ACC Commends N.Y. Court of Appeals for Amending Pro Bono Rules

Court System Adopts Inclusive Approach Supported by In-house Bar Association

Posted: Dec 2, 2013

WASHINGTON (December 2, 2013) –– Today, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 33,000 in-house counsel employed by more than 10,000 organizations in 85 countries, lauded New York’s announcement that it will adopt a proposal expanding the number of in-house counsel who can provide pro bono services in the state.

New York will implement a new rule, supported by ACC, Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), ACC’s global pro bono partnership project with the Pro Bono Institute (PBI), and others, that authorizes pro bono work by all in-house lawyers registered to work for their employers in the state. The new rule removes discrimination between New York’s in-house counsel. Now, all U.S.-licensed in-house lawyers permitted to work in the state can provide a full range of pro bono services, including representing clients in court.

“New York is now a national leader in supporting pro bono work by in-house lawyers,” said Amar Sarwal, ACC vice president and chief legal strategist. “In-house counsel in New York will no longer face any unnecessary restrictions as they look for ways to give back to individuals, families and non-profit organizations that rely on free legal advice.”

Representatives from ACC and its three New York chapters, along with representatives from CPBO and PBI, served on the Advisory Committee that helped to craft the current proposal the state has adopted. As ACC and its New York chapters argued, only 20 percent of the civil legal needs of the New York’s low-income residents were met in 2012, according to New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. With the new rule in place, experienced in-house counsel who have long provided sophisticated counsel to their organization clients can now offer it to those most in need.

“New York’s timing could not be better, as the need for legal services among low-income groups is larger than ever,” said Eve Runyon, director of CPBO. “The corporate counsel community has the skills and desire to help meet the demand.”

New York joins Colorado, Virginia and Illinois as states that allow registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono assistance to clients without unnecessary restrictions. For a complete rundown of multijurisdictional pro bono practice rules, visit this interactive map from CPBO.

About ACC:The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networkingopportunities and advocacy initiatives.  With more than 33,000 members in 85 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.comand follow ACC on Twitter: @ACCinhouse.

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