On May 22, 2013, a public notice was issued for a rule change to the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York (“NYCRR”). The rule that was changed – entitled “Voluntary Pro Bono Service” – now strongly encourages attorneys in the State of New York to provide at least fifty (50) hours of pro bono legal service each year or, in the alternative, to donate a sum of money equivalent to one hour of work to organizations that provide free legal services.
Pro bono legal services are those that are voluntarily provided at free or reduced cost by attorneys to those who cannot afford to pay. It is a way for attorneys to give back to their community and advance the legal profession.
The proposed change is part of an effort by the New York courts to encourage and require more pro bono work from every practicing attorney. In fact, as of September 14, 2012, every new applicant to become licensed as a lawyer in New York is required to complete fifty (50) hours of pro bono services before being admitted.
At LaMarche Safranko Law, we believe it is our responsibility to pay it forward and give back to the community not only by providing free or reduced cost legal services to those who cannot afford to pay, but also by donating our time and energy in sponsoring many wonderful causes in the Capital District. This year we are on pace to eclipse our efforts from 2012.
So far this year our firm has had the pleasure of donating our time and financial resources to many local causes and various charities. We are far from finished and are committed to helping others in need and to making the Capital District a great place to live and work.