N. Ohira has been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list and selected to the 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 has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©: Ones to Watch list, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® Rising Star list since 2018, and is rated AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest rating possible for her skill and integrity. Ms. Orman represents clients in both litigation and transactional matters. Ms. Orman served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Emily Hewitt in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. She is admitted to the Hawaii Bar, and earned her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law, graduating with "High Honors”.

Sara S.T. Strona has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©: Ones to Watch list, selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” list and is rated AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell’s®  highest rating possible for her skill and integrity. Ms. 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.

ASSOCIATES

Cori J. Grunenwald works with both transactional and litigation teams assisting in drafting commercial real estate transaction documents, drafting litigation filings and litigation case research. Ms. Grunenwald is admitted to practice in Hawaii and the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Ms. Grunenwald earned her Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School where she was a member of the Federal Circuit Bar Journal.

Lauren K.O. Kagawa has been selected to the Hawaii Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” list. Ms.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.