Assigned Counsel Panel Attorney

Assigned Counsel Program
June 27, 2024
Erie County, United States of America
Job Type


Position: Assigned Counsel Panel Attorney
Location: Criminal Courts: throughout Erie County Family Court – single building in downtown Buffalo
Category: Legal
Job Type: Independent contractor.  You control how many cases you accept.

  1. Criminal: There are daytime and nighttime courts.
  2. Family Court: a daytime court where all the assignments are returnable in the Family Court building in downtown Buffalo.

Rate: New York’s statutory rate is $158 per hour (County Law Article 18-b, §722-b)

  1. Attorneys are provided an online case management system for vouchering, time management, and online document storage.
  2. At the conclusion of a case, an attorney finalizes their time and issues a voucher in the case management software provided by the Program.
  3. Payment is issued via direct deposit; usually within 60 to 90 days.
  4. Option: divert a portion or all the payment to a retirement savings account.
  5. Last year new attorneys handling misdemeanors billed an average of 242 hours.

Support: New attorneys are assigned to an attorney-mentor for support and guidance during their first year.

  1. Criminal panel - After you develop experience handling misdemeanors, there are opportunities for growth.
    1. Qualifying for a higher panel will start by working as a co-counsel; it will also come with the support of an attorney-mentor for that panel.
      1. The DUI/DWI panel
      2. The parole panel.
      3. The felony panel.
      4. The violent felony panel.
      5. The homicide panel.
    2. There are Program professionals available for other support: social worker assistance for your client, investigators on criminal matters, mitigation support to counter a Department of Probation sentencing recommendation, case conferences with experienced Program staff attorneys, litigation support for briefs and motions, CLE training, and the Program will fund your case expert(s) (subject to pre-approval.)
  2. Family Court panel – New panel members are provided significant support by an assigned mentor plus direct supervision by a Program staff attorney.
    1. New panel members are accompanied to Court appearances.
    2. New panel members meet regularly with Program staff attorneys and mentors regarding the progress of their cases
    3. Mentors and Program staff attorneys are available to answer any questions that arise, provide motion templates, and assist in any way possible.
    4. New panel members are shadowed for several months in Family Court until the panel member and the supervision team agree that the panel member is prepared to work unassisted.
    5. Generally, new panel members work on Article 6 (Custody/Visitation) and Article 8 (Family Offense) matters.
    6. There is opportunity for growth: progressing to Article 4 matters (Support Violations) and eventually a panel member may be invited to join the Article 10 panel (Abuse/Neglect cases.)
    7. There are Program social workers available to aid your client, case conferences with experienced Program staff attorneys, litigation support for briefs and motions, CLE training, and the Program will fund your case expert(s) (subject to pre-approval.)



Training: For either the Family Court or Criminal panels, there is classroom training and guidance with an experienced attorney.


Mission Statement
The Program strives to help those who cannot help themselves, who face steep odds against the power of the State, and who struggle with poverty, mental issues, helplessness, and dread.  The attorneys in the Program save lives and save families.  Panel attorneys are the first line of defense for the freedoms guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  The Program provides training and support to the panel attorneys, including mentoring, case conferences, CLE, and social worker assistance for the client.

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