New York Imposes New Requirement of 50 Hours of Pro Bono Service on New Lawyers
The Wall Street Journal has reported that New York is now the first state in the U.S. to impose a requirement that new lawyers complete 50 hours of pro bono service in order to be able to practice law. This requirement joins successful passage of the NY Bar exam and providing evidence of "Good Moral Character." According to the new rule, service can be performed anywhere in the U.S., the District of Columbia, or any foreign country, but political activities are excluded. An earlier WSJ article indicated that about 10,000 candidates pass the NY Bar exam every year so the prediction is for NY residents to receive as many as 500,000 hours of pro bono service every year. However, the new rule does not go into effect until the year 2015. The New York State Bar Association presently encourages 20 hours of pro bono service per year as well as financial contributions to organizations that provide legal services to indigent persons. Click here to read the requirements of the new NY state rule.