New York’s New Rule 1.8 and Humanitarian Financial Assistance to Clients

Originally held on Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Program Instructor:
Raymond H. Brescia
Hon. Harold R. Tyler Chair in Law and Technology and Professor of Law
Albany Law School

  • The COVID-19 pandemic changed the legal landscape in a number of ways, including how we serve clients from historically marginalized communities who were hit hardest by the pandemic. The recent amendment to New York’s Rule 1.8, which had previously largely prohibited lawyers from providing financial assistance to clients, creates a “humanitarian exception” allowing them to provide basic support, such as money for groceries, clothes, or medical supplies. This CLE will explore implications of this new rule through hypotheticals developed from real world practice experience, and will discuss ideas and strategies for both law firms and legal services providers utilizing this rule in a way that best supports clients.

    Program Fee:
    Free for Members & Nonmembers

  • Professor Brescia combines his experience as a public interest attorney in New York City with his scholarly interests to address economic and social inequality, the legal and policy implications of financial crises, how innovative legal and regulatory approaches can improve economic and community development efforts, and the need to expand access to justice for people of low and moderate income.

    Before coming to Albany Law, he was the Associate Director of the Urban Justice Center in New York, N.Y., where he coordinated legal representation for community-based institutions in areas such as housing, economic justice, workers’ rights, civil rights and environmental justice. He also served as an adjunct professor at New York Law School from 1997 through 2006. Prior to his work at the Urban Justice Center, he was a staff attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance and the Legal Aid Society of New York, where he was a recipient of a Skadden Fellowship after graduation from law school.

    Professor Brescia also served as Law Clerk to the pathbreaking Civil Rights attorney-turned-federal judge, the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, Senior U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. While a student Yale Law School, Professor Brescia was co-recipient of the Charles Albom Prize for Appellate Advocacy; was a student director of several clinics, including the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic and the Homelessness Clinic; and was Visiting Lecturer in Yale College.

    Professor Brescia is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

    Follow him on Twitter to receive notice of his new posts.

  • Hamra Ahmad
    Director of Law and Policy
    Her Justice

    Sarah Burrows
    Associate Director
    Pro Bono

    Kurt M. Denk
    Incoming Executive Director
    City Bar Justice Center

    Nicole Fidler
    Pro Bono Program
    Sanctuary for Families

    Wendy Fu
    Director of Pro Bono
    International Refugee Assistance Project

  • 3:30 pm – 3:35 pm

    Financial Assistance to Clients: Overview, Historical Origins, and Purposes


    3:35 pm – 3:45 pm

    New York’s Amendments to Rule 1.8(e).


    3:45 pm – 4:15 pm

    Navigating the New Rule 1.8.

    1. Hypothetical 1: The Walk to the Subway
    2. Hypothetical 2: The Plane Ticket
    3. Hypothetical 3: The Weekly Grocery Run
    4. Hypothetical 4: The Rent Arrears Loan
    5. Hypothetical 5: The Go Fund Me Campaign
    6. Hypothetical 6: Gifts FROM Clients


    4:15 pm – 4:25 pm

    Best Practices


    4:25 pm – 4:30 pm

    Follow-Up Questions & Answers

  • New York: 1.0 Ethics
    New Jersey: 1.0 Professional Responsibility
    California: 1.0 Professional Responsibility
    Pennsylvania: 1.0 Professional Responsibility
    Connecticut: Available to Licensed Attorneys

    Please Note: Newly admitted NY attorneys cannot fulfill ethics or skills credits through our on-demand programs under OCA rules. For more information on this, please see

  • Sponsoring Association Organization:
    Public Interest Pro Bono Association (PIPBA)

    Co-Sponsoring Association Organizations & Committees:
    City Bar Justice Center
    Pro Bono & Legal Services Committee, Nicole L. Fidler and Jennifer K. Brown, Co-Chairs

    Sponsorship Opportunities are Available! Please Contact:
    Angie Avila, Manager, Membership Outreach and Sponsorships | (212) 382-6608 |