New Pro Bono Requirements in New York

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced last week new reporting rules for attorneys. Effective May 1, 2013 every attorney admitted to practice law in New York will be required to report the following information when filing their biennial attorney registration statement:


(1) the number of hours voluntarily spent providing unpaid legal services to poor

and underserved clients during the previous biennial registration period; and

(2) the amount of voluntary financial contributions made to organizations

primarily or substantially engaged in providing legal services to the poor and

underserved during the previous biennial registration period.


As well, the number of pro bono service hours that each lawyer should aspire to give to the underserved is 50 hours per year (increased from 20); although this requirement remains voluntary.


Judge Lippman said, “While the legal profession in our state selflessly provides millions of hours of pro bono work to help people of limited means each year, the civil legal needs of low income New Yorkers are enormous and continue to grow as a result of the uncertain economy and the recent devastation of Superstorm Sandy. I have every confidence that the steps we take today will help increase pro bono service and narrow the enormous access to justice gap in our state." 


Kurzon LLP currently represents three clients on a pro bono basis, each of which are not-for-profit organizations in the state of New York. We applaud this rule change and the reform efforts of Chief Judge Lippman. 


More information concerning the new reporting requirements is available