Williamson B.C. Chang

  • Professor of Law


  • AB Princeton University 1972
  • JD University of California, Berkeley 1975


Professor Williamson Chang was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai`i. He graduated from Princeton University with degrees in Asian Studies and from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Thereafter, he attended the University of California, Berkeley [Boalt Hall] where he was an editor of both the California Law Review and the Ecology Law Quarterly. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Dick Yin Wong in Honolulu and began teaching at the University of Hawai`i the following year.

He has taught a wide variety of courses including corporations, securities regulations, Native Hawaiian Rights, Indigenous People’s Law, Legal Aspects of Water Resources in Hawai’i, Jurisprudence, Conflict of Laws and Legal Practice. Recently, he continues to teach Conflict of Laws, Jurisprudence, Legal Practice, Legal Aspects of Water Resources in Hawaii and Business Associations. He has been a visiting professor at various law schools including the University of Wisconsin, the University of San Francisco, Hiroshima University, and the University of Western Australia. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Australia and served as a staff member to the United States Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs.

Professor Chang has done extensive work in the development of water rights and the state water code. He served as a Deputy Attorney General and represented Chief Justice William S. Richardson in a number of critical property rights cases, such as McBryde Sugar Co. v. Robinson [water], Sotomura v. County of Hawai`i [beaches] and Zimring v. State of Hawai`i [volcanic accretion]. Prof. Chang was extremely active in the development of the state water code and drafted the state water code as a reporter for the Advisory Commission on Water Resources. He also helped to found the Native Hawaiian Advisory Commission where he also served as Litigation Director. While at NHAC, he helped Hawaiians and other register their water rights. He has represented numerous individuals and groups in litigation in state and federal courts, including the Pai Ohana, Public Access Shoreline Hawaii, Catholic Action Peace and Freedom Party and the Kalamaula Hawaiian Homestead Association. He is currently working on an account of the actual history of the United States acquisition of Hawai`i titled: "A Rope of Sand: The United States Annexation of Hawai`i."

He has served as a Director and Editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law and as a Trustee of the Law and Society Association. He also served for many years as the Vice President and Board Member of the Hawaii State Bar Associations Section on Corporate Law and as a member of the State Bar’s Committee to Revise the Corporation laws of Hawaii.


  • Vice-Chairman, Hawaiian, Asian & Pacific Issues Board, General Education Committee of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Faculty Senate.