Frequently Asked Questions About Pro Bono Opportunities for NJSBA Members

Q.  Will my pro bono service exempt me from a mandatory assignment? 

A.  Your pro bono work will generally count towards an exemption under the following circumstances:

  • Your pro bono work constituted legal assistance to the poor in conjunction with (i) a Rule 1:21-1(e) legal services organization, (ii) Legal Aid Society, (iii) the United States Bankruptcy Court Pro Bono Program, (iv) Domestic Violence Service Programs, (v) the US Immigration Court Pro Bono Program, (vi) the United States District Court Civil Pro Bono Program, or (vii) a county or regional pro bono program that has been approved by the Supreme Court in the year prior to the annual New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Registration.
  • You provided at least 25 hours of pro bono work during the calendar year prior to the annual registration for the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection.
  • You have certified on the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Registration form that you are exempt.

Q.  How will I know if the program that I am working with has been approved or otherwise meets the criteria for exemption?

A.  You will have to ask your program whether it has been recognized by the Supreme Court as meeting the criteria for exemption.
Questions about the exemption categories or about the assignment process should be directed to the office of the Assignment Judge of your county, or by calling 609-984-1560.
2015 Pro Bono Exemption Categories

Q.  Will my malpractice insurance cover me for my pro bono activities?

A.  In some cases the program through which you volunteer will cover you on its insurance. However, if that is not the case, you should check with your own carrier to determine your coverage.

Q.  How can I contribute to the New Jersey State Bar Association's efforts to encourage its members to participate in pro bono service?

A.  The NJSBA's Pro Bono Committee welcomes comments, feedback and suggestions. Please contact the NJSBA staff liaison to the committee, Christina Pateman, [email protected].