History of the Empire State Counsel® Program 

 [Revised 2015]

Launched in 2006 by then Association President Mark H. Alcott, the Empire State Counsel® Program recognizes NYSBA members who, during the calendar year, performed 50 hours or more of  pro bono legal services either through direct legal representation of a low-income/vulnerable individual, or donating free legal services to an organization whose services are designed primarily to address the legal and other basic needs of persons of limited financial means, or providing free legal services to an organization dedicated to increasing the availability of legal services to vulnerable and/or low-income populations. 

The contributions of Empire State Counsel® Honorees and their law firms are recognized during the Association’s Annual Meeting at the Justice for All Luncheon.  Annual Meeting takes place during late January.  Law firm plaques recognize those firms which enrolled the largest number of Empire State Counsel® during the previous calendar year.  In addition, two attorneys will receive a plaque based on the extraordinary nature of the pro bono contribution.

Empire State Counsel® honorees receive a certificate suitable for framing and may use this honorific designation as a credential on their resume.  The names of the individual honorees and their employers are published in a variety of Association publications.  Since the recognition program was launched, more than 7,017 NYSBA members have earned this prestigious credential, collectively donating close to 1.3 million pro bono hours. 

Individual attorneys must complete a verification form attesting to the number of pro bono hours performed during the calendar year. Your name should be printed exactly as it is to appear on the certificate.  Law firm pro bono counsel/coordinators are encouraged to submit a single list of firm attorneys who are active NYSBA members in excel format, indicating the pro bono hours contributed by each attorney together with a single verification form, attesting to the accuracy of the pro bono information provided.  Completed forms or lists should be submitted via email to esc@nysba.org.

How to Apply and FAQ:

Important Dates

  • To be announced for 2016.

Previous Empire State Counsel® Honorees

To view past Empire State Counsel® Honorees click HERE