William C. Darrah, Esq.


Since 1976, through the innovative use of conciliation, negotiation, mediation, professional mastering, arbitration, private judging, collaborative practice, and traditional litigation, “Hawai‘i’s First Best Lawyers in America Family Lawyer of the Year” attorney WILLIAM C. DARRAH has helped his many clients, and numerous others, successfully meet the challenges of divorce where more complicated financial issues are involved. As the long time editor of the Hawai‘i Divorce Manual and the Journal of Hawai‘i Family Law, and the moderator for the Family Court’s Divorce Law in Hawai‘i program, Mr. Darrah is Hawai‘i’s best known divorce educator. As the three (3) time Chairperson of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s Family Law Section, and in many other roles, Mr. Darrah actively supports numerous initiatives designed to increase access to justice for those of Hawai‘i’s families and children who need it most, and elevate the standard of family law practice in Hawai‘i. 

Personal History

  • Hawai‘i resident since 1971
  • Born October 6, 1948 in Providence, Rhode Island
  • 1966 graduate of Tabor Academy, Marion, Massachusetts (Valedictorian) 
  • 1970 graduate of the University of North Carolina (Morehead Scholar)
  • 1975 graduate of New York University School of Law (Root-Tilden Scholar)
  • Federal judicial clerkship in Portland, Oregon with the Honorable Gus J. Solomon (1975)
  • Hawai‘i matrimonial attorney (1976-present)

Experience and Qualifications

  • Practice limited to family law since 1976 
  • Successfully resolved hundreds of complex Hawai‘i divorce cases 
  • Involved in many important Hawai‘i divorce appeals and “landmark cases” 
  • Certified Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (1985-present) 
  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV” highest attorney rating (1989-present) 
  • Designated in The Best Lawyers in America (1989-present)
  • Designated a Hawai‘i “A+ Lawyer” (1993-present)
  • American Bar Association certified divorce mediator (1985) 
  • Designated a Hawai‘i “Super Lawyer” (2008-present) 
  • AAML certified divorce arbitrator (1992) 
  • Arbitrator, private judge, mediator, and settlement master for Dispute Prevention Resolution, Inc. (2006-present) 
  • President of Collaborative Divorce Hawai‘i Practice Group (2012-present) 
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (2006-present)

Family Court and Bar Association Activities

  • Chairman of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s Family Law Section (1989-1990, 1995, 2005) 
  • Family Court Volunteer Settlement Master (1988, 2004-present) 
  • Family Court Volunteer Settlement Master Steering Committee (2003-present)
  • Hawai‘i Supreme Court Committee on Statewide Divorce Practice Reform (2005-present)
  • First Circuit Family Court Procedures Improvement Group (2006-present) 
  • Hawai‘i Supreme Court Permanent Committee on Hawai‘i Family Court Rules (2007-present)

Educating Others

  • Program chair for the Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s annual Divorce Law Update Program (1989-2007) 
  • Editor of the Family Law Section’s Journal of Hawai‘i Family Law (1990-present)
  • Editor-in-Chief of the Bar Association’s Hawai‘i Divorce Manual (1992-present) 
  • Author of numerous articles on divorce law for the Hawai‘i Bar Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin 
  • Senior trainer for divorce mediators at the Mediation Center of the Pacific (1998-present) 
  • American Bar Association Family Law Section Hawai‘i law reporter (1998-2007)
  • Moderator of Family Court’s “Divorce Law in Hawai‘i” monthly public education program on divorce money issues (2002-present)

Awards and Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America First Hawai‘i Family Lawyer of the Year (2009) 
  • Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s C. Frederick Schutte Award for Outstanding and Meritorious Service to the Legal Community and the Profession (1992) 
  • Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division President’s Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service to the Community (1997) 
  • Mediation Center of the Pacific “Lawyer as Problem Solver” Award (2011) 
  • Hawai‘i Supreme Court and Family Court “Friend of the Family Court” Award (2017) 
  • Hawai‘i Governor’s “Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney” Award (2017) 
  • MCP “Champion” Award (2019) 
  • Family Court “Advancement of Legal Knowledge” Award (2019)