Rule 7 of the Hawaii Supreme Court Rules allows eligible University of Hawaii law students to practice as part of law school clinical program.
A “clinical program” is a practice-oriented law activity administered under the direction of a faculty member of the University of Hawaii School of Law, and participation qualifies law students to receive academic credit.
Law students must:
- Be enrolled and in good standing as an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii School of Law.
- Have completed legal studies amounting to one-third of the requirements for graduation from the University of Hawaii School of Law.
- Enrolled in a clinical program at the University of Hawaii School of Law.
In connection with a clinical program, a law student intern may appear in any court or before any legislative or administrative tribunal in Hawaii on behalf of a client. Unless prohibited by statue or ordinance, a law student intern may also appear in any matter on behalf of the United States, the state of Hawaii, or any state political subdivision.
The client must consent in writing to the appearance and the supervising attorney must indicate written approval of the appearance. For all appearances, the supervising attorney must accompany the law student intern unless the court or tribunal consents to a law student appearance without the supervising attorney. The written consent and approval must be filed in the record and brought to the attention of the judge or presiding officer.
Law student interns may, with the knowledge and approval of a supervising attorney and the client, engage in the following activities:
- Rendering assistance to clients who are inmates of penal institutions or other clients who request such assistance in preparing applications for and supporting documents for post-conviction legal remedies.
- Counsel and advice clients.
- Interview and investigate witnesses.
- Negotiating the settlement of claims.
- Prepare and draft legal instruments, pleadings, briefs, abstracts, and other documents.
The supervising attorney must sign any document requiring signature of counsel and any settlement or compromise of a claim.
Law student interns cannot ask nor receive any compensation or remuneration of any kind for services rendered to a client. A law school or public agency may pay compensation to the law student intern and may charge for the student’s services.
Law students are governed by the rules of professional conduct, but the termination of practice provisions are the exclusive sanction for disciplinary infraction that occur during authorized practice. Such disciplinary infraction may still be considered by a court or agency authorized to entertain applications for admission to practice law.
A “supervising attorney” is a member of the Hawaii Bar who has been approved as a supervisor of law student interns by the University of Hawaii School of Law. The supervising attorney must assist the law student who practices law pursuant to the student practices rule and must provide professional guidance in every phase of such practice with special attention to matters of professional responsibility and legal ethics.
Eligible law students are required to file with the clerk a typed application stating:
- The applicant’s name and age.
- That the applicant is enrolled and in good standing as an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii School of Law.
- That the applicant has completed one-third of the requirements for graduation.
- The applicant has read and is familiar with the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct attached to Rule 2.
- The applicant is enrolled in a clinical program at the University of Hawaii School of Law.
- A letter from the Dean of the University of Hawaii School of Law certifying the applicant is in good academic standing as stated in the application and appears to be competent to engage in the activities of law student interns as defined by the student practice rules.
The certification remains in effect so long as the law student is enrolled as an undergraduate in a clinical program at the University of Hawaii School of Law. The certification ceases upon termination of such employment.
After the clinical semester ends, the law student intern may continue to represent a client in cases initiated before the semester ended if such representation is deemed appropriate by the supervising attorney.
The law school Dean may withdraw the certification at anytime without cause. The Hawaii Supreme Court may terminate the certification for cause consisting of a violation of the student practice rules or any act or omission that would constitute misconduct and grounds for discipline. Such an order may suspend the certification during any proceeding to terminate the certification.