The Southern District of New York recognizes its 2023 pro bono attorneys. 

Chief Judge Swain thanks participants for their support to the pro se litigants and the Court.

Why volunteer to be a pro bono attorney?

Representing a litigant who would otherwise be unable to afford a lawyer is part of the legal profession’s proud tradition. Litigants without lawyers file about 1,600 cases each year in the Southern District of New York; these cases constitute about 15% of the Court’s civil docket. Pro se litigants’ cases often raise important constitutional and civil-rights issues, and without counsel, they may have a harder time presenting their claims. 

Lawyers who provide pro bono representation help ensure that pro se litigants enjoy equal access to justice. Volunteering also provides lawyers with the opportunity to improve their litigation and negotiation skills. Depending on the procedural posture of the case, a pro bono lawyer may appear before a federal district judge or magistrate judge, conduct depositions, attend settlement conferences before a judge or mediator, engage in motion practice, or try a case. 

How to volunteer

If you are interested in serving as pro bono counsel for a party in a civil action, please email for more information. You can sign up to receive regular updates about pending cases in need of pro bono counsel.

Training and CLE credit

The Federal Bar Council’s Access to Counsel Project offers support to pro bono attorneys and periodic trainings in trial advocacy.

Training is also available from other CLE providers, some of which offer complimentary or reduced-price programs for pro bono attorneys.