Best Lawyers in Hawaii 2010

This is our 13th presentation of the Best Lawyers in Hawaii, as determined by the research firm Woodward/White, publishers of The Best Lawyers in America.

On this month’s cover, we feature lawyer Heather Conahan. Conahan is a partner in the Honolulu firm of Loden & Conahan, and specializes in estate planning. She is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Probate and Trusts and the Hawaii State Bar Association Section of Probate and Estate Planning.

Not sure if you need an attorney?  Writer Shane Nelson spoke to some of our best lawyers about legal matters you might be tempted to handle without help, but shouldn’t. Representation isn’t just for those accused of a serious crime or involved in a lawsuit. More likely than not, your legal needs will consist of expert help in navigating some of life’s bigger transitions. See “Don’t Try This Without a Lawyer.”

How do attorneys make it onto the list? Solely by the vote of their peers, explains Best Lawyers. Listings cannot be bought, and no purchase is required to be included.

As Best Lawyers explains, “The nomination pool for the 2010 edition consisted of all lawyers whose names appeared in the previous edition of Best Lawyers, lawyers who were nominated since the previous survey and new nominees solicited from listed attorneys. In general, lawyers were asked to vote only on nominees in their own specialty in their own jurisdiction. Lawyers in closely related specialties were asked to vote across specialties, as were lawyers in smaller jurisdictions. Where specialties are national or international in nature, lawyers were asked to vote nationally as well as locally. Voting lawyers were also given an opportunity to offer more detailed comments on nominees.

“Voting lawyers were provided this general guideline for determining if a nominee should be listed among ‘the best’: If you had a close friend or relative who needed a real estate lawyer (for example), and you could not handle the case yourself, to whom would you refer them? All votes and comments were solicited with a guarantee of confidentiality.

“Ultimately, a lawyer’s inclusion is based on the subjective judgments of his or her fellow attorneys. While it is true that the lists may at times disproportionately reward visibility or popularity, the breadth of the survey, the candor of the respondents and the sophistication of the polling methodology largely correct for any biases.”

For the full version of the methodology, please see

 Related Links: Don't Try This Without a Lawyer

(Looking for the list of Hawaii's Best Lawyers? HONOLULU Magazine generally keeps only the most current version online. Click here to find the most recent list.)