John S. Edmunds
John S. Edmunds has been practicing law in Hawaii for over 32 years, primarily as a trial and appellate lawyer. Mr. Edmunds currently focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and complex litigation, personal injury, professional malpractice, and criminal defense. As one newspaper reporter put it, "he has tried every kind of case from murder to malpractice."
Mr. Edmunds' litigation expertise is well-recognized, both in Hawaii and outside the state. He is the recipient of an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an honor only given to attorneys with the highest level of legal ability and professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence. By vote of his fellow lawyers, he has been listed as one of The Best Lawyers in America for twenty yearsin the areas of business litigation, plaintiff's personal injury law, and criminal defense. He is one of only two attorneys in Hawaii listed in all three categories and the only one to be listed in those particular three categories. Mr. Edmunds is also listed in Hawaii Super Lawyers, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in Business and Finance, and Who's Who in America.
Several prestigious professional organizations have honored Mr. Edmunds by selecting him for membership, including the American College of Trial Lawyers; the International Society of Barristers, whose membership is by invitation only and limited to the very top members of the legal profession; and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to the top 500 trial lawyers in the United States. In addition, Mr. Edmunds was nominated as a Fellow by the American Bar Foundation, an honor reserved for only one-third of one percent of lawyers in each state.
Business clients represented by Mr. Edmunds throughout the years include such major Fortune 500 companies as Shell Oil, Nestle, Bank of America, United Airlines, Foremost-McKesson, and Equitable Life; and such prominent Hawaii businesses and businessmen as the late Dr. Hung Wo Ching, Stanley Himeno, Everett Dowling, Ko'olina Development Corp., Mike McCormack Realty, Burger King Corp., Robert Pulley & Associates, Jeffrey Stone Realty, and Hyatt property developer Hemmeter Investment Company.
In an interview with Honolulu Magazine, Henry Shigekane, an attorney and partner in Hemmeter Investment, said of Mr. Edmunds, "John got us great results the first time, and we kept him in our corner from then on. [We] were all very impressed with his work. He handled our litigation, but we also sought his advice on how to avoid litigation when we were structuring new projects. [We] always wanted his perspective on what we were doing, and we were never disappointed."
In addition to his successes in business litigation, Mr. Edmunds won an acquittal for Gertrude Toledo, who was charged with allegedly murdering her husband. He also represented Senator Norman Mizuguchi in a court battle over his bid for Senate Presidency. Mr. Mizuguchi was quoted as saying Mr. Edmund's "knowledge of complex constitutional legal point was impressive and watching him work out a trial strategy was fascinating." Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Edmunds has written for the Hawaii Bar Journal and taught as an Adjunct Professor of law.
Following his graduation from the University of Southern California School of Law, Mr. Edmunds was hired as an associate by the Honolulu law firm of Robertson, Castle & Anthony (now known as Reinwald O'Connor & Playdon), one of the oldest law firms in Hawaii. Mr. Edmunds then joined the Public Defender's Office of the State of Hawaii shortly after it was formed and was the Chief Deputy Public Defender of the State of Hawaii from 1970 through 1972. After leaving the Public Defender's Office in 1972, Mr. Edmunds opened his own law office and has been in private practice since that time.
In addition to his celebrated legal activities, Mr. Edmunds was involved in the film adaptation of John Grisham's number one best-selling book, The Firm. He is credited with rewriting the ending to "provide the moral center for the film."
- Commercial and Complex Litigation
- Personal Injury
- Professional Malpractice
- Criminal Defense
- J.D., moot court honors, University of Southern California Law School, 1967
- A.B., honors, Philosophy, Stanford University, 1964
- State Bar of Hawaii, 1968
- U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, 1972
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1972
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1972
- Member, Board of Governors, Hawaii Academy of Plaintiffs Attorneys, 1995 - present
- Hawaii Chapter, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Member, State Committee, 2002 - present
- Legal Ethics Committee, National Professionalism Committee, 2002 - present
- Chairman, Hawaii State Committee, 1992 - 1993
- Hawaii State Judicial Selection Commission
- Vice-chair, 2002 - present
- Member, 1999 - 2005
- Hawaii Federal District Court Judicial Conference
- Delegate, 2002 - present
- Delegate, 1998 - 1999
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Invited Member, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Law Representative, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2002 - 2005
- International Society of Barristers
- Master of the Bench, American Inns of Court
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- American Bar Association
- Hawaii Bar Association
- Okada v. MGIC Indem. Corp., 823 F.2d 276 (9th Cir. 1986)
- Brandenburger v. Thompson, 494 F.2d 885 (9th Cir. 1974)
- Keiter v. Penn Mut. Ins. Co, 900 F.Supp. 1339 (D.Haw. 1995)
- Okada v. MGIC Indem. Corp., 608 F.Supp. 383 (D.Haw. 1985)
- In re Holoholo Litigation, 557 F.Supp. 1024, 1984 A.M.C. 436 (D.Haw. 1983)
- In re Holoholo, 512 F.Supp. 889 (D.Haw. 1981)
- Uncle John's of Hawaii v. Mid-Pacific Restaurants, 71 Haw. 412, 794 P.2d 614 (1990)
- McCarthy v. Jaress, 6 Haw. App. 143, 711 P.2d 1315 (1985)
- Republican Party of Hawaii v. Waihee, 68 Haw. 258, 709 P.2d 980 (1985)
- McCarthy v. Yempuku, 5 Haw.App. 45, 678 P.2d 11 (1984)
- Toledo v. Lam, 67 Haw. 20, 675 P.2d 773 (1984)
- Seibel v. Kemble, 63 Haw. 516, 631 P.2d 173 (1981)
- State v. Schutter, 60 Haw. 221, 60 Haw. 677, 588 P.2d 428 (1978)
- Abramson v. Board of Regents, University of Hawaii, 56 Haw. 680, 548 P.2d 253 (1976)
- State v. Wong, Peters and Stone, 97 Haw. 512, 40 P.3d 914 (2002)