The Buzz


Thursday, April 19, 2001

Breaking up is
hard to do for
isle law firm

AFTER 27 years in business the Honolulu law firm Dwyer Imanaka Schraff Kudo Meyer & Fujimoto is splitting up.

"I think some of the partners here have had philosophical differences on business issues, so we thought this would be a good time to separate," said Managing Partner Mitchell Imanaka, who has been with the firm for 22 years.

He nevertheless called the split "amicable."

Paul Schraff, a principal of the firm, acknowledged the philosophical differences, "None of us are happy about it, but these things do happen."

"A number of the partners are coming with me," Imanaka said, who will form Imanaka Kudo and Fujimoto with about 65 percent of Dwyer Imanaka employees. The firm will specialize in real estate development and finance, land use and labor law.

Five partners will lead the new firm, he said -- Ben Kudo, Wesley Fujimoto, Jon Pang, Richard Asato, and himself. Along with six associates, he said Rick Tsujimura will move over with them in an "of counsel" capacity.

"I have really enjoyed practicing with all who are staying behind," Imanaka said.

Schraff was equally complimentary.

"We do wish them the best," he said.

"We expect we will both be able to be successful and work together on things as we have in the past."

Led by Jack Dwyer, the litigators will stay in Pioneer Plaza where the offices fill the 18th floor.

The name will change to Dwyer Schraff and Meyer, and Schraff said it will not necessarily decrease its lease.

"We're looking at other attorneys joining the firm to potentially add back some of the expertise of some of the people who are leaving," Schraff said.

Imanaka said he has a May 1 target date to be in new downtown quarters.

Are they negotiating their own lease?

"Absolutely," he chuckled.

Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel Managing Partner Miki Okumura said of the breakup, "It's just something that has gotten a little more commonplace -- you see firms that have been around -- splitting up, or reformulating themselves."

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4757, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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