Jeffrey S. Portnoy - Cades Schutte LLP

Jeffrey S. Portnoy

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1993
Phone: 808-521-9221

Mr. Portnoy is a partner practicing in the area of litigation.  He is the Chair of the firm's litigation department, and has practiced law as a civil litigator at the firm since 1972.  Mr. Portnoy has extensive litigation and alternative dispute resolution experience in several areas of substantive law, including insurance, employment, mass tort, product liability, media, securities, and medical and legal professional errors and omissions.

Mr. Portnoy was President of the Hawaii State Bar Association in 2007.  He is the current President of the Hawaii Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  He served a three year term as Hawaii's representative to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Board.

He has served two three-year terms as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit, and was Chairman of the United States District Court Advisory (Biden) Committee.  He also served as a Hawaii State Per Diem Judge and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hawaii teaching media law for several years.  He was elected to the Hawaii ABOTA chapter.  Mr. Portnoy has served as the Hawaii State Representative to the Defense Research Institute.  He has also served as the Hawaii State Bar Association's representative to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates.  He is presently a regent at the University of Hawaii.

Mr. Portnoy has been selected by his peers as Lawyer of the Year (Hawaii) in several practice areas including Insurance Law.  He has also been recognized by Bet the Company Litigation in Best Lawyers in America.  He is listed in Who's Who in America. He has been the recipient of several local and national awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists' First Amendment Award, and the Exceptional Performance Award from the Defense Research Institute.  Among other state and national recognitions, he has been selected as one of the leading litigators in Hawaii by Chambers USA and several other publications.

In his spare time, he has served as President of Manoa Valley Theatre's Board of Directors for 25 years and is the color analyst for University of Hawaii basketball on ESPN 1420.  Mr. Portnoy has served as visiting Professor of Law at the Debrecen School of Law, Debrecen, Hungary, was a visiting professor in Tartu, Estonia, Poland and Warsaw.


  • J.D. (1972), Duke University School of Law
  • B.A. (1969), Syracuse University


  • Supreme Court of Hawaii and Supreme Court of the United States
  • State Courts of the State of Hawaii
  • USDC for the District of Hawaii
  • USDC for the Northern Mariana Islands and the Northern District of California
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals


  • Elected to Membership - International Association of Defense Counsel - 1991
  • Exceptional Performance Award - Defense Research Institute - 1991 and 1993
  • Freedom of the Press Award - Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter - 1983
  • Selected by Governor Neil Abercrombie to serve on Judicial Selection Commission 2011 - 2017
  • Selected by Mayor Peter Carlisle to serve on City & County of Honolulu Ethics Commission
  • Selected for Best Lawyers in America from 1992 to 2015 in several practice areas, including (Commercial Litigation, First Amendment, Insurance, Legal Malpractice, Personal Injury Litigation, Bet the Company Litigation)
  • Selected for Chambers USA America's Leading Business Lawyers 2003-2015
  • Selected for Listing in Hawaii Super Lawyers since 2008
  • Selected for the Who's Who in America
  • Selected for Who's Who Legal: USA - Commercial Litigation 2006 - 2015
  • Society of Professional Journalists - First Amendment Award - 1995
  • State Leadership Award - Defense Research Institute - 1999


  • New Forums Press, Inc., Mass Communication Law in Hawaii (1994)
  • Hawaii Chapter - Libel Defense Resource Center 50 State Survey - l982 to present. Media Privacy and Related Law
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press - Manual on Access to Government - Hawaii Chapter
  • Western Newspaper Publishing Co., The Lum Court and the First Amendment, University of Hawaii Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 1,393-420
  • Speaker, teacher and author at numerous programs and seminars on media law, employment law, personal injury law, trial tactics, and commercial litigation.


