Paul M. Saito


Paul is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, and represents business owners and managers on employment law issues.

Paul received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

He is actively involved in counseling and educating business owners and managers on employment law issues through the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Society for Human Resource Management certification programs, and the University of Hawaii’s Outreach College.

Paul served as the Chair of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Section, as a member of the board of directors for Society for Human Resources Management, Hawaii Chapter and chaired its Government and Legislative Affairs Committee. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Government Affairs Committee for the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce.  He has also served as Chairman of the Human Resources Committee for the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, as a member of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council, and has represented employers on the State’s Criminal History Record Checks Working Group.  Paul was honored by the Chamber with its Chairman’s Award, in 2002, and President’s Award, in 2003, in appreciation of the countless hours he has devoted to representing employers before the Hawaii Legislature. Paul currently serves on the Executive Committee of the board of boards of Catholic Charities of Hawaii, Palama Settlement and the Hawaii Employers Council.  In 2019, Paul was invited by the federal judiciary to serve a three-year term as a lawyer delegate to the annual United States District Court, District of Hawaii, Judicial Conference, convened to promote the better administration of justice in this district. He also volunteers his time with several community-based organizations including Aloha Council Boy Scouts, and he is President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Honolulu.

Title VII and Hawaii’s Discrimination Laws

  • Represents and defends employers in discrimination claims based upon race, sex, age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, criminal history, and all categories protected by anti-discrimination laws.  Successfully defended employers in administrative hearings, arbitrations, litigation and appeals.

Wage and Hour

  • Represents employers in administrative investigations, audits and hearings related to wage and hour laws, including federal Davis Bacon, Service Contracts, Fair Labor Standards; and Hawaii’s minimum wage, overtime and prevailing wage laws.
  • Counsels employers in correctly applying tests for determining exempt employee status allowed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, utilizing tip and other credits, implementing alternate compensation methods, and represents employers in investigations by federal and state agencies.

Occupational Safety and Health

  • Assists and represents employers in OSHA and HIOSH investigations, administrative hearings and trials.
  • Counsels employers on handling workers’ compensation and temporary disability insurance claims.
  • Assists with analysis and recommendations to respond to employee accommodation requests.

Employee Benefits

  • Assists employers in interpretation and application of state and federal leave laws including family medical leave, victims leave, and military leave.

General Employment Practices

  • Assists employers in implementing best practices for hiring, conducting background checks, training, evaluating, developing, empowering, disciplining, and if necessary terminating employees.
  • Reviews, analyzes and assists in preparing employment agreements, offer letters, job descriptions, employee handbooks, policies, non-competition and confidentiality agreements.


  • Assists employers in preparing for and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
  • Regularly represents employers against union-member grievances, and union unfair labor practice charges.
  • Assists in sales, mergers and acquisitions of companies involving union collective bargaining agreements, and compliance with workforce reduction notification laws.


  • J.D. (1991), University of California, Hastings College of The Law
  • B.B.A. (1981), University of Hawaii at Manoa

Awards and Honors

  • Listed in Best Lawyers®, since 2017
  • Listed in Chambers and Partners, USA Guide, since 2017
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated, since 2014
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rating Judicial Edition, 2019
  • Legal Leaders, Top Ranked Lawyer, 2020


  • Hawaii State Bar (1991)
  • United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (1991)
  • United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1995)


  • Hawaii State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • Board of Trustee Member, Palama Settlement, Chair of its Human Resources Committee
  • Board of Governors of the Hawaii Employers Council
  • Board of Trustee Member, Rotary Club of Honolulu Foundation
  • Board of Directors Member, Catholic Charities Hawaii
  • “Medical Cannabis for Cancer: Expert Panel Q&A” John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii (March 2019)

  • “Marijuana and the Workplace” Society for Human Resources Management, University of Hawaii Maui College (September 2017)
  • “Medical Marijuana: Do You Need a Pot Policy? What to Know and How it Will Impact Our Work Environment,” Society for Human Resources Management, University of Hawaii (September 2016)
  • “Are You Ready for the New Overtime Exemption Rules?,” Cades seminar (June 2016) (co-presenter with David F.E. Banks, Esq. and Amanda M. Jones, Esq.)
  • “Wage and Hour Master Class:  The Advanced Interactive Workshop for Employers,” BLR seminar (October 2015) (co-presenter with Amanda M. Jones, Esq., Cheryl A. Kinoshita, Esq., Min Kirk and Herbert Lee)
  • “Essentials of Human Resource Management,” Society for Human Resource Management, University of Hawaii (June 2015)
  • “To Rehabilitate or Not to Rehabilitate: Substance Abuse in the Workplace,” Hawaii Employers Council (June 2014) (co-presenter with Alan Shinn and Michelle Park)
  • “Are you prepared for the increased enforcement and investigative efforts into the misclassification of independent contractors, minimum wage, and overtime violations?,” Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (June 2014)
  • “Healthcare Reform Panel,” Pacific Business News Panel (February 2014)