If you are planning on sitting for the New York Bar, especially if you are a 2012 admit, be aware that New York has implemented a 50-hour pro bono requirement as part of the bar admission application. This new requirement applies to all applicants after January 2015.
Pro bono service work is defined as supervised pre-admission law-related work that
(1) assists in the provision of legal services without charge for (i) persons of limited means; (ii) not-for-profit organizations; or (iii) individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or promote access to justice, including, but not limited to, the protection of civil rights, civil liberties or public rights;
(2) assists in the provision of legal assistance in public service for a judicial, legislative, executive or other governmental entity; or
(3) provides legal services pursuant to subdivisions two and three of section 484 of the Judiciary Law, or pursuant to equivalent legal authority in the jurisdiction where the services are performed.
For New Jersey bar applicants, the New Jersey Supreme Court is considering a pro bono requirement similar to New York’s. Such changes are still in the discussion phase with no specific date yet for when, or if, New Jersey will implement this new requirement.
Students must also note that New York does not accept distance education asynchronous credits and any such credits on a student’s transcript may require further review upon application. Thus, students must pay close attention when registering for distance education classes and take only those classes listed as synchronous.
If you have any additional questions about either the New York or New Jersey bar, or any other state bar, please contact Sharon Gurule to make an appointment with an Academic Success counselor. Students are also encouraged to visit their respective state’s Board of Bar Examiners website for other frequently asked questions.