Warning to the Public: Unlicensed Attorneys Seeking to Exploit Victims of the Wildfire Disasters
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Hawai’i Supreme Court warns the public that Hawaiʻi prohibits the practice of law in Hawai’i unless the Court authorizes a person to practice here. In addition, attorneys are not allowed to solicit employment by direct in-person or social media, live telephone, e-mail, or text messages with few exceptions. Victims and/or their families are also protected from attorney communications involving personal injury or wrongful death unless the injury or death occurred more than 30 days prior to the communication or where the victim or family makes known that they want to be left alone. There are many rules which restrict the conduct of attorneys seeking employment and fee agreements.
If you are contacted by an attorney seeking legal employment, check to see whether the attorney is authorized to practice law in Hawaiʻi by searching the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association’s website at www.hsba.org. Make sure that the attorney has an active license. Any attorney not licensed in Hawaiʻi must be associated with an active Hawaiʻi attorney who meaningfully participates in your case. Carefully review any solicitation from lawyers and be wary of contacts from non-Hawaiʻi attorneys or law firms. Fee agreements must in writing so carefully review such agreements before agreeing to representation.
If you feel that you have been contacted by an unauthorized attorney and/or in a manner that that would violate Hawai’i’s rules, you may submit a complaint directly to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. See: “How to File a Complaint” at www.dbHawaiʻi.org.