How Can I Become an Attorney Emeritus Volunteer?
There are two steps to becoming an Attorney Emeritus:
1) Submit an AEP volunteer application. You can apply by calling 877-800-0396 or by completing AEPís online application form, which can be found here. You may submit a volunteer application at any time, even if you have not yet changed your attorney registration status.
2) Change your attorney registration status to Attorney Emeritus. You can do this on your attorney registration form, which you receive once every two years. For more information about the attorney registration form, visit the NYS Attorney Registration site or call 212-428-2800.
What Are the Requirements for This New Status?
You must be at least 55 years of age, an attorney in good standing, and have practiced for a minimum of ten years. You may register to be an Attorney Emeritus if you are retired or engaged in active practice.
Will I be Exempt from the $375 Registration Fee and the CLE Requirements for Active Practitioners?
Attorneys still engaged in the active practice of law are not exempt from paying the biennial registration fee or satisfying CLE requirements. However, under recently amended rules, pro bono legal services provided under the Attorney Emeritus Program can be counted toward Continuing Legal Education requirements. You may earn up to a total of 15 CLE credit hours through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization. Alternatively, you may earn up to a total of 15 CLE credit hours as follows: up to 10 CLE credit hours from an Approved Pro Bono CLE Provider and the remaining CLE credit hours through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization. Two 60-minute hours (120 minutes) of such pro bono legal services qualify for one CLE credit hour.
How Many Hours of Pro Bono Must I Commit to Performing?
In a 2-year registration period, you must perform a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono service under the auspices of an approved legal service organization in New York, including bar association pro bono programs and court-sponsored volunteer lawyer programs.
What Previous Experience Must I Have in the Area of Law in Which I Volunteer?
While helpful, generally no previous experience is required unless otherwise stated. Your host organization will train and supervise you.
Will I be Covered by Legal Malpractice Insurance?
Yes. Host organizations must provide (primary or secondary) malpractice insurance coverage to AEP volunteers. If you participate in a court-sponsored pro bono program you will be covered by the defense and indemnification provisions of Public Officers Law ß 17.
What Kinds of Assistance Will I Provide?
AEP legal service providers use volunteers in various ways to address an array of social justice issues. In some cases, you will sit down with those seeking assistance to advise them about their rights, the legal process and which next steps they should pursue. You may provide limited help to litigants by assisting them in preparing petitions, complaints and other legal documents. Alternatively, you may provide full representation.
What CLE Credit Can I Obtain as an Attorney Emeritus?
As part of a new rule change announced by Chief Judge Lippman in March 2012, attorneys who register as an Attorney Emeritus can now receive up to 15 CLE credits for doing pro bono work.
Emeritus attorneys may earn 15 CLE credit hours entirely through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization. Alternately, Emeritus volunteers may earn up to 10 pro bono CLE credits through an Approved Pro Bono CLE Provider under section 3(D)(11) and the remaining CLE credits through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization.
Credit for eligible pro bono legal services shall be awarded in the following ratio: one (1) CLE credit hour for every two (2) 60-minute hours (120 minutes) of eligible pro bono legal services. Credit shall be awarded in increments of no less than 0.5 CLE credit hours. Ethics and Professionalism credits are not available for participation in pro bono CLE activities.
For more detailed information about receiving CLE credit for pro bono activities, please refer to Sections 3(D)(11) and 3(D)(12) of the New York State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines.
What if I Have Additional Questions About the Program?
Please call 877-800-0396.
Do I Have to Wait for My Attorney Registration Materials to Apply for the Program?
No. You may apply anytime by calling 877-800-0396 or by completing the online application form.