All law students seeking admission to the New York State (NYS) Bar after graduation must perform 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work. Like all components of the NYS Bar application, completion and certification of these pro bono hours is your responsibility. The PILC is eager to help you understand the 50-hour requirement so that you can plan ahead and easily comply. The 50-hour requirement and accompanying information from the NYS Unified Court System, including the FAQ’s, is found here, and a basic overview is below.
WHO must meet the 50-hour requirement:
• Anyone seeking admission to the NYS Bar on or after January 1, 2015. This includes:
• CURRENT LAW STUDENTS seeking admission to the NYS Bar on or after January 1, 2015.
• LAW SCHOOL GRADUATES seeking admission to the NYS Bar on or after January 1, 2015.
• LLM STUDENTS & GRADUATES seeking admission to the NYS Bar on or after January 1, 2015.
WHAT qualifies for pro bono service:
• Pro bono service is public interest legal work supervised by an attorney.
• The work may be done in a variety of settings including:
internships in nonprofit organizations or government offices,
law school public interest clinics and externships,*
judicial internships, and
pro bono programs such as some offered by the PILC.**
• Such pro bono service can be done for academic credit, be paid, or be completed as a volunteer.
• The hours may be performed at any time during law school or after graduation preceding application to the Bar.
COMPLIANCE, TRACKING & RESPONSIBILITY:
• It is your responsibility to fulfill the requirement and to complete the NYS Unified Court System’s Affidavit of Compliance for each qualifying pro bono activity. The affidavit, found here
, includes a Certification Form to be completed by each supervising attorney or judge confirming your pro bono activities.
• It is your responsibility to keep track of your total pro bono hours.
• It is your responsibility to retain your original, signed Affidavits & Certification forms.
• We strongly advise you to obtain the signed forms from your supervisor at the time that your pro bono work is completed. If you completed a qualifying internship, externship, or clinic this summer, we recommend asking your legal supervisor to sign the forms now.
*Placements through the Pace Corporate Law and International Trade Externships may not qualify for the requirement.
** Not every program offered by the PILC qualifies toward the 50 hour rule.