Pro Bono Program

New York State Bar Pro Bono Admission Requirement

The new pro bono service requirement for admission to the New York bar serves to address the state’s urgent access to justice gap, at the same time helping prospective attorneys build valuable skills and imbuing in them the ideal of working toward the greater good. It is so important that the next generation of lawyers in New York embraces the core values of our profession that so fundamentally include pro bono legal assistance.”
- Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, State of New York, Court of Appeals

If you plan to apply to take the New York State Bar Exam, please read carefully.

The state of New York now requires all applicants to the New York Bar to complete 50 hours of qualifying law-related pro bono work. Admission on motion candidates are exempt. The New York rules define pro bono broadly but supervision by an attorney or faculty member is required.

The New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement differs from the Law School’s Pro Bono Challenge. The definition of qualifying pro bono is not the same for both. Clinics, externships, and summer internships may qualify for the New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement but cannot be logged toward the Law School’s Pro Bono Challenge. For example, VITA, which qualifies for the Law School’s program is unlikely to qualify for the NYS Bar Requirement) (see FAQ below, No. 19).

Please note that the Law School cannot certify hours as eligible for the New York State Bar Requirement. It is your responsibility to verify that your pro bono hours will qualify as “pro bono service” as defined by the New York State Board of Law Examiners.  More information on the requirement is available from the New York State Board of Law Examiners.
Applicants to the New York bar must submit an Affidavit of Compliance for pro bono work used to fulfill the bar’s pro bono requirement. Each affidavit must be signed by the applicant’s supervising attorney. It is recommended that you complete the affidavit as soon as you complete your pro bono project since it may be difficult to find a supervisor months or more after the pro bono project has concluded. The Pro Bono Program does not sign Affidavits of Compliance.

New York State Pro Bono Requirement – Rule 22 NYCRR 520.16

New York State Bar Admission: Pro Bono Requirement – FAQs

If you need additional information you can send an e-mail to A toll-free number is also available (855-227-5482).