(1) This kind of thing is the Platonic form of limousine liberal idiocy. Memo to Chief Judge Lippman: not having a lawyer is approximately item #714 on the list of what the average poor person in New York would spend money on if that person had extra money to spend. Here's a thought experiment: Give 100 poor New York families $10,000 cash each. How much of that one million dollar bounty is going to get spent on legal services? Practically nothing, that's how much.
You have to be pretty rich in this country before you start thinking of legal services as necessities rather than luxuries. Another thought experiment: how much money have you, dear reader, ever spent on legal services? If you are broadly speaking middle class the answer is more probably than not "nothing." This is why lawyers who don't work for rich people or corporations or the government are slowly or not so slowly going broke: because ordinary people, let alone poor ones, generally don't employ professional legal services except in very limited circumstances (some but not most divorces, bankruptcies, arrests for minor but not too minor crimes. principally DUI).
If the people who control entry into the New York bar are so concerned about helping poor people, it would be far better to simply require members of the bar to give poor people money, rather than offering them free legal services, which most poor people at most times will find, in comparison to various far more pressing needs -- food, shelter, clothes, transportation, medical care etc. -- about as useful as an annotated copy of Finnegans Wake. (This isn't meant to deny that some poor people will sometimes be in desperate need of legal representation, but rather to emphasize the problems of the poor are largely a function of not having money, rather than of not having access to the legal process. For example, people are usually evicted from their homes because they can't pay the rent, not because their legal rights are being violated, since in this country you have no legal right not to be forced to live on the street).
(2) Speaking of which, while I personally am very much in favor of forcing rich people to transfer wealth to poor people, I'm strongly against using professional licensing requirements to enforce my or anybody else's political desires, which is exactly what the learned judge is doing:
"If you want the privilege and honor of practicing law in New York, you're going to have to demonstrate that you're committed to our values," Lippman said.
"Committed to our values" in this context means "being forced by the power of the state to participate in Jonathan Lippman's pet political project if you want to be a lawyer in the jurisdiction entry into which he controls." I could go on a rant here about how one of the unconscious ideological functions of legal education is to produce people who can say things like this without realizing that, in this context, "law" is completely indistinguishable from "politics," but as the kids say these days, whatever.
(3) As for kids these days, Jonathan Lippman paid about $10,000 per year in tuition in current inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars to attend NYU's law school in the late 1960s. He has spent his entire professional career as a functionary within New York's court system. I'm betting a Megamillions ticket that he doesn't have the faintest idea how preposterous it is, under current circumstances, to expect aspiring lawyers to work for free as a precondition for bar admittance in New York of all places.
Consider that these conditions include that nearly 10,000 people were admitted to the New York bar last year, while according to state and federal calculations the state will produce 1,700 jobs for lawyers each year over the next decade, via net replacement and growth combined. What this means of course is that the large majority of people admitted to the New York bar aren't going to get jobs as lawyers in New York. I imagine it would also come as quite a surprise to the learned judge to be informed that most people taking the New York bar have very negative net worth, enormous educational debts (graduates of 13 New York law schools had average law school debts of more than $120,000 in 2011), and income streams -- if any -- that are far too small to service their debt obligations which means that . . . wait for it . . . they couldn't possibly afford to pay for legal services, making them ideal candidates to receive pro bono legal representation (it's like rain on your wedding day).
(4) Exactly how is this requirement supposed to be discharged? Another piece of information that Chief Judge Lippman seems to be overlooking is that people who graduate from law school don't know how to practice law (this is why they can't purport to legally render legal services unless they're being supervised by an individual attorney or a legal organization). Medical schools train future surgeons by having them work on corpses, but apparently we're supposed to "train" nascent lawyers by handing them the legal problems of living, breathing people, the idea here being the dubious proposition that law students and new graduates will do more good than harm to the wretched refuse of our teeming shores if we entrust these proto-lawyers with the legal affairs of people currently slated to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
(5) Where are these aspirants to the New York bar supposed to find attorneys who will supervise their fledgling attempts at rendering legal services? By a remarkable coincidence this new barrier to entry will be only a minor inconvenience to people who at least for now are at the top of the legal heap -- Columbia Law School already requires its students to do 40 hours of pro bono work as a prerequisite for graduation; people who get associate gigs with large firms should have relatively little trouble fulfilling the requirement since its far easier for large firms to take on, assign, and supervise pro bono matters than it is for ordinary lawyers, etc. (Needless to say New York's other law schools will no doubt spring into action, devising yet one more hoop that their soon to be under or unemployed graduates will have to jump through before paying their bar admission fees.).
In short, this requirement will burden attorneys and aspiring lawyers in New York in pretty much precisely inverse relation to their social and economic status: High status lawyers will have to do nothing they're not doing already, lower-status lawyers are going to be pestered to "supervise" people who have no idea what they're doing, high-status law students will find this to be just another in a series of endless aggravations, and low status law students will find that in at least some cases it will serve as a significant barrier to entry. Indeed the latter outcome is what "some" might suspect functions as the unconscious economic basis lurking beneath the ideological superstructure of the judge's clueless bloviations.