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Retainer Agreement New York Pro Bono document sample
Retainer Agreement New York Pro Bono document sample
N E W Y O R K S TAT E B A R A S S O C I AT I O N Appeals Program In many cases, litigants of modest income need legal representation in state appellate courts. Some litigants cannot afford an attorney but do not qualify for assigned counsel. Many proceed without representation, while others forgo their appeal. The Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction of the New York State Bar Association has created a Pro Bono Appeals Pilot Program to provide the needed representa- tion in appeals in the Appellate Division, Third Department through the service of pro bono attorneys. The Appeals Program recognizes that nonprofit organizations and trial attorneys who have assisted litigants of modest means are in the best position to identify potentially meritorious appeals. Therefore, these professionals are being asked to assist clients they select in completing the application form and to consult with the Appeals Program about such clients’ cases. The Committee’s partners in this venture are two non- profit organizations: The Legal Project, which provides legal services to low-income domestic violence victims in the Capital Region, and the Rural Law Center of New York, which seeks to increase legal services to low-income rural New Yorkers facing family law, matrimonial law, and other issues. At the inception of the Appeals Program, representation will be limited to family and matrimonial law issues, including family offenses, custody and visitation, divorce, paternity, and termination of parental rights. We will not be includ- ing appeals addressing only the amount of child support awarded under the Child Support Standards Act. Ultimately, the Appeals Program hopes to expand services to other high need legal areas, such as government benefits, health care, Civil Appeals and housing, and to expand to other areas of the state. Pro Bono Program Criteria The Committee invites agencies and attorneys to make referrals for representation if a client meets these criteria: Pilot Program • The client wishes to appeal a trial court order or judg- ment to the Appellate Division, Third Department or won A Collaboration of the New York State in the trial court and is responding to an appeal by the Bar Association Committee on Courts of losing party. Appellate Jurisdiction, The Legal Project, • The litigation occurred in a county within the Third and The Rural Law Center of New York Department (see list in this brochure). Providing Free Legal Services in Selected • The client’s income is less than 250% of Federal Poverty Family Law and Matrimonial Appeals guidelines, as shown in the chart in this brochure. NEW Y O R K STATE BAR ASSO CI AT I O N One Elk Street Albany, NY 12207 Application and Pre-Screening • There is no guarantee that the Committee will select any • Prospective clients must fill out the Appeals Program particular case and that pro bono counsel will be found. 2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines* application form, found as an insert to this brochure. Therefore, prospective clients should not forgo efforts Persons Poverty 250% of Poverty Additional forms are available from the Web sites of the to seek other counsel for the appeal. in Family Guidelines Guidelines Committee, The Legal Project, and The Rural Law Center • Appeals identified as eligible for representation will be of New York (see list below). A completed application One $ 10,830 $ 27,075 described in a case summary sent to the pool of volunteer constitutes an agreement for the Appeals Program attorneys. An appeal will be placed with an appropriate Two 14,570 36,425 to contact the prospective client’s trial attorney to ask attorney, based on experience or interest, if one is available. questions about the case. The application forms and Three 18,310 45,775 conversations concerning the case will be kept confiden- • If a case is accepted and a volunteer attorney is found, Four 22,050 55,125 tial and used solely to determine whether to accept the the attorney will contact the client directly. The client will be asked to sign a retainer agreement outlining what free Five 25,790 64,475 case and to select an appeals attorney. legal services will be provided for the appeal and the Six 29,530 73,825 The Web sites: process that will be followed. Seven 33,270 83,175 www.nysba.org/probonoappeals Expenses www.legalproject.org/pro_bono_appeals.html Appeals involve expenses for transcripts, copying records and * The 2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines remain in effect until www.rurallawcenter.org/probonoappeals briefs, and filing fees. If the client is able to pay for some or updated guidelines are published. all of these expenses, the retainer agreement will specify the Selection of Appeals client’s responsibility. Otherwise, the volunteer attorney will • Application forms should be faxed to make an application for free transcripts and a waiver of filing (518) 435-1773, emailed to email@example.com fees in an effort to minimize expenses. If such application or mailed to: is denied, the Appeals Program may not be able to handle the appeal. Civil Appeals Pro Bono Pilot Program The Legal Project Volunteer Attorneys Stuyvesant Plaza Members of the Committee will serve as volunteer attorneys 1475 Western Avenue and will supervise other volunteers. The Legal Project and Albany, NY 12203 The Rural Law Center of New York will provide training • The Legal Project will conduct a pre-screening process, programs and support from staff attorneys with expertise based on income and subject matter criteria. The prospec- in the special issues encountered in domestic violence, tive client may receive a letter explaining why representa- family law, and matrimonial appeals. tion cannot be provided or may be contacted for further information. Counties Covered by the Appeals Program • Cases that meet the threshold criteria will then be Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, referred to the Committee, which will examine cases Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, and determine which ones should be accepted, based Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, on several discretionary factors, including the issues pre- St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, sented, the merits of the appeal, the likelihood that the Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington. appeal could establish valuable precedent, the number of appeals currently being handled in the program, and the number of available volunteer lawyers. • Preferences will be given to cases in which assigned counsel is not available or in which there are issues involving domestic violence. The program will not provide representation to persons found to have committed acts of domestic violence.
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