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York Pro

November 24th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

York Pro
Can a law student represent someone pro bono in New York?

Is a law student allowed to represent someone pro bono in a civil action in New York [any county] Supreme Court if that person cannot afford an attorney?

A law student cannot provide legal counsel in an official capacity to any person for any reason. There is a loophole however. A person is allowed to represent themself in a court of law, and they are allowed to receive legal advice unofficially from anyone they choose, including a law student. You cannot represent them, make official decisions and statements on their behalf, or visit them in an official capacity as their lawyer in their holding cell (this last one only applies to criminal cases where the accused is remanded). You cannot sit with them at the defendants bench in a court of law, however you are allowed to assist them in preparing legal documents which they must sign alone, and assist them in building a case including investigating the scene of the crime (after it has been made available to the public) for evidence that could lead to an aquittal, or searching for witnesses, an alibi, or other persons of interest, so far as it does not impede the police investigations in any way. Finally, you may attempt to seek persons or evidence that may disprove the prosecutions evidence regarding your friends motive and/or opportunity to commit the alleged crime, civil or criminal.
If your friend is the plaintiff, he or she has the burdon of proof, which means you and your friend will require not only the evidence that proves you case as legit, but also proof that the defence's case is somehow false, misleading, or illegitimate. Without both, the defence may win due to the assumption of innocence.


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