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Dear Member:

You may have heard that the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association recommended that New York attorneys report their pro bono hours anonymously, that OCA report pro bono only in the aggregate, that past reporting be treated as confidential, and that the definition of pro bono be expanded. This recommendation was approved yesterday by the Office of Court Administration which issued the following statement:

Today the Administrative Board of the Courts unanimously approved modifications to the mandatory pro bono reporting framework in New York, consistent with the recommendations of Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti and NYS Bar Association President Glenn Lau-Kee that were an outgrowth of their recent discussions on the subject.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said that he is confident that mandatory pro bono reporting in New York "will provide the Court System and the bar with the information that we need to chart a course that promotes pro bono work by the legal community very much in the spirit of our noble profession."

State Bar President Glenn Lau-Kee observed: "I am pleased the court system has responded to the concerns of the New York State Bar Association and other bar associations. The compromise is the outcome of collegial and productive discussions between representatives of the court system and State Bar leaders, which bode well for our future working relationship."

The previous rule, put in place last year, required that attorneys report their pro bono hours and charitable donations to legal service organizations on biennial registration forms. A resolution to this rule indicates that attorneys still have to report pro bono hours and donations but will be able to do so anonymously. Learn more about this and other changes to the rule here.


Lewis Tesser
NYCLA President