Hero Centennial Scaled


Long before statehood, Cades Schutte was serving the businesses and families of Hawai‘i, including many that helped shape the islands’ distinct cultural and business landscape. Today, as the state’s largest law firm, we continue to serve a wide range of clients, from large institutions to individuals, and are routinely involved in the region’s largest transactions and most significant litigation.

We have chosen the kupukupu fern as a symbol of our centennial celebration in this logo designed by local design firm Middle Management. Native to Hawai‘i, the kupukupu is often used in lei and symbolizes growth (in knowledge), as kupu means “sprout” in Hawaiian.

Centennial Logo

In many ways, the kupukupu is characteristic of our firm. The kupukupu is often the first to grow after a lava flow, speaking to its resilience, especially in times of difficulty, also making it a sign of new beginnings. The fern also self-propagates through its underground “stems” and tubers—an analogy to our succession planning and our sense of family.

As we celebrate our first 100 years of service to Hawai‘i and look toward our next 100, we strive to continue providing excellent legal services to the islands we call home.

Centennial Anniversary Video

Our Roots Run Deep

A Century of Tradition and Innovation


Timeline 1

Firm founded by Arthur G. Smith and Urban E. Wild as Smith & Wild


Timeline 2

J. Russell Cades joins the firm from Philadelphia



Eugene Beebe joins the firm, establishing Smith, Wild & Beebe as the preeminent litigation practice in town


Smith Wild Beebe Cades
Smith, Wild, Beebe & Cades welcomes Hawai‘i's first true tax attorney (Russell’s brother, Milton Cades)

Urban E. Wild and Russell Cades successfully represent the petitioners in McCandless v. United States, 298 U.S. 342 (1936), where the Supreme Court holds that in condemnation cases, an owner is entitled to present evidence of the most profitable use to which its land can be put in the reasonably near future so that the owner is paid a fair price for the land


Russell Cades represents the Territory of Hawai‘i in Inter-Island Steam Navigation Co. v. Hawaii, 305 U.S. 306 (1938), in which the Court held that an Act of Congress does not supersede a territorial law unless the intent to do so is clear. The Shipping Act of 1916 did not deprive the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission of all jurisdiction over common carriers in the Territory of Hawai‘i


The Great Depression

The firm continues to serve its clients, even those who could not pay, by borrowing money to keep expenses paid


World War II

The firm is appointed by military order to represent civilian contractors in dealings with the Corps of Engineers, Russell Cades deals with military red tape for government contractors

Bill Fleming joins the firm’s litigation practice. Leaving Cornell during his third year of law school to fight in World War II, Bill never actually completed law school or passed the bar exam and was later awarded his law degree and admitted to the Hawai‘i bar under special exemption



Harold Wright, a graduate of St. Louis High School and the University of Hawai‘i, then Harvard Law School, joins the firm, ultimately specializing in real estate and banking law



Fred Schutte, a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Hawai‘i, then the Columbia University School of Law joins the firm


The beginning of the tourism and construction boom. The firm experiences increased workloads and grows from 10 to 17 lawyers from 1959 to 1963


The firm moves into expanded offices in the new First National Bank of Hawaii Building (subsequently named the First Hawaiian Bank Building)


Aloha Shirts

The firm becomes one of the first law firms to adopt an “Aloha Friday” dress code, allowing its attorneys to wear aloha shirts


Fred Schutte appointed Managing Partner of the firm


The firm name changes to Cades Cox Schutte Fleming & Wright


Cades Schutte Fleming Wright Building

The firm name changes to Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright


The firm hires its first woman attorney, Bernice Littman. She later also became Hawai‘i’s first female partner to be admitted at a major law firm


Outgrowing its space (the firm grew from 17 to 44 attorneys from 1968 to 1980), the firm moves into the Bishop Trust Building (now known as the Cades Schutte Building)


80s Office

Real estate in Hawai‘i takes a downturn, causing the firm to handle increased mortgage foreclosures, loan workouts, and restructuring business agreements. The Litigation Department maintains a steady pace, keeping busy with foreclosures, bankruptcies, and other disputes


The Cades Schutte partnership is the first major firm in Hawai‘i to admit a woman partner. The firm also abandons the managing partner model and substitutes it with an elected policy committee of five partners


Partner Richard Griffith obtains a favorable outcome for Aloha Airlines in Aloha Airlines, Inc. v. Director of Taxation of Hawaii, 464 U.S. 7 (1983), where a unanimous Court rules that the Airport Development Acceleration Act preempts a Hawai‘i statute that imposes a tax on the gross income of airlines operating within the State


Cades Schutte opens its Big Island offices, headed up by partner Roy A. Vitousek III


Partner Susan Oki Mollway successfully argues for the respondent, resulting in a unanimous Supreme Court decision that the Railway Labor Act does not preempt state law causes of action in Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. v. Norris, 512 U.S. 246 (1994)


Susan Oki Mollway

Partner Susan Oki Mollway is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. She is the first Asian-American woman appointed to the United States federal bench


Richard R Clifton Circuit Judge

Partner Richard R. Clifton is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


Cades Schutte Logo

The firm is rebranded as Cades Schutte LLP, the Hawai‘i economy begins to recover, and the firm adds lawyers, many lateral hires from Honolulu or the mainland



Cades Schutte opens its Maui office headed up by Rick Kiefer



Cades Schutte opens its Kaua‘i office headed up by Allison Mizuo Lee, becoming the only law firm in Hawai‘i with offices in all four major Hawai‘i counties


Centennial Logo

Cades Schutte celebrates 100 years

Leading the Way Since 1922

Attorneys Arthur G. Smith and Urban E. Wild founded our firm in 1922 as Smith & Wild. From that beginning, the history of Cades Schutte can be traced through the milestones of Hawai‘i’s history as we have represented the organizations and people that have shaped Hawai‘i.

We have advised our clients—big and small—with integrity, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. These core values, even after 100 years, serve as our foundation today. We continue to represent several of our original clients to this day, a testament to the consistent quality of our service.

Today, with more than 80 attorneys, over 40 different practice and industry areas, and offices in Honolulu, Kona, Waimea, Kahului, and Līhuʻe, our firm looks very different than it did in 1922. Our mission of providing outstanding legal services to our clients, however, remains. We strive to continue building on the legacy of our founders as the largest and one of the most preeminent firms in the state.

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Building on a Century of Excellence

We continually strive to exceed the expectations of our clients and community. If there is a single trait all Cades Schutte attorneys have in common, it is the drive for excellence and to be leaders in the legal community. Our mission is to provide solutions that are unique, lasting and substantial.


Centennial Celebrations

Learn how we are celebrating our anniversary in the community.