Most clients want to know a little about their lawyer. Here are our stories.
I arrived in the Territory of Hawaii in 1959 at the age of three. My dad was an Air Force JAG officer, and after Hawaii we were posted to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento before settling in Honolulu in 1971. I graduated from Punahou in 1974, the University of Hawaii in 1977, and the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1980. I also hold a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College.
After being admitted to the Hawaii Bar, I was appointed a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii and spent the next fifteen years in government service. My principal clients were the State's welfare and Medicaid programs, the prisons, and the Child Support Enforcement Agency. My practice included class actions, federal civil rights suits, regulatory enforcement, elder abuse and neglect cases, criminal prosecution, appeals, and legislation. I defended multi-million dollar welfare cases, including one in which I wrote the friend-of-the-court brief for twenty-six states in a successful US Supreme Court appeal. I started the AG's program to bring cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly to Family Court, and drafted the legislation that eventually became Hawaii's Adult Protective Services Act. I shut down unlicensed or substandard day care, retirement homes and youth therapy programs, handled federal court challenges to conditions in our correctional facilities, chased deadbeat dads, and wrote a good deal of the State's child support laws. It was a great job for a young lawyer, and I made the most of it.
In 1995, my good friend Brad Coates offered me a unique opportunity to join the private sector and concentrate in family law. For the next twelve years, I practiced at Coates & Frey, Hawaii's largest family law firm, rising to Senior Counsel. During this time, I handled literally hundreds of divorce cases, and every other type of case known to the Family Court. In 2002, I became the first---and to date, the only---lawyer to be awarded a certificate of specialization in family law by the Hawaii Supreme Court. My certificate was awarded upon completion of a specialty certification program conducted by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify specialists in family law.
Throughout my civilian career in the law, I also served as an Army Reserve officer in various intelligence, command and staff assignments. After the 9/11 attacks, I was called to active duty for about six months here in Hawaii, and my unit was mobilized and deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. After returning to Hawaii, I retired as a Colonel a few months short of thirty years of commissioned service.
In July 2007, I opened the Law Offices of Thomas D. Farrell, concentrating on divorce and family law. I also handle national security cases involving the revocation or denial of military or industrial Security Clearances. In 2009, I was honored to be named to the inaugural class of Hawaii SuperLawyers, representing the top 10% of attorneys in Hawaii.
Over the years, I've been active in various community service organizations, including Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii. I continue to write and speak on issues of defense and national security. In my free time, I enjoy reading and the beach, and I have a weakness for vintage MG roadsters. I live in Kalihi Valley with my wife of over twenty years and several well-fed cats.
I'm the first-born son of an Air Force officer and a Civil Service nurse. My father grew up in Seattle, Washington and is the son of a World War II veteran who helped pioneer the commercial airline industry as a DC-3 pilot. My mother is the daughter of the late Julian Corpuz, a prominent attorney in Manila, Philippines. My mother immigrated to Hawaii in 1970 where she met my dad at BYU in Laie. They married, and I was born in 1975.
I spent the better part of my life as an Air Force dependent stationed at bases both close to home (McConnell and Pease Air Force Bases) and abroad (Albrook Air Force Station, Panama). When my father retired, we settled near Homestead Air Force Base in South Florida, where I attended the local public high school.
In 1993, I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard University, where I graduated cum laude with an A.B. in Government in 1997. I spent the next eight years working in the Boston area, first as a business consultant, then as an entrepreneur and finally as a private school teacher. In 2005, I followed in my grandfather's footsteps and moved to Los Angeles to attend the UCLA School of Law.
I graduated with my J.D. in 2008 and moved to Hawaii to become a corporate litigator with Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher. In August 2011, I joined Tom Farrell's office to help clients navigate the Family Court system. I believe in an aggressive, intelligent approach to litigation that gives my clients the best chance of obtaining just and fair results.
