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Litigation Division

The Office of the Corporation Counsel provides legal representation on behalf of the County of Hawai‘i, its officers, representatives and employees in resolving disputes such as lawsuits, arbitration, mediation and claims, filed against the County of Hawai‘i and its officers, representatives and employees.

Counseling and Drafting Division

The Counseling and Drafting Division of the Office of the Corporation Counsel advises all departments, boards, agencies, and commissions on legal matters, which impact that particular County entity. The Division drafts appropriate legislation for consideration by the County Council or the State Legislature. The Division also provides legal representation on behalf of the County of Hawai‘i in administrative proceedings, including contested case hearings and agency appeals.

Attorneys

Joseph K. Kamelamela

Joseph K. Kamelamela - Corporation Counsel

Joseph K. Kamelamela - We strive to create, sustain and improve our workplace environment to be healthy, happy and hopeful.

 

 


Renee N.C. Schoen

Renee N.C. Schoen - Assistant Corporation Counsel

Mrs. Schoen is the Assistant Corporation Counsel and a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

She graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, received her Bachelors of Science degree from Santa Clara University, and her Juris Doctorate degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law. She  has been licensed to practice in the State of Hawai‘i since 1993 and is admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i 

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Ms. Schoen was employed with the State Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Public Defender and the law firm of Chee & Markham. She serves as an Arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program, is the Chairman of the Board of the Hamakua Federal Credit Union and is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association.


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Malia Hall - Counseling & Drafting

Mrs. Hall is a member of the counseling and drafting division.

She graduated from Maui High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, where she was an executive board member of the Women’s Law Association and Public Interest Law Committee. While at Southwestern, she was a recipient of the Southwestern Public Interest Law Service Award and Wiley M. Manuel Certificate.


Lerisa L. Heroldt - Litigation

Mrs. Heroldt is a member of the Litigation Division.

She graduated from Punahou School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, where she graduated cum laude.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Ms. Heroldt was in private practice with the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing in Honolulu, where she handled all aspects of state and federal court litigation in areas such as business torts, class actions, constitutional and civil rights, insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, employment law, personal injury, title defense and medical malpractice.

Ms. Heroldt has been licensed to practice in the State of Hawai‘i since 2001. She is also admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. She is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and joined the West Hawai‘i Bar Association in 2016.


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D. Kaena Horowitz - Litigation

Mr. Horowitz is a member of the Litigation division.

He graduated from Richardson Law School at UH Manoa and worked in private practice, where he focused primarily on drafting, negotiating, and litigating contracts and business transactions; as well as consumer protection and tort litigation.

He also coached competitive swimming and enjoys writing haiku:

Counsel and writer
Serving the community
Resolving disputes.


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Shaelene Kamaka‘ala - Litigation

Ms. Kamaka‘ala is a member of the Litigation division.

She was born and raised in the ahupuaʻa of Punaluʻu and Kahana, Koʻolauloa, Oʻahu and now calls Hilo Hanakahi her second home. A graduate from the Kamehameha Schools, she received an Honor’s Associate's Degree in Political Science from Marymount College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of San Diego, and her Juris Doctorate Degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL) with Certificates in Native Hawaiian Rights Law and Environmental Law.

Ms. Kamakaʻala worked for the State of Hawaiʻi, Department Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources; the University of Hawaiʻi WSRSL’s Ka Huli Ao and Hui ʻĀina Momona Program; Townscape Inc.; and The Nature Conservancy specializing in the fields of administrative law and natural resource management planning. She has worked on projects statewide in partnership with communities, non-profit organizations, the private and government sector to engage various legal tools to inform solutions to problems facing Hawaiʻi’s public trust and cultural resources. Most recently, she served as the Law Clerk and Bailiff for the Honorable Judge Henry T. Nakamoto in the Third Circuit Court in Hilo, Hawaiʻi

Ms. Kamakaʻala has been licensed to practice law since 2015 and is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association.


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Ronald Kim - Counseling & Drafting

Mr. Kim is a member of the counseling and drafting division.

He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Gonzaga University with a major in History and minors in International Relations and Speech Communications. Mr. Kim received his Juris Doctorate Degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with an Environmental Law Program Certificate and Pacific Asian Legal Studies Certificate.

Following graduation from law school Mr. Kim clerked for then Honorable Judge Craig H. Nakamura (who is presently Chief Judge) at the Intermediate Court of Appeals for the State of Hawai‘i. Mr. Kim subsequently engaged in the practice of law with several different private firms in Honolulu for over a decade before joining the Office of Corporation Counsel. While in private practice Mr. Kim handled and assisted in a wide variety of litigation and transactional matters.

