Jonathan W.Y. Lai

Awards and Recognition
  • Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii Foundation (2016-2017), current director
  • Advisory Board of LEGUS, international network of law firms (2016-present)
  • Chair of the Hawaii Community Development Authority (2007-2009), member from 2004-2012
  • Former Chair of Bankruptcy Section of the HSBA
  • Former Director of Collection Law Section of HSBA
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After joining Watanabe Ing in 1995, Jonathan W.Y. Lai became a partner in 2003. He currently manages the Creditors’ Rights and Business Law Group and serves as the firm’s Marketing Partner. Mr. Lai’s practice focuses on creditors’ rights, business law, foreclosure, bankruptcy, collections and loan workouts. He also practices in the area of real estate and commercial litigation. Mr. Lai has represented the five largest banks in Hawai‘i in various matters. He also represents five of the ten largest Oahu-based federal credit unions as well as a number of other financial institutions. His diverse client base also includes non-profit organizations and businesses ranging from single member LLCs to foreign corporations. Mr. Lai represented an international syndicate of lenders in the $300+ million foreclosure of the former Ritz Carlton Residences at Kapalua Bay. He has represented other lenders in shopping center, commercial and hotel foreclosures and bankruptcies throughout the state.

  • University of Southern California, J.D./M.B.A., 1995
  • Claremont McKenna College, B.A. in Economics & Government, 1991
  • University of Hawaii-Manoa, Pacific Asian Management Institute Certificate, 1989
  • Punahou School, 1988
Community Involvement
  • Member of Inter Pacific Bar Association; attended meetings in Hong Kong, Auckland andManila
  • Volunteer speaker at events for various professional organizations
  • Former volunteer educator at Punahou School
  • Former volunteer coach in basketball, flag
    football and other sports
Notable Cases
  • International syndicate of lenders in $300+ million foreclosure of former Ritz Carlton Residences at Kapalua Bay
  • Arizona bank in a number of commercial real estate workouts and contested foreclosures
  • Hawaii companies in the acquisitions of competing businesses in the service and retail industries
  • Shopping centers in commercial lessor-lessee disputes
  • Start-up LLCs, joint ventures and other business entities in transactions
  • Hawaii lender in receivership of shopping center
  • Business entities in wind down of operations in Hawaii
  • Companies in the exemplification and/or collection of out-of-state judgments