Joyce Tam-Sugiyama

Joyce W.Y. Tam-Sugiyama has a broad practice and represents a wide array of clients in commercial and business litigation, employment litigation, agency proceedings, permitting, environmental law, land use, and intellectual property.  She also has experience in advising clients in conducting internal investigations and responding to federal grand jury subpoenas.

Before becoming an attorney, Joyce was a civilian chemical engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division of the U.S. Navy. Leveraging her engineering background, she regularly advises clients on technical and other regulatory issues involving state and federal environmental and land use laws.  She brings a diverse background that enables her to advise clients on nearly every aspect of a complex development project, from environmental due diligence, to permitting and compliance, to enforcement actions and litigation.

Joyce also has a breadth of intellectual property experience and has represented various different types of clients ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses to large Fortune 500 corporations to identify and protect copyright, trademark, and patent assets.  She has intellectual property experience in a variety of technologies including renewable energy, oil exploration technology, and pharmaceuticals.

Joyce began her legal career at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York, where she frequently took on large-scale “bet-the-company” litigation and was part of a trial team that successfully obtained a jury award of over $105 million. Prior to joining Watanabe Ing, Joyce was a partner and co-chair of the Environmental Practice Group at Carlsmith Ball LLP.

Practice Areas

GOVERNMENT AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS

  • Land Use and Environmental
  • Public Utilities

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. 2010
  • Senior Editor, Georgetown Journal of International Law
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Engineering
  • Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
  • Materials Science & Engineering

Notable Cases

  • Represented Mahi Pono, LLC in conducting environmental due diligence in connection with purchase of agricultural land in Maui
  • Represented Kamehameha Schools in negotiating a landmark agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an audit of over 3,000 properties to identify and close large capacity cesspools
  • Represented the University of Hawai’i in obtaining and defending a complex contested case involving a permit to build an observatory on Mauna Kea.
  • Represented a landowner in successfully obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of a multi-million dollar animal trespass lawsuit
  • Represented large defense contractor in internal investigation and response to a federal grand jury subpoena

FIRM DESCRIPTION

A PREMIER LAW FIRM

Watanabe Ing is a premier law firm that offers a comprehensive range of legal and consulting services. The diverse experience of our team of attorneys and advisors enables us to be involved in nearly every aspect of Hawaii’s legal, political, and economic landscape. We’ve successfully defended against high-stakes lawsuits, facilitated aspects of the largest planned urban development in Honolulu (trust us, it was huge), and advised clients on the latest changes in campaign finance laws.

IT STARTED IN 1971

Our story began in 1971 when a young group of local attorneys founded the law firm with simple idea-professional excellence, initiative, responsibility, and a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing our clients in Hawaii’s unique environment are essential to client success.

Over 45 years later the idea is the same, our team has grown, we have garnered local and national awards and distinctions, and we are one of the leading law firms in Hawaiʻi. This is the direct result of our continued response to an ever-changing landscape while expanding our areas of practice, and continuing our professional development.

While it’s been 45 years and counting, we still treat each matter like we’re young and it’s 1971.

ATTORNEYS, ADVISORS, AND ALUMNI

A legal team with diverse experiences.

A number of our attorneys and advisors had diverse and successful careers in areas including government, construction, hospitality, the media and the military prior to joining us. These diverse experiences provide our legal and public affairs professionals with a unique perspective in advising clients on local, national, and international issues.

A really, really wide network.

Many of our past team members have built upon the skills gained at our firm and have transitioned into various positions throughout Hawaiʻi – from upper-level management in state and local government, financial institutions, public utilities, and insurance. We take pride in their accomplishments and their continued commitment to our community.

AWARDS

Recognized by clients and colleagues

With decades of experience among our attorneys and advisors, we are humbled by our clients and colleagues who consistently recognize that our knowledge, skills and exemplary service go beyond expectations.

