Hawaii Legal Service Organizations & Hawaii Pro Bono

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Similar to the state's view of House Counsel, Hawaii also does not require or currently have special admission rules for attorneys who are practicing law for Legal Service Organizations. Check out Hawaii Pro Hac Vice Rules for admission on a specific matter.

Hawaii Pro Bono

In Hawaii pro bono attorneys are governed by Rule 20 of the Hawaii Supreme Court Rules. It enables attorneys from other states or not in active practice to provide legal services to non-profits or indigent individuals in Hawaii.

Applications by Attorneys

Attorneys seeking to be a Hawaii pro bono attorney or assist with a legal organization must file an application to work for a legal organization with the clerk of the Supreme Court of Hawaii. They must include with the application:

  • Proof of a being barred in another state
  • Proof they have not been disciplined nor are facing discipline within the past 15 years or the foreseeable future
  • Proof of being up to date with CLE requirements
  • An affidavit from their employer that they have obtained the position
  • An affidavit signed by the attorney that they have read the Hawaii rules on professional conduct, and understands they must report any disciplinary actions against them to the Hawaii courts.

Applicants will have their authorization terminate by the court if they no longer work for the legal services organization and must submit a notification to the Clerk of the Hawaii Supreme Court and the bar within 10-14 days.

Practice and Restrictions

Attorneys may practice law for their legal organizations or for Hawaii pro bono matters only while employed by such organization or client.  Attorneys must also adhere to the following:

  • Can not use any other title to describe their ability to represent entities or clients other than that they are a pro bono attorney for a limited amount of time or if they are a registered legal services attorney
    • Attorneys cannot claim they are a member of the Hawaii bar
  • Make certain their employer has indicated that they, the attorney will:
    • Work without compensation
    • Work solely for the employer
    • Will be supervised by a Hawaii barred attorney, who will be liable for the non-barred attorneys conduct.
    • Has read the Hawaii rules of professional responsibility
    • That they are in good standing in their licensed jurisdictions

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