New York will become the first state to require lawyers to perform pro bono work as a prerequisite for getting a law license, starting next year.
According to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, aspiring lawyers will have to demonstrate that they have performed 50 hours of pro bono work to be admitted. Pro bono work would be defined to include representing poor people in civil court or legal work for a nonprofit group or government agency.
Because details have yet to be drafted, it’s unclear whether lawyers moving to New York in the middle of their careers would be affected, or whether the work would have to be completed in the state.
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