Retainer Agreement New York Pro Bono

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					                                                                                                          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 info@legalproject.org              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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