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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2016 02:27 PM
From: Representative Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Require the Completion of Pro Bono Work Prior to Practicing Law (Former HR1032)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing a resolution – former House Resolution 1032 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to require aspiring lawyers to complete pro bono work prior to receiving a license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This resolution passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 24-1 in the 2013-2014 Legislative Session.

In 2015, New York amended the state bar to require lawyers to complete 50 hours of free legal service prior to practicing law. Although New York has taken the lead in establishing these requirements for bar admission, 24 national law schools already require students to complete pro bono work in order to fulfill graduation requirements according to the American Bar Association. Since many aspiring lawyers currently provide free legal service prior to practicing law, I believe that Pennsylvania should mandate that all prospective Pennsylvania lawyers provide these essential services. This requirement will not only provide prospective lawyers with valuable and practical experience, communities and organizations impacted by the declining budgets of the Commonwealth will receive greater access to legal services for those in need.

My resolution urges the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to require the completion of 50 hours of pro bono service prior to receiving a license to practice law in the Commonwealth. This service is to be provided to those individuals with limited financial means, non-profit organizations, civil right groups, and government entities.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important resolution.

Introduced as HR455