LINCOLN S. T. ASHIDA practices in the area of commercial, employment, and public sector litigation. Born in Hilo, Mr. Ashida is the longest serving Corporation Counsel in the history of the County of Hawai`i, having served in this position from December 2000 to April 2014. As the County’s former top civil attorney, his clients included the Mayor, Hawai`i County Council, and various other County of Hawai`i departments and boards and commissions. Mr. Ashida is also a former deputy prosecuting attorney for the County of Hawai`i, who successfully prosecuted many high-profile cases and jury trials that received national attention. Mr. Ashida received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, and his J.D. degree from Creighton University School of Law. Mr. Ashida was the 2009 statewide recipient of the Hawai`i State Bar Association’s C. Frederick Schutte award for outstanding contribution to the legal profession in the State of Hawai`i. In 2010, Mr. Ashida was the statewide recipient of the Hawai`i State Bar Association Government Lawyer’s Section Pro Bono Service Award for outstanding contribution to the community in providing pro bono service and leadership.
CHRISTINE K. BELCAID is an associate in the labor and employment law department. Her practice involves defending employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including defense of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims at both the state and federal levels. She also provides counseling to employers regarding compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws, including the National Labor Relations Act,the Fair Labor Standards Act, Hawaii’s Fair Employment Practices Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Christine received a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and her law degree from Boston University School of Law, where she founded the school’s participation in the American Bar Association’s Arbitration Competition. Prior to law school, Christine worked as a paralegal, a hotel manager, and a real estate sales agent and property manager. During law school, Christine interned with New Hampshire Legal Aid, the National Labor Relations Board, and Harvard University’s Office of Labor and Employee Relations.
NEWTON J. CHU is the resident director in the firm’s Hilo office and practices in the areas of labor and employment, immigration, administrative licensing and general corporate law matters. Mr. Chu received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawai‘i, and his J.D. degree from Antioch School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 1995, Mr. Chu was a partner with Eng, Nishimura & Chu in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Chu advises companies on all islands throughout the state of Hawai’i, non-profit corporations, private schools and scientific institutions, and he is active in the community. He is the Past-Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and a founding member of the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys & Consultants. Locally, he serves on the boards of directors of the Hilo High School Foundation, Chinese Civic Association, Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce (Past President 2000-01), and the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is also a member of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Human Resource Management (Past President Big Island 2005), and the Rotary Club of Hilo (Past President 2002-03).
VAUGHN G.T. COOK practices law as a director in the firm’s Hawai`i Island office. A licensed Certified Public Accountant as well as an attorney, Mr. Cook’s practice includes taxation law, general business/commercial law, immigration, and administrative licensing law statewide. Mr. Cook’s areas of concentration are international taxation, corporate taxation and general business transactional planning for both profit and non-profit corporations. Mr. Cook also practices in the areas of commercial transactions, advising both closely held companies and individuals. Mr. Cook received his B.S.C. degree from Santa Clara University where he majored in Accounting and minored in Japanese. He received his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law and his LL.M. (in Taxation) from the University of Washington School of Law. Mr. Cook was a tax manager with Deloitte & Touche, where he represented a variety of clients. Mr. Cook served as President of the Hawai`i County Bar Association in 2009, President of the Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and 2013, President of the Hawaii Shima Fukuoka Kenjinkai from 2010 – 2013, a director of VASH (Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii) Hawaii Island and has been recognized by Volunteer Legal Services Hawai`i and Hawai`i County Council for outstanding volunteer service.
JOSEPH A. ERNST joined the firm’s Labor and Employment Department in 2011. He counsels and defends employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, whistleblower, and retaliation claims. Mr. Ernst also counsels employers with regard to wage and hour, disability, and leave issues as well as downsizing, employer successor liability, and dislocated worker notification issues. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Ernst worked in the Labor & Employment practice group of Carlsmith Ball LLP. Mr. Ernst is admitted to practice law in all state and federal courts in Hawai’i. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with distinction, in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pittsburgh Journal of Technology Law and Policy.
has been litigating cases before both federal and state courts and agencies in Hawai`i since 1994, and has been a director in the employment law department at Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington & Harris since 2000. Tamara regularly counsels employers regarding compliance with employment laws, including leave entitlement, wage and hour issues, reasonable accommodation under disability law, and harassment investigations. Tamara received her Bachelor of Arts degree, with distinction, in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and received her Juris Doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1992 where she was a member of the Hastings Law Journal and the Thurston Honor Society, and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Tamara is admitted to practice law in both Hawai`i and California. Tamara served twice as the Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Hawai`i State Bar Association, has been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Hawai`i in the area of Employment Law, and served as a member of the Board of Directors for Hospice Hawai`i.
is an associate in the firm’s Honolulu office and is a member of the employment law department where she concentrates on employment compliance and employment litigation. Her practice involves counseling employers in all aspects of employment law and litigating employment disputes. Ms. Gitter received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, History and English, magna cum laude from Indiana University and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan where she served as the Executive Editor for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.
represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He has done so for the last 34 years. Mr. Harris regularly defends employers in discrimination and retaliation litigation, and protects their interests in unfair competition cases. He counsels clients in all areas of law affecting human resource management, including employee discipline and discharge, equal employment opportunity, disability accommodation and wage and hour. Mr. Harris received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1980 and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1977. He has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Harris serves on the Boards of Directors of the American Red Cross, Hawai`i State Chapter; the Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Chapter; the Institute for Human Services and the YMCA of Honolulu.
