Effective January 1, the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted Rule 1:27-2(g), which empowers non-locally licensed in-house counsel registered to work in-state for their employers to also provide pro bono services as volunteers with approved organizations. Previously, non-locally licensed lawyers in New Jersey could provide pro bono services under a practice rule that authorized all out-of-state lawyers to engage in pro bono. However, this rule required not only that the volunteer attorney work with an approved organization, but that the lead attorney of the organization file a letter with the New Jersey Supreme Court and that the volunteer be supervised by a member of the New Jersey bar. Now, more than 1,300 registered in-house counsel are specifically empowered to provide pro bono legal services more freely.
New Jersey joins nine other jurisdictions that have amended their practice rules in the past two and a half years to empower nearly 5,000 in-house counsel to engage in pro bono legal services. We at The PBEye certainly hope this trend continues throughout 2015!
For more information about this issue, see CPBO’s webpage dedicated to Multi-Jurisdictional In-House Pro Bono. To join the effort to change the rules in other jurisdictions, contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.