Joanne Lo Grimes - Carlsmith Ball LLP

Joanne Lo Grimes

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2010
Phone: 808-523-2587

Joanne Lo Grimes is a partner in the firm's Honolulu office.  In addition to her law degree, Ms. Grimes has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, a Master's degree in International Management and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Ms. Grimes' business management and operations background enhance the legal advice she provides to her clients, offering broad perspectives for creative solutions. Ms. Grimes recently was named the Honolulu Lawyer of the Year—Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law by The Best Lawyers in America 2016.  She is also listed for Non-Profit/Charities Law; she has been listed for both areas of since 2010.

Representative Matters

Represent and Advise Trustees and Fiduciaries. Ms. Grimes represents and advises trustees in connection with the administration of their trusts and the assets under their management.

Public Sector Trusts. For more than a decade, Ms. Grimes has served as legal counsel to a government retirement fund with approximately 20,000 participants and retirees. Her work involves advice and representation in connection with the government's defined benefit plan, defined contribution retirement system, deferred compensation plan, and welfare benefit plans. Ms. Grimes has advised in the areas of early retirement incentive programs; domestic relations orders; disability claims; administrative rule-making and appeals; procurement of investment management, actuarial, custodial, and third party administrative service providers; and has represented the plans in administrative appeals and litigation by plan participants.

Private Trusts. For over a decade, Ms. Grimes has represented and advised trustees of large private trusts in Hawai‘i in trust administration, trust accounting, and management of trust assets, particularly diversification and prudent investment policies; planning for termination and distribution of assets (pro rata and non-pro rata).

Charitable Trusts. Ms. Grimes provides advice to trustees of a large charitable trust on the Big Island of Hawai`i in the administration and management of trust assets held for the benefit of charitable beneficiary organizations supporting health care, educational, and charitable purposes in the Kamuela area.

Represent and Advise Employers. Ms. Grimes advises employers on employment related matters, including personnel matters, employee benefits, handbooks, equal employment opportunity issues, wage and hour compliance, confidentiality and non-competition agreements, work-for-hire arrangements, trade secret and trademark protection and trade symbol registration.

Prior Work Experience

Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Grimes worked in the financial industry, obtaining a registered representative license while employed by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in New York City. Ms. Grimes then worked as Assistant Operations Manager for a Merrill Lynch-Sun Hung Kai (Overseas Securities) joint venture in Hong Kong, and then as Operations Manager for Merrill Lynch International & Co.'s Asia/Pacific Institutional Office in Hong Kong.

During law school, Ms. Grimes externed as a student law clerk to the Administrative Judge for the First Circuit, State of Hawai`i, whose calendar included motions and probate proceedings. After law school, Ms. Grimes worked as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Ronald T.Y. Moon, former Chief Justice of the Hawai`i Supreme Court.


  • Rhoda Lewis Award for Public Service
  • Certified Financial Planner (Certificant)
  • Highest "AV" Professional Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Named Honolulu Lawyer of the Year—Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law by The Best Lawyers in America 2016; she is also listed for Non-Profit/Charities Law, and has been listed for both areas of practice since 2010
  • Outstanding Law Student, National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Carl K. Mirikitani Scholarship Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
  • West Publishing Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
  • American Jurisprudence Awards for Constitutional Law II and Advanced Legal Writing


  • Access to Justice Commission's Hawai`i Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 Task Force
  • APEC 2011 Hawai‘i (Volunteer Legal Counsel to the Hawai`i Host Committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Week and CEO Summit)
  • City & County of Honolulu Ethics Board of Appeals (Member)
  • Daughters of Hawai`i
  • Guam Bar Association
  • Financial Planning Association
  • Hawai`i Justice Foundation (Former Secretary and Director)
  • Hawai`i State Bar Association
  • Hawai`i Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
  • Hawai`i Women Lawyers (Past President and Former Director)
  • Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i (Vice President and Director)
  • PBS Hawai`i (Board Member)

University of Colorado DenverBS Thunderbird School of Global ManagementMBA William S. Riohardson School of Law, U. of Hawai'i ManoaJ.D.

Office Location

1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2100
Honolulu, HI 96813
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law of the Honolulu Metro Area
Joanne Lo Grimes has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!

Practice Areas

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
Non-Profit / Charities Law

Other Information

Gender: Female