Modest Means Referral Program

For many years, low-income individuals in the Akron area living paycheck to paycheck have not been able to obtain affordable legal representation. They begin their search for legal help by calling attorneys listed in the phone book and quickly find that their fees are too high for the client to afford. Next, the client is directed to Community Legal Aid Services, where they discover that they do not qualify for services. More often than not, the client is turned away and left to try to deal with the problems alone.

This is where we can help. By joining the Modest Means Referral Program as a panel attorney, you will not only assist people who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn, but you will also:

  • Gain valuable experience
  • Expand your client base
  • Establish yourself in the legal community
  • Maintain a work flow at non-peak times
How Does It Work?

Clients who are eligible to participate in the MMRP meet the eligibility requirements set forth by Community Legal Aid Services, which is up to 200% of federal poverty guidelines.  All clients are first screened by Community Legal Aid Services.  If they are found to have a case, are financially eligible, and legal aid or pro bono services are unavailable, the client may be referred to the Modest Means Referral Program of the Akron Bar Association.  This program keeps a rotating list of attorneys who are willing to accept cases at a reduced rate of $60 per hour.

Attorneys participating in the MMRP must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a member of the Akron Bar Association;
  • Must be licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and in good standing with the Ohio Supreme Court;
  • Must carry liability insurance with minimum amounts of coverage equal to $100,000.00 per occurrence and $300,000.00 in the aggregate.
  • Must provide the requested information to demonstrate competency to handle cases in selected areas of law through experience or association with a mentor or experienced attorney

Retainers may be charged by attorneys up to the following amounts:

Domestic:  $400
Consumer:  $400
Estate Planning or Simple Will:  $100
Other Probate:  $400
Real Estate:  $400
Juvenile: $400

If retained, the attorney will charge no more than $60 per hour for their services.  Upon conclusion of representation, an accounting will be presented to the client for all fees and retainers.  Unapplied retainers shall be refunded to the client.  The attorney shall receive full payment of the retainer prior to filing any documents with the courts.

If it becomes clear that the hourly fee will exceed the retainer amount, the attorney will promptly notify the client to discuss in good faith how to proceed.  Attorneys must be mindful of the fact that the ability of clients to pay is limited and pro bono services are encouraged.  No additional fee will be charged without the client’s agreement.  If the attorney and client cannot agree on how to proceed, the Chair of the Modest Means Referral Program Committee shall be contacted for further direction.

An MMRP fee agreement shall be used as required by the Akron Bar Association.

What Practice Areas Does This Encompass?

Recommended Experience Requirements:  3 CLE hours in the last 2 years, 5% of practice and represented 10 cases.

  • Automotive
  • Bankruptcy
  • Collections
  • Home Repair
  • Predatory Lending
  • Retail Issues
Recommended Experience Requirements:  6 CLE hours in the last 2 years, 10% of practice in this area and represented on 5 cases.

  • Divorce / Dissolution
  • Post Decree Contempt
  • Post Decree Custody
  • Post-Decree Support
Recommended Experience Requirements:  6 CLE hours in the last 2 years, 10% of practice and represented 5 cases.

  • Child Support
  • Contempt
  • Custody / Custody Modification
  • Visitation
Recommended Experience Requirements:  6 CLE hours in the last 2 years, 15% of total number of clients and/or 15% of time spent on probate cases, and/or 20 probate cases including work through Legal Aid or VLSP

  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Power of Attorney
  • Trusts / Estates
  • Wills
Real Estate
Recommended Experience Requirements:  3 CLE hours in each sub category or 6 general real property CLE hours in the last 2 years; or representation on at least 4 transactions within each sub area in the last 2 years; or 25% of practice in real estate law

  • Foreclosure
  • Landlord / Tenant Issue

Modest Means Referral Program Information & Application