Faculty & Staff




Professor of Law
Co-Director, Environmental Law Program


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


David M. Forman is a Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Environmental Law Program (having previously served as sole Director from 2011-2022); he continues to serve as Affiliate Faculty for both the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, as well as the Pacific Asian Legal Studies Program. He is the Law School’s first faculty member of Filipino descent raised in Hawai‘i; he is also a co-founder of the Tony Oposa Intergenerational Moot Court, an innovative, collaborative moot court designed to highlight cutting edge international issues and their impact on future generations. See, e.g., https://manoa.hawaii.edu/elp/tea-with-elp/tony-oposa-intergenerational-moot-court/. Mr. Forman has been a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) since 2014, and a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) since 2015. In 2024, the IUCN Council appointed Mr. Forman to the WCEL Steering Committee (North America Focal Point) and as Election Officer for the 2025 World Conservation Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Forman joined the Law School faculty full-time in July 2010, and teaches: Administrative Law, Appellate Advocacy, Domestic Ocean & Coastal Law, Food Law & Policy, along with a variety of Advanced Environmental Law Topics as well as Topics in Native Hawaiian and Indigenous law; he also teaches legal writing courses including Lawyering Fundamentals I and Second Year Seminar. Mr. Forman previously served as the Law School’s Faculty Pro Bono Advisor from 1998-1999, co-taught an Advanced Legal Seminar on Reparations with (now Emeritus) 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, 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. (where he worked for United States Senator John B. Breaux, D-La.).

Mr. Forman began his legal career as an Ocean Policy Consultant for the Pacific Basin Development Group. His diverse experience as an attorney 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 has served on the board of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Honolulu chapter since 1996 (Chair of the Public Relations and Marketing Committee for the 75th Anniversary JACL National Convention, 2002-2004; and Past President, 2006-2008). 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.


Chapters & Articles

  • “Traditional and Customary Native Hawaiian Rights and Practices,” in NATIVE HAWAIIAN LAW: A TREATISE, Second Edition (Kamehameha Publ., forthcoming 2025) (with Susan Serrano)
  • “A Biotechnology ‘Regulatory Commons’ Problem,” in THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OF COMMONS RESEARCH INNOVATIONS (Cambridge Univ. Press 2021) ScholarSpace
  • “Reoccurring Cultural Insensitivity: Confronting the Abdication of Core Judicial Functions,” 43 U. HAW. L. REV. 341 (2021) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • “Marooned in the Doldrums While Ignoring Indigenous Environmental Knowledge: Attempting to Regulate Pesticide Use in Hawai‘i,” in Emilie Gaillard & David Forman, LEGAL ACTIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS (Peter Lang 2021)
  • “Making a Difference for Future Generations,” in Emilie Gaillard & David Forman, LEGAL ACTIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS (Peter Lang 2021) (with Antonio A. Oposa, Jr.) 
  • “Applying Indigenous Ecological Knowledge for the Protection of Environmental Commons: Case Studies from Hawai‘i for the Benefit of ‘Island Earth’,” U. Haw. L. Rev. 300 (2019) HeinOnline
  • “Traditional and Customary Access and Gathering Rights,” in NATIVE HAWAIIAN LAW: A Treatise (Kamehameha Publ. 2015)
  • Ho‘ohana Aku, a Ho‘ola Aku: A Legal Primer for Traditional and Customary Rights in Hawai‘i” (2012) (with Susan K. Serrano). ScholarSpace
  • “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). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • “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). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
  • “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.). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
  • “Dismantling Civil Rights: Multiracial Resistance and Reconstruction,” in CUMBERLAND LAW REVIEW, vol. 31, no. 3 (2001) (co-authored with Eric Yamamoto, et al.)  SSRN | ScholarSpace
  • “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) SSRNScholarSpace
  • “Protecting Philippine Overseas Contract Workers,” 16 COMPARATIVE LABOR LAW JOURNAL 26 (1994). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
  • “Economic Development Versus Environmental Protection: Executive Oversight and Judicial Review of Wetland Policy,” 15 UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I LAW REVIEW 23 (1993). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
  • “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) HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace


  • AGIR EN JUSTICE AU NOM DES GÉNÉRATIONS FUTURES (Mare & Martin, forthcoming 2024) (co-editor, with Emilie Gaillard)
  • LEGAL ACTIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS (Peter Lang 2021) (co-editor, with Emilie Gaillard)

Other Publications

  • 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 Benefiting Native Hawaiians (Hawai‘i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, June 2001) (contributing author). ERICScholarSpace
  • Laws, Rules and Policies Governing Ocean Recreation in Hawai‘i (University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant 1989).
  • “A Sad Reality,” in The Fil-Am Courier (Dec. 1-15, 2013).
portrait photo


Phone: (808) 956-5298
Fax: (808) 956-5569



By Appointment



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