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PBI and CPBO Applaud New Court Rule to Expand In-House Pro Bono in New York

December 2, 2013

Contact: David C. Lipscomb
Phone: 202.729.6985
E-mail: dlipscomb@probonoinst.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a global partnership of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), joined New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Senior Associate Judge Victoria Graffeo, representatives from ACC, and others today to announce the adoption of a new practice rule that opens the door to greater participation in pro bono by in-house counsel in New York.

The new rule, which becomes effective Dec. 4, promotes broad participation in pro bono legal services by allowing in-house counsel who are licensed to practice in other jurisdictions but have registered to practice for their employers in New York to also provide pro bono legal services.

“This new rule stands to bring so much good to New York where the need for free legal services is great,” PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent said.  “With thousands of in-house counsel coming from all around the country to work in the state, this is a huge victory for access to justice and the organizations and clients that stand to benefit.”

As a hub of in-house legal work, New York’s adoption of the rule makes it perhaps the most visible jurisdiction to enact such a change.  The state joins Colorado, Illinois, and Virginia in using model language that eliminates unnecessary restrictions that can discourage participation and are in place in several other jurisdictions.

“We commend New York for making it easy for in-house counsel to provide pro bono legal services as we face one of the most critical crises in access to justice in memory,” CPBO Director Eve Runyon said.  “We applaud the move and expect that it will encourage more pro bono participation by in-house counsel, alleviate some of the strain on already overburdened legal service organizations, and increase the number of clients that are served.”

Staff from CPBO and PBI sat on the Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Services by In-House Counsel in New York formed by Chief Judge Lippman this year to advise the Court on expanding in-house participation in pro bono.

CPBO provides a number of resources related to in-house pro bono as part of its multijurisdictional practice initiative, which engages in-house counsel and other stakeholders in jurisdictions across the nation and develops resources, including an interactive map that details practice rules in the U.S.

About the Pro Bono Institute

Established in 1996, PBI is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to explore and identify new approaches to the poor and disadvantaged unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. PBI identifies and develops innovative programs and undertakes rigorous evaluations to ensure that these new approaches are workable and effective. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.

About Corporate Pro Bono
Corporate Pro Bono, the global partnership project of PBI and ACC, is designed to substantially increase the amount of pro bono work performed by in-house counsel and to enhance the pro bono culture of in-house legal departments through consultative services to the in-house community, targeted research and publications, online information and services, and outreach and educational programming. CPBO also works closely with ACC Chapters to focus their resources and agendas on pro bono service.  For more information, visit www.cpbo.org.