National Center for Access to Justice

Forthcoming Article in Legal Ethics Supports NY’s 50 Hours Public Service Requirement, Analyzes Debate

In a thoughtful piece (available here) forthcoming in Legal Ethics, Professor Ben Cooper of University of Mississippi Law School gathers arguments both in support of and opposed to the New York bar admission requirement of 50 hours of public service, and then explains why he considers the approach sensible.  Cooper writes:  “[W]hile New York’s program is far from perfect, it is a proposal that the legal community should support because of the critical need for increased pro bono legal services. This new requirement is an effort to address that crisis even if it does so only marginally. There are certainly a variety of better ways to address the access-to-justice gap – increased funding of legal services would be best – but Chief Judge Lippman wisely recognized New York’s new requirement as a step that the Court of Appeals could take on its own without the need for any help from a legislature and organized bar that are unwilling to take any decisive action. Those waiting for the perfect solution will never find it.” (originally posted June 20, 2012 by David Udell)