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USA Guide
Firm Profile

Carlsmith Ball LLP

Firm Profile


  • ASB Tower, Suite 2200,
  • 1001 Bishop Street,
  • Post Office Box 656
  • Honolulu
  • Hawaii
  • USA
  • HI 96813

Firm profile submitted by Carlsmith Ball LLP

Managing Partner: Michelle C Imata and Laura S Lucas
Languages: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hawaiian, Japanese, Spanish
Other offices: The firm has offices in Hilo, Honolulu (main office), Kona, Los Angeles, and Wailuku Maui

Carlsmith Ball, a limited liability law partnership founded in 1857, is one of Hawaii’s oldest and largest multi-service firms and is renowned for its experience and skill in a wide variety of practice areas. It strives at all times to provide the highest quality legal work, client service and assistance in developing business relationships in industry sectors such as banking, real estate, renewable energy, hospitality, retail, manufacturing and distribution, maritime, entertainment and new media.

Carlsmith represents US and foreign business clients in their dealings with government agencies and regulatory bodies.

Admiralty & Maritime:
The firm maintains a dominant admiralty and shipping practice throughout the Pacific, with an international client base spanning the shipping, maritime, transportation and marine insurance industries.

Banking & Finance:
The firm provides counsel to national, state-chartered, local and foreign financial institutions (including credit unions) in all types of business, regulatory and litigation matters.

Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights:
Carlsmith represents national, state-chartered and local financial institutions, in enforcing claims and recovering collateral, in workouts and/or restructurings of troubled loans and in all related tax aspects.

Corporate, Business, Finance & Project Finance:
The firm represents profit and nonprofit, private and public, domestic and international clients in the formation, management and operations of their businesses and projects. Recently, the firm has been at the forefront of a number of complex, cutting-edge energy projects.

Environmental & Land Use:
Carlsmith represents major land owners, and developers, agribusiness, energy, banking and other clients, providing counsel and representation in an extensive array of environmental, land use and litigation matters.

Entertainment & Media:
Firm attorneys have been inside counsel as well as longtime counselors to the industry. The group’s litigation and arbitration experience allows it to provide keen insights into the best strategies for dispute avoidance and resolution.

Government Affairs:
Carlsmith’s government affairs team includes individuals who previously held some of the highest ranking positions in federal, state and local government. The firm actively promotes clients’ interests in such areas as commercial and real estate development, agriculture, tourism, land use and renewable energy.

Indigenous Rights:
The firm has represented parties in complex litigation involving Native Hawaiian issues and also advises clients with regard to administrative, development and environmental matters.

Labor & Employment:
The firm provides proactive and preventive counsel to public and private, for profit and nonprofit, business and government entities of all types and sizes and has successfully represented them before government agencies and defended them in litigation.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution:
Carlsmith is well regarded and has noteworthy experience at trial as well as in all aspects of litigating, arbitrating and preventing and mediating business and other disputes. The firm represents private, public, municipal and state entities in myriad complex commercial and civil disputes in matters regarding trusts and estates, real estate, land use, environmental, financial, securities, product liability, business transactions, contracts, professional liability, maritime and admiralty, antitrust, trade, intellectual property and other areas of litigation.

Private Client / Wealth Management:
Carlsmith represents high-net-worth individuals, trustees, and beneficiaries on contentious and non-contentious aspects of asset management, including wills and probate, tax and trusts.

Real Estate, Land Use & Hospitality:
The firm represents domestic and foreign clients in matters involving resort and hotel, commercial, retail, residential, governmental, agricultural and industrial projects. It assists clients in complex real estate matters, including acquisition, disposition, construction, development and financing (including project finance). The firm has substantial experience in areas such as land use, entitlement, zoning and planning; leasing and property management; environmental law; Hawaiian land claims; real property valuation and tax challenges; and permitting and licensing.

Renewable Energy & Clean Technology:
Carlsmith provides counsel and guidance in all areas related to the structure, operation and finance of energy and clean technology projects, including for some of Hawaii’s most important renewable and alternative energy projects: wind, geothermal, solar, waste-to-energy, OTEC, hydroelectric, biofuel and wave energy.

Tax: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation:
Carlsmith advises on the tax-efficient structuring of organizations and transactions and represents clients in tax controversies at all levels. The firm maintains the largest group of attorneys in Hawaii practicing in the highly specialized area of pension law, providing counsel on employee benefit and executive compensation matters for closely held organizations, public corporations, government entities and profit and nonprofit organizations. Carlsmith has extensive experience in advising clients in the creation, management and operation of charities and other tax-exempt organizations.

White Collar Criminal Defense:
Carlsmith’s white collar criminal defense group, which features former Assistant United States Attorneys from the District of Hawaii, Southern District of New York, and Eastern District of New York, represents corporations and individuals in criminal and regulatory investigations and trials. The firm’s white collar lawyers also conduct internal investigations and advise clients on compliance matters.

Clients: Actus Lend Lease; Bank of Hawaii; Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, LP; Borg-Warner Morse Tec; Central Pacific Bank; City and County of Honolulu; First Wind Energy; General Growth Properties; Government of Guam Retirement Fund; Hawaii Gas; Hawaii Host Committee, 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation; Hawaiian Airlines; Horizon Lines, Inc.; Hoshino Resorts, Inc.; James Campbell Company LLC; Japan Airlines; Kalaeloa Partners, LP; Kapolei Property Development LLC; Kamehameha Schools; Marsh USA; National Host Committee, 2016 World Conservation Congress; Parker Ranch Foundation Trust; Puna Geothermal Ventures; Resorttrust, Inc.; Schnitzer Steel; Sempra Energy; Southern California Edison; The Queen’s Health Systems; Trustees of the Estate of Samuel Damon; United Airlines; University of Hawaii and Walt Disney Company.


  • ASB Tower, Suite 2200,
  • 1001 Bishop Street, ,
  • Post Office Box 656,
  • Honolulu,
  • Hawaii
  • USA
  • HI 96813
  • Tel +1 808 523 2500
  • Fax +1 808 523 0842
  • Email : [email protected]
  • Website :