is an active trial attorney and compliance counselor whose practice is concentrated in the area of complex business and real estate transactions, employment and labor law, healthcare law, and complex business litigation. He has also served as an arbitrator in complex business transactional disputes and as the Chief Negotiator in numerous labor negotiations. Mr. Katz has practiced with the firm since 1968 and has been consistently recognized as one of Hawai`i’s preeminent lawyers. In 1999 he became the first lawyer from Hawai`i elected as a fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Mr. Katz has also been consistently selected by The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and honored by Who’s Who in America. He was recently named as one of Hawai`i’s “A+ Lawyers” by Honolulu Magazine. Mr. Katz received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Rutgers University and his Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Katz is active in many community projects, and currently serves as a Director of the Hawai’i Blood Bank Real Property Inc., a Director of the Hawai`i Opera Theatre and a Trustee of The Honolulu Museum of Art. He also served several years as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Employment Law Section on Antitrust and Labor Relations Law.
is a senior counsel in the labor and employment law department of the firm. Ms. Kawai has extensive trial experience and regularly defends small and large employers in discrimination, harassment and disability cases at the administrative, state and federal levels. She also provides employers with guidance on wage and hour compliance issues and evaluates and updates employee handbooks. Ms. Kawai has been licensed to practice law in Hawai`i since 2002. She previously worked for the City and County of Honolulu in the Department of the Corporation Counsel’s Tort Litigation and Counseling & Drafting Divisions. She received a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. Ms. Kawai previously served as Co-Chair of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Hawai`i Chapter, Educational Foundation, Programs Committee for the island of Oahu.
is a director of Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington & Harris. Since 1981 he has represented businesses and management executives in all aspects of employment and wrongful discharge law. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Cincinnati, and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He has the highest “A.V.” rating in Martindale-Hubbell, and ranked in “Best Lawyers in America” and “Chambers USA Client’s Guide” for employment law. John serves on the boards and chairs or serves on several committees of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Pacific Club and Blood Bank of Hawaii. He guest lectures at the University of Hawai`i William S. Richardson School of Law and Shidler College of Business.
joined the firm’s Litigation and Labor and Employment Departments in 2012. He focuses his practice on litigation before federal and state courts as well as administrative and regulatory agencies, representing and counseling employers and businesses in matters involving all aspects of labor and employment law as well as complex general litigation. Mr. McCullough’s experience includes whistleblower, retaliation and retaliatory prosecution, wrongful discharge, discrimination and harassment, and both federal and state civil rights claims, as well as regulatory and white-collar criminal investigations and defense. Mr. McCullough is admitted to practice in all Hawaii federal and state courts as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and all New York state courts. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2007, and graduated from Mary Washington College in 2004. Prior to joining the firm he practiced in the litigation department of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York office.
RACHEL K.H. MIYASHIRO is a lawyer in the Honolulu office and a member of the employment law department. She assists in all areas of employment law and employment litigation. Ms. Miyashiro received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law where she served as a Staff Writer for the University of Hawaiʻi’s Law Review.
has practiced in the area of employment law and labor relations since 1974. Born and raised in Hawai`i, Cary represents management in all employment and labor law matters, including alternative dispute resolution, discipline and discharge policies, and avoiding discrimination and harassment claims. Mr. Moore received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Dartmouth College and his Juris Doctorate degree (Order of the Coif) from Southern Methodist University Law School. Mr. Moore has been recognized multiple years in the national reference volume “The Best Lawyers in America”, has been recognized as one of “Hawai`i’s Best Lawyers” by Honolulu Magazine and has received an “A.V.” rating from Martindale Hubbell. He is also featured in Chambers Super Lawyers Business Edition (formerly known as Corporate Counsel) and both Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. Mr. Moore has presented numerous seminars on all aspects of employment and Labor Law to a wide variety of organizations, most recently the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Moore is the past President of the Board of Governors of The Pacific Club, the Industrial Relations Research Association, and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. He has also served as a trustee of La Pietra – Hawai`i School for Girls since 1998 and was a past Vice President of the Board.
is an associate in the firm’s Honolulu office, where she concentrates her practice on Corporate and Health Care Law. Ms. Ontai is a graduate of the University of Southern California. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, where she served as the Executive Editor for Publications for the University of Hawaii Law Review. While in law school, Ms. Ontai completed a dual degree program, also obtaining her Master of Business Administration from the Shidler College of Business. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Ontai served as a law clerk to the Honorable Bert I. Ayabe of the First Circuit Court of Hawaii. She is currently licensed to practice in Hawaii state and federal courts.
is a director in the firm’s Honolulu office and concentrates his practice on commercial and employment litigation. He has represented clients in matters involving breach of contract, fraud, trademark infringement, mass torts, toxic torts, real estate, trusts and estates, tax controversy, ERISA, wage and hour, discrimination, harassment and retaliation litigation in state and federal courts. He has successfully argued before both state and federal trial and appellate courts. Prior to joining the firm, Brian worked in the litigation department of a major international law firm. In addition to his practice at the firm, Mr. Tilker is a Lecturer in Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, teaching a first-year course in legal writing and advocacy.