The Burlington Vicinage, in partnership with the Burlington County Bar Association, will begin a program to help provide legal services for litigants who do not qualify for legal aid or a public defender, Assignment Judge Jeanne T. Covert and Trial Court Administrator Alba R. Rivera announced on May 8, 2020.
The Reduced Fee Referral Program, one of only a handful in the state, will provide legal services to those litigants who do not qualify for legal aid or a public defender and who cannot otherwise afford to retain counsel.
The program will offer legal representation either for a discounted flat fee or at a reduced hourly rate in cases in municipal court and in every division of the Superior Court.
The bar association will prepare a Zoom presentation in the coming months to explain the program to its members and to recruit willing attorneys interested in providing their services.
“I am extremely pleased to announce a brand-new initiative entitled ‘The Reduced Fee Referral Program,’ and it could not be timelier, or more needed, given the financial difficulties many are now experiencing,” Judge Covert said.
After studying Morris County’s successful Reduced Fee Referral Program, a working group comprised of family division attorney Reema Scaramella and Assistant Public Defender Kevin Walker, who chaired the group, and attorneys Berge Tumaian, Nicholas J. Sansone and Christopher Baxter, developed and tailored a program for Burlington County.
At its April meeting, the bar association’s board of trustees unanimously endorsed the proposal of the working group.
The program is expected to begin operating within the next few months. Judge Covert expressed her gratitude for the attorneys’ quick work in developing the program within a matter of months.