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Jesse J.T. Smith

Honolulu, Hawaii

A partner in the firm's litigation department, Jesse Smith is a civil trial attorney whose practice focuses on a diverse client group involved in local, international, and cross-border disputes.  Born and raised in the snowy Northeast, Mr. Smith obtained his B.A. with honors from Hamilton College, where he wrote an award winning paper on the Bakumatsu period of Japanese history.  Prior to moving to Hawaii to attend law school at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Mr. Smith lived in Japan for four years, and was a participant on the Japan Exchange Teaching Programme, earning certificates in Japanese language and interpretation.  While in law school, Mr. Smith served as an Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal, studied international arbitration law with a former member of the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, and was an award-winning member of the law school’s Native American Moot Court team.  Prior to joining McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP as an associate attorney in 2011, Mr. Smith clerked for the Honorable Lisa M. Ginoza, Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawaii. 

Representative Matters

• Currently representing two publicly traded companies in Japan and Singapore in separate binding arbitration proceedings involving their subsidiaries in Honolulu, Hawaii.
• Involved in ground breaking Ninth Circuit appeal of civil rights lawsuit filed by multinational seed corporations under the State of Hawaii’s GMO laws.
• Successfully defended internationally acclaimed architect in five-day bench trial in multi-million dollar dispute involving the construction of a high-end home on Maui.
• Negotiated large, complex settlements in state and federal court litigation matters involving Japanese companies and individuals.
• Represented renowned sex abuse lawyer in newsworthy federal court legal malpractice action arising from Hollywood pedophilia scandal.
• Retained by large insurance company to prepare and argue post-trial motion overturning $2M+ jury verdict in state court personal injury case.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Hawaii, 2010
  • U.S. District Court District of Hawaii, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2013


  • University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, Honolulu, Hawaii
    • J.D. cum laude - 2010
    • Honors: Pacific Asian Legal Studies Certificate - 2010
    • Law Journal: Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, Co-Editor-in-Chief, 2009 - 2010
  • Hamilton College, Clinton, New York
    • B.A. (with honors) - 2000
    • Major: East Asian Studies
    • Minor: History

Published Works

  • Teruki Tsunemoto, Commentary on Important Legal Precedents for 2007: Trends in Constitutional Law Cases, 10 ASIAN-PAC. L. & POL'Y J. 519 (Mark A. Levin & Jesse Smith trans., 2009).

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers: Hawaii Rising Stars (2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017).
  • National Business Institute, Honolulu, HI

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Screen Actors Guild

Past Employment Positions

  • Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawaii, Law Clerk to the Honorable Lisa M. Ginoza, 2010 - 2011

Jesse J.T. Smith

Five Waterfront Plaza, 4th Floor, 500 Ala Moana Boulevard | Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 | Phone: 808.529.7300 | Fax: 808.524.8293 | Map and Directions