Providing Legal Services for You and Your Family

CSEA has established the Legal Services Plan to provide legal assistance and services to you and your family. There are two ways you and your family can participate. 1) In exchange for a membership fee, members receive free specified legal services and access to discounted attorney fees for other services. 2) With no membership fee, members can still call the CSEA toll free number to be referred to a Plan Attorney in their area to receive legal services at discounted rates as published in the Fixed Fee Schedule.

Why Was The Plan Created?

Peace of Mind!

One out of every two Americans will need legal advice during the next twelve months. Half of these people will attempt to deal with the matter on their own because they either do not know how to retain an attorney or are afraid of the costs associated with one.

CSEA has instituted this Plan to provide its members and their families with the knowledge and affordability to protect their legal rights.

How Does The Plan Work

To become a member of the CSEA legal Services Plan, choose ONE of the following legal plan options:

  1. CSEA Charter: $100.00
    (choose any 2 of the legal services listed below)
  2. CSEA Superior $175.00
    (choose any 3 of the legal services listed below)
  3. CSEA Extra $200.00
    (choose any 4 of the legal services listed below)
  4. CSEA Advantage $260.00
    (receive all 5 legal services listed below)

*If you do not need any of the below listed services but wish to be referred to a Plan Attorney for a specific legal matter at the discounted rates in the Fixed Fee Schedule, call CSEA Headquarters at (800) 342-4146
Monday - Friday 8:30a.m. to 5 p.m.
(listen for prompts for Personal Legal Matters)

  • One Simple Will

    (or amendment to existing will)
    An attorney will prepare the necessary documents for a Plan Member or eligible dependent regarding the deposition of their estate after death. This service does not include a trust provision or specific bequeaths within the document.

  • One Power of Attorney

    This document allows a Plan Member or eligible dependent to authorize a third party to handle all or part of the Plan Member's personal and/or business affairs

  • One Health Care Proxy

    This document allows a Plan Member or eligible dependent to appoint a hired party to make medical decisions on behalf of a Plan Member who is unable to do so

  • One Legal Document Review

    An attorney will review a legal document involving a Plan Member or eligible dependent. The maximum length of such document is ten (10) pages.

  • One Legal Consultation

    (up to 60 minutes)
    The Plan Member or eligible dependent is provided with an opportunity to consult with an attorney about a legal problem. Plan Member or eligible dependant may obtain legal advice on such matters as buying or selling a home, automobile, property, or equipment, any lease arrangement, or to learn about legal rights in a given situation. Consultations may be in person or on the telephone.
    In addition to any option you choose, you become entitled to additional legal services at reduced rates according to the Fixed Fee Schedule.

Is It Worth Joining?

Without the benefit of the Plan, these same services could cost you hundreds of dollars. Even if you use just ONE of the legal services, the cost of the membership pays for itself.

What If I Need Legal Services Other Than Those Included In My Membership?

CSEA has negotiated a Fixed Fee Schedule for it's members. The Fixed Fee Schedule not only provides you with reduced rates for a full range of legal services, but it also provides you with prior knowledge of the cost of such services. Some of the services that can be provided to you and your family at a reduced rate include:

  • Traffic Tickets
  • Buying/Selling a Home
  • Property Disputes
  • Matrimonial/Divorces
  • Estate Administration and Will Probate
  • Family Court Matters
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Matters
  • Landlord & Tenant Rights
  • Adoptions & Related Matters
  • Who Is Eligible

The following persons are eligible to participate in the CSEA Legal Services Plan:

  • A member of CSEA
  • A retiree members of CSEA
  • A dependent of a current or retiree CSEA member

CSEA members must be in good standing, having met all financial obligations to CSEA.

"Eligible Dependent" is defined as follows:

  • A spouse, if not legally separated
  • A child (under 18 years of age) of an eligible member
  • A widow or widower of an eligible member.
Miscellaneous Provisions

Services provided by this Plan are subject to change upon written notification to the participating Plan members. The Fixed Fee Schedule is subject to change at the end of each fee schedule year.

In the event an issue arises as to the legal services required or weather representation falls within the categories provided under the Plan, such issue will be resolved by the Plan Administrator.

