Public Interest Law Center

Pro Bono Opportunities

PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES

Contact:

Amy Heading, NYU School of Law LL.M. Pro Bono Manager (212 992 8999; amy.heading@nyu.edu)

The rule:

All persons who are admitted to the New York State bar after January 1st, 2015 are now required to file an affidavit showing that they have performed fifty hours of pro bono service (even if they apply for admission before January 1, 2015). The full text of the rule and FAQs can be found at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml.

What counts:

Because the requirement is new, the Court of Appeals is still working on defining exactly what counts as pro bono work. NYU Law is actively engaging with this process in order to clarify the requirement and make it as easy as possible for our students to satisfy it.

Below is what we do know so far:

  • Pro bono work must be law-related and supervised by an attorney 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 all count as long as the work is law-related and supervised by an attorney.
  • Pro bono work can be completed during the year before the date the LL.M. program commences, during the LL.M. program school year, or after completion of the LL.M. program and the bar exam (but before application for admission).
  • Pro bono work abroad could also qualify if it is law-related and supervised by an attorney in that jurisdiction. You will be asked to explain the nature and circumstances of the work in detail.
  • Pro bono work at a law firm qualifies as long as no fee is being paid, and the work is duly supervised and law related.
  • NYU Law clinics may count (although students who need the LL.M. for NY bar eligibility should note that not all NYU clinics count toward the 24 credits you will need to earn as part of the LL.M. degree).
  • You may receive funding or academic credit for work you do to satisfy the requirement.
  • The following things do NOT count:

o Scholarly research, such as academic research for a professor or work for a law journal or publication;

o Student-supervised pro bono (for example, the work of student organizations such as REACH, Unemployment Action Center, and the Suspension Representation Project does not qualify because students are not supervised by an attorney).

o Community service that is not law-related.

o Language translation or interpretation services provided separately from the actual provision of legal services.

What you need to do:

1. Find opportunities: NYU is working with organizations to create pro bono opportunities specifically for LL.M. students to be undertaken during the school year, all of which will be posted online to CSM Symplicity (sign in at https://law-nyu-csm.symplicity.com/students/). We also encourage you to find opportunities yourself through your own networks and websites such as PSLawNet (http://www.psjd.org/) and ProBonoNet (http://www.probono.net/ny/oppsguide.cfm).

It is important to note that given the lack of clarity surrounding the requirement, NYU cannot guarantee that any opportunities posted on CSM Symplicity or otherwise will be accepted by the Court of Appeals as satisfying the requirement, and as such it remains the responsibility of the student to confirm compliance with the rule. The Court has provided an email for inquiries (ProBonoRule@nycourts.gov) and a toll-free phone number (1-855-227-5482).

2. Complete the affidavit: After the pro bono work has been completed, you will need to download and fill in the form affidavit (found at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/AppForAdmission_Pro-BonoReq_Fillable.pdf) and have it signed by your attorney supervisor. This affidavit then needs to be sent with all other Admission Application forms. Only original, hard copy versions of Affidavits of Compliance may be submitted (not electronic versions or photocopies).

Additional resources:

  • NYU also provides a resource to help you track your pro bono hours and store electronic copies of your completed affidavits online in CSM Symplicity (sign in at https://law-nyu-csm.symplicity.com/students/).
  • For any further questions, please contact Amy Heading, NYU School of Law LL.M. Pro Bono Manager at amy.heading@nyu.edu.

How to Search for Pro Bono Placement Opportunities on Symplicity:

  1. Log onto your Symplicity profile. From your Symplicity homepage, click on “ Job Postings” tab, "NYU Law Jobs" dropdown on the top of the screen which will take you to the search page.
  2. Click 'More Options'
  3. Under 'Position Type' select Legal: Pro Bono [for students only], under 'Class Level' select 'LL.M. Student'
  4. Click the Search button
  5. All of the NYU sourced opportunities will come up labelled as 'LL.M. Pro Bono Placements

*NOTE: LL.M. students will not receive access to CSM until end of August. Until then, please see this document for the current pro bono placement opportunities that are available.

*NOTE: It is important to note that given the lack of clarity surrounding the requirement, NYU cannot guarantee that any opportunities posted on CSM Symplicity or otherwise will be accepted by the Court of Appeals as satisfying the requirement, and as such it remains the responsibility of the student to confirm compliance with the rule. The Court has provided an email for inquiries (ProBonoRule@nycourts.gov) and a toll-free phone number (1-855-227-5482).

How to Track Pro Bono Hours on Symplicity:

How to Activate the Pro Bono Module on Symplicity

  1. Log onto your Symplicity profile. From your Symplicity homepage, click on “Pro Bono Hours Tracking” link on the right-hand side of the homepage.
  2. If you have not previously registered to activate pro bono hours on Symplicity, then you will be directed to the Pro Bono Hours Tracking “Terms of Use” page. Read the information carefully on the page and check the box next to “I understand” and click on the “Submit” button.
  3. You will then have access to the “Pro Bono Reporting” tab.

How to Add Pro Bono Hours on the Pro Bono Module on Symplicity

  1. From your Symplicity homepage, click on “Pro Bono Hours Tracking” on the right-hand side of the homepage.
  2. Select the “Pro Bono Reporting” tab.
  3. Click on “Add New” button.
  4. Review the instructions on the page and fill in all the required information. When you are finished, click on the “Submit” button.

How to Upload your form Affidavit of Compliance on the Pro Bono Module on Symplicity

  1. From your Symplicity homepage, click on “Pro Bono Hours Tracking” on the right-hand side of the homepage.
  2. Select the “Pro Bono Reporting” tab.
  3. Click on the “Edit” button next to the Employer to which you wish to upload an Affidavit of Compliance.
  4. Click on the “NYS Pro Bono Rule Affidavit of Compliance” tab.
  5. Click on the “Choose File” button to upload a saved electronic copy of the Affidavit of Compliance from your computer to the Pro Bono Module on Symplicity. Select the file you wish to upload.
  6. After you have selected the file you wish to upload, click the “Save” button.
  7. A link will appear the page with the name of the file you selected to upload signaling the successful upload of the file.

How to Retrieve a Previously Saved Affidavit of Compliance

  1. From your Symplicity homepage, click on “Pro Bono Hours Tracking” on the right-hand side of the homepage.
  2. Select the “Pro Bono Reporting” tab.
  3. Click on the “Edit” button next to the Employer from which you wish to retrieve your previously saved Affidavit of Compliance
  4. Click on the “NYS Pro Bono Rule Affidavit of Compliance” tab.
  5. Click on the link with the name of the file you previously uploaded to begin download of the file.

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