Firm Profile

Carlsmith Ball LLP


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

Firm Details

Founded in 1857, Carlsmith Ball LLP has grown to become a full-service international law firm with nearly 65 lawyers and offices throughout Hawaii and in Los Angeles.

The founders of Carlsmith Ball built its reputation on high quality legal work and a commitment to providing excellent client service. Over the years, the Firm has developed a reputation for deep experience and skill in a wide variety of practice areas including real estate, land development, banking, foreign investment and litigation. Carlsmith Ball has been at the forefront of legal services in the Pacific. In 1888, we were joined by the first female lawyer in Hawaii. We provided legal services to Hawaii's first condominium project, and we are the only Hawaii-based law firm with offices throughout the Pacific and on the U.S. Mainland.  Wherever we serve clients, we take pride in the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience found among the ranks of our lawyers with local roots and top-tier firm experience.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Land Use & Hospitality:  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:  Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation:  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.

White Collar Crime & Criminal Defense:  Carlsmith handles white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, complex civil litigation, crisis management, and appellate litigation.


Top Listed State Awards

  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Administrative / Regulatory Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Banking and Finance Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law with 2 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law with 5 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Financial Services Regulation Law with 2 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Hawaii in Non-Profit / Charities Law with 2 lawyers

Top Listed City Awards

  • Top Listed in Wailuku with 2 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Administrative / Regulatory Law with 3 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Banking and Finance Law with 4 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law with 2 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law with 5 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Financial Services Regulation Law with 2 lawyers
  • Top Listed in Honolulu in Non-Profit / Charities Law with 2 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


Laura S. Lucas
Managing Partner
Michele C. Imata
Managing Partner

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Office Locations

United States

United States



Los Angeles, CA

515 South Flower Street, Suite 2900

Los Angeles, CA 90071-2225

United States

(213) 955.1200

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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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