No CSEA member or eligible dependent is required or obligated to consult with or be represented by an attorney provided by the Plan, and remains free to consult wit or be represented by any other attorney at the individual's own expense without the benefit of the CSEA Fixed Fee Schedule.

Who Are The Attorneys

Legal services are provided by the CSEA Regional Attorney network, supplemented with additional attorneys committed to the CSEA Plan to give us the best coverage throughout the state. All communications between you and your attorney are 100% CONFIDENTIAL.

Plan Attorneys providing legal services under the Legal Plan's Options (1-4) are compensated by CSEA /Local 1000 AFSCME from Plan membership fees. Compensation for all other services is in accordance with the Fixed Fee Schedule and is provided directly by the Plan Member. Attorney's services will be provided in accordance with the professional and ethical standards expected of lawyers. In providing such legal services, Plan attorneys shall adhere to the rules of the Plan, but shall receive no further instructions, directions, or interference from CSEA or its officers or agents. Attorneys shall maintain the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship in accordance with applicable canons of ethics.

How Do I Join

Participation in one of the SEA Legal Services Plan options will be activated by completion, submission and verification of the plan enrollment form, along with at least one half of the selected membership fee. The balance of the membership fee will be due ninety (90) days from the application submission. Eligibility for services commences seven (7) days after enrollment in the Plan. CSEA will notify you within seven (7) after your enrollment from is received as to who the Plan attorney is for your county. Plan members, including eligible dependents, have a full year from date of enrollment to use the free services provided under the Legal Plan options.

Appeal Procedure

In the unlikely event that a Plan Member is dissatisfied with legal services provided by a Plan Attorney, the Plan Member may obtain resolution of the dispute through arbitration in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association. The cost of arbitration is to be shared equally between the dissatisfied Plan Member and the plan Attorney.

If you have any questions about the CSEA Legal Services Plan, please contact CSEA Headquarters during normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:30a.m. to 5p.m. at (800 )342-4146.

Fixed Fee Schedule - As Of July 2007

NOTE: Some of the legal services listed below contain a range of fees, since fees normally vary across the state. Each contract between the CSEA Legal Services Plan and a Plan Attorney will have an individual fee schedule containing specific fees to be charged based on that Plan Attorney's geographical region.

Wills, Trusts and powers of Attorney
  • Individual, simple
    $75.00 - $100.00
  • Individual with trust
  • Reciprocal, simple
    $135.00 - $150.00
  • Reciprocal with trust
  • Other
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hour
Health Care Proxy and Living Will
  • Individual
  • Reciprocal, simple
Power of Attorney
  • Individual
  • Reciprocal
Uncontested Estate Administration and Will Probate
Basic Charge
  • 4% of estate property plus cost


  • $125.00 per hr. plus costs (Minimum fee: $2,500.00)
Additional Fees - (may be waived if part of estate as above)
  • Letters of Guardianship
  • Prepare and file NY Estate Return and/or obtain Lien Waiver or Release of Lien
  • Prepare and file Federal Estate Tax Return
  • Transfer Title to Real Property (deed transfer)
  • Document preparation
Real Estate Transactions
Sales and Purchases(Residential)
  • Basic charge
    2/3% of purchase price (Minimum fee: $265.00 - $500.00)

Additional fees (if applicable)

  • New construction
    95.00 -$125.00 per hr.
  • Closing does not occur("breaking" fee)
  • Litigation arising out of sale or foreclosure
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
  • Document preparation
Mortgage Refinancing
  • Basic charge
    2/3% of mortgage amount (includes attendance at closing) (Minimum fee: $215.00 - $450.00)

Additional fees

  • Change of ownership (deed transfer), if required
  • Closing does not occur ("breakup" fee)
  • Document preparation
Deed Transfers of Ownership
  • Basic Charge
    $250.00 - $300.00
  • Additional fees - Document preparation
Commercial or Mixed Use Real Estate
  • Fee to be agreed upon by attorney and client prior to transaction
Landlord & Tenant
Representation of Tenant

