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Legal Intern at Army JAG, Virginia My internship was extremely fast-paced. I assisted with the Sexual Assault Trial Advocacy Course, helped...

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RWU Law | Bristol Campus
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New York Pro Bono Scholars Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program (NYPBSP)?

 

RWU Law is proud to participate in the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program (NYPBSP), a new program in New York State for qualifying third year law students.  Third year law students can spend 12 weeks of their final spring semester in law school providing full-time pro bono legal assistance to low-income people while participating in a required 2-credit weekly seminar.  In exchange, these students will be permitted to take the New York Bar Exam in February of their third year of law school and, assuming a passing score and successful completion of the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program and all graduation requirements, be admitted to practice as a member of the New York Bar as soon as possible after completion of the program.  Participation, Pro Bono placements and supervising attorneys must be approved by RWU Law.  New York Pro Bono Scholars will be able to participate in graduation ceremonies in May but will receive their diplomas in June.

How many credits will I receive if I participate?

12 field credits and 2 seminar credits. To be eligible for the NYPBSP, an applicant must have at least 12 non-classroom credits remaining at the end of the fall 3L semester.

Note: Students planning to participate in the NYPBSP may not enroll in a clinical externship because there is a limit of 12 fieldwork credits that students may take.

What kinds of pro bono work qualify for the NYPBSP?

Qualifying pro bono service for NYPBSP must be law-related, full-time, supervised by a licensed attorney, and assist in the provision of legal services for:

(1)   persons who are financially unable to pay for legal representation;

(2)   not-for-profit legal service providers that predominantly address the legal needs of indigent clients where the work performed is for such clients; or

(3)   a governmental entity, so long as the work performed is on behalf of identifiable individuals who are financially unable to afford representation or whose unmet legal needs prevent their access to justice.

What are the NYPBSP Requirements?

Please refer to the New York Pro Bono Scholars Guide for a complete description of the requirements of the program and the kinds of pro bono work that are eligible.  Please note, however, that not all pro bono work that is eligible under the program will also comply with RWU Law’s program requirements.  Because the RWU Law program requires enrollment in a special section of the Public Interest Clinical Externship, placements in private law firms and corporate counsel offices will not qualify, nor will work in a law school clinic.  

http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probonoscholars/ProBono-Scholars-Program-Guide-2014.pdf

Please also review the New York State Unified Court System’s Pro Bono Scholars Program website at:

http://www.nycourts.gov/ATTORNEYS/probonoscholars/index.shtml

RWU Law must approve participation and specific placements in the NYPBSP program.

What are RWU Law’s specific requirements for NYPBSP participation?

For RWU Law specific information, guidelines and deadlines for the NYPBSP, please review this document and NY Pro Bono Scholars Curricular Track.

To be considered for the NYPBSP, interested students must submit a NY Pro Bono Scholars Application to Dean Horwitz no later than April 1 of the preceding year, and attach a current resume, a transcript, and a letter explaining why they are interested, what kind of work they would like to do, and which placements would potentially interest them.

Requirements and Limitations

  • Students at RWU Law must complete 90 credits for graduation, at least 71 of which must be “classroom” credits (i.e., 19 “non-classroom” credits is the limit). Therefore, to be eligible for the NYPBSP, an applicant must be eligible to receive at least 12 non-classroom credits during their spring 3L semester.
  • A New York Pro Bono Scholar (NYPBS) must complete at least 76 credits by the end of the fall 3L semester.
  • A NYPBS pays full per-credit tuition for all credits required to graduate but remains eligible for financial aid.
  • A NYPBS must satisfactorily complete all the required fieldwork and receive a passing (P/F) grade for 12 clinical externship credits in order to graduate.
  • A NYPBS must be supervised by an attorney admitted to practice in the jurisdiction where the work is being performed.
  • A NYPBS must satisfactorily complete a required 2-credit weekly companion seminar at RWU Law (which can be taken remotely) in order to graduate.
  • A NYPBS may not be compensated by the host organization.
  • The NYPBSP hours will count toward the mandatory 50 hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York State Bar but will not count toward the RWU Law Pro Bono Experiential Learning Requirement.
  • A NYPBS is strongly advised to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) before beginning the NYPBSP so that he or she is able to be admitted to the New York State Bar promptly upon passage of the Bar Exam and law school graduation.
  • NY has switched to the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and NY law is not tested on the UBE.  However, applicants to the NY Bar are required to complete the New York Law Course and New York Law Exam as a prerequisite for admission.  A NYPBS is strongly encouraged to complete these requirements during their 2L summer.  Further information about these requirements is at: https://www.nybarexam.org/Content/CourseMaterials.htm

How do I apply to the NYPBSP?

