David M. Forman '93

  • Interim Director of the Environmental Law Program
  • Associate Faculty Specialist


  • AB Harvard College 1988
  • JD William S. Richardson School of Law 1993


David M. Forman is the interim Director of the Environmental Law Program, and Associate Faculty Specialist for the Health Law Policy Center and Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. He joined the faculty full-time in Summer 2010, and teaches: Legal Practice I, Administrative Law, Second Year Seminar, and Recent Developments in Food Security: An Intersection for Environmental and Health Law & Policy. Mr. Forman previously served as Faculty Pro Bono Advisor from 1998-1999, co-taught an Advanced Legal Seminar on Reparations with Professor Eric Yamamoto in 2006, and served as an Adjunct Professor/Lecturer in Appellate Advocacy then Legal Practice II from 2006-2010.

Mr. Forman is a 1993 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, and served on the University of Hawai‘i Law Review. He received one of the first Environmental Law Certificates issued by the law school, and also obtained a Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate from the School of Oceans, Earth Sciences & Technology at the University of Hawai‘i. Mr. Forman was a member of the law school’s first National Environmental Law Moot Court team in 1991 (Best Brief award), and its 1993 Jessup International Law Moot Court team (national champions, runners-up in the international finals, and recipient of the Dillard Award for Best Memorial in the World Regional Rounds). He also took a year-long leave of absence from law school as a John A. Knauss National Sea Grant/National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fellow in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Forman began his legal career as an Ocean Policy Consultant for the Pacific Basin Development Group. His diverse legal career includes stints as: Clerk for Associate Justice Robert G. Klein (retired) of the Hawai’i Supreme Court, 1994-1996; Staff Attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, 1996-1997; Executive Director of the Hawaii Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, 1997-2002; Associate Attorney with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, 2000-2004; and, Enforcement Attorney with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, 2004-2010.

Appointed to the Hawai‘i State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1995, Mr. Forman served two terms as Chairperson until the imposition of term limits in 2006. He is a Past President of the Hawai‘i Filipino Lawyers Association and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Honolulu chapter. He served as Chair of the Public Relations and Marketing Committee for the 75th Anniversary JACL National Convention (2002-2004). In 1998, the Hawai‘i State Legislature appointed him to the PASH Study Group (on traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights), and the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission appointed him to its Ocean Management Advisory Group.

Mr. Forman has written numerous articles and delivered multiple presentations on environmental and cultural resources law, civil rights, and social justice issues.



  • “Ho‘ohana Aku, a Ho‘ola Aku: A Legal Primer for Traditional and Customary Rights in Hawai‘i” (2012) (with Susan K. Serrano).
  • “A Room for “Adam and Steve” in Mrs. Murphy’s B&B: Acknowledging the Sin of Inhospitality in Places of Public Accommodation” 23.2 Colum. J. Gender & Law 326 (2012).
  • Filipino Lawyers in Hawaii: on the Backs of Those Who Came Before Us,” in DAYBREAK (Amado Yoro ed., forthcoming).
  • "Traditional and Customary Rights," in NATIVE HAWAIIAN RIGHTS HANDBOOK (Melody Mackenzie, ed., forthcoming)
  • "The Hawaiian Usage Exception to the Common Law: An Inoculation Against the Effects of Western Influence," in 30 UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I LAW REVIEW 319 (Summer 2008)
  • "Restorative Justice for Hawai‘i’s First People: Selected Amicus Curiae Briefs in Doe v. Kamehameha Schools," in 14 ASIAN AMERICAN LAW JOURNAL 205 (2007) (with Susan K. Serrano, et al.)
  • "Dismantling Civil Rights: Multiracial Resistance and Reconstruction," in CUMBERLAND LAW REVIEW, vol. 31, no. 3 (2001) (co-authored with Eric Yamamoto, et al.)
  • "Unbundled Legal Services," in 5 HAWAI‘I BAR JOURNAL 20 (Aug. 2001)
  • "Native Hawaiian Cultural Practices Under Threat," in HAWAI‘I BAR JOURNAL, vol. I, no. 13 (1998) (lead author)
  • "Protecting Philippine Overseas Contract Workers," 16 COMPARATIVE LABOR LAW JOURNAL 26 (1994)
  • "Economic Development Versus Environmental Protection: Executive Oversight and Judicial Review of Wetland Policy," 15 UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I LAW REVIEW 23 (1993)
  • "Filling in a Jurisdictional Void: The New U.S. Territorial Sea," 2 TERRITORIAL SEA JOURNAL 1 (1992) (lead author, with Jon Van Dyke and Casey Jarman)


  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Correcting the Record: The U.S. Civil Rights Commission and Justice For Native Hawaiians (Oct. 2007) (with Susan K. Serrano and Eric K. Yamamoto)
  • Reconciliation at a Crossroads: The Implications of the Apology Resolution and Rice v. Cayetano for Federal and State Programs Benefitting Native Hawaiians (Hawai‘i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, June 2001) (contributing author)
  • Laws, Rules and Policies Governing Ocean Recreation in Hawai‘i (University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant 1989).