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 lawhelpny.org 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.
  • New York Public Interest Research Group’s (“NYPIRG’s”) Small Claims Court Action Centers provide assistance on small claims court and consumer matters. Please visit https://www.nypirg.org/sccac/ or call (800) 566-5020 and leave a message if you need assistance.
  • 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]

Workers’ Compensation Board’s Injured Workers Legal Assistance Pro Bono Project

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s Injured Workers Legal Assistance Project (“IWLAP”) helps injured workers obtain medical treatment through the assistance of pro bono attorneys.

The New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”), its Torts, Insurance, and Compensation Law Section, and its Workers’ Compensation Law Division have partnered with the Workers’ Compensation Board to connect volunteer attorneys with injured workers seeking representation in medical-only claims.

In these medical-only claims, the insurance carrier or self-insured employer who pays the medical benefits has accepted liability, but is disputing the medical treatment sought by the injured worker. These cases typically pose a challenge for injured workers seeking legal representation as no attorney fees are awarded when there are no lost wages.

Are you an Injured Worker Seeking Representation in Medical-Only Claims?

Please complete the following form if you are currently not represented by an attorney (or licensed representative) and you received a notice telling you that a request for authorization for a medical procedure or medical treatment was denied, and you would like to request legal assistance in navigating the next steps: https://nysbawcb.cliogrow.com/intake/3f1c2d3abbb72c984177e16f941ea146

The New York State Bar Association does not guarantee it will find an attorney who will accept your case and does not guarantee the outcome or results of that representation.

Are you an Attorney Interested in Volunteering?

Sign up here to help injured workers obtain medical treatment: https://nysba.joinpaladin.com/nysba/opportunities/help-injured-workers-obtain-medical-treatment/

This opportunity is for attorneys who are licensed to practice law in New York State. Malpractice insurance coverage is provided for volunteers.

Lawyers who are interested in volunteering will be required to participate in a free training webinar worth 2.0 MCLE credits. The training is presented by Alex C. Dell, Esq., founding attorney of The Law Firm of Alex Dell, PLLC. Volunteers must complete the training webinar to be eligible to receive cases from NYSBA. You can access the training webinar at:

The training webinar is free for both members and non-members but you must log in to the NYSBA website to access the webinar and earn MCLE credits. Please contact the NYSBA Member Resource Center at [email protected] or 800-582-2452 should you need assistance in accessing the training webinar.

NYS Workers’ Compensation Pro Bono Training Program

Workers Comp


This program is presented by Alex C. Dell, Esq., Founding Attorney of The Law Firm of Alex Dell, PLLC.

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.

Pro Bono Service Award Winners

Previous Honorees

Please Note: the 2020 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards were not held due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Special Pro Bono Awards Ceremony

A Special Pro Bono Awards Ceremony featuring the Denison Ray Civil Award and the Phil Dailey Award will be held during Pro Bono Month on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

From President’s Committee on Access to Justice Co-Chair Edwina Frances Martin, Esq.:

The global Coronavirus Pandemic has had a profound impact on New York’s low-income communities and communities of color, from the unspeakable loss of thousands dead, to thousands losing jobs as a result of mandatory business closures, and thousands more living in locations and/or working in jobs designated as “essential” that left them especially vulnerable to the ravages of the pandemic. The pro bono and legal services community has come together during this time to fight for adequate health care, vaccine access in the early stages of distribution, and unemployment and other benefits for the communities hardest hit by the impacts of the pandemic on health and well-being. We have not, however, been able to come together in traditional ways or traditional settings, most especially, we were not able to hold our biennial Partnership conference in 2020. An important aspect of that conference is the recognition of our colleagues for exceptional service to the community. So that we can still recognize this service, in the new virtual world we are working in, we are holding a special Denny Ray Awards program on October 19, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Past Award Winners

Civil Legal Services Staff Attorney Award Winners

2018 Mary Beth Conway, Esq. and Jennifer Metzger Kimura, Esq.

2016 Josh Cotter, Esq. and David Kagle, Esq.

2014 Susan C. Antos, Esq. and Lori M. O’Brien, Esq.

2012 Michael Hanley, Esq. and Ian F. Feldman, Esq.

2010 Pamela J. Bayer, Esq. and Jeff Hogue, Esq.

2008 Jason D. Hoge, Esq. and James T. Murphy, Esq.

2006 David E. Ralph, Esq.

2004 Sarah Betsy Fuller, Esq.  and Judith Studebaker, Esq.

2001 Carole Boccumini, Esq. and Joshua Zinner, Esq.

2000 Marc Cohan, Esq. and Peter O’Brien Dellinger, Esq.

1998 Michael Hampden, Esq. and Mary M. Withington, Esq.

1997 Leslie D’Cora Holmes, Esq. and Barry Strom, Esq.

1995 Margaret H. McDowell, Esq., Douglas Roy Ruff, Esq. and Wendy H. Wahlberg, Esq.

1994 Sheryl Randy Karp, Esq., Jerrold M. Levy, Esq., and William F. Mastroleo, Esq.

Legal Services Program Director Award Winners

2018 Barbara Finkelstein, Esq.

2016 Karen Nicolson, Esq.

2014 Alan S. Harris, Esq.

2012 Michael Rothenberg*, Esq.

2010 Steven B. Telzak*, Esq.

2008 Lillian M. Moy, Esq.

Pro Bono Program Director Award Winners

2012 Richard S. Hobish, Esq.

2006 Lisa A. Frisch, Esq.

Nonprofit Organization Award Winners

2016 Community Service Society of New York Next Door Project

2014 Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York

2012 New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

2010 Legal Health, a Division of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

2008 The Worker’s Rights Law Center of New York, Inc.

2006 Western New York Law Center of Buffalo and its Executive Director, Joseph Kelemen, Esq.

2004 inMotion Inc.

2001 Greater Upstate Law Project (GULP), Inc.

Phil Dailey Award Winners

2018 Deborah O’Shea, Pro Bono Coordinator Onondaga County Bar Association

2016 Phil Dailey*

*Awarded posthumously.

Empire State Counsel

The Empire State Counsel® Program recognizes NYSBA members who, during the prior year, performed 50 hours or more of pro bono legal services either through direct legal representation of a low-income/vulnerable individual, 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.

All Empire State Counsel® honorees receive a certificate suitable for framing and may use this honorific designation as a credential on their resume.

Partnership Conference

Partnership was not held in 2020. Plan to be held in fall 2022 – additional details shared when available in 2021.

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.