Elijah Yip


Elijah is a commercial litigator.  He counsels clients in litigation and non-litigation contexts regarding Internet and information technology law, environmental regulation, health care, and First Amendment rights. He chairs the Digital Media, Internet and Information Technology Law practice group and the Health Care practice group.

As a business litigator, Elijah represents clients ranging from publicly traded companies to sole proprietors in disputes concerning a variety of subject matters including: breach of contract, real property transactions, construction projects, defamation, privacy rights, and violations of open government laws.  In addition to helping clients navigate through the litigation process, Elijah draws from his conflict resolution experience to counsel clients on legal compliance and loss prevention in the areas of Internet and Information Technology (IT) law, environmental regulation, and health care.  He is a frequent speaker on his areas of expertise, and he writes about developments in the nexus between law and technology on his blog, LegalTXTS.

Before joining Cades Schutte, Elijah clerked for U.S. District Judge Samuel P. King.  He was an adjunct professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law and taught media law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Elijah is fluent in Cantonese.

Information Technology Law

Elijah is the founder and chair of the firm’s Digital Media, Internet and Information Technology Law practice group.  He has litigated IT-related contractual disputes and advised businesses on issues regarding privacy, data breach incident response, social media, ediscovery, and intellectual property.   Representative engagements include:

  • Represented publicly traded company in arbitration (and later mediation) of contract dispute with vendor of CRM application.
  • Draft Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies for websites.
  • Draft and update social media policies.
  • Obtained injunction for removal of defamatory blog postings against small business owner.
  • Defended claim of infringing use of online images.
  • Advised on protection of privacy rights in connection with digital recording of individual without her knowledge or consent.
  • Represented health provider in contract dispute with EHR vendor.
  • Counseled health care company on legal obligations in responding to data breach incident
  • Assisted shopping center in developing social media contest rules to comply with online endorsement and sweepstakes laws

Commercial and Business Litigation

Elijah has resolved numerous cases through litigation, arbitration, and mediation.  His commercial litigation practice extends to a wide variety of subject matter, such as disputes over various types of agreements (e.g., development agreements, leases, construction agreements, management agreements), intra-company disputes, insurance coverage, and debt collection.  Representative engagements include:

  • Successfully defended hospitality industry leader in arbitration against breach of contract claim brought by international restaurant chain. Resolved case by way of motion for summary disposition.
  • Obtained million-dollar arbitration award for private real estate developer against governmental agency.
  • Won summary judgment and Ninth Circuit affirmance on claims to enforce judgment against judgment debtor and its partners and successors-in-interest.
  • Obtained reversal of County of Hawai`i Planning Commission’s decision to deny Special Management Area permit to developer of proposed condominium project.
  • Assisted in defense of publicly-traded company in consumer fraud class action.

First Amendment, Media, and Open Government Law

As a member of the firm’s First Amendment, Advertising, and Media practice group, Elijah  represents journalists, media outlets, and advertisers in dealing with privacy and publicity claims, violations of Sunshine and open records laws, and false advertising liability.

  • Secured jury verdict for defendant in defamation action against magazine publisher. Successfully defended judgment on appeal to Ninth Circuit. Chapman v. Journal Concepts, Inc., No. 09-16303, 2010 WL 4269524 (9th Cir. Oct. 27, 2010).
  • Successfully challenged government agency’s interpretation of exception to open meetings requirement under State Sunshine Law. Right to Know Committee v. City Council, 117 Hawai’i 1, 175 P.3d 111 (App. 2007)
  • Helped major Honolulu newspaper to obtain access to sealed court records in whistleblower action against a municipal employer. Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2006).
  • Advised online advertisers in compliance with regulatory restrictions on social media marketing.

Environmental Law

Mr. Yip’s work as a member of the firm’s Environmental Law and Litigation practice group focuses on advising on federal and Hawai‘i regulatory matters concerning the environmental review process and natural resource management and protection, both in a litigation and non-litigation posture.  Representative engagements include:

  • Represented coalition of transportation providers in lawsuit challenging EIS for public transit project.
  • Helped publicly-traded retail company navigate through requirements of NEPA and HEPA in connection with development of new store. Developed strategies to pre-empt legal challenges to project under HEPA.
  • Represent major Hawai`i landowner in proceedings before the Commission and Water Resource Management in proceedings involving petition to amend interim instream flow standards and applications for water use permits.
  • Assisted major Kauai landowner in procuring an NPDES permit.
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of non-profit group that was sued for non-compliance with EIS requirements in connection with project to eradicate invasive species.
  • Coordinated due diligence of permitting and other environmental regulatory issues relating to wind farm project.

