Letter with Recommendations regarding New York’s Pro Bono Requirement for Bar Admission
The Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services jointly authored a letter to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman raising issues, and providing recommendations, with regard to compliance with the rule that bar applicants must complete 50-hours of pro bono service prior to bar admission. The letter recommends eliminating the requirement that the attorney who supervises the pro bono service must be admitted to practice in the jurisdiction in which the pro bono work is being performed. The requirement is too limiting in this age of the globalization of legal practice, where law firms have many offices and the supervision of the pro bono work would not necessarily be by a lawyer in the office in which the work is being done. The letter also offered suggestions regarding the importance of having clear and consistent standards among the State’s appellate departments and the need for a definitive resource for ongoing questions about the pro bono requirement.