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Photo of Shawn H. Yamada
Partner / Hilo

Shawn H. Yamada


Shawn Yamada is a Partner in the firm’s Hilo office and a member of the Tax, Estate Planning & Pension practice group.  She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, trust and estate litigation, conservatorship and guardianship proceedings, real property, and land use.  She assists clients with matters on the Big Island, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

Prior to joining Carlsmith Ball, Ms. Yamada served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Derrick H. M. Chan (retired) of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit where she assisted the Court on probate, trust, conservatorship, and guardianship matters.  She also served as a pro bono volunteer to the Office of the Corporation Counsel, County of Hawai`i, in Hilo and as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Gary W. B. Chang of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. 

Ms. Yamada received her J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i.  While in law school, she earned the CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Legal Practice II, Contract Drafting, and Real Estate Development and Finance.

Estate Planning


Ms. Yamada advises clients on estate planning and tax issues. She prepares estate planning documents, including wills, revocable trusts, and irrevocable trusts for estates large and small.

Trust and Estate Administration


Ms. Yamada advises and assists trustees and personal representatives with the trust and probate administration process, including their duties in managing and winding down a trust or estate. 

Trust and Estate Disputes


Ms. Yamada represents clients in contested trust and probate proceedings on Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai, including cases involving will and trust contests, claims for breach of fiduciary duty, and elective share proceedings.  She has defended fiduciaries in suits for breach of fiduciary duty, as well as advanced claims for beneficiaries for fiduciary abuse.

Conservatorship and Guardianship Proceedings


Ms. Yamada represents clients in conservatorship and guardianship matters involving incapacitated adults or minors.

Real Property


Ms. Yamada represents individuals and development entities in various real property and land use matters.  She assists clients with real estate transactions and performs due diligence on complex real estate purchases, including pre-closing review of title issues.  She also represents landlords, tenants, and property management companies in lease transactions, including shopping centers and commercial and residential leases.  Her work involves drafting and negotiating lease documents, negotiating debt cure, filing eviction actions and foreclosure actions. 


  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch 2022 for Trusts and Estates; previously listed in 2021
  • Named to the 2020 Hawaii Super Lawyers Rising Star List for Estate & Probate, listed since 2017
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Legal Practice II, Contract Drafting, and Real Estate Development and Finance
  • Oscar and Rosetta Fish Scholarship for Excellence, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai`i


  • Secretary, Probate and Estate Planning Section of the Hawai`i State Bar Association 2020 - present
  • East Hawaii Director, Real Property Financial Services Section of the Hawai`i State Bar Association 2016 - present
  • East Hawaii Director, Young Lawyers Division of the Hawai`i State Bar Association 2021
  • Member, Elder Law Section of the Hawai`i State Bar Association
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Hawaii County Bar Association
  • Hawaii Women Lawyers