Guidelines and FAQs

The Volunteer Guidelines below outline the Pro Bono Partnership’s volunteer process and our expectations of volunteers. You will also find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about volunteering.

Volunteer Guidelines

  • Verify that you have no conflicts of interest and have all necessary department or firm approvals, if any, before committing to a matter.
  • Attorneys licensed for less than 3 years must have supervision from a senior licensed attorney. The supervising attorney must be on all client calls and review work product.
  • A Partnership staff attorney is assigned to coordinate each of our client matters. An initial conference call with the volunteer attorney(s), client and Partnership staff attorney will be held at the beginning of each volunteer engagement. After that initial call, you can consult with your client directly.
  • Partnership staff attorneys are available for additional support. While volunteer attorneys are expected to handle matters independently, feel free to contact your coordinating staff attorney to request model forms, to consult on nonprofit governance and tax exemption issues, or for any other assistance you might need.
  • A Partnership staff member will contact you periodically for updates on the progress of the matter. If you find that you cannot devote sufficient attention to your matter, or if any other questions or problems arise in the course of your representation, please contact the Partnership immediately.
  • Please send the Partnership staff attorney copies of significant memoranda or other documents prepared in the course of your representation.
  • In the course of your representation, you might determine that your matter would benefit from additional assistance from a private law firm or in-house counsel due to its complexity or timeliness. Please contact us immediately to discuss possible partnerships.
  • If you ask one of your colleagues to join you on the matter, please advise us immediately so that we can confirm that your colleague is eligible to volunteer with us under applicable court rules. This also allows us to give your colleague credit for volunteering!
  • Track hours spent on the matter.
  • Inform the Partnership when the matter is complete and report your hours spent.
  • If the client contacts you directly about additional matters, please refer the client’s request to the Partnership. You are not obligated to assist the client on matters outside the scope of your initial representation. If you would like to work with the client again, we are happy to accommodate your request, but ask that all requests for assistance be directed through the Partnership.
  • Although you may wish to share information via social media or elsewhere regarding your work for a client, please respect client confidentiality and adhere to the applicable state’s version of the ABA’s Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6(a). Any sharing of information regarding your work for a client should be consented to by the client first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to volunteer?

Licensed attorneys and recent graduates supervised by a licensed attorney in an employment setting are eligible to serve as volunteers on our client matters. Pro Bono Partnership cannot (1) supervise law students and recent graduates awaiting admission to the bar or (2) sign the 50 hour pro bono requirement affidavit for admission to the New York Bar.

Paralegals are also eligible to become volunteers if supervised by a licensed attorney.

If you are a current law student interested in volunteering, please visit our Law Students page for more information.

How do I get involved with Pro Bono Partnership?

Please complete the Become a Volunteer Attorney form and visit our current Volunteer Opportunities page to indicate interest in and/or learn more about any of our client matters.

What types of legal matters would I get to work on?

We handle a wide range of business and transactional legal matters including: contracts, corporate, employment, intellectual property, lending/finance, nonprofit, real estate, tax and others.

We do not handle litigation matters and do not represent individuals or for-profit entities. All of our clients are 501(c)(3) organizations or are seeking 501(c)(3) status.

What is the process I go through as a volunteer attorney?

Once you submit the Become a Volunteer Attorney form, you will receive regular email updates of our Volunteer Opportunities.  If you are interested in one of the listed matters, you can indicate your interest through the website or by reply to the email. Joining the mailing list and/or indicating interest in a matter through the website does not obligate you to take a matter.

We are fortunate to have many willing volunteer attorneys, so please keep in mind that volunteering for a matter does not guarantee that you will be matched with the matter you have requested.

If you are matched with a matter and have cleared your internal conflicts and/or approval process, if any, we will provide you with additional matter details and schedule an initial client call. A Partnership staff attorney is assigned to each matter and participates in the initial call for purposes of introduction and transition.

Following the initial call, you will work directly with the client until the matter is complete. The Partnership staff attorney is available to provide support as needed and should be updated with the progress of the matter and informed when the matter is complete.

For more information on what to expect, please read our Volunteer Guidelines above.

What is the scope of my representation?

You are only expected to handle the specific matter for which you initially volunteered. If the nonprofit needs assistance with additional legal matters, ask the client to contact us directly. Please let us now if you would like to assist the organization with the additional matters.

Can I get assistance on the matter I am working on?

While Pro Bono Partnership does not have the capacity to closely supervise volunteer attorneys on matters, we are available to assist on any nonprofit or tax-exempt law questions that arise during your representation. We also have model documents and research resources for your use. We are happy to pair in-house volunteers with law firm attorneys where appropriate. We ask that recent graduates and newly-admitted attorneys be supervised by a partner or senior associate/colleague at their firm or company.

Our volunteer attorneys are ultimately responsible for their own research and the work product they created for Pro Bono Partnership clients just as they would be for any other client.

What is the level of commitment expected of me?

You can volunteer for matters as often or as little as you like. All that we ask is that you complete any matter for which you volunteer. If you are unable to complete a matter for any reason, please contact us as soon as possible, and we will find another volunteer.

Will my work be covered by malpractice insurance?

Yes. All of our volunteer attorneys are covered through our malpractice insurance policy.