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New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement

All graduates seeking admission to the New York Bar must complete and document 50 hours of pro bono legal service.

This requirement is different from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Pro Bono Requirement in some very significant ways. Because your bar admission is your responsibility, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with all of this information.

For complete information on New York’s pro bono guidelines, please see the NY Bar Pro Bono Rule and the FAQs .

TPIC has developed a helpful reference guide in completing the Affidavit. Please read this guide before drafting your Affidavit.

If you have questions, please contact

How To Complete Your Affidavit

  • Affidavit of Compliance
  • You must submit an original Affidavit signed by your supervising attorney. Each project requires a separate affidavit and supervising attorney signature.
  • Type, do not handwrite your Affidavit.
  • For assistance in drafting your narrative language, please see the reference guide linked above. If your affidavit is related to a pro bono project, please reach out to your student leader for additional information. 
  • Notarization: Once you have completed your information, make an appointment with a local notary. Sign your form in the presence of a notary.
  • Supervisor signature: Once your form has been notarized, your supervising attorney must sign. If you cannot meet with your supervisor, mail your affidavit to them and provide a self-addressed stamped envelope so it can be returned to you. Remember, you must submit an original affidavit to the Bar Office. 
  • Only a supervising attorney (not a student pro bono project leader) may sign your Affidavit.
  • Once your affidavit is signed by your supervising attorney, keep it in a safe place until you are ready to be submitted to the Bar. 

How To Determine If Your Work Is Eligible

  • Please review FAQ#12 regarding what type of work is likely eligible.
  • Pro bono work must be law-related and supervised by an attorney. (see FAQ #11.b )
  • What type of work is typically eligible?
    • Externships or pro bono with non-profit legal service providers, 501(c)(3);
    • Judicial externships or work with a court system;
    • Public defender and prosecutor offices (state or federal);
    • state, local, or federal government agencies or legislative bodies. (see FAQ #12 )
  • Law school clinics that provide legal assistance to low income clients. (see FAQ #12.a )
    • Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property clinics may not meet the NY requirements and should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please contact your Clinic Professor.
  • Hours can be for academic credit or performed during the school year or summer.
  • Law-related work or legal research for an international not-for-profit organization or foreign government (NGO) must in connection with economic development objectives that assist the poor. (see FAQ #12g )
  • Private sector pro bono work (even during the summer). (see FAQ #27 )
  • You may receive a stipend, scholarship, compensation or other funding, see (FAQs #16, 27, and 28 ).
  • Please remember that Law School cannot officially verify that a particular pro bono activity is eligible (or ineligible) for New York’s pro bono requirement. After you have engaged in the above analysis and reviewed the FAQs regarding your pro bono eligibility, at that time, if you have additional questions, please reach out to Sarah Egoville in TPIC.

What Does Not Count

  • Acting as an interpreter or providing translation services. (see FAQ #21 )
  • Scholarly research, such as academic research for a professor or work for a law journal or publication. (see FAQ #17 )
  • Serving as a juror does not qualify.
  • Pro bono work done before you started law school. However, LLM students can count eligible work completed prior to the LLM program. (see FAQ #8 )
  • Political and/or election related work- Please see FAQ #24 which indicates that activities of a political nature or for a political organization, or legal research for a political organization will not qualify.
  • Please see additional FAQs #16 - 30 for work that may not be eligible.

The Law School’s Pro Bono Project Eligibility

Based on the information provided by the New York bar thus far, the work performed with these projects is expected to be eligible for the New York pro bono requirement: 

  • Animal Law Project (ALP)
  • Civil Rights Law Project (CRLP)
  • Criminal Records Expungement Project (C-REP)
  • Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC)
  • Employment Advocacy Project (EAP)
  • Environmental Law Project (ELP)
  • Guild Food Stamp Clinic (GFSC)
  • Health Law and Policy Project (HeLPP)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • Innocence Project at Penn Law
  • International Human Rights Advocates (IHRA)
  • International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
  • Pardon Project
  • Penn Housing Rights Project (PHRP)
  • Penn Law Walk-in Legal Assistance (WILA)
  • Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project (PLIRP)
    • Certain sub-projects may not be eligible for NY Bar Pro Bono.
  • School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS)
  • Veterans Law Project
  • Youth Advocacy Project (YAP)

Please remember that the Law School cannot officially verify that a particular pro bono activity is eligible (or ineligible) for New York’s pro bono requirement.


This page will be regularly updated as information becomes available.