Most clients want to know a little about their lawyer. Here's my story.

At Waikiki with my sister and my mom around 1961

I arrived in the Territory of Hawaii in 1959 at the age of three. My dad was an Air Force JAG officer, and after Hawaii we were posted to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento before settling in Honolulu in 1971. I graduated from Punahou in 1974, the University of Hawaii in 1977, and the University of Santa Clara Law School in 1980. I also hold a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College.

At Waikiki with my sister and my mom around 1961

Admitted to the Hawaii Bar, 1980

After being admitted to the Hawaii Bar, I was appointed a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii and spent the next fifteen years in government service. My principal clients were the State’s welfare and Medicaid programs, the prisons, and the Child Support Enforcement Agency. My practice included class actions, federal civil rights suits, regulatory enforcement, elder abuse and neglect cases, criminal prosecution, appeals, and legislation. I defended multi-million dollar welfare cases, including one in which I wrote the friend-of-the-court brief for twenty-six states in a successful US Supreme Court appeal. I started the AG’s program to bring cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly to Family Court, and drafted the legislation that eventually became Hawaii’s Adult Protective Services Act. I shut down unlicensed or substandard day care, retirement homes and youth therapy programs, handled federal court challenges to conditions in our correctional facilities, chased deadbeat dads, and wrote a good deal of the State’s child support laws.

In 1995, my good friend Brad Coates offered me a unique opportunity to join the private sector and concentrate in family law. For the next twelve years, I practiced at Coates & Frey, Hawaii’s largest family law firm, rising to Senior Counsel. During this time, I handled literally hundreds of divorce cases, and every other type of case known to the Family Court. In 2002, I became the first—and to date, the only—lawyer to be awarded a certificate of specialization in family law by the Hawaii Supreme Court. My certificate was awarded upon completion of a specialty certification program conducted by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the only organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify specialists in family law.

Throughout my civilian career in the law, I also served as an Army Reserve officer in various intelligence, command and staff assignments. After the 9/11 attacks, I was called to active duty for about six months here in Hawaii, and my unit was mobilized and deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. After returning to Hawaii, I retired as a Colonel a few months short of thirty years of commissioned service.

In July 2007, I opened Thomas D. Farrell, Attorney at Law, LLLC concentrating on divorce and family law. I also handle national security cases involving the revocation or denial of military or industrial security clearances. In 2009, I was honored to be named to the inaugural class of Hawaii SuperLawyers, representing the top 10% of all attorneys in Hawaii, and have remained every year since.

Iraq, 2005

Over the years, I’ve been active in various community service organizations, including Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, and as a volunteer for the Hawaii Department of Health. I continue to write and speak on issues of defense and national security. In my free time, I enjoy reading and the beach, and I have a weakness for vintage MG roadsters. I live in Kalihi Valley with my wife of over thirty years and several well-fed cats.

St. Patrick’s Day 2017