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Pro Bono Reporting Requirements - Attorney Registration


NEW-Effective May 1, 2015
Anonymous Report of Voluntary Pro Bono Services and Contributions

Part 118 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator (22 NYCRR Part 118) requires all New York attorneys to report law-related pro bono services and charitable contributions on their biennial registrations.

Effective May 1, 2015, the rule has been amended to make this mandatory reporting anonymous and to broaden the categories of pro bono services and financial contributions that may be reported.

Pursuant to this amendment (22 NYCRR §118.11(14)), attorneys shall provide in a separate statement, filed anonymously in a manner directed by the Chief Administrator, (a) a mandatory report of pro bono services and contributions, as defined in Rule 6.1 of the attorney Rules of Professional Conduct, performed or contributed by the attorney in the previous two calendar years, and (b) a report of such other pro bono service and contributions over the same period as the attorney may choose to describe.

Please familiarize yourself with these changes so that you can comply with the new reporting obligations.

IMPORTANT: While all attorneys admitted to practice law in New York must report their voluntary pro bono services or financial contributions, there is no mandatory requirement to perform pro bono or make financial contributions. The goals as outlined in Rule 6.1 are aspirational. 

 

 

Highlights of Changes - Additional Instructions & FAQs

  • Anonymous Reporting:
    • A new Anonymous Report of Voluntary Pro Bono Services and Contributions form (“Anonymous Report”) must be submitted separately at the time each biennial registration is filed.
      • Attorneys who file a paper registration form must fill out their Anonymous Report and mail it in a separate blue envelope, which is provided with the registration materials.
      • Attorneys who register online must complete an electronic version of the Anonymous Report.
    • Whether filed on paper or online, the information in the Anonymous Report does not identify the filer, is maintained separately from data reported in the principal attorney registration form, and is used solely for purposes of aggregate descriptive statistical analysis.
  • Reporting Period – Preceding Two Calendar Years (Section I):
    • All questions concerning pro bono services or charitable contributions should be answered for the two-year period ending on December 31 of the year preceding the filing of the registration statement. For example, if the registration statement is filed at any time during 2015, filers should report information for the period January 2013 through December 2014.
  • Who Must File (Section II):
    • ALL attorneys admitted to practice law in New York, whether resident or non-resident, or active or retired, MUST file the Anonymous Report.
    • EXEMPT FILERS (i.e., attorneys who are retired from the practice of law under §118.1(g) and attorneys employed by legal services providers), must submit an Anonymous Report affirming their exempt status.  Exempt filers are not required to complete any other questions on the Anonymous Report.  However, at their option, they may voluntarily complete some or all of the remainder of the Report.  
    • FILERS NOT EXEMPT from detailed reporting must complete several questions on the Anonymous Report about their provision of pro bono legal services and contributions to the poor and underserved.  At their option, they may also provide information about other legal and non-legal pro bono services and contributions.

Information Collected: (See Instructions for More Detailed Descriptions)

  • Background Questions (Section III) (REQUIRED UNLESS EXEMPT)
    • This section requires the anonymous reporting of background information - such as age range, employment category and geographic location (see NYS Judicial Districts) - for use in aggregate data analysis.
  • Rule 6.1 Pro Bono Legal Services and Charitable Contributions (Section IV) (REQUIRED UNLESS EXEMPT)
    • This section requires the reporting of voluntary pro bono services or contributions described in Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, that is, legal services provided to the poor and contributions to legal service organizations serving the poor.
    • Unless “exempt”, filers MUST complete this section.  (If there are no hours or contributions to report, simply enter 0.)
  • Other Pro Bono Services and Charitable Contributions – Legal and Non-Legal (Section V)  (Not Required)
    • Filers may report any pro bono legal or non-legal services and charitable contributions not reported in response to Section IV of the form, without categorical limitation.
    • Such service might include, without limitation, hours of voluntary or unpaid public, community or charitable services such as not-for-profit boards, bar associations or soup kitchens, religious organizations, or arts groups, as well as financial contributions to any charitable cause or enterprise.
    • Filers may also report hours of legal services provided at a rate substantially below normal billing rates.
    • This section is not mandatory.  Filers may, at their option, decline to report some or all of the information requested.
  • Comments and Further Details (Section VI) (Not Required)
    • Filers may provide additional details relating to the service or contributions reported in
      Sections IV and V
      .
    • This section is not mandatory. 

 

Additional information on the anonymous pro bono reporting requirement & the May 2015 revisions can be found on the instructions for completing the Anonymous Report & at FAQs.

NOTE: Pro Bono Requirements for Newly Admitted Attorneys: Prior to admission, an applicant’s report of compliance with the 50-hour pro bono service requirement must be made to the appropriate Appellate Division for review with the application for admission. These hours are not required to be reported on the initial attorney registration form filed prior to taking the oath of office.  For more information on these requirements and form affidavits, see:Pro Bono Requirements for Bar Admission.

 

Further Inquiries:
If you have questions, please submit them by email to: probonoreporting@nycourts.gov