NY's chief judge proposes more free legal help

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says new lawyers will have to provide 50 hours of free legal services as a requirement for admission to the state bar starting next year, a move he hopes other states will follow.

With about 10,000 people passing the New York Bar Exam annually, Lippman says that means about a half-million hours of pro bono work each year, mostly from law students.

Addressing lawyers, judges and other officials Tuesday, Lippman notes that only about 20 percent of the need is being met for civil legal services for the poor, though state support is up to $40 million and many lawyers already do pro bono work.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the pro bono requirement should help more families stave off mortgage foreclosures.