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New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement

All graduates seeking admission to the New York Bar must complete and document 50 hours of pro bono legal service.

This requirement is different from the Penn Law Pro Bono Requirement in some very significant ways. Because your bar admission is your responsibility, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with all of this information.

  • For complete information on New York’s pro bono guidelines, please see the NY Bar Pro Bono Rule and the FAQs.
  • Please download the Affidavit of Compliance.
  • TPIC has developed a helpful reference guide in completing the Affidavit. Please read this guide before drafting your Affidavit.

If you have questions, please contact Sarah Egoville, TPIC staff attorney. 

What Counts

  • Pro bono work must be law-related and supervised by an attorney. (see FAQ #11.b)
  • Law school clinics that provide legal assistance to low income clients. (see FAQ #12.a)
    • (Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property clinics may not meet the NY requirements and should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please contact your Clinic Professor.)
  • Externships or internships (even if paid, for academic credit, or performed during the summer) for legal service providers; judges or court system; public defender and prosecutor offices; state, local, or federal government agencies or legislative bodies. (see FAQ #12.b)
  • Private sector pro bono work (even during the summer). (see FAQ #28)

What Does Not Count

  • Acting as an interpreter or providing translation services. (see FAQ #21)
  • Scholarly research, such as academic research for a professor or work for a law journal or publication. (see FAQ #17)
  • Pro bono work done before you started law school. However, LLMs can count some work completed prior to the LLM program. (see FAQ #8)

Completing the Affidavit

  • You must submit an original Affidavit of Compliance signed by your supervising attorney. Each project requires a separate affidavit and supervising attorney signature.
  • Type, do not handwrite your Affidavit.
  • The affidavit should be completed immediately upon the conclusion of pro bono work as it will be profoundly difficult to locate supervisors and/or specific information about pro bono work in the months or years after it took place.
  • Have your form notarized, then send it to your supervisor with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • Only a supervising attorney (not a TPIC staff member or student pro bono project leader) may sign your Affidavit.

Penn Law Pro Bono Project Eligibility

Based on the information provided by the New York bar thus far, the work performed with these projects is expected to be eligible for the New York pro bono requirement: 

  • Animal Law Project (ALP)
  • Aequitas at Penn Law
  • Civil Rights Law Project (CRLP)
  • Criminal Records Expungement Project (C-REP)
  • Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC)
  • Domestic Violence Assistance Project (DVAP)
  • Employment Advocacy Project (EAP)
  • Environmental Law Project (ELP)
  • Guild Food Stamp Clinic (GFSC)
  • Health Law and Policy Project (HeLPP)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • Innocence Project at Penn Law
  • International Human Rights Advocates (IHRA)
  • International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
  • Pardon Project
  • Penn Housing Rights Project (PHRP)
  • Penn Law Advocates for the Homeless (PLAH)
  • Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project (PLIRP)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • Penn Law Students for Reproductive Justice (Penn LSRJ)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS)
  • Veterans Law Project
  • Women’s Re-Entry Legal Services
  • Youth Advocacy Project (YAP)

Please remember that Penn Law cannot officially verify that a particular pro bono activity is eligible (or ineligible) for New York’s pro bono requirement.

 

This page will be regularly updated as information becomes available.