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Provisional Law License as Alternative to Sitting for Hawaii Bar Exam

Posted on Jul 22, 2020 in News & Reports, Press Releases

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court announced today that it has established an option for applicants for the September 9-10, 2020 written bar exam to receive a temporary, provisional license to practice law as an alternative to sitting for the written exam.

The court, recognizing the logistical challenges and health concerns surrounding the upcoming exam during the COVID-19 pandemic, will give applicants who, by order of the court, are approved to sit for the exam, the option of foregoing the exam in favor of the provisional license.  The exam will still be administered as scheduled, for those who wish to take it, with appropriate public health protections in place.

The provisional license will require the licensee to work under the direct supervision of an attorney who is currently actively licensed in and practicing in Hawaii. The supervising attorney will also be required to be named on all pleadings and other court submissions.  Other requirements for obtaining the provisional license are set forth in the court’s order

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

All applicants for the Sept. 9-10 exam are also being offered the opportunity to defer taking the exam to a later date, without penalty or loss of fees already paid, regardless of whether they pursue obtaining a provisional license.

For further information, please contact Elizabeth Zack, Supreme Court Staff Attorney, at (808) 539-4747.


For more information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 808-539-4909 or via email at

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