NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The unveiling Wednesday of the details of a new rule making New York the first state to require aspiring lawyers to perform free legal work in order to be admitted to the bar has quieted concerns of law school administrators that it would be costly to implement.
The regulation, first proposed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in May, requires law students to perform 50 hours of pro bono work between their first year of law school and the time they apply for a license.
Over the summer, officials from law schools across the country had worried that if existing programs like clinics and internships did not qualify, schools would be forced to hastily implement new ones, taxing limited resources.
But under the new rule, pro bono service is defined as providing “law-related” services to low-income people, non-profit organizations, civil rights groups or any government entity and allows such clinics to count toward the requirement, even though students typically receive academic credit for those programs.
“It’s much better than it could have been,” said the dean of Cornell Law School, Stewart Schwab.