In recent years, our attorneys and advisors have been recognized by Honolulu Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Hawaiʻi, Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, and Super Lawyers.  Our Public Affairs Group was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Award by the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Kenneth Robbins

Every legal dispute should be resolved as early and efficiently as possible, says Ken Robbins. With vast experience at trial, professionalism and civility, it is possible to negotiate extremely favorable settlements. When it’s necessary to go to court, however, Robbins has 44 years of experience, having tried to a verdict more than 140 cases with a success rate of better than 95 percent. To what does he attribute his success? Out-of-the-box thinking, hard work, and common sense, says Robbins, who has been named among the Best Lawyers in America since 1995, including Lawyer of the Year in Personal Injury Litigation in 2010 and 2013. He has also been listed as one of Hawaii’s top business litigators by Super Lawyers since 2008; and he has a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating. A member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Robbins has taught as a master at trial at both bar and judicial conferences.

FIRM DESCRIPTION

“Bronster Fujichaku Robbins is recognized as one of the premier trial law firms in Hawaii, handling major cases on all of the islands for clients of all sizes — from individuals, various state and county agencies, local companies to Fortune 500 corporations.  Our primary areas of service include complex commercial litigation, trust and estate litigation, employment, professional malpractice and real estate litigation.

Our attorneys and experienced legal staff are committed to serving both individual and business clients with creative and cost-effective approaches to resolving complex legal issues.

We invite you to learn more about us here and to contact us if we can help you.”

Jordon J. Kimura

Jordon Kimura is a partner in the firm’s Litigation and Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management practice groups. His practice focuses primarily on civil, commercial, construction, and probate (wills and trusts) litigation, health care law, medical malpractice defense, and estate planning.

Mr. Kimura’s key litigation accomplishments include obtaining a dismissal of a construction lawsuit for a large bridge defect case on the basis of the economic loss rule and dismissal of claims against a health care plan provider for purported wrongdoing with respect to health care coverage. As a member of the Firm’s Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management Practice Group, Mr. Kimura brings his litigation experience and expertise to effectively counsel clients on asset protection planning while also planning for the surviving spouse and helping to ensure a continuing legacy.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Mr. Kimura graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a degree in mathematics, achieving the highest honors designation in his major. He then returned home to attend the University of Hawai’i, William S. Richardson School of Law (“Richardson”), where he received numerous scholastic awards, including the Phi Delta Phi Balfour National Scholarship for scholastic merit and awards for obtaining the highest grades in Advanced Torts & Insurance Law, Negotiation/Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Second Year Seminar. Mr. Kimura served as a Comments Editor for Richardson’s law review and a Senior Writing Associate & Teaching Assistant for the Richardson Writing Center Board. In 2009, he graduated summa cum laude from Richardson.

Mr. Kimura has served on the firm’s marketing committee and is currently chair of the hiring committee. As part of his commitment to giving back to the community, Mr. Kimura provides pro bono assistance to the Sex Abuse Treatment Center at Kapiolani Medical Center and is an officer and director of the non-profit Hawaii Coalition Against Sex Assault.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

The estate planning and probate group concentrates on the areas of estate planning, probate, elder law, and estate/trust administration. Services encompass estate tax planning and preparation of estate planning instruments, including trusts, wills and estate planning entities such as family limited partnerships. The Group is involved in domiciliary and ancillary probate matters, and counsels clients in Medicaid and other planning areas affecting senior citizens.

McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon:

Trusting the right law firm to represent you or your business is essential. That firm should understand you or your company, offer creative solutions to your commercial and legal challenges, and always maintain a keen eye on the big picture.

At McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP (M4), we understand that the most valuable legal advice comes after walking in our client’s shoes. Our clients demand real world advice, not law school answers. We meet their demands by providing the same sort of advice we would want: solution-oriented, practical, and timely.

Jordon J. Kimura

Jordon Kimura is a partner in the firm’s Litigation and Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management practice groups. His practice focuses primarily on civil, commercial, construction, and probate (wills and trusts) litigation, health care law, medical malpractice defense, and estate planning.

Mr. Kimura’s key litigation accomplishments include obtaining a dismissal of a construction lawsuit for a large bridge defect case on the basis of the economic loss rule and dismissal of claims against a health care plan provider for purported wrongdoing with respect to health care coverage. As a member of the Firm’s Trusts, Estate Planning, and Wealth Management Practice Group, Mr. Kimura brings his litigation experience and expertise to effectively counsel clients on asset protection planning while also planning for the surviving spouse and helping to ensure a continuing legacy.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Mr. Kimura graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a degree in mathematics, achieving the highest honors designation in his major. He then returned home to attend the University of Hawai’i, William S. Richardson School of Law (“Richardson”), where he received numerous scholastic awards, including the Phi Delta Phi Balfour National Scholarship for scholastic merit and awards for obtaining the highest grades in Advanced Torts & Insurance Law, Negotiation/Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Second Year Seminar. Mr. Kimura served as a Comments Editor for Richardson’s law review and a Senior Writing Associate & Teaching Assistant for the Richardson Writing Center Board. In 2009, he graduated summa cum laude from Richardson.