  • Hawaii Representative to ABA House of Delegates - 1994-1996; Member, Bench Bar Conference)
  • American Bar Association (Member, ABA Forum Committee on Communications; Former Vice Chair, Media, Privacy and Defamation Law, ABA Tort & Insurance Practice)
  • Hawaii Defense Lawyers Association (Past President)
  • Defense Research Institute (Past Hawaii Chair; awarded their Ambassador Award)
  • United States District Court Advisory Committee (Past Chairman)
  • Two three-year terms as Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit
  • Former Hawaii Representative to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Board
  • Elected to American Board of Trial Advocates
  • United States District Court Magistrate Selection Panel (Chairman - 1990)
  • Board of Directors of the Manoa Valley Theatre (President)
  • Board of Directors of the Hawaii International Film Festival (Former President)
  • Honolulu Neighborhood Commission (Former Chairman)
  • University of Hawaii Basketball color analyst on ESPN 1420
  • University of Hawaii, Department of Journalism/Media Law (Adjunct Professor, 1985-1992)
  • Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board (Director)
  • Media Defense Resource Council (Member)
  • The Hawaii Labor Letter (Former Editor-in-Chief)
  • University of Hawaii Law School Dean Search Committee
  • University of Hawaii Board of Regents

Syracuse UniversityBA 1969Duke University School of LawJ.D. 1972
University of Hawaii Law School Dean Search CommitteeHawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary BoardUniversity of Hawaii Basketball on ESPN 1420Board of Directors of the Manoa Valley TheatreHawaii Defense Lawyers AssociationNinth Circuit Court of AppealsUnited States District Court Advisory CommitteeAmerican Board of Trial AdvocatesMedia Defense Resource CouncilThe Hawaii Labor Letter

Client Comments

"Jeff is an excellent top tier attorney. He has that rare combination of bull dog persistence and diplomatic candor that serves to advance the goals of his clients and resolve matters fairly and expeditiously. No matter how much he drills down into a particular issue or battle, he is always mindful of the big picture goals, which include helping us keep down our costs. In addition, he often assists us with training of our staff. He is an invaluable resource for our company and for me."

-Paul Naso

"For many years Jeff Portnoy has been known as the strongest First Amendment attorney in the state. His counsel has proven correct every time we ask."

-Michael Rosenberg
President and General Manager

"Jeff is an icon in Hawaii. Jeff enjoys a very respectful high profile position here with his extensive community involvement. In addition, he is thought of very highly by his peers and court system, and has been selected as the new President of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Over the years, Jeff has earned my respect to represent our company. He is forthright, honest, clear in his communication, develops consensus, analytical as a strategist, and a realist in his recommendation(s). Jeff and I share the same values of always wanting to be fair in our legal decision and outcome. This allows for a great partnership and commands mutual respect."

-Ernest Fukeda, Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
Hawaii Employers' Mutual Insurance Co., Inc.

"Mr. Portnoy is as good as it gets in terms of effective and experienced counsel, especially on matters requiring local expertise and understanding of the dynamics of the local court's personalities and processes. He has handled a host of matters, large and small, for Verizon (and before that GTE) over the years, and has done so with a deftness of touch that is without peer. On one very substantial class action matter in court (concluded successfully for us), he knew exactly when to make a very pointed response to an argument about "these lawyers from Washington" lodged by the other side - which bundled together all the traits you want from counsel (articulate, smart, tough, spot-on tone). Apart from professional expertise, he's extremely well rounded in a host of other ways that make him a great guy to be around."

-John Walker
Associate General Counsel/Deputy Head of Litigation

Office Location

1000 Bishop Street, Suite 1200
Honolulu, HI 96813
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants of the Honolulu Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Bet-the-Company Litigation of the Honolulu Metro Area2011 Lawyer of the Year in Insurance Law of the Honolulu Metro Area
Jeffrey S. Portnoy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Jeffrey S. Portnoy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!Jeffrey S. Portnoy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation (Aviation, Civil Litigation, Complex Litigation, Insurance, Labor and Employment, Maritime, Mass Tort, Media, Product Liability, Securities)
Insurance Law (Asbestos, Bad Faith, Casualty, Coverage, Defense, Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Media, Professional Liability)
Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants (Insurance, Lawyer Ethics, Mediation)
Litigation - First Amendment
Litigation - Labor and Employment
Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (Arbitration and Mediation, Aviation Litigation, Defamation, Insurance, Maritime, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, Professional Malpractice, Wrongful Death)