Is Pro Bono Still Pro Bono If It’s Required?

Is Pro Bono Still Pro Bono If It’s Required?

New York’s new pro bono requirement is causing some to ask whether pro bono is still pro bono if it’s required. The term pro bono is derived from the Latin term pro bono public, meaning for the public good, and is used in English to refer to professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee.

New York is instituting 50 mandatory pro bono hours for all law students seeking admittance to the New York State bar, compared to the previously 20 hours of “suggested service.” The new judicial rule will take effect in 2013. While 50 hours over 3 years of law school sounds attainable, the new rule has been met with criticism and has some questioning whether forced pro bono will achieve the desired results.

For more information:

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_6_1_voluntary_pro_bono_publico_service.html

http://www.floridabar.org/divexe/rrtfb.nsf/FV/BF60AF4C185D99D085256BBC00533761

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/nyregion/pro-bono-work-becomes-a-requirement-to-practice-law-in-new-york.html?_r=0

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP15b7128c169748fbaf1b822813c3f74f.html