New York's New Mandatory Pro Bono Requirements a Step in the Wrong Direction

, The Am Law Daily


The New York Court of Appeals' new rule requiring bar applicants to perform pro bono work won't make things too much worse for law students, but bar admission should require fewer rules, not more.

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What's being said

  • Fred M

    The law school where I used to teach requires 30 hours of "public service" to graduate. Many law schools do. A "barrier to entry"? No. Some entering student enroll there because of this requirement, not in spite of it. Also, if the school were in NY, the students would graduate with no more than 20 hours of pro bono still to do. The work that qualifies as pro bono can be fairly simple, such as screening cases at the local legal clinic's intake night. This is work that can be done by any law grad, no matter how recent. However, spending one evening a month speaking with the poor and working poor and learning about their legal problems (as well as their many related other problems) is a life-altering experience that every lawyer should have.

  • NYC Lawyer

    This article is laden with unthruths. I'm surprised Am Law would run this. I am counsel at a large corporate law firm and the pro bono work I did at law school and during my first year in practice in in New York was among my most fulfilling activities, and also provided some excellent training for me when I was a junior lawyer. It certainly was not looked at as, nor did it feel like "law school welfare." Maybe that's how they see things in Wisconsin, where the writer is from and went to law school, or Missouri, where Trachtenberg is, but most New Yorkers I know support and applaude Judge Lippman's efforts around this requirement.

  • Robert A

    Again this is utter nonsense, many of my friends are doctors and completed many, many hours of residency without pay. The fifty hours of pro bono ought to be looked at as enhancing the legal profession not hindering it.

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