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In May 2012, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced that a new rule requiring bar applicants to perform 50 hours of pro bono legal services would be adopted later in the year. His announcement received widespread negative reactions, as evidenced by a letter to The New York Times by University of Missouri law professor Ben Trachtenberg (and the many responses to it). Trachtenberg argued that the rule would be unfairly onerous on inexperienced, indebted law students. More recently individuals quoted in the New York Law Journal added that the rule might be burdensome for the supervising lawyers as well, since they will need to devote much of their time to training the law student–practitioners rather than serving the poor themselves. The rule has many other flaws that also deserve airing, chiefly that the legal profession needs fewer rules for entry, not more.

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