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The Schenectady County Bar Association is pleased to announce the launch of a new 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
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 $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.
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.
Subject Matter Eligibility:
Matrimonial/Family Law – the Modest Means Panel will only address matrimonial and family law matters
The client must have a case in Schenectady County. The individual does not have to reside in this County.
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|
|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.
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:
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:
Clients will be assigned to Panel Members on a rotational basis, in order to guarantee that all participating attorneys have equal opportunity.