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NY Pro Bono Requirement

All persons who are admitted to the New York State bar after January 1, 2015 are now required to file an affidavit showing that they have performed 50 hours of pro bono service (even if they apply for admission before January 1, 2015).

The full text of the rule and FAQs can be found at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml.

NOTE: It is the responsibility of each student to verify that their work meets the requirements outlined below. The law school cannot guarantee that any particular internship or placement will be accepted. If, after reviewing the FAQs, you have any question about whether your work would count, please email: ProBonoRule@nycourts.gov or call 1-855-227-5482.

Who needs to fulfill the pro bono requirement?

More information: nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml and nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/FAQsBarAdmission.pdf

Email probonorule@nycourts.gov or call 1-855-227-5482

All law students who were at an ABA-approved law school in 2011 and expect to be admitted to practice in New York after January 1, 2015. This includes:

  • Full-time students
  • LLMs
  • Part-time students
  • Evening students

    What counts?

    • In order to qualify, the work must be: 
      • Law-related, in a government, judicial or non-profit setting
      • The work must include adequate training
      • You must be properly supervised
        • Constant, physical presence of a supervisor during the performance of pro bono work may not be necessary, but supervision must be reasonable to the extent that adequate training, guidance, instruction, and evaluation will be provided to assure that appropriate services are being performed.

    • Some examples of work that would count:
      • A judicial internship for credit with a state court judge
      • Providing legal information in a resource center under supervision of a lawyer as a part of a student-run pro bono project
      • A summer internship at a legal services office or government agency, even if you receive a summer PILF grant. 
      • Participation in the law school’s Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project
      • The law school clinics

    • The following things do NOT count:
      • Street Law
      • Community service projects
      • Translation services (even legal translation)
      • Mentorship or coaching
      • Lobbying or campaigning
      • Providing tax preparation help without attorney supervision
      • Non-legal mediation

    Please note that there are differences in what counts under the New York rule, compared to Rutgers’ pro bono recognition program. Students SHOULD NOT assume that work that counts for one will automatically count for the other. 

    How do I complete the affidavit?

    • After the pro bono work has been completed, you will need to download and fill in the form affidavit (found at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/AppForAdmission_Pro-BonoReq_Fillable.pdf), have it notarized, and then have it (the ORIGINAL* copy) signed by your attorney supervisor. 
    • This affidavit then needs to be sent with all other Admission Application forms. In other words, you will complete the affidavit and then keep it (in a safe place!) until you are applying for admission. Affidavits cannot be submitted ahead of time.

    * Only original, hard copy versions of Affidavits of Compliance may be submitted (not electronic versions or photocopies). Nonetheless, it is recommend that you keep an extra copy on file. Although the copy would not be admissible itself, it could provide useful information in the event you have to replace the original for any reason.