Family Helping Family
Guiding You Through Every Step of the Process

Michael T. Lee

Photo of attorney Michael T. Lee

Contact Me


MICHAEL T. LEE; is Senior Associate Attorney at Coates Frey & Hackett (“CFH”). After a brief retirement, Michael arrived at CFH in 2024 and focuses upon complex family law cases. He was the prior Lead Litigation Attorney at the Domestic Violence Action Center (2021-2024) (where he supervised attorneys in training and represented domestic violence survivors in divorce, paternity, order for protection, child support, and public benefits proceedings). Michael was an Administrative Hearings Officer with the Office of Child Support Hearings (2014-2020) (where he heard and decided child support cases and special education cases (for a brief period of time). Michael also has extensive experience as an Assistant Disciplinary Counsel with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (1995-2009) (where he investigated and prosecuted complaints against Hawaii licensed attorneys for alleged violations of the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct), and as the Project Manager with the Epic Foundation (2009-2014) (where he supervised staff (state wide) in representing children placed in foster care homes in obtaining and maintaining special education services from the Department of Education, State of Hawaii (“DOE”)). Prior to becoming a licensed attorney, Michael worked with and counseled individuals who experienced family discord and violence at Child & Family Service (1983-1985) and the Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center (1974-1981).

Similar to CFH’s philosophy and approach, Michael prepares each of his cases extensively, and tries to resolve cases and proceedings in an expeditious and/or innovative manner, and judiciously uses a client’s financial resources. Using Hawaii Family Court Rule 40(e) as a guide, Michael works with CFH personnel in obtaining information and preparing documents to facilitate a written agreement or alternatively, an evidentiary hearing (when an agreement cannot be achieved). He is also willing to consider and use innovative approaches to resolve cases. For example, in child support cases, Michael used the concept of percentages and attributed this to various facts to reduce or increase monthly child support payments. He also used the concept of cash medical payments as a substitute for payment of excessive monthly health insurance premiums. In attorney discipline cases, he used examples of rehabilitation, corrective action and restitution for Hawaii lawyers facing challenges in order to reduce the sanction of disbarment or the period of suspension. In special education cases, he used the option of an independent assessment of a child to compel the DOE to order and pay for new educational and other assessments for an affected child.

Michael is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA, JD4803) (1988) and United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (1989); 1988 graduate of Santa Clara University (Juris Doctor) (recipient of American Jurisprudence Award for Family Law and minority student scholarship for third year of school); 1979 graduate of University of Hawaii at Manoa (M.A., Social Work) (recipient of minority student scholarship for second year of school, and student member of school’s Admissions Committee); 1977 graduate of University of Hawaii at Manoa (B.A., Psychology) (awarded membership in academic honoraries, Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi); 1973 graduate of Roosevelt High School (Honolulu, Hawaii). 1995-2021 Seminar Speaker: Child support and attorney ethics and discipline. Other Professional Organizations: Academy of Certified Social Workers (1981), and National Association of Social Workers (1979). Community Involvement: Parent Coach, K2Tens Team Tennis (2009); Lawyer Coach, Hawaii Baptist Academy Mock Trial Team (2006-2008). Cases of Note: RA v. DA (using percentages to reduce monthly child support payments). DH v. RS (using cash medical payments as a substitute for paying monthly health insurance premiums). ODC v. TF (rehabilitation and restitution to reduce disbarment sanction). ODC v. SM (rehabilitation and corrective action to reduce period of suspension). CF v. DOE (use of independent assessment to compel new educational assessments).

Current Employment Positions

  • Senior Associate Attorney