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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 .

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 . 

How To Complete Your Affidavit

  • Affidavit of Compliance
  • You must submit an original Affidavit signed by your supervising attorney. Each project requires a separate affidavit and supervising attorney signature.
  • Type, do not handwrite your Affidavit.
  • For assistance in drafting your narrative language, please see the reference guide linked above.
  • Once your Affidavit is complete, sign in the presence of a notary and then send the original to your supervisor for signature and provide them with a self-addressed stamped envelope so it can be returned to you.
  • Only a supervising attorney (not a student pro bono project leader) may sign your Affidavit.

How To Determine If Your Work Is Eligible

  • 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 (non-profits); judges or court system; public defender and prosecutor offices; state, local, or federal government agencies or legislative bodies. (see FAQ #12 )
  • Law-related work or legal research for an international not-for-profit organization or foreign government must in connection with economic development objectives that assist the poor. (see FAQ #12g )
  • Private sector pro bono work (even during the summer). (see FAQ #27 )
  • If you received a stipend, scholarship, compensation or other funding, see FAQs #16, 27, and 28 .
  • 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. After you have engaged in the above analysis and reviewed the FAQs regarding your pro bono eligibility, at that time, if you have additional questions, please reach out to Sarah Egoville in TPIC.

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 eligible work completed prior to the LLM program. (see FAQ #8 )
  • Please see additional FAQs #16 - 30 for work that may not be eligible.

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)
  • Civil Rights Law Project (CRLP)
  • Criminal Records Expungement Project (C-REP)
  • Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC)
  • 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 Walk-in Legal Assistance (WILA)
  • Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project (PLIRP)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS)
  • Veterans Law Project
  • 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.