Craig I. Nakanishi


Craig has extensive experience representing clients in the petroleum, electric, and alternative/renewable energy industries.

Craig is a partner at the firm with a focus on energy, public utilities, and business and real property transactions. He is the chair of the Firm’s Energy and Public Utilities practice group and the Firm’s Digital Media, Internet and Information Technology practice group.

His energy practice includes advising on a wide array of energy issues, including those arising in purchase power negotiations, capital projects, fuel contracts, rate cases, financing matters, infrastructure, mergers and acquisitions, legislation, administrative proceedings, and investigations, as well as providing guidance in the formulation of strategic plans, regulatory frameworks, case management, regulatory interaction, and government affairs.

Craig also represents public utility companies and common carriers providing electric, petroleum, water, wastewater, telecommunication and transportation services in rate, regulatory and other proceedings before the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Hawai‘i.

In his business and real estate practice, Craig has handled the acquisition or divestiture of capital stock or assets; transactions involving the purchase, sale and leasing of real property; and the negotiation, documentation, and implementation of a diverse array of contracts and various issues arising in day-to-day operations of his clients. He has advised clients on internal resource and management issues, corporate governance, and reorganization matters, and general corporate matters.

  • Developing governmental and regulatory strategies for over $1 billion in projects
  • Managing over $10 billion in complex commercial negotiations and transactions
  • Transforming a volunteer organization to a $4.5 million on-going operation
  • Providing strategic advice to local, national, and multi-national entities on complex matters in petroleum, utility (electric, water, wastewater, telecommunications, and transportation), and alternative energy industries


  • J.D. (1986), University of California Davis School of Law, Order of the Coif
  • B.B.A. Accounting with distinction (1983), University of Hawai‘i, Beta Alpha Psi
  • Passed, CPA Exam (1983)

Awards and Honors

  • Listed in Best Lawyers® since 2008
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year, Energy Law, Honolulu, 2017
  • Listed in Super Lawyers® since 2014


  • Hawai‘i State Bar (1988)
  • California State Bar (1986)


  • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Rotary Club of Honolulu, (Past Director, Past Club Secretary )
  • Pro Bono Counsel for various organizations