Paul Alston


Dentons US LLP
1001 Bishop Street
Suite 1800
Honolulu, HI 96813

Tel: +1 808 524 1888


Paul Alston is a partner in the Dentons’ Honolulu office. He believes you must earn a client’s trust by consistently doing great work, exceeding expectations, and caring deeply about solving problems efficiently. He built a 40+ year career handling complicated disputes that involve large damage claims. His practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, appellate law, and antitrust/unfair competition law, but he has also taken on a wide range of civil rights cases for the poor and disadvantaged.

Paul has been named Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America® four times, and in Chambers & Partners USA, a client describes Alston as “three steps ahead of everyone else.” He is listed as a “best lawyer” in seven categories. Benchmark Litigation identified Alston as among the litigation stars in Hawai`i.

Paul has been lead counsel in over 100 appeals in state and federal courts on behalf of an array of public and private clients.  His public clients have included the Justices of the Hawai`i Supreme Court, multiple Hawai`i governors, and state agencies.  His private clients have included private individuals and publicly traded companies involved in commercial or civil rights matters, including class actions.

Paul is a past president of the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association (Hawai`i Chapter), the Hawaii Justice Foundation and Hawaii Lawyers Care, a pro bono project. He has served as special deputy attorney general (defending the justices of the Hawai`i Supreme Court, two governors and the state attorney general), was a trustee of the National Conference of Bar Foundations, and is one of 200 lawyers elected to the American Academy of Appellate Attorneys.

  • Multiple clients: Led 15 online travel companies to victory in an appeal of an assessment of nearly US$700 million in transient accommodations taxes by the State of Hawai`i Department of Taxation.
  • Franchisee: Successfully represented in an arbitration over the termination of an Asia-wide franchise. Won a ruling that the franchisor acted in bad faith and vindicated the franchisee’s development rights.
  • Electric utility: Successfully defended Hawai`i’s largest electric utility company against a US$40 million breach of contract/misrepresentation claim involving a large biofuels project on Maui.
  • Investors: Won a defense verdict in a month-long federal securities fraud trial against investors seeking damages in excess of US$500 million from one of the largest landowners in Hawai`i
  • Kaua`i landowner: Defended against efforts by the County of Kaua`i to claim rights to a roadway across his beachfront property, which was worth more than US$25 million.
  • Best Lawyers in America
    • 2014 Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year – Bet-the-Company Litigation
    • 2013 Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year – Appellate Practice
    • 2012 Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year – Real Estate Litigation
    • 2009 Hawai`i Lawyer of the Year – Bet-the-Company Litigation
    • Appellate Practice (2007 – present)
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2009 – present)
    • Commercial Litigation (1993 – present)
    • Litigation – Antitrust (2011 – present)
    • Litigation – First Amendment (2011 – present)
    • Litigation – Real Estate (2011 – present)
    • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2011 – present)
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Federal Bar Association, Hawai`i Chapter, President 2012-2013
  • Hawaii State Bar Association, President 1990-1991
  • Hawaii Justice Foundation, President 1986-1989
  • Hawai`i Lawyers Care (now known as Volunteer Legal Services Hawai`i), President 1981-1985
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, Civil Trial Specialty
  • National Conference of Bar Foundations
  • The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, Board of Trustees

Dentons provides its clients with some of the best, most seasoned appellate advocates in the United States. Our appellate litigators have briefed and argued more than 500 cases before the US courts of appeals in every circuit, as well as in state supreme and intermediate appellate courts. Our appellate team includes former law clerks to federal and state appellate judges, as well as former government officials at the US Department of Justice and US Attorneys’ offices.

What distinguishes our Appellate Advocacy practice is that most of our appellate lawyers are also experienced trial lawyers, which ensures that they have a firm grasp of a case, from the client’s first meeting with counsel, through pleadings, pre-trial proceedings, trial and interlocutory or intermediate appeal. To enhance our appellate advocacy, we make every effort to thoroughly understand your business, and all prior proceedings, including trial court and administrative agency or tribunal, if that is where your case began.

We can help you decide whether to appeal and, if so, your next steps. We have a full research team available to explore the history of your case, review the legal issues at play, and analyze how an appellate court could view the case differently than the trial court. This allows us to quickly evaluate your situation and develop a strategy to argue your appeal.

While clients we represented at the trial level tend to stay with us for their appeals, we are regularly approached by non-clients to take over cases heading for US appellate courts. In either situation, we collaborate with the trial lawyers to gather their trial materials and their assessment of the matter. This collaboration allows us to facilitate a well-prepared and cost-effective appeal.

We are also frequently retained to file amicus curiae briefs and enlist amicus support on issues of importance, including in the US Supreme Court.

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe.

Dentons is a leader on the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client Service 30 Award winner and recognized by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Labs and the Nextlaw Global Referral Network.

Dentons’​ polycentric approach and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client interests in the communities in which we live and work.