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Hawaii law school grads offered temp licenses amid virus

HILO — Bar exam applicants can receive a temporary license to practice law in the state as an alternative to the written test during the coronavirus pandemic, the Hawaii Supreme Court announced this week.

The court said Wednesday it will give applicants who are approved for the exam the option of foregoing the test for a provisional license, recognizing the health concerns associated with gathering during the pandemic, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Law school graduates must be admitted into their state’s bar via the bar exam before being allowed to practice law, but the provisional license would allow them to work under the direct supervision of an attorney actively licensed and practicing in the state.

The bar exam will still be administered Sept. 9-10 with public health guidelines in place. All applicants can also defer taking the exam to a later date without penalty or loss of fees already paid, regardless of if they are pursuing the provisional license.

The license will expire July 1, 2022, unless the applicant successfully passes the exam before then, and will require the provisionally licensed attorney to remain in good standing and to honor all obligations imposed on regularly licensed Hawaii attorneys.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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