Modest Means Program

Modest Means Panel Program

The Schenectady County Bar Association is pleased to announce a program meant to meet the needs of litigants with limited financial means.

The Modest Means Program offers reduced fee legal services to Family Court and Matrimonial litigants with cases pending in Schenectady County.
Litigants must meet financial guidelines in order to qualify for the Panel. The Program will encompass litigants who earn too much to qualify for Legal Aid, Assigned Counsel, or other available pro bono services, but do not earn enough or possess sufficient assets to secure private counsel at the going market rates.

Attorney participation on the Panel is voluntary. Attorneys who elect to be on the Panel agree to bill up to $100 per hour for their services, and to take reduced retainers of up to $1,000. In all other respects, participating attorneys are free to take or decline a client and to collect fees or expenses charged for work performed.

Review forms and potential clients and attorney panel members below. For more information, contact (518) 218-7100


Modest Means Program Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Modest Means Program is to meet the overwhelming need for access to the justice system for moderate-income individuals with Matrimonial/Family Law needs, where legal aid and pro bono assistance is not possible, and household resources are insufficient to pay prevailing hourly rates for legal services. The Modest Means Program will meet this need by providing moderate-income individuals access to a panel of attorneys who besides providing a public service, will also have the opportunity to broaden their practice.


Guidelines for Qualification

Subject Matter Eligibility:
Matrimonial/Family Law – the Modest Means Panel will only address matrimonial and family law matters

Geographic Eligibility:
The client must have a case in Schenectady County.  The individual does not have to reside in this County.

Client Eligibility:
To qualify for a referral to a Modest Means Panel Attorney, the individual (or co-signor if applicable) must complete a financial eligibility statement, attach six (6) weeks of their most recent pay stubs, and meet the following income levels*:

Number in Household
Total Monthly Income
Total Annual Income
1
$2,166
$26,000
2
$2,916
$35,000
3
$3,666
$44,000
4
$4,416
$53,000
5
$5,166
$62,000
6
$5,916
$71,000
7
$6,666
$80,000
8
$7,416
$89,000
Each additional person
$750
+$9,000

* Child support received is not calculated in the monthly income range.  In addition, the individual must not have a Net Worth or interest in a marital estate which is the subject of the instant litigation in excess of $2,000 cash assets; $2,500 liquid assets; or $20,000 equity in a primary/marital residence where minor children do not reside.

  1. Modest Means staff may request, and the client shall be required to provide, documentation from the client relative to income.
  2. Applicants who qualify for Legal Aid services or other low-income legal services such as The Legal Project shall not be deemed eligible for a Modest Means referral.

Fees:
The fee charged to the client for the initial one hour consultation shall be no more than $50. Modest Means Panel attorneys agree to charge no more than the following fees for clients referred to them by the Panel:
Hourly Fees
$100.00
Retainer Fee
$1,000

Fees to the Modest Means Panel:
Clients shall pay a $15.00 non-refundable processing fee to the Schenectady County Bar Association.
 
Requirements for Panel Membership:

  1. All members must show evidence that they have malpractice insurance currently in effect in the minimum amount of $100,000.00 single occurrence and $300,000.00 aggregate per year.
  2. Panel Members must meet the Statement of Qualifications.
  3. There are no added fees to attorneys who participate on the Modest Means Panel.

Referral Procedures:
Clients will be assigned to Panel Members on a rotational basis, in order to guarantee that all participating attorneys have equal opportunity.


Modest Means Program Forms for Potential Clients

Client Intake Form


Modest Means Program Forms for Potential Attorneys

Attorney Application for Panel Appointment


Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, February 16, 2016 :
    Ethics: What To Do - And Not Do - When You Get That Letter From the Committee - CLE Series

    1 hour of CLE - Noon to 1 p.m., Schenectady County Courthouse

    Ethics: What To Do - And Not Do - When You Get That Letter From the Committee - Scott Bush, speaker

    Free to SCBA members; $10 - others

    Part of SCBA Young Lawyers Committee's Brown Bag Series

    Read more    


    View Details
  • Thursday, March 10, 2016 :
    Annual Trusts and Estates/Elder Law CLE

    Annual Trusts and Estates/Elder Law CLE

    Registration 8 a.m.; program 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Glen Sanders Mansion, Scotia

    7.5 hours of CLE including 6.0 professional practice; 1.0 ethics and 0.5 skills

    See agenda and registration for here 

    $135 SCBA members; $150 others - includes lunch

    Register: SCBA, PO Box 1728, Schenectady NY 12301-1728

    View Details
  • Tuesday, March 15, 2016 :
    Proper Retainer Agreements and Billing

    1 hour of CLE - Noon to 1 p.m., Schenectady County Courthouse

    Proper Retainer Agreements and Billing - Kathryn McCary, speaker

    Free to SCBA members; $10 - others

    Part of SCBA Young Lawyers Committee's Brown Bag Series

    Read more    


    View Details
  • Thursday, April 21, 2016 :
    Luncheon Meeting and CLE

    Doors open 11:30 a.m.; luncheon meeting at noon followed by 1-hour presentation

    "View From the Federal Bench" - featuring Hon. Mae D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge, Northern District of NY

    Water's Edge Lighthouse, Glenville


    View Details
  • Thursday, May 12, 2016 :
    Annual Real Estate Practice CLE

    Annual Real Estate Practice CLE

    Registration 8 a.m.; program 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

    Glen Sanders Mansion, Scotia

    Multiple CLE


    View Details
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