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New rules require Hawaii attorneys to take courses

August 7, 2009
The Maui News

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Supreme Court announced that it has adopted new rules requiring active licensed attorneys to obtain professionalism training throughout the course of their careers.

Beginning Jan. 1, the attorneys will be required to complete at least three credit hours of mandatory continuing professional education each year.

''The new rules ensure that attorneys receive continued professionalism training throughout their careers. Such training will not only benefit the legal profession, but, as importantly, will benefit the public at large,'' Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon in a news release.

The subjects will include legal ethics, the proper administration of client trust accounts, bias awareness and prevention, and making the justice system more accessible to the public.

Although most island attorneys voluntarily attend continuing legal education courses on a regular basis, there currently is no requirement that they attend mandatory professionalism training after they complete the initial requirements for licensure, the Judiciary said.

The new rules also encourage attorneys to voluntarily complete at least nine additional credit hours of legal training each year on a wider range of subjects related to their practices.

Moon said the new rules are the result of a review conducted by the Hawaii Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism. It was established in 2005 and consisted of more than 20 people, including judges, attorneys and members of the public.

The high court circulated the commission's proposed new rules for public comment and subsequently revised them based on the comments received.



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