New York State needs the help of attorneys to handle a surge in legal matters resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic fallout.

Current Programs

  • New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership – Mediation- The New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership (LAP) is a public-private partnership between Empire State Development, the nonprofit Start Small Think Big, and the New York Bar Association, to help avoid business evictions. The initiative provides commercial tenants and small business landlords with pro bono legal services, and the information needed to reach a mutually agreeable lease renegotiation. Volunteer attorneys will be paired with clients affected by the pandemic shutdowns who are facing commercial leasing issues requiring representation focused on alternative dispute resolution. Learn more and register here (members must login before accessing)
  • Unemployment Insurance- This project, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 11, 2020, will connect volunteer attorneys with New Yorkers who are trying to better understand the Unemployment Insurance benefits system and the application process.
  • Probate / Surrogate’s Court– Announced on May 14, 2020, this initiative will connect the families of New Yorkers who passed away due to COVID-related causes with volunteer attorneys who will provide free legal representation on probate and estate proceedings in New York’s Surrogate’s Courts for those who cannot afford a lawyer in these cases. 


Thank You To Our Pro Bono Volunteers

Thank you to the over 200 attorneys across New York state who have volunteered as part of our Covid-19 pro bono network and accepted clients through the program.

The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force oversees the network and is chaired by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, currently of counsel at Latham & Watkins.




Thank You to The Bar Foundation

Foundation grants assist non-profit organizations with essentials-of-life issues such as child support, consumer debt, housing, access to health care and education, and family matters such as domestic violence and family stability. Added this year was a focus on COVID-19 related issues, attorney wellness, and racial justice impacted programming needs.

“The New York Bar Foundation is dedicated to supporting charitable projects aimed at meeting the law-related needs of the public and the profession. Helping people and highlighting the good works of the legal profession is at the heart of what we do,” said President of the Foundation, Carla M. Palumbo.


Are You an Attorney Interested in Being a Volunteer?

If you are an attorney interested in volunteering for either the Unemployment Insurance or Surrogate’s Court programs, please click on the link below and view the various pro bono opportunities we currently have available.  Feel free to click on each opportunity to view more details and then “express your interest” if it’s an area you would like to offer assistance with.


Are You Seeking Assistance with your Unemployment Insurance Claim?

If you have filed for unemployment benefits and your claim has been denied, please visit the following site and we can start working to match you with a volunteer lawyer to assist you.


Are You Seeking Assistance with Filing a Small Estate?

If you have suffered a death due to COVID-19, and require immediate assistance with filing for a Small Estate, please visit the following site and we can start working to match you with a volunteer lawyer to assist you.

Additional Ways to Volunteer for Attorneys

Free Legal Answers is a Virtual Legal Advice Clinic where attorneys can answer questions from the public on civil legal issues on a limited scope basis.  NYSBA is the New York State administrator for this program on behalf of the ABA. For more information, or to register as an attorney volunteer, click on the link below:




COVID-19 Information Center

The New York State Bar Association has transformed the homepage of our website and social medial accounts into legal COVID-19 information centers. Be sure to visit the site daily for the latest news and information.