Recipient of the 2021 AJS Special Merit Citation
Special Merit Citations recognize projects and efforts that benefit some aspect of the judicial system, including those that are narrowly focused or time specific. Other awards recognize persons or organizations that have made significant contributions toward the improvement of the administration of justice and/or inspired others to do the same.
Having practiced at the Cades Schutte law firm for 40 years, beginning as an associate in 1981 and then as a partner, Colin Miwa is now Senior Counsel at the firm, still practicing primarily in the Intellectual Property, Construction Law and Litigation, and Creditors’ Rights Practice Groups. He received his B.A. in Political Science with honors from Stanford University in 1978 and a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1981. He was then admitted to the Hawaii State Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Colin has represented individual business owners as well as large local and national companies in Hawaii state and federal trial and appellate courts, and in administrative trials and proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has successfully prosecuted and defended against claims of patent, trademark and copyright infringement, and has obtained and in other cases, defeated emergency relief and orders enjoining infringement of intellectual property rights in courts located both in Hawaii and on the mainland. He has been ranked as a Super Lawyer since 2015, and as an IP Star in patent and trademark litigation. Colin has also had significant commercial litigation and arbitration experience, including jury trials on Oahu and the outer islands.
In his spare time, Colin has been actively engaged in service to his profession and community. He has served on the Board of Directors of Diamond Head Theatre since 2015, and is currently the Chair-Elect and Chair of the Facilities Committee working on construction of DHT’s new theatre. Colin also served as the Lawyer Representative for the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and as a member of the Hawaii Judiciary’s Permanent Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Circuit Court Civil Rules.
The American Judicature Society has greatly benefitted from Colin’s contributions. He has been a member of the AJS Board of Directors since 2009 and actively participates on several of its committees, including as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Judicial Selection, Retention, and Accountability; co-chair of the Sidebar Standing Committee; co-chair of the Special Committee on Mandatory Retirement of State Court Judges; and as a member of the Communications Committee. His leadership as vice co-chair of the AJS National Conference Steering Committee and as chair of the Conference Programs Committee has been steadfast and invaluable in ensuring a successful event, despite the uncertainties and difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Colin has written and presented testimonies on behalf of AJS which were instrumental in defeating bills before the Hawai‘i State Legislature regarding proposed Constitutional amendments to elect state court judges and to require Senate consent for the retention of judges. In the view of AJS and other stakeholders in the community, these measures may have eroded the independence of the judicial system in Hawai‘i.