The PBEye applauds the New York Court of Appeals for adopting an amendment to its practice rules that permits in-house counsel barred in other jurisdictions and registered in New York to provide desperately needed pro bono legal services. Prior to its adoption, practice rules in New York allowed non-locally licensed in-house counsel to register to work for their employer in New York but did not authorize them to also engage in pro bono legal services.
New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, joined by CPBO, representatives from ACC, and others announced the adoption of this new rule, which opens the door to greater in-house pro bono participation and became effective December 4. Other jurisdictions have adopted rules that permit in-house counsel to engage in pro bono but subject them to a number of unnecessary restrictions that can discourage participation. New York’s provision is cutting-edge. Similar only to Colorado, Illinois, and Virginia, New York adopted model language that eliminates unnecessary limitations.
As more jurisdictions consider this issue, The PBEye hopes New York will serve as a prime example. Many states still do not expressly permit registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono services or only permit registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono services subject to several unnecessary limitations.
CPBO provides a number of resources related to in-house pro bono as part of its multijurisdictional practice initiative, including an interactive map that details practice rules in the U.S. Watch the video below to get more information about the new rule in New York and its larger impact.