Health Law

Elijah is the chair of the firm’s Health Care practice group.  He has counseled hospitals and medical groups on complying with federal and state health care regulations including the Stark anti-referral law, Anti-Kickback Statute, False Claims Act, and HIPAA.

  • Conducted investigation into major hospital organization’s compliance with federal anti-fraud regulations in connection with acquisition of physician’s practice.
  • Advised medical information service provider on applicability of EHR safe harbor in connection with agreement to provide EHR software and training to major Hawai`i health organization.
  • Counseled physician health practice in negotiations with national medical group in transaction subject to the Anti-Markup Rule.


  • J.D. (1999), William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i, summa cum laude
  • B.A., University of Hawai`i at Manoa, with distinction


  • Hawai`i State Bar (1999)
  • United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i
  • Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Awards and Honors

  • Named a Future Star by Benchmark Litigation (2015-2016)
  • Rated AV (Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named one of Top 25 Hawai‘i lawyers by Super Lawyers (2014)
  • Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, Technology Transactions, Environmental (2013 – 2015)
  • Board of Regents Scholar (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, University of Hawai`i Law Review
  • Member of national championship team, National Environmental Moot Court Competition (1999)
  • Pacific Business News “Forty Under 40” Class of 2012


  • High Technology Development Corporation (Director, 2015 – present)
  • Hawai`i State Bar Association (2012 Chair, Litigation Section)
  • American Bar Association
  • McKinley High School Foundation (Director, 2002-present)
  • Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i (Director, 2014-present)
  • Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (2002-2006; President: 2003-2006)
  • Mauka-Makai Ministries (President: April 2007 – present)
  • HisBiz Ministries (Secretary: October 2007 – present)
  • Online Media Legal Network


  • Elijah Yip and Martin E. Hsia, Confidentiality in the Cloud: The Ethics of Using Cloud Services in the Practice of Law, Hawai‘i Bar Journal (August 2014)
  • Jeffrey S. Portnoy, Peter W. Olson, and Elijah Yip, Privilege Compendium (Hawai`i chapter) (Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press: 2007)
  • Jeffrey S. Portnoy, Peter W. Olson, and Elijah Yip, Mass Communication Law in Hawai`i, (New Forum Press: 2003)
  • Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s Federal Appelate Practice Manual (2013), Chapter on Oral Argument
  • Elijah Yip & Eric K. Yamamoto, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Jurisprudence of Process and Procedure,” 20 U. Haw. L. Rev. 647 (1998)
  • Frequent contributor to Media Law Resource Center surveys of defamation and privacy law
  •  “Digital Workplace” columnist for Hawai‘i Employment Law Letter
  • Author of LegalTXTS, a blog about legal developments related to digital technology.

Selected Presentations

  • “BYOD Challenges: When Employees Bring Their Own Devices To Work”
    Event/Audience: BLR/HR Hero’s Advance Employment Issues Symposium 2013
  • “Tech@Work: How Employers Can Thrive in the Digital Workplace”
    Event/Audience: Hawai`i Employers Council, Training Seminar
  • “Files Are Our Friends: Strategies For Complying With Recordkeeping Laws and Avoiding Disputes”
    Event/Audience: Hawai`i Employers Council
  • “Social Media Evidence–a Primer”
    Event/Audience: Hawai`i State Judiciary Judges Conference
  • “Ethics in a Wired and Wireless World”
    Event/Audience: Hawai`i State Bar Association Spring Conference
  • “Social Media Policies: Rules of the Road”
    Event/Audience: Anthology Group
  • “Technically Legal: What Employers Need to Know About Law and Technology”
    Event/Audience: Risk and Insurance Management Society, Hawai`i Chapter
  • “Image Sharing Apps: Or, the Perils of Picture Posting”
    Event/Audience: Anthology Group
  • “Digital Strategies For Business Growth”
    co-presented with Tara Coomans, Mary Fastaneau, Emi Hart, Michael Tam
    Event/Audience: Pacific Business News panel “Legal ‘Buzz’: The Law of Online Endorsements”
  • “Open Government Laws”
    Event/Audience: National Federation of Paralegal Associations
  • Chair, Hawai`i Water Law Seminar and presenter onSurvey of Hawai‘i Supreme Court Law: Public Trust Doctrine, Contested Cases, Constitutional Claims”
    Event/Audience: The Seminar Group – 2016 Hawai‘i Water Law Seminar

LegalTXTS is a blog about the latest developments in law and technology, with an emphasis on legal issues regarding digital media, privacy & data security, and information management.