Kendra K. Kawai
Kendra K. Kawai is an experienced trial lawyer who joined the labor and employment department of the firm in January 2007. Since then she regularly defends small and large employers in discrimination, harassment and disability cases at the administrative, state and federal levels. She also provides employers with guidance on wage and hour compliance issues and evaluates and updates employee handbooks.
- Successfully served as first-chair counsel and obtained a unanimous defense verdict for three police officers in a week-long jury trial in federal court involving civil rights and punitive damages claims, and prevailed on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
- Served as co-counsel in obtaining a favorable jury verdict in state court for the City and County of Honolulu in a sexual harassment and retaliation case.
- Served as co-counsel in obtaining summary judgment in a race and sex discrimination case in federal court on behalf of an employer, prevailed on appeal to the Ninth Circuit in 2009 and successfully defeated plaintiff’s application for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in 2010.
- Extensive experience advising employers on wage and hour issues including exempt/nonexempt status, independent contractor status, compensable versus noncompensable time, computation of rate of pay for overtime purposes and drafting of employment agreements such as Belo agreements, fixed salary for fluctuating workweek agreements, and independent contractor agreements.
- Drafted post-arbitration briefs on union grievance matters obtaining favorable determinations on behalf of employers.
Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Ms. Kawai worked for the City and County of Honolulu in the Department of the Corporation Counsel’s Tort Litigation Division for approximately three years. Ms. Kawai also worked as a law clerk for the Honorable (ret.) Colleen K. Hirai, Chief Judge of the First Circuit of the State of Hawai`i.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Hawaii Chapter, Educational Foundation, Oahu, Programs Committee Co-Chair (2011 – present)
- Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation, Member and Operations Editor, University of Oregon School of Law (2000-2002).
- Moot Court Board, Member and Assistant Director, University of Oregon School of Law (2000 – 2002).
- Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Member and Assistant Director, University of Oregon School of Law (1999 – 2002).