NY Bar 50-Hour Pro Bono Requirement

NY Bar 50-Hour Pro Bono Requirement

The information below is provided to assist student volunteers who are looking to complete all or some of the NY Bar’s 50-hour Pro Bono Requirement by working on the Zombie Property Project. While there are no “pre-approved” pro bono projects for the NY Bar, we believe the Zombie Property Project satisfies the requirements below for the reasons presented in this memorandum: NY Bar 50 Hour Memorandum.

520.16 Pro Bono Requirement for Bar Admission[1]

Under the New York State bar admission requirements, all persons admitted to the New York State bar after January 1st, 2015 must file an affidavit by a lawyer admitted in the jurisdiction where the work is performed showing that they have performed fifty hours of qualifying pro bono service.

“Pro bono service” is defined by the NY Bar as supervised, pre-admission law-related work that:

(1) assists in the provision of legal services without charge for

(i) persons of limited means;
(ii) not-for-profit organizations; or
(iii) individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or promote access to justice, including, but not limited to, the protection of civil rights, civil liberties or public rights;

(2) assists in the provision of legal assistance in public service for a judicial, legislative, executive or other governmental entity; or

(3) provides legal services pursuant to subdivisions two and three of section 484 of the Judiciary Law, or pursuant to equivalent legal authority in the jurisdiction where the services are performed.

Pro bono service must be supervised by (1) a member of a law school faculty, including adjunct faculty, or an instructor employed by a law school; (2) an attorney admitted to practice and in good standing in a jurisdiction, provided that the supervisory work does not violate any statute, regulation or code regarding the unauthorized practice of law; or (3) in the case of a clerkship or externship in a court system, by a judge or attorney employed by the court system. Supervision can be done remotely so long as the means of supervision is adequate to assure that appropriate information and services are being performed.[2]

Pro bono service can be performed in any state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any foreign country.

Proof of Pro Bono Service

For each qualifying project, you will need to complete a separate affidavit form, including certification by your supervisor. It is recommended that you complete the form at the time you complete your qualifying pro bono work and retain it until you submit your application for the bar.  On the Affidavit, you will be required to identify when and where the work was performed, provide a description of your work or project and identify your supervisor. You must provide sufficient detail to permit the Character and Fitness Committee to evaluate compliance with all aspects of the Requirement. The form will also contain a certification to be completed by your supervising attorney, judge or legal officer attesting to the hours you worked. You will also be required to attest under penalty of perjury to the truth of the information that you have supplied in the Form Affidavit of Compliance.[3]

Volunteers should also review the Rule (Court of Appeals Rule 520.16) and the Frequently Asked Questions, which explain the new requirements. They and the affidavit form are available on the New York State bar’s website.

[1] http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/520rules10.htm#B16

[2] https://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/FAQsBarAdmission.pdf

[3] https://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/FAQsBarAdmission.pdf