NY Pro Bono Rule
New York Bar Pro Bono Admission Requirement
The state of New York recently introduced a pro bono requirement for all New York Bar applicants. Beginning January 1, 2015, all applicants for admission by examination to the New York Bar must perform 50 hours of law-related pro bono service prior to filing their application.
RWU Law students are responsible for reviewing and complying with bar admissions requirements, including the New York Pro Bono requirement. Pro bono hours that count toward fulfillment of RWU Law’s graduation requirement may not qualify for compliance with the New York rule. We urge you to carefully review the bar admissions requirements and contact the NY Bar directly with specific questions.
RWU Law cannot officially verify or confirm that a particular activity will qualify. Below you will find guidance and advice regarding the new law but applicants should contact the NY Bar directly with specific questions.
Please see http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml for official information.
Under the new rule (22NYCRR 520.16), pro bono is broadly defined, though the work must be law-related in nature and supervised by an attorney or judge. Examples of qualifying activities include: Law-school sponsored clinics that provide legal services to those who cannot afford representation;
- Externships or internships (even if funded or performed for academic credit) for a nonprofit provider of legal services, judge or court system, legal aid office, legal services organization serving low-income clients, Public Defender, U.S. Attorney, District Attorney, or State Attorney General;
- Private sector pro bono work;
- Law school sponsored project or programs that serve the poor or disadvantaged (provided the work is law-related and supervised in accordance with the pro bono requirement);
- Law-related work in connection with a faculty or instructor's pro bono work.
Applicants will need to file an Affidavit of Compliance for each pro bono activity used to satisfy the 50-hour requirement. Each Affidavit must be certified and signed by the appropriate supervising attorney or faculty member. Affidavits should be completed immediately after the qualifying pro bono work is done, as tracking down supervisors or required information months or years after the pro bono work has been completed will be very difficult. Students are solely responsible for retaining their completed affidavit(s) for submission with their application for admission to the New York Bar. You can link to a fillable Affidavit of Compliance form here: