Firm Profile

Carlsmith Ball LLP


1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2100
Honolulu, HI 96813
United States
(808) 523.2500

Firm Details

At Carlsmith Ball, our history is driven by change. From the founding of our first office in Hilo in 1857, to welcoming the state’s first woman lawyer, to representing Hawaii’s earliest condominium projects, we’ve been a part of the evolving legal landscape over the past 160 years. And we haven’t stopped there. With over 60 attorneys, Carlsmith Ball has offices in Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Maui. Our firm is uniquely positioned to represent clients in the Pacific region and beyond. Our collaborative spirit sets us apart. We work together from oceans away to provide counsel to clients in virtually every area of law. We believe that diversity of thought, experience, culture and geography leads to innovative thinking. It breeds creativity. It encourages our attorneys to rise to the occasion, calling on new approaches as well as refined tactics to deliver quality legal services. Drawing from a century and a half of history, we’ll continue to lead the way in Hawaii’s legal industry.

Today, Carlsmith Ball serves as a one-stop source of legal services and strategic counsel for Fortune 500 companies; small and mid-size corporations; banks; institutions; state, local and federal governments; and individuals. We provide strategic, practical counsel and the knowledge that comes from deep experience in a wide range of areas, including:

Administrative:  We represent US and foreign business clients in their dealings with government agencies and regulatory bodies, including in the areas of energy, public and governmental affairs, land use and entitlements, permitting, public utilities, environmental regulation and compliance, historic preservation and Native Hawaiian considerations, maritime, procurement, and water rights.

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:  We provide counsel to national, state-chartered, local, and foreign financial institutions 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:  We represent 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 and has handled significant mergers and acquisitions.

Environmental & Land Use:  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.  We actively promote clients' interests in such areas as commercial development, agriculture, tourism, land use, and renewable energy.

Greater China Practice:  The U.S. and China now make up more than one-third of the world economy, and Hawaii and California are uniquely positioned to bridge the East and West. A deep understanding of the local cultures, languages, and legal landscapes are essential when it comes to seizing the influx of business and investment opportunities between Asia Pacific and the U.S.

Indigenous Rights:  We have represented parties in complex litigation involving Native Hawaiian issues and also advise clients with regard to administrative, development, and environmental matters.

Labor, Employment & Immigration:  We provide 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.  We represent 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, maritime and admiralty, antitrust, trade, intellectual property, and other areas of litigation.

Real Estate & Project Development:  We represent domestic and foreign clients in matters involving resort and hotel, commercial, retail, residential, governmental, agricultural, and industrial projects.  We assist clients in complex real estate matters, including acquisition, disposition, construction, development, and financing (including project finance).  Our attorneys have 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, Estate Planning & Pension:  We advise on the tax-efficient structuring of organizations and transactions and represent clients in tax controversies at all levels.  We maintain 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.



Top Listed State Awards

  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Administrative / Regulatory Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Administrative / Regulatory Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) with 7 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Corporate Law with 6 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Land Use and Zoning Law with 6 lawyers

Top Listed City Awards

  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Corporate Law with 6 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Land Use and Zoning Law with 4 lawyers


  • Leadership Circle Recognition Award from the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
  • U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers in America Named Carlsmith Ball a Tier 1 Law Firm in 18 Practice Areas
  • Hawaii Super Lawyers 2015 Select Carlsmith Attorneys For Inclusion
  • Twenty-Seven Carlsmith Ball Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2016
  • Chambers USA Ranks Carlsmith Ball Among Top Law Firms for 2015 and Recognize 15 Carlsmith Partners
  • Benchmark Litigation Names Michael M. Purpura a Litigation Star and Lists Carlsmith Ball as Recommended for Litigation
  • Southern California Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition 2015 Selects Carlsmith Associate Mary Conklin for Inclusion
  • Carlsmith Ball Commits to 160 Hours of Community Service -Commemorates firm’s 160th year
  • 15 Carlsmith Ball Attorneys and 5 Practice Areas Recognized by Chambers USA 2017
  • Carlsmith Ball Attorneys Named Super Lawyers 2017
  • Carlsmith Ball Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers In America 2018


  • 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.
  • James Campbell Company, LLC
  • Japan Airlines
  • Kalaeloa Partners, LP
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Kapolei Property Development LLC
  • 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
  • Walt Disney Company


Vicki Y. Nakahara
Managing Partner

Firm Practice Areas

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • CleanTech Law
  • Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law
  • Construction Law
  • Economic Development Law
  • Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
  • Employment Law - Management
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law
  • Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Government Relations Practice
  • International Trade and Finance Law
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Litigation - Banking and Finance
  • Litigation - Bankruptcy
  • Litigation - Construction
  • Litigation - Environmental
  • Litigation - Insurance
  • Litigation - Intellectual Property
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment
  • Litigation - Land Use and Zoning
  • Litigation - Municipal
  • Litigation - Real Estate
  • Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy)
  • Litigation - Trusts and Estates
  • Litigation and Controversy - Tax
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law
  • Municipal Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Securitization and Structured Finance Law
  • Tax Law
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Utilities Law
  • Venture Capital Law
  • Water Law

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Office Locations

United States

United States



Hilo, HI

121 Waianuenue Avenue

Hilo, HI 96720

United States

(808) 935.6644

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Honolulu, HI

1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2100

Honolulu, HI 96813

United States

(808) 523.2500

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Kailua Kona, HI

75-1000 Henry Street, Suite 209

Kailua Kona, HI 96740

United States

(808) 329.6464

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Wailuku, HI

One Main Plaza, Suite 400

2200 Main Street

Wailuku, HI 96793-1086

United States

(808) 242.4535

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