Peter W. Olson

Senior Counsel

Peter has a wealth of experience representing both insurers and insureds in complex insurance disputes, including litigation both in state and federal courts.  He also has a very active practice representing attorneys and law firms in legal malpractice and professional responsibility claims.

Peter is Senior Counsel practicing in the firm’s Litigation Department, and is Chair of the Insurance Defense and Professional Liability Practice Group. His practice focuses on insurance coverage and liability, legal malpractice defense, personal injury and product liability defense and mass media law.

Peter served as Co-chair of the HSBA Attorney-Client Relations/Fee Dispute Committee for 20 years and is the past chair of the HSBA Insurance Coverage and Litigation Section. He is on the Board of Directors of Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, serving as President from 2011 to 2016.  Peter was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he taught media law to undergraduate journalism students.

Insurance Coverage

  • Has represented insurers and policy holders in declaratory judgment actions filed in both state and federal courts
  • Has advised insurers and policy holders on coverage issues arising under General Liability, Homeowner’s, Automobile, Professional Errors and Omissions, Directors and Officers, and other forms of insurance coverage
  • Has represented insurers as lead counsel in litigation and arbitrations involving tort, contract, and bad faith claims
  • Reported decisions on cases Mr. Olson worked on include CIM Ins. Corp. v. Masamitsu, 74 F. Supp.2d 975 (D. Haw. 1999), CIM Ins. Corp. v. Midpac Auto Center, Inc., 108 F. Supp.2d 1092 (D. Haw. 2000), Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Servco Pacific, Inc., 273 F. Supp.2d 1149 (D. Haw. 2003), State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. GTE Hawai‘ian Tel. Co., Inc., 81 Haw. 235, 915 P.2d 1336 (1996), Federal Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Transamerica Ins. Co., 89 Haw. 157, 969 P.2d 1275 (1998), Del Monte Fresh Produce (Hawai‘i), Inc. v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 117 Haw. 357, 183 P.3d 734 (2007)

Legal Malpractice Defense

  • Has represented attorneys and law firms in the defense of actions involving claims for legal malpractice, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties
  • Has represented and advised attorneys regarding claims involving alleged violations of the Hawaii Code of Professional Conduct
  • Reported decisions on cases Mr. Olson worked on include Hungate v. Law Office of David B. Rosen, 139 Hawaii 394, 391 P.3d 1 (2017), Galima v. Ass’n of Apt. Owners of Palm Court, 2017 WL 1240181 (D. Haw. Mar. 30, 2017),Brown v. Porter McGuire Kiakona & Chow, LLP, 2017 WL 3763843 (D. Haw. Aug. 30, 2017)

Product Liability

  • Has served as lead counsel for the defense of various manufacturers in product liability litigation brought in federal and state court, including class action litigation
  • Has represented a manufacturer in the defense of a  false labeling class action suit filed in federal court
  • Personal Injury Defense
  • As insurance appointed counsel has represented insureds in the defense of wrongful death, negligence and other tort litigation and arbitrations

Media Law

  • Has represented the media and individuals in the defense of defamation and invasion of privacy actions
  • Has represented and advised clients in matters arising under state and federal open records and sunshine laws
  • Has represented the media with respect to courtroom access issues
  • Reported decisions on cases Mr. Olson worked on include Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2006), Gold v. Harrison, 88 Haw. 94, 962 P.2d 353 (1998), Kema v. Gaddis, 91 Haw. 200, 982 P.2d 334 (1999), Wilson v. Freitas, 121 Haw. 120, 214 P.3d 1110 (Haw. App. 2009)


  • Has served as a court-appointed arbitrator in multiple Court Annexed Arbitration Program cases


  • J.D. (1983), The John Marshall Law School, with distinction, The Order of John Marshall
  • B.A. (1976), University of Notre Dame, cum laude

Awards and Honors

  • Listed in Best Lawyers®, since 2006
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year, Insurance Law Honolulu, 2015
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated, since 2003
  • Super Lawyers®, 2008 – 2019
  • Listed in Hawaii Super Lawyers® since 2008 for Insurance Coverage, Professional Liability Defense, Personal Injury General Defense


  • Hawaii State Bar (1983)
  • United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (1983)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1989)
  • United States Supreme Court (1997)


  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Hawaii Defense Lawyers Association
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • Federal Bar Association


  • The John Marshall Law Review (Associate Editor: 1983)
  • Media Law Resource Center 50-State Survey of Media Libel Law (Hawai‘i Chapter) (co-author)
  • Media Law Resource Center 50-State Survey of Media Privacy Law (Hawaii Chapter) (co-author)
  • Media Law Resource Center 50-State Survey of Employment Defamation and Privacy Law (Hawaii Chapter) (co-author)
  • Mass Communication Law in Hawaii (co-author)
  • The Law of Lawyer’s Liability (Hawaii chapter) (published by the American Bar Association)
  • Co-author, Key Issues in Hawai‘i Insurance Law Answered By the Moon Court, 33 U. Haw. L. Rev. 779 (2011)