Mr. Kimura has served on the firm’s marketing committee and is currently chair of the hiring committee. As part of his commitment to giving back to the community, Mr. Kimura provides pro bono assistance to the Sex Abuse Treatment Center at Kapiolani Medical Center and is an officer and director of the non-profit Hawaii Coalition Against Sex Assault.

The Estate & Trust Law Practice:

The estate planning and probate group concentrates on the areas of estate planning, probate, elder law, and estate/trust administration. Services encompass estate tax planning and preparation of estate planning instruments, including trusts, wills and estate planning entities such as family limited partnerships. The Group is involved in domiciliary and ancillary probate matters, and counsels clients in Medicaid and other planning areas affecting senior citizens.

McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon:

Trusting the right law firm to represent you or your business is essential. That firm should understand you or your company, offer creative solutions to your commercial and legal challenges, and always maintain a keen eye on the big picture.

At McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP (M4), we understand that the most valuable legal advice comes after walking in our client’s shoes. Our clients demand real world advice, not law school answers. We meet their demands by providing the same sort of advice we would want: solution-oriented, practical, and timely.

Michael D. Tom

MICHAEL D. TOM was born in Hawaii and graduated from Saint Louis High School in Honolulu in 1963. He attended the University of Santa Clara, where he received a degree in Civil Engineering (B.C.E., 1967), was elected to Tau Beta Pi, the national honorary engineering academic society, and was the initial recipient of the George L. Sullivan award for engineering excellence. 

He also received a Master’s degree in structural engineering from Stanford University (M.S.C.E., 1968) and has completed most of the course work for the Engineer’s degree, a professional pre-doctoral degree offered by Stanford. Upon completion of his schooling, Mr. Tom worked for consulting engineers in Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C. and served in the Corp of Engineers, U.S. Army.  

Mr. Tom attended the Hastings College of Law, University of California where he received his law degree (J.D. 1975). He was an Associate Editor of the Hastings Law Journal (1975) and was elected to the Order of the Coif, the national honorary legal academic society.

Mr. Tom was admitted to the bar in Hawaii in 1975. He joined a large and prominent Honolulu law firm in 1975 and became a partner in 1981. 

He initially was involved in personal injury and wrongful death litigation related to automobile and defective products and construction defect litigation. He has conducted numerous jury and court trials in both state and federal courts. Because of his training and education, Mr. Tom’s practice presently focuses upon all aspects of the construction industry, product liability litigation, the defense of design, medical, legal and real estate professionals, insurance coverage disputes and real property disputes. 

He has been involved in negotiating and drafting contracts for major building projects in Hawaii, on the mainland United States and in the United Kingdom. He has personally been involved in over 150 major construction lawsuits. He has represented owners, design professionals, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, sureties and lenders.

Mr. Tom has been appointed an Arbitrator by the Hawaii Supreme Court for its arbitration program. In addition, he serves as an arbitrator and mediator with Dispute Prevention & Resolution, Inc.  Mr. Tom has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® from 2007 to the present in the area of construction law and is a Fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America.

 

Mr. Tom is the author of Hawaiian Beach Access: A Customary Right, 26 Hastings Law Journal (1975) and is a contributor to the Digest of Commercial Laws of the World, State Variations of Commercial Law (Oceana Publications, Inc. 1994). 

He has also co-authored Architect-Engineer Liability Under Hawaii Law (Cambridge Institute 1991).  From 1992 to 1993, Mr. Tom lived in Paris, France where he was on a “working sabbatical”. 

He served as a consultant to Cabinet Sefrioui, a French law firm in Paris, on construction and international arbitration matters and edited a manuscript on the FIDIC General Conditions of Contract and an article on the enforceability of foreign arbitral awards.