You Asked – I’m Answering! Seeking a Head IV Exemption

I have noticed a slowly increasing readership of my blog, but primarily for the purposes of following some of my practice pointers on becoming admitted in Hong Kong.  Many of you have asked me specific questions on my “About” page, and I have tried to answer some there.  But now I wonder if it might be useful to take some of those questions and answer them generally in individual posts.  Plus, it gets a bit cumbersome to scroll through all those Q&As on the About page.

So here goes my first such Q&A –

JP asked:

What sort of explanation you were able to use to obtain an exemption from Head IV (Accounts & Professional Conduct)? I have been a practicing corporate/commercial lawyer for the past 4.5 years and was toying with the idea of taking the QLQE next year. I’m hoping to be able to obtain the exemption for everything except for the Conveyancing Head.

At the time I did my aplpication, I had no guidance as to how to draft my exemptions letter.  I tried searching all over the internet for examples, but to no avail, so I hope that my advice here helps.

As to Head IV on Accounts & Professional Conduct, I kept it pretty simple. First, I cited all my reference letters, which I of course also drafted for my referrers, as evidence of my experience, knowledge and training generally. 

Then I attached copies of CLE certificates for all ethics related courses, and reminded the Law Society of my continual obligation to receive regular training on the subject.

And that was that! It doesn’t seem to be a head that mandates a high threshold to achieve an exemption, despite it being one of the harder heads to pass.  Or perhaps I was just extremely lucky. 

Anyone else able to write in on what worked for them?

And JP – good luck!  Do let me (and anyone else watching) know if this works for you too, and how things go generally!

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10 responses to “You Asked – I’m Answering! Seeking a Head IV Exemption

  1. Thank you so much for your helpful response! I will keep you posted on what happens.

  2. I drafted my exemption letter like a pleading — first, I’m a common law lawyer, second I’ve got more than 5 years experience and request Head II and V exemptions, etc., with citation to the various supporting documents.

    I agree ethics isn’t a high threshold for most US attorneys. I referred to my (one) law school legal ethics course, my MPRE pass, my state bar’s legal ethics rules, and the continuing education requirement including specific courses taken. I also cited some personal experience from law school which involved ethics issues.

    Probably too late for this year, but getting the application in early probably helps too as the law society doubtless faces pressure towards the end of July.

    • JG – I think that probably works, and I do believe the time to finalize applications may have passed. Good luck – whether it be this year or next!

  3. Thanks for the good wishes, but I’ve been there and done that, sworn in last year (with the robe and collar from the shop you mentioned on your blog!).

    One additional comment: apply for all the exemptions even if you don’t think you’ll get them. I’m amazed at how many people at my conveyancing course told me they didn’t apply for the commercial law exemption because they weren’t transactional lawyers. Obviously, no lying, but if you’re doing civil litigation, you probably worked for or against a company, right? Make the case and let the Law Society decide.

    Nice job on the blog, one of the only places online that addresses the peculiarities of the OLQE process.

    • ahh – I misunderstood your comment and thought you were saying you were afraid YOU were too late! Well, good work!

      I didn’t know that people didn’t apply for all exemptions! That also seems silly to me. Unfortunately, I am one of those litigators whom the Law Society disagreed had experience in companies law. If you managed to get that exemption as a litigator, perhaps you could offer a guest post 🙂

      I have to admit, however, I learned a lot of very important things while preparing the Companies Head, which may have arguably led me to my current job (perhaps a post on that in the future).

  4. Pingback: There’s No Such Thing as a Shortcut – You Asked I’m Answering (Part 1) | Because It's Time

  5. Hi, I am also coming from a civil law jurisdiction and I found some problems in passing Head IV. Next year I will try to apply for the exemption. Can I ask to you and JG to be kind enough to publish a template of the exemption letter and of the letters of reference? it might be a very valuable precedent!
    thanks in advance and best regards.

  6. Pingback: A Word on OLQE Exemptions | Because It's Time

  7. Anonymous Lawyer

    Hello, I’m also seeking an exemption from Head IV. Could you please tell me to whom did you address your exemption letter?

    Many thanks !

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