Do You Need an Attorney but Can't Afford an Attorney's Full Fees?
The Modest Means Legal Program May Be Able To Help!
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What is the Modest Means Program?
Operated by the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) of the NH Bar Association, the Modest Means Program may refer you to an attorney who has agreed to accept certain cases at a reduced rate, if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
How does it work and what is the reduced rate?
LRS does a financial intake to determine your eligibility within three possible hourly rate tiers. Under the first tier, attorneys will charge no more than $80 per hour, within the second tier, they may charge up to $100 per hour, and in the third, up to $125 per hour. The amount of retainer will be determined by the attorney, but is on average $800 to $1,500, which is less than is normally charged. If you are eligible, LRS will pre-approve you for the Modest Means Program and refer you to an attorney on the panel.
How are the attorneys chosen for each individual case?
LRS maintains a panel of attorneys who have agreed to accept certain cases at a reduced rate for those who have an ability to pay some legal fees, but not an attorney's full rate. The panel can be searched by the type of attorney needed and the geographic location. LRS will attempt to find an attorney in as convenient a location for the caller as possible.
Do I have to hire the attorney I am referred to?
You are not obligated to hire the attorney and the attorney is also not required to take your case. If the attorney is unable to assist you, the Program will attempt to provide you with another referral, depending on availability.
Is there a charge for this service? How do I apply?
LRS charges a one-time, non-refundable $25 application fee, which is due at the time of referral. You may apply over the phone (pleases note that LRS is not a walk-in service) by calling (603) 715-3290. The application process takes only a few minutes. If qualified under one of the tiers, you will receive the name of an attorney immediately. There is no charge if you do not qualify. You may also check your eligibility by applying online.
How will my eligibility be determined?
Eligibility is determined by your gross household income, including earned and unearned income of every person residing in your household. Child support and alimony payments are the only expenses that may be deducted from gross income to determine eligibility. When you call to apply, please be ready to provide your gross household income, bank account balances, and the value of any stocks, bonds, CDs, and/or retirement accounts.
What if I don't have an income? Am I still eligible?
The Program is designed for people who have some ability to pay for an attorney but cannot afford an attorney's full fees. If you need free services, check out the other NH Legal Service Programs.
What types of cases are eligible for the Modest Means Program?
Civil Litigation Defense
• Real Estate Foreclosure
• Student Loan Issues
• Issues with Builders
• Issues with New or Used Car Purchases
• DUI First Offense
• Cases Denied for a Public Defender
| Criminal (continued)
• Class B Misdemeanors
• Special Education and Student Rights
• Residential Responsibility
• Child Support
• Gay & Lesbian Family Issues
• Domestic Violence
| Insurance Law
• Mobile Home Park Issues
Medicaid/Medicare Related Issues
• Eviction/Security Deposits
Mental Health Law
• Estate Planning and Advance Directives
Real Estate Law
• Guardianship of Incapacitated Adults
What types of cases are not eligible for the Modest Mean Program?
Generally, any case that may result in a monetary award is not eligible for a Modest Means Program referral. Cases that involve suing individuals or organizations for monetary damages are not eligible; however, the individual who is being sued may be eligible. Other types of cases that are not eligible also include criminal matters where the accused is eligible for a public defender or a court-appointed attorney.
How Do I Apply for a Modest Means Program Referral?
You may apply over the phone by calling 603-715-3290. The application process only takes about 5 minutes. You will need to know your gross household income (include income from ALL adults regardless of involvement in your case), balance of checking and/or savings accounts, child support and alimony received or paid, and value of any stocks, bonds, CD's or retirement accounts. You will also need a method of payment for the $25 application fee to pay by phone. You will not be charged a fee if you do not qualify for the program.
You may also apply online by submitting the Prequalification Form. If you qualify, you will be emailed a form to mail in with your payment to receive a referral, or you may call 603-715-3290 for your referral. Be sure to have your prequalification ID# from the form that will be emailed to you.
If you would prefer to fill out and mail in a paper application, print it out and send it along with a check or money order for $25 to: Modest Mean Legal Program, 2 Pillsbury Street, Concord, NH 03301. If you do not qualify for the program, your $25 will be returned to you.
If you have any questions, please call the Modest Means Legal program at 603-715-3290.