Mr. Kim is a member of the Hawai‘i State and Hawai‘i County Bar Associations.


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Laureen L. Martin - Section Chief for the Litigation Division

Ms. Martin is the section chief of the litigation division.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston in Business Administration with a minor in Economics. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University where she graduated cum laude and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Awards in Products Liability, Criminal Law and Real Estate Transactions.

Prior to working for the County of Hawai‘i, Ms. Martin worked for the Department of the Corporation Counsel for the County of Maui where she was assigned to litigation and handled a variety of cases, including motor vehicle accidents, roadway defects and cases alleging excessive force. Prior to working for the government, Ms. Martin was in private practice specializing in personal injury matters.

Ms. Martin has been licensed to practice law in the State of Hawai‘i since 1993. She is also admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Ms. Martin is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association.


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Craig T. Masuda - Section Chief/Counseling & Drafting

Mr. Masuda is the Section Chief for the Counseling and Drafting Division.

He is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law. Prior to his tenure at the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Mr. Masuda was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu and the County of Hawai‘i.


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Diana Mellon-Lacey - Counseling & Drafting

Ms. Mellon-Lacey is a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Santa Cruz, Master’s Degrees in Anthropology and Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctorate from University of Miami.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Ms. Mellon-Lacey worked for the State of Hawai‘i as a Deputy Attorney General in the Family Law Division. Ms. Mellon-Lacey also worked for Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i in Hilo, where she served as managing attorney, Domestic Violence Clearinghouse on Maui, and Legal Services of the Florida Keys.

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Mellon-Lacey worked in county health administration in Florida, and at a federally funded community health center in North San Diego County in California.

Ms. Mellon-Lacey is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association, and has been licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i since 2003. She is also licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.


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John Mukai - Litigation

Mr. Mukai is a member of the Litigation Division.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Mr. Mukai is licensed to practice in Hawai‘i and admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel team, Mr. Mukai was a Deputy Corporation Counsel in the City and County of Honolulu, where he practiced primarily in the areas of labor/employment.


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Danny Patel - Counseling & Drafting Division

Mr. Patel is a member of the Counseling & Drafting Division.

He is a graduate of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law. Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Mr. Patel worked in private practice in Honolulu and Hilo.

Mr. Patel is admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i, and is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and Hawai`i County Bar Association.


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Roland Talon - Litigation

Mr.Talon is a member of the Litigation Division.

He was born on O‘ahu, raised in Pearl City, and graduated from the Kamehameha Schools. He acquired his B.A. degree (Sociology major; Hawaiian Studies minor) from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and is a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law.

After law school, Mr. Talon worked as a law clerk in the First Circuit Court, State of Hawai‘i Judiciary. Thereafter, he served as a Kaua‘i County deputy prosecuting attorney, Hawai‘i County deputy prosecuting attorney, and a State of Hawai‘i deputy attorney general (family law division).

Mr. Talon is a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Hawai‘i Air National Guard. He has been licensed to practice law since 2000, in the state courts of Hawai‘i and the U.S. District Court (District of Hawai‘i).


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Keyra K. Wong - Counseling & Drafting

Mrs. Wong is a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. During law school, she clerked in the appeals division for the County of Maui Department of Prosecuting Attorney and at the State of Oregon Appellate Commissioner’s Office handling various motions and drafting orders. She also focused on land use issues while clerking at the Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem, Oregon and subsequently at Clackamas County Counsel in Oregon City, Oregon.

Prior to joining Corporation Counsel, she clerked for the Hon. Valeri L. Love at the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene, Oregon. She assisted Judge Love in juvenile, criminal, and civil matters. She is licensed to practice law in Hawai`i and Oregon and is admitted to appear before the United State District Court of the District of Hawai`i. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with her husband and senior dog, Sadie.


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J Yoshimoto - Counseling & Drafting

Mr. Yoshimoto is a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

He graduated from Hilo High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law and has been licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i since 1992.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Mr. Yoshimoto worked for the State of Hawai‘i as a Deputy Attorney General in Hilo. He serves as an Arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program and is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and Hawai‘i County Bar Association.

Private Secretary

Cathy Ferreira - Private Secretary

Cathy has established a 35 year career with the Office of the Corporation Counsel, working her way up from Clerk Stenographer to Supervising Legal Technician. She also briefly served as Secretary to the Liquor Commission and the Liquor Adjudication Board with the Department of Liquor.

Cathy is well known for her loyal public service and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her department. She is a graduate of Hilo High School, earned both an A.S. Degree in Secretarial Science and Paralegal Certificate from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

In her free time she enjoys working out at the “Dungeon” (gym), quiet dinners with her husband, Paul and venturing out with her three grandsons, Damian, Anthony and Kenneth.