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New Rule Expands Pro Bono Possibilities for In-House Counsel

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced on Monday a new rule that will allow thousands of additional corporate in-house attorneys to provide pro bono services in the State of New York. Attorneys who work in corporate law departments in New York but are not admitted in New York State will now be allowed to provide pro bono representation as long as they are admitted and in good standing in another state. This new rule will afford in-house counsel the same opportunities to provide pro bono services to indigent and underserved New Yorkers that are already available to attorneys admitted to practice law in New York State. The rule is in effect as of today.

The City Bar Justice Center has a rich history of leveraging the resources of New York’s in-house legal community to provide access to justice to the city’s neediest populations. The City Bar Justice Center has been active since 2003 in assisting in-house counsel in starting pro bono programs and in finding appropriate projects for corporate counsel.  To date, we have assisted about 50 corporations with organizing programs, drafting documents, choosing appropriate projects and overcoming as many obstacles as possible to the successful launch of corporate pro bono programs. Most of our projects at the Justice Center have active in-house counsel volunteers.  The Justice Center joins the in-house community in celebrating this step forward in providing access to justice to New York’s underserved.

We are hopeful that Chief Judge Lippman’s new rule will mean many additional pro bono hours devoted to underserved New Yorkers. The new rule offers an exciting opportunity for in-house legal departments to expand and strengthen existing pro bono programs, and for even more corporations to launch pro bono programs for the first time.

For additional important information about the rule on pro bono by registered in-house counsel, visit the court’s website here.

 

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