Const. amend.; practice of law
Proposes a constitutional amendment allowing Hawaii residents to
take the bar examination and, if successful, practice law upon
written certification of eligibility by two licensed attorneys.

HB HMIA 2000-64
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                     A BILL FOR AN ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  For centuries, the traditional approach to the
 2 study of English common law (the basis of the American legal
 3 system) and American law was accomplished through clerking in a
 4 private law office or through privately reading law.
 5      Until 1849, the overwhelming majority of practicing lawyers
 6 in America received their legal education in a private law office
 7 or by educating themselves through reading law.
 8      U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Grover Cleveland were
 9 part of that great majority.  Both were lawyers; but neither
10 received his legal education from a law school.  Abraham Lincoln
11 privately read law.  Grover Cleveland never had any formal
12 education; he received his legal education reading law and
13 clerking at a Buffalo law firm.
14      U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justices Oliver Ellsworth, John
15 Marshall, Melville Weston Fuller, and Edward Douglas White all
16 received their legal educations by privately reading law or
17 clerking in a law office.
18      It wasn't until 1915 that access to the legal profession was
19 restricted to exclude those who were not able to attend an

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 1 American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school.
 2      However, five states (California, Connecticut, Maine,
 3 Virginia and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia still maintain
 4 the more traditional routes of wide access to the legal
 5 profession.  They thus assure that their citizens, and others,
 6 whose financial or personal situations do not allow them the
 7 funds or the time to attend law school, may still have the same
 8 opportunity to participate in the legal profession that is
 9 available to those who are more fortunate.  These states and the
10 District of Columbia allow a person to sit for their bar exam and
11 be admitted to practice law without graduating from an ABA
12 approved law school.
13      The ABA recommends that "[e]ach applicant should be required
14 to have ....graduated [from a law school approved by the ABA]
15 before being admitted to practice [law]."  The ABA also
16 recommends that "[n]either private study, correspondence study or
17 law office training, nor ...experience should be substituted for
18 law school education."
19      Hawaii's current rules regarding "Requirements for
20 Admission" already provide for exceptions to the rule that "to be
21 eligible for examination and admission to the bar, each applicant
22 shall have graduated from a law school accredited by the ABA."
23      But as currently written, Hawaii's rules make exception only

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 1 for attorneys from other states, U.S. territories, and even other
 2 countries--even though those attorneys may not have graduated
 3 from an ABA approved law school.
 4      In the interest of granting the residents of Hawaii the same
 5 privilege of access to the legal profession in Hawaii as is
 6 currently provided to attorneys outside of Hawaii, it is the
 7 purpose of this Act to propose an amendment to the Hawaii
 8 Constitution to allow any Hawaii resident to sit for the bar
 9 examination upon the written certification of two attorneys
10 licensed in this State and practice law upon successful
11 completion of such examination and other requirments established
12 by the supreme court.
13      SECTION 2.  Article 6, section 7, of the Constitution of the
14 State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
15                              "RULES
16      Section 7.  The supreme court shall have power to promulgate
17 rules and regulations in all civil and criminal cases for all
18 courts relating to process, practice, procedure and appeals,
19 which shall have the force and effect of law[.] ; except that
20 with respect to the practice of law, any resident of Hawaii,
21 regardless of formal legal education, shall be entitled to sit
22 for the Hawaii bar examination upon the written certification of
23 eligibility from two attorneys licensed by the State, and

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 1 practice law upon the successful completion of such examination
 2 and any other rule or regulation promulgated by the supreme
 3 court."
 4      SECTION 3.  The question to be printed on the ballot shall
 5 be as follows:
 6      "Shall the current constitutional provision giving the
 7 supreme court the power to regulate the practice of law be
 8 amended to provide that any Hawaii resident, regardless of formal
 9 legal education, shall be entitled to sit for the Hawaii bar
10 examination upon the written certification of eligibility from
11 two attorneys licensed by the State, and practice law upon the
12 successful completion of such examination and any other rule or
13 regulation established by the supreme court?"
14      SECTION 4.  Constitutional material to be repealed is
15 bracketed.  New constitutional material is underscored.
16      SECTION 5.  This amendment shall take effect upon compliance
17 with Article XVII, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of
18 Hawaii.
21                         INTRODUCED BY:___________________________

HB HMIA 2000-64