Connecting Australians in America
Meeting the 50 Hour Pro Bono Requirement
Our Pro Bono program for Australian Lawyers is designed to Virtually meet the New York State Court of Appeals 22 NYCRR § 520.16 – The 50-hour Pro Bono Requirement for admission to the New York State Bar.
The challenge for an Australian lawyer who recently passed the NY Bar exam is finding a public charity with the legal resources to provide a supervising attorney.
Further, charities often only have a few qualifying pro bono hours available. Therefore acquiring the 50 hours becomes a challenge in itself.
More than 200 attorneys connected to The Australian Community are licensed to practice law in New York State. Many are keen to assist other Australian attorneys with this pro bono requirement but are concerned that they may not have the time to provide supervision during work hours.
Feedback from Supervising attorneys is that they spend between five (5) and eight (8) hours of total time reviewing the work product and communicating with the Pro-Bono attorney, during the 50 hours.
The Australian Community has developed a successful Pro Bono Program for Australian Lawyers to connect Supervising and Pro Bono attorneys. By leveraging our internal SharePoint portal, attorneys can remotely communicate and collaborate throughout the 50 hours, satisfying all requirements of 22 NYCRR § 520.16.
I recently had the opportunity to supervise a pro-bono assignment for The Australian Community and it was a very rewarding experience. It is always nice to give back and in particular, to give back to my own community. Moreover, it was a seamless and efficient process with a minimal amount of hours expended, which can also be performed outside of business hours and without impacting billable hour requirements. I would welcome the opportunity to work with The Australian Community again and encourage others to do so as well.
Trisha Sircar, Partner Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
The Supervising Attorney and Pro Bono Attorney are connected.
They are given SharePoint credentials on our network. A site is created where all documents and communications are stored.
The Supervising Attorney gives instructions to the Pro Bono Attorney.
The Pro Bono Attorney subsequently submits the work product back to SharePoint for revision/approval.
The fifty Pro Bono hours are tracked through timesheets, and once completed, The Australian Community and the Supervising attorney provide a Form Affidavit, meeting all requirements.
All communications, notes, and document revisions are managed through SharePoint. Moreover, the Supervising Attorney can conveniently review the work product of the Pro Bono Attorney outside of normal work hours.
Supervising and Pro Bono Attorneys who go through our program are given instructions not to communicate outside of SharePoint. This demonstrates that attorneys do not even need to be located in the same time zone to participate in our Pro Bono program.
If you would like to speak with someone to discuss participating in our Pro Bono Program, please email [email protected] or call the office on 646 249 1741.
As we use a virtual model, the Supervising attorney does not need to be physically present in New York.