Laurel E. Pepe is an Associate in the firm’s Wills, Trusts & Estates practice group. Laurel brings to the firm a passion for the complex matters in estate planning, an interest initially sparked when helping her grandmother through the process of planning her estate. She believes that open dialogue is the basis for building strong client relationships and continual learning is imperative to providing excellent legal counsel.
Laurel earned her law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. While in law school, she served as staff writer and technical editor for the University of Hawaii Law Review. She was a Law School Ambassador and Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society historian. Laurel was a scholar advocate for Professor Eric K. Yamamoto and an Advanced Criminal Law Scholar for Justin D. Levinson. She earned CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the highest score in her class in Criminal Law, Family Law, and Advanced Civil Procedure.
Most recently, Laurel served an externship with Judge R. Mark Browning of the First Circuit Court. Previous to that, she served with Judge Derrick H.M. Chan of the First Circuit Court, Probate Division. During both externships, she reviewed pleadings, motions and other documentation, as well as assisted court clerks in preparing briefs and dispositions. In 2017, Laurel was a second-year summer associate at Damon Key. In 2015, she was a volunteer office assistant with the Access to Justice program where she helped connect volunteer attorneys with clients seeking advice on various legal issues.
Prior to enrolling in law school, Laurel worked as an Honors Intern at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kapolei. While there, she assisted special agents with trial preparations for a federal capital murder case. Laurel also prepared transcripts for drug related cases while ensuring consistency, accuracy, and conformance with policy. It was during this time that she discovered her affinity for the law.
Laurel’s involvement with her grandmother’s trust led her to focus her law career in the area of estate planning. “I served as my grandmother’s trustee and the experience exposed me to the difficulties people face as they go through the process of planning and administering an estate. Today, it is satisfying to have the ability to answer questions people have about sensitive challenges, such as what will happen to their estate if they fall ill, or worse.”
Laurel was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, and moved to Hawaii with her family at three months old. She remained in Hawaii and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Hawaii and an A.A. in Liberal Arts at Kapiolani Community College. She worked her way through college as a shift supervisor and barista at Starbucks Coffee Co. in Honolulu.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys reading and baking, as well as watching, playing and coaching volleyball. For seven years, she served as a volunteer coach with the Manoa Girls Athletic Club.
Professional and Community Involvement
- American Bar Association
- Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section
- Taxation Section
- Young Lawyers Division
- Hawaii State Bar Association
- Elder Law Section
- Probate & Estate Section
- Tax Section
- Young Lawyers Division
- Hawaii Estate Planning Council
- State of Hawaii
- U.S. District Court (District of Hawaii)