Public Interest and Pro Bono Recognition Programs


The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has a long and proud tradition of advocating for equal access to justice for all New Yorkers in civil matters through a combination of government-funded legal services programs and voluntary pro bono service by private practitioners. The Department also provides assistance and educational training programs for attorneys employed by legal services organizations and oversees a number of attorney recognition programs that 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.

  • NYSBA does not generally provide direct legal services to the public.
  • NYSBA is currently recruiting attorneys for pro bono work to help Veterans in the Restoration of Honor Project.
  • If you need a pro bono attorney, please visit for a civil legal service organization that may be able to assist you.
  • Looking to volunteer?  Click here to find a pro bono opportunity that is tailored to your specific requirements.
  • Click here for the Unified Court System’s website that provides info on the pro bono requirement for admission to the bar as well as the mandatory biennial reporting requirements.
  • Visit Free Legal Answers website to register as an attorney volunteer. It is A Virtual Legal Advice Clinic where attorneys can answer questions from the public on civil legal issues on a limited scope basis.
  • The Pro Bono Appeals Program provides pro bono representation for selected civil appeals to the Appellate Division, Third and Fourth Judicial Departments. Visit the Pro Bono Appeals program page for more information.
  • We invite you to submit articles showcasing excellence in pro bono service for upcoming editions of the Pro Bono Newsletter. Articles can be sent to [email protected]


President’s Pro Bono Service Awards

**The 2020 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards will not be held.  Please stay tuned for information regarding the 2021 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards.**

Each year the Association proudly bestows the President’s Pro Bono Service Awards. These awards recognize outstanding pro bono contributions made by individual attorneys, law students, law firms, corporate counsel and/or government offices.  The awards ceremony is usually held on or about May 1st as part of the Association’s Law Day Celebration.

Although nominees do not have to be members of the New York State Bar Association, to be eligible for one of these prestigious awards an attorney must be admitted to practice in New York State and must have rendered her/his pro bono service or participated in a pro bono program within the state.  Nominees are evaluated based on pro bono service donated during the previous year including, but not limited, to the number of clients served, number of hours contributed, impact of the service on clients, and/or the impact of the service on a pro bono program or community.

Empire State Counsel

Justice for All Luncheon

Partnership  Conference

Denison Ray and Phil Daily Awards

After careful consideration, and with input from the legal services community, we write to inform you that a virtual Partnership Conference will not be held this fall. NYSBA, COLA, and PCAJ leaders are working to determine if and how the Partnership Conference can be held in 2021 instead. This was a difficult decision given the stark realities of this unprecedented time. We thank you for your support and efforts in assembling such wonderful programming and look forward to the day when we can safely meet together again. Information on the Denison Ray Civil Awards and Phil Dailey Award Ceremony will be circulated at that time.

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