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PSJD: A NALP Initiative

From Law Student to Lawyer *NEW*

Created by Jen Tschirch, Assistant Director of Pro Bono Programs, Georgetown University Law Center for the Washington Council of Lawyers Best Practices in Pro Bono program.

New York Pro Bono Requirement for Bar Admission 22 NYCRR § 520.16

Fifty-hour pro bono requirement. Every applicant admitted to the New York State bar on or after January 1, 2015…shall complete at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service prior to filing an application for admission with the appropriate Appellate Division department of the Supreme Court.

ABA Law School Accreditation Standard 303 Curriculum

(a) A law school shall offer a curriculum that requires each student to satisfactorily complete at least the following:

…(3) one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours. An experiential course must be a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement. To satisfy this requirement, a course must be primarily experiential in nature and must…

(b) A law school shall provide substantial opportunities to students for:

(1) law clinics or field placement(s); and

(2) student participation in pro bono legal services, including law-related

public service activities.

Interpretation 303-3

Rule 6.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct encourages lawyers to provide pro bono legal services primarily to persons of limited means or to organizations that serve such persons. In addition, lawyers are encouraged to provide pro bono law-related public service. In meeting the requirement of Standard 303(b)(2), law schools are encouraged to promote opportunities for law student pro bono service that incorporate the priorities established in Model Rule 6.1. In addition, law schools are encouraged to promote opportunities for law students to provide over their law school career at least 50 hours of pro bono service that complies with Standard 303(b)(2)…

Information sharing locally and nationally

Entities: DC Law School Pro Bono Coordinators; NALP Pro Bono Work Group; AALS Pro Bono & Public Service Section; Collaboration Consortium (NALP, EJW, AALS, CLEA, ABA); Washington Council of Lawyers

Convenings: ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference Law School Pro Bono Advisors Preconference; NALP Mini-Conference; AALS Annual Meeting; Equal Justice Works Career Fair & Conference

Law school pro bono programs

• Of the 205 ABA-approved law schools, over 180 have pro bono programs

• Range of models and staffing

• Mandatory & voluntary

Suggested strategies for success

1. Ascertain volunteer’s motivation to engage in pro bono

2. Set realistic expectations as to what project entails and time commitment

3. Utilize peers to provide encouragement and guidance

4. Provide solid support and intervene as needed

5. Recognize and celebrate participation

2. Pro Bono During the Job Search Phase: Students’ perspective

What factors considered when evaluating law firms?

  • How strong is the pro bono culture at the firm? Look at Chambers, Above the Law, etc.; talk with associates.

  • Is there a minimum requirement? (It’s good if there is.)

  • What is the average number of pro bono hours attorneys do?

  • What is the participation breakdown for partners vs. associates?

  • Can pro bono hours be included in annual billables goal?

  • Does the firm have dedicated staff?

  • Is there a range of opportunities available?

3. New lawyer expectations/limitations

Why do pro bono during law school?

  • Gain practical experience outside of the classroom

  • Satisfy NY requirement

  • Build network

  • Give back to community

What was value added of pro bono during law firm summer?

  • Got substantive experience

  • Added interest to work

  • Got litigation practice

  • Mentoring

  • Got client interaction experience

Bear in mind…

  • Training and exposure to poverty law may be very limited.

  • Fear of the unknown is a powerful deterrent.

  • The urge to help can lead to overstepping, particularly pre-admission.