I live in Kailua with my fiancée, Mary, and my dog, Pogi. In my free time, I compete in triathlons and open-water swim races, and I try not to embarrass myself on the golf course. I'm also an avid sailor: In 2004, I sailed from Iceland to Greenland to Nova Scotia, Canada, aboard the 42-foot sloop, Elskov. In 2011, I sailed from Spain to Hawaii through the Panama Canal aboard Spartan Queen, a 62-foot Sunreef sailing catamaran. On occasion you may find me hiking the Rocky Mountains or High Sierras.
My great grand-parents immigrated from Spain and the Philippines to Puunene Maui during plantation days. I was born in San Francisco but came here to live with my family in 1979. I worked while attending Honolulu Community College and then the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I graduated in 1993 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in European Languages. I attended Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco and received my Juris Doctor in 1999.
After graduating from law school I worked as a law clerk for the Senior Family Court Judge and then in the Family Court, Criminal Division. In 2002, I was appointed Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu and was eventually assigned to the Career Criminal Unit. I prosecuted over five hundred cases in my career and represented the State of Hawaii in over fifty jury trials and two reported appellate cases. State v. Asuncion, established the manner in which the prior bad acts of a defendant could be admitted to impeach a recanting complainant in domestic violence cases; and State v. Keawe established the outside time frame by which police officers could make a warrantless arrest after observing an alleged illegal act. In 2008, I joined the civil litigation firm of Fukunaga Matayoshi Hershey and Ching, where I worked as a civil litigation associate specializing in tort defense, products liability and landlord tenant matters. I also serve as an arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program.
I am also proud to serve as an officer in the United States Army Reserve. I began my military career as an enlisted soldier and attained the rank of Sergeant First Class before accepting a direct commission as a JAG officer. I deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007 where I was responsible for foreign claims in Northern Iraq, naturalization programs for deployed soldiers and local national translators, and legal assistance (to include family law matters). After re-deployment I was assigned to the Army Trial Defense Service. For five years, I have advised and represented soldiers facing courts-martial, administrative separation boards or non-judicial punishments. As a Trial Defense Counsel I successfully defended well over 100 cases.
I joined Farrell & Associates in 2013 to use my experience and involvement in practicing law to assist others. When I am not lawyering or soldiering, I like to hike with my two kids Edward and Chanel, and I train seasonally to best my last marathon time.
I was born and raised in Hawaii, the fourth generation of Chinese immigrants. My father went to St. Louis and UH, and spent a career at the former Liberty Bank of Honolulu. My mother graduated from Leilehua High School and UH and went on to teach fifth and sixth grade at Queen Ka’ahumanu Elementary School. I graduated from Punahou in 1974, the University of Washington in 1978, and the University of Washington School of Law in 1981.
After law school, I came home to Honolulu, and was sworn into the Hawaii Bar in 1982. I returned to Seattle to work for two years as a law clerk for the Washington State Court of Appeals, married in 1985, and then I spent ten years in private practice in Seattle engaged in complex commercial litigation and construction law.
After I began raising my own family, I realized that the job demands of a commercial litigator would not permit me to be the participatory parent that I wanted to be-I wanted to attend as many of my children’s school functions and sports activities as possible. I took a position as disciplinary counsel for the Washington State Bar Association in 1995, when my son was 7 and my daughter was 18 months old. As disciplinary counsel, I directed the investigation of hundreds of complaints against attorneys, and prosecuted dozens of lawyers for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, all the while becoming familiar with the ins and outs of many areas of the law, including family law. As disciplinary counsel, I also had the opportunity to argue appeals before the Disciplinary Board and nine sitting justices of the Washington State Supreme Court.
After over fourteen years of marriage, I became a divorcee in 2000. I remained in Seattle so that my son and daughter could be raised by both parents, albeit in two different households. My ex kept the house, and I moved to a more manageable place in the same school district. We shared the children on a week on/week off basis. Being a single mom and a lawyer was tough, but the children did well. My son, Nicholas, graduated from college in 2009, and works as an applications engineer and my daughter, Alexis is now in her sophomore year. Last year, I finally moved back to Honolulu to spend time with my elderly mother and immediate family.
On a personal note, I've played soccer for over 25 years, but my current passion is hiking Oahu's many trails. My quiet time is spent reading, and engaging in the needle arts of sewing, embroidering and knitting.