All applicants to the New York State Bar are required to complete 50 hours of pro bono legal work. Note that you need not have completed the 50 hours in order to sit for the bar exam; however, you must have completed the 50 hours in order to seek admission after passing the UBE, NYLE, and MPRE.
The Court of Appeals has said that it will allow work performed in another country in fulfillment of the 50-hour pro bono requirement and that for foreign LLM students such work may be completed up to one year before beginning the LLM program. Therefore, we strongly encourage all students coming from abroad to reach out to public interest organizations engaged in legal work in their home countries to establish a relationship that will allow students to fulfill this requirement in due course (either before they begin the LLM program, during school breaks, or following the bar exam). We believe that this will provide the most abundant opportunities for LLM students to fulfill this obligation.
It is your responsibility to seek out and identify such opportunities; however, as a Fordham Law student, you will find several opportunities to volunteer for this type of work. You are encouraged especially to read PIRCUp!, the e-newsletter distributed by Fordham's Public Interest Resource Center. If you are having trouble finding pro bono opportunities, please consult with LLM program staff.
For additional information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions document issued by the New York Court of Appeals. We advise you to review this document carefully so that you will understand completely the nature of the work you must perform and the supervision and reporting required. If you have any questions, you may contact the Board of Law Examiners directly.