Sunday, February 23, 2014
From the ABA Journal blog:
New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced a new “pro bono scholars” program on Tuesday in which third-year law students would take the bar exam in February in exchange for devoting their last semester to pro bono work.
The first-of-its-kind program has already been approved by the Board of Law Examiners, Lippman said in his annual speech (PDF) on the state of the judiciary. An advisory committee will “address the logistics of an expanded February bar exam, ensure compliance with ABA standards, and develop a more precise timetable" for implementation, he said. The New York Times, the Associated Press and the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) covered his remarks.
New York’s 15 law schools, along will other law schools, will have the option of participating in the program, though there will need to be some limits on student participation as the program is developed, Lippman said. Participating 3Ls would begin studying for the bar after finishing fall semester exams, and would begin full-time pro bono work after taking the bar exam in February.
There are some reservations:
The Times says law deans responded to the program with “cautious enthusiasm.” Some said the quality of training would have to be high, while others expressed concern about the short time period to study for the bar and the incentive to work hard after passing.