Thursday, September 20, 2012

Required pro bono work; coming soon to an area near you?

Reuters has a story about how, beginning in 2015, the state of New York will require 50 hours of pro bono work from lawyers who wish to take the New York bar exam.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog predicts that this requirement will spread to other states.  What do you think Mr. Torvik, is this a good idea?


  1. I find it odd that they are requiring non-lawyers to perform "pro bono" work in order to qualify for the exam that allows them to become licensed lawyers, at which time they will never be forced to work for free again. Seems like yet another barrier to entry for aspiring lawyers, aka further protectionism for existing lawyers.

    This would conceivably be laudable if it were a requirement that existing lawyers provide free services to the indigent in order to maintain their law license. But I would also oppose that. I find the job of being a lawyer difficult enough without having to comply with yet another layer of regulations. Further, the chance that this would do any substantive good seems to me incredibly small. The requirement, if it is made mandatory, will be watered down so that helping your cat out of tree becomes "pro bono" work.

    Pro bono work is honorable work. But using anything more than the honor system to encourage it besmirches the honorable character of the work. That's my opinion anyhow.

  2. Given the post about slander and assault at a deposition, perhaps New York lawyers need a little pro bono experience with they first start out.


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