On September 14, 2012, the New York State Court of Appeals adopted 22 NYCRR § 520.16 - a 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 to meet this pro bono requirement.
Further, charities often only have a few qualifying pro bono hours available, therefore acquiring the 50 hours becomes a challenge in itself.
There a more than 200 attorneys connected to The Australian Community who are licensed to practice law in New York State. Many are keen to assist other Australian attorneys with this pro bono requirement, but may not have the time to provide supervision during work hours.
The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, therefore performing legal services without charge for our organization satisfies this pro bono requirement. Further, our pro bono needs are such that we are able to facilitate all 50 hours to attorneys participating in our program.
The Australian Community has developed a successful program 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.
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.
In fact, the first Supervising and Pro Bono attorneys to go through our program were given instructions not to communicate outside of SharePoint, thus demonstrating that attorneys do not even need to be located in the same time zone to participate in our Pro Bono program.
Unfortunately, we do not have enough Supervising attorneys to meet the demand, and we have waitlisted a number of Pro-Bono attorneys.
If you would like someone to speak with you to discuss participating as a Supervising attorney, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.