Faculty & Staff




Professor of Law


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


Professor Williamson Chang has taught at the William S. Richardson School of Law since 1976. He is a graduate of Princeton where he concentrated in international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International affairs.  He obtained his A.B. degree at Princeton in three years.  Professor Chang attended the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He was an associate editor of both the California Law Review and the Environmental Quarterly. After graduation Professor Chang clerked for the Honorable Dick Yin Wong, United States District Court for the District of Hawaiʻi.

During his four decades at the William S. Richardson School of Law Professor Chang has taught courses ranging from Corporate Taxation and Securities Regulation to Jurisprudence. In 1983 he received a grant from the American Bar Association to study Zen and the Law. Professor Chang spent his sabbatical in Tokyo and published an article and taught a course on the role of language in Zen practice and western legal systems. Currently Professor Chang teaches Conflict of Laws,  Professional Responsibility, and Native Hawaiian Sovereignty.

He practiced antitrust and securities regulation with the firm Chun Kerr, and Dodd of Honolulu, Hawaii. He  also served with the Legal Aid Society of Honolulu, developing the immigration law unit. Professor Chang also was appointed a Special Deputy Attorney General representing the Hawaiʻi Judiciary.  In 1989- 1990 Professor Chang served was Senior Legislative Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs.

During the 1980s he was the Reporter for the State Advisory Commission and assisted in drafting the State Water Code. He also served as the Reporter for the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association’s Commission revising the Hawaii Corporation code. He has been an officer of the Corporations Section of the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association and editor for the Hawaiʻi Bar Journal

He has been the primary investigator on numerous grants from the Federal Agencies such as the United States Geological Survey and the Administration for Native Americans. The grant from the Administration for Native Americans was used to fund the work of a non-profit to assist Hawaiians as to water rights. Professor Chang was the litigation director of Native Hawaiian Advisory Council and led a drive to file some 5000 claims of Native Hawaiians and small farmers to register their water rights. In 1982 and 1995, he was recognized by the Honolulu City Council for his outstanding community work.

He has taught at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of San Francisco, the National University of  Hiroshima University, and the University of Western Australia. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Australia studying indigenous rights.   In the past three years, he given presentations at a United Nations NGO forum in Geneva, at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. and at Nagoya University in Japan. In 2016, Professor Chang was elected as one of forty delegates to draft a constitution for the Native Hawaiian nation.  He has made numerous presentations on water rights to community and corporate groups. He has testified before Committees of the United States Senate and before the Hawaiʻi State legislature. In 2017, Professor Chang was recognized as the Native Hawaiian Patriot of the year.



  • Groundwater in Hawai‘i: A Century of Progress (With Fujimura)(University of Hawai‘i Press) (1981)

Lab Review Articles and Chapters in Books

  • Williamson Chang, “Darkness over Hawaii: The Annexation Myth is the Greatest Obstacle to Progress,” 16 Asia-Pacific Journal of Law and Policy 70 (2015) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Hawai’i: Pacific Crucible of Legal History”, 54 Am. Journal of Legal History 462 (2013) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Indigenous Values and the Law of the Sea” in Van Dyke, Broder, Lee and Paik, eds., Governing Ocean Resources: New Challenges and Emerging Regimes—A Tribute to Judge Choon Ho Park, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (2013) ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Judicial Takings: Robinson v. Ariyoshi Revisited, 21 Widener L. J. 655 (2012) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “The Life of the Law is Perpetuated in Righteousness: The Jurisprudence of William S. Richardson, 33 Univ. of Haw. L. Rev. 99 (2010) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “The Akaka Bill, Hawaiian Sovereignty, and an Indigenous Voice for the Ocean: A Proposal for a Native Hawaiian Trusteeship over the Northwest Hawaiian Islands,” President’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, September 29, 2009
  • Williamson Chang, “In Praise of Addison Bowman: The Ideal of Equality in the American Tradition in the Pacific” 18 University of Hawai‘i Law Review (1996) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “The Wasteland in the Western Exploitation of Race and the Environment” 63 Colorado Law Review 849 (1996) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang “M. Butterfly: Passivity, Deviousness and the Invisibility of the Asian American Male”. In “Bearing Dreams, Shaping Visions, Asian Pacific American Perspective”, ed. Linda A. Revilla, et. al. Washington State University Press (1993) 
  • Williamson Chang, “Reversals of Fortune: The Hawai‘i Supreme Court, the Memorandum Opinion, and the Realignment of Political Power in Post-Statehood Hawai‘i 14 University of Hawai‘i Law Review (1992) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Meaning, Reference and Reification in the Definition of a Security”, 19 University of California Davis Law Review (1986) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Missing the Boat: The Ninth Circuit, Hawaiian Water Rights and the Constitutionality of Retroactive Overruling” 16 Golden Gate University Law Review 123 (1986) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Zen, Law and Language: Of Power and Paradigms” 18 University of New Mexico Law Review 543 (1986) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “The Role of the State Courts after the Model Business Corporation Act”, 3 University of Hawai‘i Law Review (1981) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Rediscovering the Rooker Doctrine: Section 1983, Res Judicata and the Federal Courts” 32 Hastings Law Journal (1980) HeinOnlineScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang, “Unraveling Robinson v. Ariyoshi: Can Courts Take Property?” 2 University of Hawai‘i Law Review 59 (1979) HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
  • Williamson Chang and Manuel Araujo, “Interpreters for the Defense: Due Process for the Non-English-Speaking Defendant” 63 Cal. L. Rev. 801 (1975). HeinOnlineScholarSpace

Other Publications

  • Williamson Chang, “Hawai‘i law professor provides insight on Mauna Kea to University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents.” Indian Country Today July 26, 2019.  
  • Williamson Chang, “Madness in Great Ones Must not go Unwatched.” The Iolani Hawk. May 27, 2017.  
  • Williamson Chang, “Proposed Expert Witness Testimony as to the Validity of Title to Mauna Kea.” Sacred Maunakea January 2017
  • Williamson Chang, Testimony and written submission Requesting Contested Case Hearing before DLNR in response to Emergency Rules. July 2015. YouTube
  • Williamson Chang, “Nai Aupuni Decision to Sidestep Legal Challenge Raises New Legal Issues” in Civil Beat and online News Magazine December 17, 2015  
  • Williamson Chang Commentary “On Annexation of Hawaii, Scalia Fails Constitutionality Test.” Civil Beat Hawaii. March 17, 2015 [A joint resolution of Congress doesn’t empower the United States to acquire another country. Only a treaty can do that.]  
  • Williamson Chang, Community Voice “Kerry’s Visit a Chance to Answer Questions on Native Hawaiian Recognition: Will the Secretary of State address the single most important question raised in Hawaii since 1898?” Civil Beat August 2014.
  • Williamson Chang, “Water Code Development in Hawai‘i: History and Analysis 1978-1987” (1987)
  • Water Resource Research Center, University of Hawai‘i [Funded by the United State Geological Survey]
  • Williamson Chang, “Reppun v. Board of Water Supply: Property Rights, Economic Efficiency and Ensuring Minimum Stream Flow Standards”, (with Moncur) (1984) Water Resource Research Center, University of Hawai‘i [Funded by the United State Geological Survey]
  • “Water Rights, Water Regulation and the “Takings Issue” in Hawai‘i (with Kloos and Aipa) (1983) Water Resource Research Center, University of Hawai‘i [Funded by the United State Geological Survey]

Related News

Williamson Chang: Who Owns Hawai’i’s Water and Do We Have Enough?

portrait photo


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Fax: (808) 956-5569



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