Contact: Debra Carnes, Chief Communications Officer
206-733-5930, 206-669-6559 (cell); debrac@wsba.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3-30-2012

Washington attorneys partner with law schools to launch Moderate Means Program

SEATTLE - The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), in partnership with Seattle University, University of Washington, and Gonzaga University law schools, will officially launch a new statewide legal aid program on Tuesday, April 3 at 11:30 a.m. aimed at helping moderate-income households.

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen; WSBA President Steve Crossland; Seattle University Law School Dean Mark Niles; University of Washington School of Law Dean Kellye Testy; and attorney Kirsten Hytopoulos will join together at WSBA headquarters at 1325 4th Avenue in Seattle to talk about the Moderate Means Program, who it serves, the unique partnership with the state’s law schools and its students, and the hope for expanding access to justice across our state.

“Programs like Moderate Means play a crucial role in our legal system. With so many people unable to afford legal assistance, programs like this ensure that our judges have the information they need to make fair and just decisions. The caring lawyers who participate in Moderate Means help to give meaning to the promise of justice provided in our constitution,” said Chief Justice Barbara Madsen.

Nearly 30 percent of our state’s population falls into the moderate-income category, with household incomes between $45,622 and $91,244. Within this population, 75 percent of households experience a single legal problem each year with 38 percent experiencing four or more legal problems annually.

“We’ve found that since the downturn in our economy there is a large group of citizens who fall into the moderate-income category, which is between 200-400 percent of the poverty level, and they are finding it harder and harder to fully afford to pay for legal help when they need it,” said President Steve Crossland. “The WSBA is proud to partner with our state’s law schools and provide a program focused on this large population that has, in many ways, been stuck in the middle with no place to turn.”

More than 350 attorneys across Washington have signed up to offer reduced-fee services for the Moderate Means Program. The primary areas of legal need are family, consumer, and housing law.

About the Washington State Bar Association

The WSBA is part of the judicial branch, exercising a governmental function authorized by the Washington State Supreme Court to license the state’s 34,800 lawyers. The WSBA both regulates lawyers under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association — all without public funding. As a regulatory agency, the WSBA administers the bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; and administers the lawyer-discipline system. As a professional association, the WSBA provides continuing legal education for attorneys, in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities.

The Washington State Bar Association’s mission is to serve the public and the members of the Bar, ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.

www.moderatemeanswa.org, www.wsba.org, @WaStateBar, Facebook.com/WaStateBar.

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