NY Attorney Bar Admission Pro Bono Requirement

Q: What is the Pro Bono Requirement? 

A: Pursuant to Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, applicants who successfully pass the bar examination in New York State must demonstrate that they have performed 50 hours of  qualifying pro bono service before applying for admission to practice. The full text of Rule 520.16 is available at www.nycourts.gov/ctapps.

Q: When does the Pro Bono Requirement take effect for law students attending an American Bar Association- approved law school?

A: If you were enrolled at an ABA- approved law school and you are seeking admission to practice in New York on examination, you will need to complete 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work before you apply for admission to the New York Bar. Only eligible pro bono work performed on or after May 1, 2012 will satisfy the Rule. The Requirement need not be fulfilled before a law student applies to take the New York bar examination; rather, the 50 hours must be completed before filing an application for admission. 

Q: When can I begin to fulfill the Requirement?

A: If you are currently a law student at an American Bar Association- approved law school, eligible pro bono work performed at any time after you commenced your legal education will qualify to meet the Requirement, as long as the work does not violate any of your law school's regulations or policies about student employment or volunteer activities. 

For more information regarding NYS Bar Admission Pro Bono Requirements call 800.268.7869, or visit: www.nycourts.gov.