US District Court • Southern District of New York

The Standard Governing The Appointment Of Counsel


Pro Bono Services

The Standard Governing the Appointment of Counsel

Mediation in Pro Se Employment Discrimination Cases

FAQ's About Representing a Pro Se Litigant

Pro Bono CLE

Training

Forms

When deciding whether to grant a pro se litigant's request to appoint counsel, the Court must address two threshold issues:

  • the litigant's indigence
  • the potential merits of the claim

If it is determined that the litigant is unable to afford counsel and that the claims the litigant seeks to pursue seem likely to be of substance, the Court may consider additional factors before granting a request for counsel. These factors include:

  • the litigant's ability to investigate the crucial facts;
  • whether conflicting evidence implicating the need for cross-examination will be the major proof presented to the fact finder;
  • the litigant's ability to present the case at trial without assistance;
  • the complexity of the legal issues involved; and
  • any other factors deemed appropriate to serve the interests of justice (including the litigant's education, prior litigation experience, or ability to communicate).

This standard does not apply to cases assigned to the Employment Discrimination Mediation Program.