New York state Bar Pro Bono requirement

Report
NEW YORK STATE
BAR PRO BONO
REQUIREMENT
SARA JACKSON
PRO BONO COORDINATOR
GEORGETOWN OPICS
THE REQUIREMENT:
NY Court of Appeals Rule 520.16:
Beginning on January 1, 2015, all persons admitted
to the New York State Bar must submit an affidavit
of compliance showing that they have performed
fifty hours of pro bono service (to be submitted
with all other Admission Application forms).
• Note: if you will take the bar exam on or after July 2014,
you will probably be admitted after January 1, 2015.
WHAT IS “PRO BONO
SERVICE?”
Qualifying work under the New York Rule:
• Is law-related
• Provides legal assistance, without charge, to:
• Persons of limited means
• Not-for-profit organizations
• Individuals, groups or organizations seeking access to
justice such as civil liberties, civil rights or public rights; or
• Assists in the provision of public service by a
government entity, including the judiciary (judge
or court system)
• Is appropriate for lawyers-in-training not yet
admitted to practice (no unauthorized practice)
EXAMPLES OF PRO BONO
SERVICE:
• Assisting individuals or families in matters involving
the essentials of life (e.g. access to housing, health
care, educational services, social services, gov’t
assistance…)
• Representing the victims of domestic violence or
elder abuse
• Representing persons with disabilities or mental
illnesses
• Advocating for victims of alleged human rights
violations or the protection of civil liberties
• Litigating on behalf of classes of individuals who
cannot afford representation
EXAMPLES OF QUALIFYING ACTIVITIES
APPROPRIATE FOR LAW STUDENTS:
With adequate training and supervision:
• Helping a low-income person complete court forms
• Assisting an attorney with trial prep and/or helping
litigants prepare for court appearances
• Engaging in witness interviewing and investigation
• Participating in a community legal education project
• Drafting court or transactional documents
• Engaging in legal research or writing
• Helping low-income people complete tax returns
• Making in court appearances (if authorized under the
student practice rules)
CAN I RECEIVE CREDIT OR
PAY?
Yes! Unlike Georgetown’s pro bono policy, under New York’s
rule you MAY also receive academic credit or monetary
compensation for the work.
Consequently, you can count work done in:
• A clinic
• An externship
• The practicum part of a law school course or seminar
• A summer job or paid internship during the academic year
• A summer associate position
…IF the work otherwise satisfies the pro bono criteria
WHAT DOES NOT COUNT
AS PRO BONO?
• Scholarly research, unless in conjunction legal
services/public service (i.e. academic research for a
professor or work for a law journal does NOT count)
• Student-supervised pro bono work
• Community service that is not law-related
• Partisan political work
• Language translation or interpretation services provided
separately from the actual provision of legal services
• Work performed prior to law school (except for LLMs)
• Participation as a mentor/volunteer in mock trial programs
ARE THERE SUPERVISION
REQUIREMENTS?
YES!
In order to be counted, pro bono work must be
supervised by:
• A lawyer or law school faculty member admitted
to practice and in good standing in the
jurisdiction where the work is performed;
• If the work is in a court system, by a judge or
court attorney
PROOF OF COMPLETION
You will need to complete a separate affidavit of
compliance, signed by a supervisor, for EACH
qualifying pro bono activity that you wish to count.
• We strongly recommend 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
• OPICS or other departmental staff are NOT able to sign
affidavits of compliance
• You need not complete 50 hours at a single project; you
can piece together several projects/activities to complete
your 50 hours
AFFIDAVIT OF
COMPLIANCE OVERVIEW
Required Information:
• Applicant contact information
• Organization contact info & brief description of work
• Category of work performed
• Dates of service and hours completed
• Supervisor certification, contact info and bar admission
Once filled out, the form must be NOTARIZED prior
to submission.
WHERE CAN I COMPLETE
MY PRO BONO WORK?
Your pro bono work can be completed in ANY
state, and even outside of the United States.
• Note: if your pro bono work is performed in whole, or in
part, outside of the US you will be required “to explain in
detail the nature and circumstances of your work as part
of your application for admission”
• Remember, work must be supervised by an attorney
barred in the jurisdiction where the work is performed
• If form is completed outside of the US and you are unable
to use a notary public, you may utilize an equivalent
attesting officer (but must attach a certificate of the
officer’s authority to your affidavit)
LLM STUDENTS
LLM students are also subject to the 50 hour
requirement
Slightly expanded rules for LLMs: Pro bono work
can be completed during the year before
commencing the LLM (in addition to during or after
completing the LLM degree program)
• Reminder: Pro bono work abroad can qualify if it is lawrelated and supervised by an attorney in that jurisdiction
• All of the other rules apply
OTHER FAQS
How long do I have to complete my requirement?
• Your work can be completed after you graduate from law
school, but MUST be included with your application for
admission to the appropriate Appellate Division of the NY
Supreme Court.
• Note: Bar exam scores become stale after 3 years so you
likely don’t want to delay for that long…
When do I file the Affidavit of Compliance?
• You will file the Affidavit with your admission packet at the
appropriate Appellate Division of the NY Supreme Court
(must be filed within 3 years of bar passage)
• http://www.nybarexam.org/Admission/Admission.htm
FAQ’S CONT’D
Where can I learn about pro bono opportunities?
•
On the OPICS Pro Bono & Community Service website
•
Through “Georgetown Gives Back” – a newsletter that you
will receive when you sign up for the Pro Bono Pledge
•
By reaching out individually to organizations doing work that
is of interest to you (you can use Symplicity or PSJD to help
you identify organizations in your interest area)
•
Through student organizations and other on-campus events
and activities
•
Through your own personal or professional networks
Can hours towards my Pro Bono Pledge also count
towards the NY requirement?
•
Yes, provided they are law-related and otherwise satisfy the
NY Court’s definition of pro bono
A FINAL NOTE…
Because Georgetown Law is not the official
administrator of this program, we cannot officially
verify or confirm that a particular activity will
count. Consequently, what we have provided here
is our best advice based on the information
publicly available.
We recommend that you contact the NY Bar
directly with questions about specific pro bono
projects or activities, especially if you are unsure
whether or not they qualify.
• Contact email: [email protected]
FOR ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION…
Please visit:
NY Court FAQs:
http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/FAQsBarAdmissi
on.pdf
NY Court Website:
http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreq
s.shtml
NY Board of Law Examiners Admission Information:
http://www.nybarexam.org/Admission/Admission.htm
ANY QUESTIONS???
Thank you for your attendance and
for your pro bono service!
Sara Jackson
Pro Bono Coordinator
[email protected]
(202) 661-6641

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