Moderate Means Program
What is the Moderate Means Program?
- The Moderate Means Program (MMP) is a partnership between the WSBA and the three law schools in Washington State.
- Seattle University was the first law school to implement the program in the Spring of 2011.
- The purpose of the program is to increase access to civil legal services for moderate means individuals (those between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level), who cannot afford to hire private attorneys at prevailing rates but make too much money to qualify for traditional civil legal aid services.
- The program focuses on the areas of Family, Consumer and Housing law.
How does the program work?
- Moderate Means Program law student interns interview potential clients by telephone to collect information and evaluate their cases.
- After a case has been evaluated and determined to be appropriate for the program, the student contacts one or more participating attorneys who are offered the opportunity to work with the client at a reduced fee.
- Once an attorney agrees to take a case, the client will be directed to the attorney and the intake materials developed by the student will be sent to the attorney.
- The attorney will then meet in person with the client to determine what services are appropriate.
How can people of moderate means apply for services?
- To apply for services through the Moderate Means Program, clients can go to our website and fill out the online application. This will only take a few minutes.
- After we receive theapplication, a Moderate Means Program student intern will call the potential client to complete an intake.
- If your income falls below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, you should contact the CLEAR Program instead at 888-201-1014.
Why should law students participate in the Moderate Means Program?
- It is satisfying to know that you are helping moderate income individuals who otherwise might not receive any legal help at all.
- You receive training on how to interview clients and gain hands-on experience interviewing clients.
- Training on how to use the Legal Server database is offered, which is used by most of the civil legal aid organizations in Washington State.
- You receive training in substantive legal issues and learn how to do fast and efficient issue-spotting.
- The opportunity to engage in legal research is included in this position, and you learn where to find practical legal information and how to use it.
- Advice and mentoring by experienced attorneys is offered throughout your internship. There may be opportunities for students to work directly with participating attorneys on cases they have referred (such as doing research).
- You also have the opportunity to help shape and improve upon the functioning of the program.
- Click here for a brief interview with a law student intern to learn about his experiences.
What kind of commitment do students need to make to be involved?
- The Moderate Means Program is offered through a Practicum course for 3 credits.
- The Moderate Means Program runs year-round, so students may have the opportunity to volunteer as interns beyond their first semester.
What kind of trainings have been offered to law students?
Moderate Means Program Interns receive training in the legal areas that the program covers, as well as ethics, client interviewing, working with interpreters and the Legal Server database. Many of the trainings are videotaped and are available to watch on MediaLaw.
Future trainings will be posted here and on the Access to Justice Institute Blog.
Previous Trainings by Guest Trainers
Mark Chattin: Legal Action Center and SU Law Adjunct Faculty
Rory O'Sullivan: Northwest Justice Project and SU Law Adjunct Faculty
Divorce in Washington State
Leslie Savina: Northwest Justice Project
Leslie Savina: Northwest Justice Project
Debt Collection and Bankruptcy
Fred Corbit and Julia Kellison: Northwest Justice Project
Bryan Adamson: SU Law Faculty; Barbara Frost: SU Law Adjunct Faculty
John Strait: SU Law Faculty
Manufactured Home Law
Ishbel Dickens: Executive Director, Manufactured Home Owners Association of America
Merf Ehman: Columbia Legal Services
Who do I contact for questions or more information?
If you have any additional questions, contact Diana Singleton at email@example.com.