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Hawaii attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to give them more time to develop proposed rules that will define the practice of law.

The Hawaii State Bar Association asked the court for an extension until March 28 to fine-tune its earlier proposal to change the court's rules. Only licensed attorneys can practice law in Hawaii, but what constitutes the practice of law is not clearly defined.

The association now is working with real estate professionals and certified public accountants, two of the professional groups that potentially would be affected by the rule change.

The debate started months ago when lawyers suggested clarifying the rules that define the practice of law. But critics said the suggested definition was too broad and would potentially bump into other professions such as insurance, real estate, accounting, paralegals and legal document service providers.


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