Chenise K. Iwamasa
Chenise K. Iwamasa is the Principal Attorney and founder of Ziva Law. With over 18 years of experience practicing law in Hawaii, she specializes in commercial leasing transactions.
A graduate of Punahou School and the University of Washington, Chenise earned her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, cum laude, where she was a writer and editor on the University of Hawaii Law Review.
Following a clerkship with The Honorable Corinne K.A. Watanabe (Ret.) at the Intermediate Court of Appeals of the State of Hawaii, Chenise worked as a commercial litigation attorney, advocating for clients in court, mediations, and arbitrations over real estate, business, and other commercial disputes. After that, Chenise joined a boutique commercial real estate law firm, where she practiced in the area of commercial real estate transactions, including commercial leasing, purchase and sale of real property, and real estate development and finance.
Although Chenise enjoyed the opportunity to work on large, multi-million-dollar commercial real estate transactions, she founded Ziva Law with a vision of developing a niche commercial leasing practice because she is passionate about helping small businesses thrive in Hawaii. She enthusiastically embraces systems and technology to provide more efficient and cost-effective legal services to Hawaii businesses.
Awards and Recognition
- Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Peer Review Rating awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability.
- Honolulu Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Hawaii (Real Estate) (2018 - 2023)
- Best Lawyers (Real Estate) (2018 - 2023)
- Pacific Business News | Women Who Mean Business (2023)
- Pacific Business News | Forty Under 40 (2015)
- Warren E. Burger Prize (2005) Chenise was the recipient of this national award from the American Inns of Court, which seeks to promote scholarship in the areas of legal excellence, civility, ethics, and professionalism, for her article Bushido in the Courtroom: A Case for Virtue-Oriented Lawyering, 57 S.C. L. Rev. 357 (2005), which was published in the South Carolina Law Review. The article applies ancient Japanese samurai virtues of bushido (Politeness, Honor, Humility, Integrity, and Courage) to the modern-day practice of law. Chenise had the privilege of being presented this award by then United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Washington D.C.
Chenise is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Chenise has served as Chair, Chair-Elect, and Secretary of the Real Property and Financial Services Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association and was actively involved on its Board of Directors. Chenise currently serves as the Membership Committee Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network, a global organization for the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry. She is an Allied Member of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. She is also a 2012 Fellow of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Leadership Institute Program and volunteers as an ongoing facilitator and member of its Advisory Council.
Pro Bono and Community Affiliations
Chenise volunteers with Business Law Corps, a local nonprofit that provides new small business owners and entrepreneurs of limited means with pro bono legal consulting services. Chenise gives frequent educational workshops and seminars on commercial leasing topics for various organizations, associations, and nonprofits, including the Hawaii Small Business Development Center. She has served on the Board of Governors of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and has volunteered as the Administrative Director of Dance Central, a youth dance program at the Leeward YMCA.
Chenise is licensed to practice law in all federal and state courts in the State of Hawaii.
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