Corporation Counsel Ashida stepping down


Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida is taking a job with a private practice May 1, ending a nearly three-decade run with the county.

Ashida, who has been the county’s top civil attorney for 13 years, is joining the Hilo office of Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington &Harris as senior counsel.

Wednesday will be his last day with the county. Assistant Corporation Counsel Katherine Garson will take over temporarily.

Mayor Billy Kenoi, who called Ashida one of the “best and brightest legal minds in Hawaii,” said he will submit a nomination for his replacement to the County Council next week.

“I wish him nothing but the very best,” Kenoi said.

Ashida, who was born in Hilo, became a deputy prosecuting attorney with the county in 1987. He said he began as a clerk with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 1985.

“I’m so grateful to the County of Hawaii to have given me the privilege and honor to have worked there,” he said.

Ashida said the new job is a “tremendous opportunity.”

“The firm does primarily employment and business litigation,” he said.

“I’m a trial lawyer. I’ve enjoyed doing that my entire career.”

Ashida said he talked with Kenoi for almost six months about moving on to another job.

He said he notified the mayor about the job with the law firm after finalizing details this week.

Ashida was the 2009 recipient of the state Bar Association’s C. Frederick Schutte award for outstanding contribution to the legal profession, and 2010 recipient of the association’s Pro Bono Service Award.

Ashida narrowly lost to Mitch Roth in the race for county Prosecuting Attorney in 2012.

He was also recently a finalist for a family court judge position.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.