Empire State Counsel® Program

Congratulations to our 2017 Empires State Counsel Outstanding Pro Bono Volunteers and Law Firm Honorees and 2017 Free Legal Answers Volunteer Attorney Award and Outstanding Firm Contribution Award.

Caroline HellerChair of the Global Pro Bono Program, Greenberg Traurig LLP

Ben OstrerOstrer Associates, P.C.

Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP


Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Phillips Lytle LLP

Barclay Damon LLP

Nixon Peabody LLP

Phillip R. Hurwitz, Esq.

Barclay Damon LLP

Thank you to all who attended the Seventeenth Annual Justice for All Luncheon!  Please see the program below.

Seventeenth Annual Justice for All Luncheon Program

Watch the Chief Judge's keynote address here.

History of the Empire State Counsel® Program [Revised 2017]

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.  Several law firms and two attorneys will receive awards for the extraordinary nature of their pro bono contributions. 

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.

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 must 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.

View pics from the 2016 Empire State Counsel Program here.

How to Apply and FAQ:

Important Dates

  • In order to qualify as a Law Firm Honoree, a firm must submit its list of attorney hours by December 8, 2017.
  • Nominations for the Outstanding Pro Bono Volunteer Honorees must be submitted by December 8, 2017.
  • To be included in the 2017 Empire State Counsel® Program, your verification form must be received on or before February 28, 2018.

Previous Empire State Counsel® Honorees

To view past Empire State Counsel® Honorees click HERE