Department of Pro Bono Affairs

Staff of the Department of Pro Bono Affairs

The Department of Pro Bono Affairs is staffed by a full-time attorney and a full-time assistant.  To reach the Department by email click HERE or by telephone at (518) 487-5640 or by writing to the Department of Pro Bono Affairs, New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207 or via the Department’s website at  

About the Department of Pro Bono Affairs

The New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) has a long and proud tradition of advocating for equal access to justice for all low-income New Yorkers in civil matters through a combination of government-funded legal services programs and voluntary pro bono service by private practitioners. The NYSBA recognizes that meeting the need for critical legal services to the poor and disadvantaged is a responsibility of society in general, and that the organized bar and individual attorneys in particular have a professional responsibility in meeting that need.

Established in 1991, the Department of Pro Bono Affairs provides, among other things, guidance to bar associations, law firms, law schools, corporate law offices, government offices, and other entities in establishing and operating volunteer projects; provides assistance and educational training programs for developing written pro bono policies; sponsors free MCLE training programs for attorneys employed by legal services organizations; makes training materials available for use by legal services organizations and volunteer lawyer projects to use in training volunteers; oversees a number of attorney recognition programs which were established to promote, recognize and honor pro bono service by individual attorneys and law firms.  The Department works with many of the Association’s sections and committees to encourage their voluntary participation in pro bono projects.    

In addition, the director serves as the Association liaison to the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, the Committee on Legal Aid, Committee on Volunteer Lawyers, Committee to Ensure Quality of Mandated Representation, Veterans Committee, Charity Corps Program, Steven C. Krane Special Committee on Student Loan Assistance for the Public Interest, and the Pro Bono Coordinators Network to develop and implement the Association’s policies and proposals on access to justice issues.  

Can the Department Provide Pro Bono Attorneys?

Regrettably, no.  The Department does not maintain a roster of pro bono attorneys or have attorneys on staff available to provide legal assistance. We can provide contact information for civil legal service organizations which may be able to assist an individual with her/his legal problem for free or at a reduced cost.  Our website also has links to other legal resources which may be of assistance to the public. To access the guide visit

I want to volunteer. Can the Department help me find a pro bono opportunity?

Attorneys seeking a volunteer pro bono opportunity are encouraged to use the Pro Bono Opportunities Guide. The Guide contains information about statewide volunteer opportunity and is searchable by areas of legal interest, and by county where volunteer works or resides.   

Another option is to visit site to identify a legal service organization or volunteer lawyers project in your area. LawHelpNY has a comprehensive list of providers, grouped by legal topics, together with a description of the legal assistance offered.  A prospective volunteer can follow up directly with the program of interest to determine if pro bono opportunities are available.   

If your organization has a volunteer opportunity and would like to post it on the Department’s webpage, please contact us by email at  

Department of Pro Bono Affairs
New York State Bar Association
One Elk Street
Albany, NY  12207

Please be aware, the Department of Pro Bono Affairs does not provide legal representation, assistance or advice. We also do not maintain a list of Pro Bono Attorneys. If you are seeking pro bono representation click HERE for a directory of legal services organizations which may be able to help.