To be considered for the NYPBSP, interested students must submit a Pro Bono Scholars Application to Dean Horwitz no later than April 1 of the preceding year and attach a current resume, a transcript, and a letter explaining why they are interested, what kind of work they would like to do, and which placements would potentially interest them.

Students interested in participating in the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program should be aware that participation will require extensive planning and preparation starting in the spring semester of their first year of law school.  Given that students in the program must complete all of their academic coursework and their PBELR by the end of the fall semester of their third year, all interested students should work with their faculty advisors, the Office of Career Development, and the Academic Success Department to carefully plan their schedules to ensure they will be fully prepared to take the bar exam and start their careers. 

Additionally, beyond the normal hurdles students face when preparing for the bar exam, taking the February bar exam presents additional obstacles: there is less time to study; most bar prep courses do not offer in-person classes; students do not have as much time during law school to take bar electives; and with fewer people taking the February exam, there are fewer people with whom to study.  Students should also keep in mind that they will not be able to take the bar exam concurrently in any other state.  

For all the reasons stated above, students most likely to be successful in the NYPBSP will have a desire to find employment in a Uniform Bar Examination jurisdiction after graduation; strong academic credentials, especially in all required and bar elective courses; and strong organizational and time management skills.

RWU Law must approve participation and specific placements in the NYPBSP program.

Successful completion of a clinic, internship or pro bono experience will be relevant to RWU Law’s approval of a NYPBSP application.

Note: Students planning to participate in the NYPBSP may not enroll in a clinical externship because there is a limit of 12 fieldwork credits students may take.

What are the NYPBSP deadlines?

 

For expected 2017 Graduation

For expected 2018 Graduation

Deadline to submit NYPBSP Application to RWU Law (Dean Horwitz)

April 1, 2016

April 1, 2017

Deadline to Confirm Final PBSP Placement

August 15, 2016

August 15, 2017

August MPRE

August 13, 2016

TBD

Deadline to Submit Final Official Application materials to RWU Law (Dean Horwitz)

September 1, 2016

September 1, 2017

Deadline for RWU Law to Submit Official PBSP Applications to NY Unified Court System for Approval for Final Acceptance into PBSP

October 3, 2016

TBD

Deadline to Register for November MPRE

September 15, 2016

September 14, 2017

Deadline for Student and Provider/Placement to Commit to participate

October 1, 2016

TBD, likely October 1, 2017

November MPRE

November 5, 2016

 

Registration Period for February 2016 NY Bar Exam

November 1-30, 2016

November 1-30, 2017

Time period to Study for February NY Bar Exam

December 2016 – February 20, 2017

December 2017- February 19, 2018

New York Bar Exam

February 21-22, 2017

TBD

NY Law Exam

May, August, October, December

May, August, October, December

NYPBSP Placement and Academic Component

February 27, 2017 – May 24, 2017

February 26, 2018-May 25, 2018

RWU Law Commencement

May 19, 2017

May 2018

Expected Bar Admission

June 2017

June 2018

If you have any questions about the program’s requirements or need assistance determining if the program is right for you, please contact Andy Horwitz, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, at ahorwitz@rwu.edu.

Will I pay tuition while doing the NYPBSP?

Yes, for the 14 credits.

Do I have to do the fieldwork in New York?

No.

What other resources should I consult in considering NYPBSP?

Please refer to the New York Pro Bono Scholars Guide for a complete description of the requirements of the program and the kinds of pro bono work that are eligible.  Please note, however, that not all pro bono work that is eligible under NYPBSP will also comply with RWU Law’s program requirements.  Because the RWU Law program requires enrollment in a special section of the Public Interest Clinical Externship, placements in private law firms and corporate counsel offices will not qualify, nor will work in a law school clinic. 

http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probonoscholars/ProBono-Scholars-Program-Guide-2014.pdf

Please also review the New York State Unified Court System’s Pro Bono Scholars Program website at:

http://www.nycourts.gov/ATTORNEYS/probonoscholars/index.shtml

If you have any questions about the NYPBSP requirements or need assistance determining if the program is right for you, please contact Andy Horwitz, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, at ahorwitz@rwu.edu.

Notes on NY Bar Exam

NY has switched to the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and NY law is not tested on the UBE.  However, applicants to the NY Bar are required to complete the New York Law Course and New York Law Exam as a prerequisite for admission.  A NYPBS is strongly encouraged to complete these requirements during their 2L summer.  Further information about these requirements is at: https://www.nybarexam.org/Content/CourseMaterials.htm

More info about these requirements is available at: https://www.nybarexam.org/Content/CourseMaterials.htm