New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement

Under the New York State Pro Bono requirement, persons applying for admission to the New York State Bar must file an affidavit showing that they have performed fifty hours of pro bono service.

You will be required to complete the affidavit form, including certification by your attorney supervisor, for the qualifying pro bono project(s) that you do. It is recommended that you complete the form at the time you complete your qualifying pro bono work. You can find the affidavit form, along with Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals which explains the new requirements, and Frequently Asked Questions, on the New York State bar’s website. We strongly suggest that you review the rule and Frequently Asked Questions before completing the affidavit to ensure that your work qualifies.

What counts:

  • Pro bono work must be law-related and supervised by an attorney or judge in order to qualify.
  • Internships with a broad range of organizations including legal services providers; public defender and prosecutor offices;  not-for-profit organizations; state, local, or federal government agencies or legislative bodies; and judges or court systems can all count if the work is law-related and properly supervised.
  • Pro bono work abroad can also qualify if it is law-related and properly supervised. You will be asked to explain the nature and circumstances of the work in detail.
  • Pro bono work at a law firm can qualify as long as no fee is being paid, and the work is duly supervised and law related.
  • Many of the University of Chicago Law clinics count. Please contact the Law School's Pro Bono Coordinator with specific questions.
  • You are allowed to receive funding or academic credit for qualifying pro bono work and still satisfy the requirement.

What does NOT count:

  • Scholarly research, such as academic research for a professor or work for a law journal or publication.  
  • Community service that is not law-related, such as serving food at a shelter.
  • Pro bono work done before you started law school. However, LLMs can count some work completed prior to the LLM program.
  • Work on a political campaign. 
  • Participation as a mentor or organizer in a mock trial program for high school or college students. 

How to get credit for your pro bono work:

  • All applicants to the NY Bar will be required to furnish an affidavit(s) signed by their attorney supervisor(s) confirming that they have completed 50 hours of pro bono work.  The affidavit can be found here.

For more information: