Joanne Lo Grimes

Joanne Lo Grimes


Carlsmith Ball LLP

Recognized since 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii

Practice Areas

Administrative / Regulatory Law

Corporate Governance Law

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Nonprofit / Charities Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Nonprofit / Charities Law
Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Nonprofit / Charities Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2016 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
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Joanne Grimes is a Partner in the firm’s Honolulu Office and is licensed to practice law in Hawaii and Guam. She has over two decades of experience in representing institutional businesses, nonprofit organizations, and private and charitable trusts in matters involving governance, employment & employee benefits, procurement, contracts, proprietary rights protection, fiduciary duties and trust administration. Ms. Grimes is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and is actively involved in civic and community service.Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Representative Matters

Trust Administration. Ms. Grimes has over two decades of experience in representing and advising trustees in connection with the administration of their trusts and the assets under their management, including legacy and inception assets. Ms. Grimes has worked on complex termination planning matters for large centuries-old Hawaii trusts distributing assets, pro rata and non-pro rata, to multi-generational beneficiaries. Ms. Grimes advises fiduciaries in the area of trust accounting (principal and income), trust administration, diversification and prudent investment, and fiduciary responsibilities. Ms. Grimes also represents parties in trust-related disputes over valuation and distribution of trust assets.

Nonprofit/Charities. Ms. Grimes advises nonprofit organizations on structure, governance, and compliance issues applicable to exempt organizations, including investments under management. She served as primary legal counsel to the Hawaii Host Committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2011, and the National Host Committee for the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2016. For over a decade, she has represented a large charitable trust in its support of four charitable organizations serving health care, educational, and charitable purposes in the Kamuela area of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Public Pension Plan. For over two decades, Ms. Grimes has served as primary outside counsel to a government retirement fund with more than 20,000 participants and retirees enrolled in defined benefit, defined contribution, deferred compensation, and welfare benefit plans. Ms. Grimes has advised in the areas of procurement of investment consultants, investment managers, actuaries, custodians, and third party administrators; and has represented the plans in administrative appeals and litigation by plan participants involving disability and retirement eligibility and benefits, domestic relations orders, and assists in the drafting of legislation, rules, and regulations affecting the plans.

Public Pension Plan. For over two decades, Ms. Grimes has served as primary outside counsel to a government retirement fund with more than 20,000 participants and retirees enrolled in defined benefit, defined contribution, deferred compensation, and welfare benefit plans. Ms. Grimes has advised in the areas of procurement of investment consultants, investment managers, actuaries, custodians, and third party administrators; and has represented the plans in administrative appeals and litigation by plan participants involving disability and retirement eligibility and benefits, domestic relations orders, and assists in the drafting of legislation, rules, and regulations affecting the plans.

Employment Advice. Ms. Grimes advises employers on personnel and benefits matters, employment agreements, handbooks, workplace issues, 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.

Proprietary Rights. Ms. Grimes works with individuals and business to protect their proprietary and intellectual property rights. She advises on confidentiality and non-competition agreements, work-for-hire arrangements, trade secret and trademark protection, and trade symbol registration.

Prior Work Experience

In a prior career, Ms. Grimes worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in New York City; for a Merrill Lynch – Sun Hung Kai (overseas securities) joint venture in Hong Kong; and then as Operations Manager for Merrill Lynch International (Asia) & Co. Ltd.’s Asia-Pacific Institutional Office in Hong Kong. During law school, Ms. Grimes externed as a student law clerk for the Administrative Judge for the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, whose calendar included motions and probate proceedings. After law school, Ms. Grimes worked as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ronald T.Y. Moon, Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Distinctions

  • Ranked in Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) 2018: “The World’s Leading High Net Worth Advisers"
  • Ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 - Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits & Compensation
  • 2016 Outstanding Women Lawyer Award, Hawaii Women Lawyers
  • Highest “AV” Professional Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • HONOLULU Magazine’s 2016 Lawyer of the Year distinction for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Non-profit/Charities Law since 2010
  • Rhoda V. Lewis Award for Public Service
  • Outstanding Law Student, National Association of Women Lawyers
  • West Publishing Award for Outstanding Scholastic AchievementCarl K. Mirikitani Scholarship Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
  • American Jurisprudence Awards for Advanced Legal Writing and Constitutional Law II

Affiliations

  • Access to Justice Commission HRPC Rule 6.1 Task Force
  • Certified Financial Planner™, CFP®
  • City & County of Honolulu Ethics Board of Appeals
  • Daughters of Hawaii
  • Guam Bar Association
  • Financial Planning Association, Hawaii Chapter
  • Hawaii Justice Foundation (former Secretary and Director)
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Hawaii Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

Location

  • 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2100
    Honolulu, HI 96813

Education

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management, MBA

Bar Admissions

  • Hawaii, Hawaii State BAr
  • United States, Guam Bar
  • United States, U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii
  • United States, U.S. District Court, District of Guam
  • United States, U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

Court Admissions

  • United States, U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • United States, U.S. District Court, District of Guam
  • United States, U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii

State Clerkships

  • Hawaii - Supreme Court

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2023 - Nonprofit / Charities Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2016 - Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Honolulu (2023)
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law, Honolulu (2023)
  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Honolulu (2016)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Corporate Governance Law
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law
  • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Administrative / Regulatory Law

Awards:

  • Honolulu Lawyer of the Year—Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2016
  • Ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 - Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits & Compensation
  • Ranked in Chambers High Net Worth 2018: "The World's Leading High Net Worth Advisers"
  • 2016 Outstanding Women Lawyer Award, Hawaii Women Lawyers

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