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Law Trends


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Pacific Guardian Center
Makai Tower 19th Flr.
Honolulu, Hawaii
(808) 537-6100


Trends in Commercial Litigation

By: Terence J. O'Toole, Litigation Director Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher

Trial lawyers are a different breed! We thrive in a competitive environment; prefer to be in a courtroom rather than at a desk; and, our world is measured by wins or losses – unless the case settles. Trying and winning a case before a jury is the gold standard!

Business trial lawyers occupy a specialty niche in the world of trial law, and business litigation involves a myriad assortment of business related disputes, including corporate/shareholder, hotel/hospitality, real estate/construction, banking, and class action issues. Business litigation is complex multi-party litigation which is document intensive and can involve very high stakes “bet your company” issues.  Trials can run for months.

Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher specializes in business litigation. Our trial lawyers practice what I like to refer to as the “bulls-eye” theory of trial law: Take the complex and make it simple. Try your case on the issues and facts that are in the center of the bulls-eye. No jury is going to vote for the lawyer who buries them in thousands of exhibits and who gets lost in the weeds. Every case has a simple story. We try to use it. Much like writing a short letter – it takes more time and thought to get it right.

Our firm is also unique and boutique. The transactional half of the firm specializes in corporate, real estate and other business matters for local, national and international clients. In addition to providing excellent legal services for our business clients, the transactional lawyers are an invaluable resource for the trial side in terms of expertise and substantive knowledge.

What are the trends in business litigation? Well, business litigation doesn’t change much even in a down economy. While clients are more careful now about how they spend their money, they are still willing to fight for principle and for a just result. Those clients who are willing to go to the mat want the best trial team they can hire.

To get the best, we make hiring one of our most important goals. We look for smart, energetic talent. Most members of our trial team are athletic or otherwise stay competitive in some aspect of their lives. You have to want to charge the castle in this business or you’re in the wrong job! 

As a triathlete, I often equate trial work with doing a triathlon. You need to be in excellent mental and physical shape. Trial is an endurance “sport” and the winner is often the one who has figured out the course and who can go the distance.


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