Jeffrey Portnoy was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1969 with a bachelor of arts degree with honors in political science and a minor in journalism. Portnoy also attended Duke University School of Law where he received his juris doctorate in 1972.
In June of 1972, Portnoy moved to Hawaiʻi and began employment as an associate attorney at the law firm of Cades Schutte Fleming and Wright (now Cades Schutte). He presently serves as chair of the firm’s litigation department and served on its management committee for more than two decades.
Portnoy has been selected in Best Lawyers in America (Hawaiʻi) in seven legal specialties, including commercial litigation, first amendment, insurance, legal malpractice, personal injury, and Bet The Company litigation was selected as the Hawaiʻi Insurance Lawyer of the Year in 2011.
He has numerous law-related accomplishments, including membership in the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates; chair of the United States District Court Advisory Committee from 1992 to 1996 and chair of the United States District Court Magistrate Selection Panel in 1990. Portnoy was also selected by the judges of the United States District Court to serve as a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference for two three-year terms; selected by the judges of the Ninth Circuit to serve as the sole Hawaiʻi attorney member to the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board from 2005 to 2008; elected president of the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association in 2007, elected as the representative from the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association to the America Bar Association House of Delegates from 1994 to 1996; appointed by the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court to serve on the Supreme Court Disciplinary Board; served on the Judicial Selection Commission from 2012 to 2014. He will serve as president of the Hawaiʻi Chapter of the Federal Bar Association from October 2014 to September 2015.