James K. Mee


 Areas of Practice:


  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Property Rights Litigation
  • Land Use
  • Estates and Trusts
  • Hawaiian Rights
  • Appeals


  • J.D., University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981
  • B.A., Williams College, 1978


James K. Mee

James K. Mee, a partner at Ashford & Wriston, has practiced with the firm since 1982.

Mr. Mee focuses his practice on real estate transactions, property rights litigation, land use, estates and trusts, Hawaiian rights, and appeals. His experience includes:

  • Successfully challenging a federal Air Installation Compatibility Use Zone (AICUZ) study used to blight development
  • Issues regarding construction of testamentary instruments, effectiveness of possibilities of reverter under Hawaii law and Hawaii's common law rule against perpetuities
  • Litigating questions regarding the state's sovereign immunity, ceded lands and Hawaiian rights
  • Issues of validity and constitutionality of city ordinances regarding multi-family leaseholds

Professional Activities:

Mr. Mee is designated as a LEED Accredited Professional by the United States Green Building Council. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. 

Mr. Mee is an associate member of both the Honolulu Board of Realtors® and the Hawaii Association of Realtors®

Professional Recognition:

Mr. Mee is the recipient of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s 2004 Ki`e Ki`e Award for Pro Bono Service. This award is given to the individual who, in the opinion of the Bar Association, has contributed the most generously of his or her time in the cause of justice and advancement of our society.

Mr. Mee is listed in Best Lawyers of America® in the areas of Real Estate, Eminent Domain and Condemnation, as well as being listed in Hawaii Super Lawyers in the area of Eminent Domain. Mr. Mee has also received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Mr. Mee has twice been named as Member of the Year of the Hawaii chapter of NAIOP, in 1998 and 2009. NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading national organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate.

Reported Cases:

  • City and County of Honolulu v. Hsiung, 109 Hawai'i 159, 124 P.3d 434 (2005)
  • City and County of Honolulu v. Sherman, 110 Hawai'i 39, 129 P.3d 542 (2006)
  • Conservation Council for Hawaii v. Babbitt, 2 F.Supp.2d 1280 (D. Haw. 1998)
  • Conservation Council for Hawaii v. Babbitt, 24 F.Supp.2d 1074 (D. Haw. 1998)
  • Hsiung v. City and County of Honolulu, 378 F.Supp.2d 1258 (D. Haw. 2005)
  • In re New York Deli, Ltd., 41 B.R. 198 (Bankr. D. Haw. 1984)
  • In re Pacific Sea Farms, Inc., 134 B.R. 11, 22 Bankr.Ct.Dec. 443 (D. Haw. 1991)
  • In re Water Use Permit Applications, 94 Hawai‘i 97, 9 P.3d 409 (Haw. 2000)
  • In re Water Use Permit Applications, 96 Hawai‘i 27, 25 P.3d 802 (Haw. 2001)
  • Ka Pa‘akai O Ka ‘Aina v. Land Use Commission, 94 Hawai‘i 31, 7 P.3d 1068 (Haw. 2000)
  • Kahalepauole v. Associates Four, 8 Haw. App. 7, 791 P.2d 720 (Haw. App. 1990)
  • Pele Defense Fund v. Paty, 73 Haw. 578, 837 P.2d 1247 (1992)
  • Richardson v. City and County of Honolulu, 76 Hawai‘i 46, 868 P.2d 1193 (1994)
  • Richardson v. City and County of Honolulu, 759 F. Supp. 1477 (D. Haw. 1991)
  • Richardson v. City and County of Honolulu, 124 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied sub nom. City and County of Honolulu v. Small Landowners of Oahu, 525 U.S. 921 (1998) and Hawaii Leaseholders Equity Coalition v. Small Landowners of Oahu, 525 U.S. 1018 (1998)
  • Small Landowners of Oahu v. City and County of Honolulu, 832 F.Supp. 1404 (D. Haw. 1993)

Mr. Mee has written numerous articles which have appeared in local newspapers and trade publications on various aspects of landlord and leasehold issues. Mr. Mee has also written on a number of other topics including Public Access Shoreline Hawaii (PASH), Hawaiian sovereignty and title issues.

Community Activities:

Mr. Mee is a founder and secretary of the Hawaii Small Landowners Association. Mr. Mee is a member of the Oahu Advisory Council of the American Lung Association of Hawaii. He also is on the board of directors of the Hawaii chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), and is the chair of its Legislative Affairs Committee. Mr. Mee is an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu and previously served as a trustee of the Hawaiian Historical Society.