Pro Bono Legal Services by Registered In-House Counsel

Effective December 4, 2013, the Court of Appeals amended Part 522 of its rules to authorize registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono legal services in New York State. Under the new in-house pro bono rule (22 NYCRR § 522.8), an attorney admitted to practice and in good standing in another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia and properly registered with the courts under Part 522 may appear pro bono, either in person or by signing pleadings, in a matter pending before any tribunal in this state. Prior to any appearance before a tribunal, a registered in-house counsel must provide notice that he or she is authorized to appear pro bono pursuant to section 522.8 by filing a notice of pro bono representation with the tribunal. Registered in-house counsel performing pro bono legal services are subject to the disciplinary authority of this state and must comply with the laws and rules governing attorneys admitted to practice law in New York, including the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.

Prior to the adoption of section 522.8, in-house counsel employed in New York but admitted to practice in another state were restricted from performing pro bono legal work here. The new pro bono rule assures that registered in-house counsel will have the same opportunities as their New York-licensed colleagues to increase access to justice and provide high-quality pro bono representation for the benefit of New Yorkers who are unable to afford legal representation.

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