808-572-6293 jer@haikulaw.com

Joel Eser Richman Attorney at Law

Joel Eser Richman is a distinguished lawyer based in Maui, Hawaii. With over forty years of experience on both the island and the mainland, Mr. Richman is a leading attorney in the field of Hawaiian Real Estate Law. Working as a sole practitioner, he specializes in condominium and subdivision formation, transaction representation, contract drafting and negotiation.

Though today Joel Richman is widely regarded as one of the top Real Estate Lawyers in Hawaii, his path to prominence was less than conventional. The son of a lawyer, Mr. Richman understood at a young age the impact lawyers can have on people’s lives. By 1977, two years after receiving his Juris Doctor from Boston University of Law, he had established himself as a respected Massachusetts lawyer.

While passionate about law and successful in his chosen career, Joel was restless nonetheless. An avid windsurfer with an adventurous spirit, in 1982 Joel made a decision that would set the tone for the rest of his career, and indeed, his life: he left his private practice in Provincetown, MA and set off for Hawaii, following his dream of becoming a professional windsurfer. There, after three years in the waves, he created a unique brand of law suited to both his nature and his ideals:

“In Massachusetts I was a trial lawyer going to court most days and I wasn’t particularly delighted to have such limited control of my work schedule. When I moved to Maui, I was determined to be very selective about my litigation commitments so that I, rather than a judge, could decide when I had to work. I did not want to miss a good day riding waves because I was stuck in court. In my early days on Maui, I mostly represented professional athletes and businesses in the windsurfing industry and rarely entered a courtroom.”

Today, Joel specializes in real estate and business consultations, transactions and development, along with contract drafting and negotiation. The nuances of real estate law in Hawaii are quite different from mainland real estate law, and in many ways a thorough understanding of Hawaii real estate law is a challenge in itself. Many of the laws pertaining to real estate in Hawaii, he notes, stem from the unique history of the island:

“Modern Hawaii real estate law is actually based on the Great Mahele of 1848, involving land titles originating in royal patents, grants and land commission awards from the 1800s. One of the biggest recent trends I’ve noticed is the creation of small condominiums which don’t change land use or require construction, but rather change the form of land ownership in ways that provide people who otherwise might not be able to afford their property the opportunity to stay in their homes.”

In addition to his expertise in the idiosyncrasies of Hawaiian real estate law, what sets Joel apart from his peers is his egalitarian philosophy on life and law: He treats every client he accepts as if they were an important person on the Island. As he notes, in Maui they just might be:

“There are many really accomplished people living here that drive pick-ups, older cars, dress casually and completely blend in. That’s one of the things I love about Maui: if you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t matter what you drive or how you look. What matters is how you act – if you are hard-working, highly competent, treat everyone with courtesy and respect and give back to the community (the “Aina”), you are welcome and respected on the Island.”

As a dedicated professional and active member of his community, Joel strives to make sure every personal interaction he has is as respectful and positive as possible. Always looking for ways to benefit the community, he has served as founder and president of the Jewish Congregation of Maui and the Maui Kite-Surfing Community, president of the Pacific Primate Center and the Kalama School Band Boosters, vice-president of the Haiku Community Association, as a referee in High School wrestling and as a coach and referee in youth soccer. Joel is now an avid kitesurfer and has three children, two of whom have been inspired by his love of the wind and waves to become professional kitesurfers themselves.

After four decades dedicated to law, Joel shows no signs of slowing down. Looking to the future, he anticipates continuing to grow his unique brand of law; using his skills and expertise to help people accomplish their goals; and, of course, kitesurfing.

Education & Certification

  • Boston University Law School (J.D. 1975)
  • Grinnell College (B.A. 1969)
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem (American Friends of Hebrew University, 1966 – 1967)
  • American Arbitration Association (Arbitrator, 1992; Mediator, 1994)

Admissions to Practice Law

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • State of Hawaii
  • U. S. District Court, District of Hawaii

Professional Memberships & Community Involvement

  • Jewish Congregation of Maui (President and Board of Directors Member)
  • Pacific Primate Center (President and Board of Directors Member)
  • Haiku Community Association (Vice President and Board of Directors Member)
  • Kalama School Band Boosters Association (President)
  • Maui Kite-Surfing Community (President and Board of Directors Member)
  • TREES (Charter Member and Moderator)
  • Maui Green Coalition (Charter Member and Facilitator)
  • State of Hawaii High School (Wrestling Referee)
  • AYSO and HYSA (Soccer Coach
  • AYSO (Soccer Referee)

Awards & Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory BV ® Distinguished™ Rating – “Very High Peer Review Rating in Legal Ability & Ethical Standards”
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Marquis Who’s Who in Executives & Professionals
  • Finalist Rotary Club of Kahului Michael H. Lyons II Palaka Award (Recognition of Exemplary Volunteer Service)