About THE OFFICE OF Disciplinary Counsel (ODC)
Hawaii Legal Ethics & Attorney Disciplinary Investigations
ODC carries out two main functions: (1) disciplinary investigations and prosecutions; and (2) professional ethics education.
ODC’s primary function is handling complaints concerning alleged unethical conduct by Hawai`i attorneys and attorneys admitted pro hac vice (out-of-state attorneys admitted for a limited purpose). Ethics investigations may lead to determinations ranging from a finding of no unethical conduct (resulting in a dismissal of the complaint) to institution of formal disciplinary proceedings (leading to possible imposition of disciplinary sanctions such as suspension or disbarment).
As part of its educational outreach, ODC spends time answering questions on ethical matters regarding prospective conduct. ODC attorneys provide informal guidance to Hawaii-licensed attorneys, however, as described in more detail in this website, the informal guidance is not binding against ODC.
Other educational activities include articles on ethics appearing in the Hawai`i Bar Journal, preparation of ethics-related materials for various continuing legal education programs, and speaking to groups of lawyers and non-lawyers about attorney ethics and discipline issues locally and nationally.
BRUCE KIM is the Chief Disciplinary Counsel and YVONNE R. SHINMURA is the Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel.