© 2020 Sullivan Meheula Lee, LLLP

William Meheula
Partner

Direct:  808.628.7535
Fax:  808.533.2467

meheula@SMLhawaii.com

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Practice Areas
- Real Estate Litigation

- Professional Liability

- Administrative Proceedings

- Native Hawaiian Rights

William Meheula’s practice areas include complex commercial litigation, real estate litigation, legal malpractice, administrative law, divorce cases and Native Hawaiian rights.

 

Mr. Meheula’s real estate litigation practice involves disputes concerning purchase and sale agreements, joint venture agreements, financial agreements, and regarding entitlement, condemnation, environmental, archaeological, and hotel and resort issues.

 

His administrative law practice includes proceedings before before the State Land Use Commission, DLNR Board, County Land Commissions, Hawaii Community Development Authority, Zoning Board of Appeals, State Historic Preservation Division, Public Utilities Commission and other contested case hearing venues.

 

Mr. Meheula’s legal malpractice and ethics practice involves defending and prosecuting claims by and against lawyers. In addition Mr. Meheula served as the chairman of a federal and state bar committee that resulted in promulgation of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct in 1994. Between 2003 and 2011, Mr. Meheula served on the Committee to Revise the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct.

Mr. Meheula’s Native Hawaiian Rights practice started in 1992 when he served as lead counsel, pro bono, representing beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust against the State of Hawaii. This litigation took years of effort and resulted in a $600 million settlement payable to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Hawaii State Bar Association awarded Mr. Meheula the “Justice Award” in 1994 for his work on this case. Since then, Mr. Meheula has been extensively involved as counsel and as a community leader in significant legal victories for the interests of Native Hawaiians.

One example was Mr. Meheula's work as lead counsel, pro bono, representing four individual Native Hawaiians from 1994 to enjoin the State of Hawaii from selling ceded lands pending resolution of Native Hawaiian claims to those lands. In January 2008, the Hawaii Supreme Court enjoined the State from selling ceded lands until the claim to those lands was resolved through the political process. In March 2009, the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court to decide whether an injunction was warranted under State law. In July 2009, the case settled with the passage of Act 176, which prohibits the sale of ceded lands to third parties unless supported by a two-thirds majority vote of both houses of the Hawaii legislature.

In another matter, Mr. Meheula represented the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 2003 to 2012 against the State to enforce OHA’s right to public land trust revenues. With the passage of Act 15 in 2012, OHA obtained title to thirty acres of prime land in Kaka‘ako Makai valued at $200 million.

 

Mr. Meheula has lectured on commercial litigation, trial practice, legal ethics and Native Hawaiian Rights. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Meheula has served as an adjunct professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law where he taught the Native Hawaiian Rights Clinic and coached the law school’s distinguished Native American Moot Court Team.

 

 

Recognition

"AV" Martindale-Hubbell Rating

The Best Lawyers in America (since 2007)

Super Lawyers by Key Professionals Media, Inc. (since 2008)​

Chambers USA (since 2018)

 

Education

J.D., Suffolk University Law (third year completed at William S. Richardson School of Law), 1978
B.A., Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, 1975

 

Admissions & Courts
Hawaii (all state and federal courts)

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Memberships
Hawaii State Bar Association
American Bar Association

 

Community Involvement
Hawaiian Sovereignty Election Council (council member 1994-97)

Native Hawaiian Bar Association (director 1994-2017)

Mamaka Aialo (member 2010–present)

Outrigger Canoe Club (director 2015-present)