Chris, born and reared in Japan, joined the firm in 1988 and immediately began building a practice in corporate, commercial, and real estate law, primarily with Japanese-speaking clients. To address the needs of her Japanese clients, her practice also encompasses immigration law, estate planning and employment matters.
Chris is a past director of Meritas, a worldwide affiliation of commercial law firms, which has members in over 270 cities. Damon Key is the exclusive Hawaii affiliate of Meritas. She is currently active in many community activities and serves as the Chair of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and a Tri Chair of the GANNENMONO Committee in 2018.
Chris has once again been selected by her peers to the 2018 Best Lawyers in America list in the fields of Corporate Law, Real Estate and Employment Law-Management in Hawaii.
While in law school, she was an editor of The Transnational Lawyer, and was awarded various scholarships, including The Transnational Lawyer Scholarship and the Community Legal Service IOLTA Program’s scholarship. She was also active in the Pacific International Law Society and the Asian American Law Student Association.
She practices in the following areas:
- Business and Commercial Disputes: Assist clients with business transactions; formation of corporations and limited liability companies; negotiation of contracts; purchase and sale transactions; business planning; loan agreements; and other commercial transactions to include retail, restaurant, distributorships, service, tour/travel, internet, real estate and non-profit business organizations.
- Immigration: Assist clients with non-immigrant business visa applications (to include E-2 Treaty Investor; E-2 Treaty Trader; L-1 intra-company transfer; and H-1B Specialty Occupation); coordinate immigrant visa applications; fiance visas; business/tourist visas; R-1 religious worker visas; E-B category filings; Family-based petitions; Transitional Diversity (Lottery) applications; Re-entry Permits; Consular Processing and general immigration consultation.
- Employment: Counsel and assist employers (corporations, non-profits, supervisors, human resource specialists) regarding employment issues; provide advice regarding employment agreements and employee handbooks/policies; and counsel clients with issues arising from termination, discipline, non-compete agreements, discrimination, harassment, etc.
- Real Estate: Assist clients with the purchase and sale of real property; purchase and sale of leasehold interests; review of commercial lease agreements (shopping centers, hotels, warehouses, offices, retail space, etc.); coordinate purchase and sale of hotels, golf courses, resorts and shopping centers; assist landowners with disputes related to water, boundary, title, nuisance and other issues; and other general consultation.
- Estate Planning: Assist clients with their estate plans (wills, trusts (revocable/irrevocable), power of attorney, advance health care directives, family limited partnerships, qualified domestic trusts, etc.) with focus on non-resident and resident alien planning; and matters related to probate and ancillary probate filings.
Professional and Community Affiliations
- American Bar Association (Real Estate Section)
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (2005-2017)
- American Heart Association (Volunteer, 34th Annual Golf Classic Committee – 2008)
- Hawaii American Immigration Lawyers Association (2005-2017)
- Hawaii Senior Life Enrichment Association (Member/Director 2007-present, Executive Committee 2015-present)
- Hawaii State Bar Association (1988-present, Director 2010-2011, Mentor/Mentee Committee (2010-present, Awards Committee (2012)
- Hiroshima Kenjikai (Member 1996-present, Director 1997-present)
- U.S. Japan Council (Member 2012-present)
- Honolulu Japanese Chamber Charitable Corporation (Director 2014-present)
- Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (Member 2005-present, Chair 2011-2012, Vice Chair 2007-2010, Board of Directors 2005-2012, Chair-International Business Development Committee 2006-2010)
- Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (Member 2013-present; Chair 2016-2018; 2014-2016 Board of Directors, Co-Chair Fundraising and Membership Committee/Facilities Committee)
- Pan Pacific Festival (Chair, 2014-present)
- Japan-America Society of Honolulu (Member, 1992-present)
- Japanese Women’s Society Foundation (Member 2013-present, Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Summit, Feb 2014)
- Meritas, Board of Directors (1998-2000)
- Mid Pacific Country Club (1992-2007, By-Laws Committee 1996-2003, Legal Committee 2001)
- National Association of College and University Attorneys (2000-2001)
- Office of International Affairs Advisory Council (2009)
- Pacific Asian Affairs Council (1998-2003)
- Pacific Business News, Women Who Mean Business (Finalist, 2010)
- Royal Iolani Condominium Association (Board of Directors, 1996-2005)
- Seiwa Juku (2011-2014)
- Supreme Court Committee on Court Interpreters & Language Access (Member 2000-present; Co-Chair June 2011-present)
- United Japanese Society (Member 1996-present; Chair 2012-2013)
- Waialae Country Club (1997-present)