Non-payment of rent or holdover residential summary proceeding:

  • First court appearance
    $300.00 - $450.00
  • Additional court appearance
    $300.00 - $500.00
  • Prepare and issue a 3-day or 30-day notice of tenancy termination
    $50.00 - $100.00

Representation of Landlord (Residential)

  • Notice of petition and petition to commence action in court
  • First court appearance
    $350.00 - $450.00
  • Each subsequent court appearance
    $300.00 - $350.00
  • Prepare and issue a 3-day notice to tenant
    $50.00 - $100.00
  • Prepare and issue a 30-day notice of tenancy termination
    $50.0 - $100.00
  • Adjournments requested by client after completion of above petition
    $175.00 - $250.00
Criminal Matters
Vehicle and Traffic
  • Court appearance
    $200.00 - $250.00
  • Additional appearances
    $200.00 - $250.00
  • Trial
    $450.00 - $600.00 per day
  • Court appearance
    $200.00 - $250.00
  • Additional appearances
    $200.00 - $250.00
  • Trial
    $450.00 - $600.00 per day
Misdemeanors (Except DWI)
  • Court appearance (maximum of three court appearances)
    $400.00 - $800.00
  • Additional appearances
    $200.00 - $250.00
  • Trial
    $500.00 - $1,000/00 per day
  • Resolved before trial (includes all necessary court appearances)
    $665.00 - $1,335.00

Additional appearances

  • DWI refusal hearing
    $400.00 - $500.00
  • Trial
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hour
Felonies (up to "C" felony)

Representation in felony cases is not provided automatically under the Plan. Fees and services are subject to agreement between the Plan Member and the Plan Attorney

Bail Hearings
  • Before 6:00PM
    $250.00 - $400.00
  • After 6:00PM
    $500.00 - $750.00
  • Weekends
    $500.00 - $750.00

If a minor is charged as a juvenile offender in Family Court, refer to Section VII Family Court for appropriate fees.

Adoptions and Related Matters
  • Simple (uncontested) with one court hearing
    $580.00 - $1,250.00
  • Additional court hearings
  • Contested
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
Name Change
  • Uncontested
    $400.00 - $1,000.00
  • Contested
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.

Additional fees

  • Document preparation
  • Uncontested
    $1,250.00 - $1,500.00
  • Contested
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.

Additional fees

  • Document preparation
Family Court matters
Neglect or Abuse
  1. PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision)
  2. JD (Juvenile Delinquents)
  3. Custody or Visitation
  4. Family Offense
  5. Violation of Order of Protection
  6. Child Support
  • Minimum fee
    $335.00 - $1,335.00 (includes first court appearance)
  • Additional court appearance
  • Basic charge
    $750.00 per day
  • Out of court trial preparation billed separately
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
  • Motion Practice
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
Matrimonial Matters
Separation/Prenuptial Agreements
  • Basic charge
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
Uncontested Divorce, Separations and Annulments

An uncontested divorce is one in which a court appearance generally is not required and the parties have agreed upon all of the issues including, but not limited to: child support, custody, and visitation; equitable distribution of marital property; and the defendant spouse does not oppose the client's divorce action nor retains an attorney.

  • Uncontested retainer (includes initial court appearance)
    $650.00 - $1,665.00
  • Additional appearances
    $250.00 each
  • Preparation of stipulation (if applicable)
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
Contested Divorce, Separations and Annulments

Representation in contested matrimonial cases is not provided automatically under the Plan. Fees and services are subject to agreement between the member and the attorney.

Personal Bankruptcy
Voluntary Chapter 7
  • Single petition
  • Joint petition
Voluntary Chapter 13
  • Single petition
  • Joint petition
  • Court appearance
Miscellaneous Services
Document Review, Lawyer, Letter, etc.
  • Basic charge
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
General Consultation
Office or Telephonic
  • Basic charge
    $95.00 - $125.00 per hr.
Disbursements and Office Expenses

Fees set forth under this schedule do not include disbursements such as filing fees or recording fees, or other special costs and expenses including transcripts, expert witnesses, special mailing or copy costs, and long distance telephone calls.