Win-Win: CCCBA’s Moderate Means Program

Win-Win: CCCBA’s Moderate Means Program

Many attorneys benefit from the Bar Association’s networking and MCLE programs. Sometimes overlooked is an attorney’s ability to gain invaluable practical legal experience and expand his or her legal practice through the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Moderate Means program.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Moderate Means program, this program offered by the Contra Costa County Bar Association was created to help moderate income individuals and families with legal assistance in the areas of Family, Immigration, Housing and Elder Law. The program works by having interested individuals complete and submit an application to the Bar Association. Assuming the applicant qualifies by fitting into certain income guidelines, he or she is paired with a Moderate Means attorney. The Moderate Means attorney agrees to accept cases from qualified applicants at a reduced hourly rate.

As a newly minted attorney I took the daunting step of hanging my shingle. I had my law degree and my bar card, but I lacked practical legal experience and a book of business. When I contacted the Bar Association, I was told about the Family Law Moderate Means Series which was a six-part MCLE program that qualified new attorneys to serve as a Moderate Means attorney.

Once I had taken the program I was surprised to learn several things. To start, there is an overwhelming need in our community for Moderate Means attorneys. Second, the Moderate Means program is highly supported by the Family Law judicial officers because it assists in helping litigants who would otherwise be self-represented in retaining legal counsel. Attorneys can grow and expand their practices through the Moderate Means Program (and the Criminal Conflicts Program and Lawyer Referral Services Program). And finally, by taking on Moderate Means cases, new attorneys or attorneys shifting or expanding their practice areas can gain invaluable practical legal experience.

After serving as a Moderate Means attorney I interviewed at Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP for an Associate Attorney position. When I was presented with a job offer I was told that my practical legal experience, primarily from the Moderate Means program, set me apart from other attorneys applying for the position.

In September and October of 2018 the Bar Association sponsored another Family Law Moderate Means Series to qualify more attorneys for the Moderate Means Program. The Series was a huge success because of the overwhelming enthusiasm of the Family Law bench. We are very thankful for their support of the Moderate Means Program. We invite members of the Bar Association to get involved with the Moderate Means Program and spread the word of the many benefits the program provides.