Information on Program Eligibility
The mission of AEP is to enhance the capacity of legal service providers in New York State to provide quality legal representation to low-income New Yorkers by encouraging lawyers of at least fifty-five years of age with at least ten years of legal experience to offer their extensive skills and expertise pro bono to registered AEP legal service providers.
The Attorney Emeritus Program requirements are as follows:
- You must be at least 55 years of age, an attorney in good standing, and have practiced for a minimum of 10 years.
- You must submit an AEP application and you must change your attorney registration status to Attorney Emeritus.
- During the two-year registration period, you must commit to performing a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono service under the auspices of an approved AEP-program, including volunteer opportunities sponsored by bar association, legal services providers, and the Court's Access to Justice Program. All AEP-approved programs provide legal malpractice insurance, training, and supervisions for Emeritus volunteers.
Benefits of the Attorney Emeritus Program:
If you are retired you are exempt from the $375 registration fee and CLE requirements. If you are not retired, you are not exempt from either the fee or the CLE requirements.
Whether you are retired or not, you are eligible to obtain up to 15 CLE credits for doing pro bono work. Emeritus attorneys may earn 15 CLE credit hours entirely through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization. Alternately, Emeritus volunteers may earn up to 10 pro bono CLE credits through an Approved Pro Bono CLE Provider and the remaining 5 CLE credits through an Attorney Emeritus Program host organization. Credit for eligible pro bono legal services shall be awarded in the following ratio: one (1) CLE credit hour for every two (2) 60-minute hours (120 minutes) of eligible pro bono legal services. Credit shall be awarded in increments of no less than .5 CLE credit hours. Ethics and Professionalism credits are not available for participation in pro bono CLE activities. All volunteers who participate in the Program receive recognition from Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.
AEP volunteer attorneys report feeling personal satisfaction from providing meaningful legal help to low-income New Yorkers who otherwise would face civil legal issues on their own.
A list of Attorney Emeritus Program host organizations can be found on the NY Courts' Attorney Emeritus page.
Hear from John Feerick, Founder and Senior Counsel at the Feerick Center:
For more testimonials from Attorney Emeritus volunteers, click here.
How Can I Become an Attorney Emeritus Volunteer?
There are two steps to becoming an Attorney Emeritus:
1) Submit an AEP volunteer application. You can apply by calling 877-800-0396 or by completing AEP's online application form. You may submit a volunteer application at any time, even if you have not yet changed your attorney registration status.
2) Change your attorney registration status to Attorney Emeritus. You can do this on your attorney registration form, which you receive once every two years. For more information about the attorney registration form, visit the NYS Attorney Registration site or call 212-428-2800.
What Are the Requirements for This New Status?
You must be at least 55 years of age, an attorney in good standing, and have practiced for a minimum of ten years. You may register to be an Attorney Emeritus if you are retired or engaged in active practice.
You can also read our online brochure (opens PDF file.)