With Hawaii bar exam still on, many law school grads concerned of COVID-19 risk

With Hawaii bar exam still on, many law school grads concerned of COVID-19 risk
Hawaii Supreme Court, Aliiolani Hale (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite a request from the American Bar Association to postpone the bar exam for future attorneys, Hawaii is on track to give the test next month.

At least 140 people from Hawaii and the mainland have applied for the test in the Hawaii Convention Center on Sept. 9 and 10.

The test is also exempt from Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s stay-at-home order.

Many law school graduates, however, say they are concerned that even though they’ll be spread out, the test will be a high risk for COVID-19.

The state Supreme Court offered a chance to skip the bar and get a provisional law license, but some say it’s a risky choice.

“With a provisional license, you can practice law for two years under a licensed attorney, but that option didn’t make sense to me because within that two years, you still have to take the bar, and if you take the bar, and you fail it, you lose that provisional license as soon as you fail,” said Aris Spring, a University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law graduate.

A group sent their concerns to state Health Director Bruce Anderson, who responded in an email, saying it would be “unwise” to have 20 people in a classroom for 16 hours. He said he would forward the concerns to the state Attorney General’s Office.

CORRECTION: The story originally stated that the request to postpone bar exams came from the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the American Bar Association that made the request. Hawaii News Now regrets the error.

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