What do I need a lawyer for?

The answer may differ depending upon the issue or problem confronting you. You may need an attorney to render an opinion of the basic legal rights you may not realize that you have, or to advise you of certain legal rules that you must adhere to or to represent you in court or an administrative hearing. Even when a matter seems to be straightforward (e.g. minor criminal or traffic matters, Workers’ Compensation, support matters in Family Court) important rights may be overlooked or lost forever
without legal assistance. If you decide to proceed without a lawyer, court clerks in the various courts will attempt to provide litigants who represent themselves (called pro se litigants) forms to assist in the process but the clerks are not allowed to give legal advice.

Does every lawyer require a consultation fee?

No. It depends upon the lawyer and the type of case. Many lawyers agree to provide a limited consultation for no charge. Prepare for the consultation by bringing necessary documents (e.g. traffic ticket, debt notice, eviction notice, contracts, letters, custody agreement, etc.) and specific questions . When you call a lawyer’s office you should ask about the consultation fees prior to scheduling an appointment.

What is a retainer fee and a “contingent” fee?

A retainer fee (an up front amount of money) may be required in an agreement between a lawyer and client at the beginning of the representation. You have a right to a written agreement outlining the specifics regarding any fees, and outlining your relationship with the attorney. Some lawyers are paid on a “contingency” basis (e.g. a percent of the amount derived from the case), but “contingent” fee cases are limited by law. Ask about the limitations during your consultation.

How do I get a lawyer in Saratoga County?

Call the Saratoga County Bar Association Referral Service at 518-280-1974 or via e-mail at pclute@saratogacountybar.org.

Is there anything in writing outlining the rights of a client in relation to her/his attorney?

Yes. A “Client Bill of Rights” is required to be posted in all private offices in New York State. You may receive a copy of the rights upon request.

Is it possible to obtain free legal services?

Yes, with limitations. Individuals needing legal assistance may contact the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc. at 518- 587-5188 or (800)-870-8343 and/or the Office of the Public Defender of Saratoga County at (518) 884-4795 to ascertain whether they are entitled to have a free lawyer for certain legal matters. Information can be found online at www.lawhelp.org/ny.

Who do I complain to about a lawyer?

You may call the Saratoga County Bar Association at (518) 280-1974. Your complaint may be forwarded to the Bar Association Grievance Committee or to the state office on professional standards. However, a complainant may contact the state Committee on Professional Standards at 518 474 8816 (Albany) in the first instance.



  • President Hon. Francine Vero
  • Vice President Scott W. Iseman
  • Treasurer Gordon W. Eddy
  • Secretary Anthony Morelli
  • Immediate Past President Shawn M. Lescault​


Board of Directors


  • Michael Billok
  • John B. Cannie
  • Matthew L. Chivers*
  • Gordon W. Eddy
  • Stephanie W. Ferradino*
  • Justin M. Grassi
  • Karen A. Heggen*
  • Meghan A. Horton
  • Scott W. Iseman
  • Stuart Kaufman*
  • Kyle N. Kordich*
  • Michelle M. Kulak






Board of Directors


  • Shawn M. Lescault*
  • Christopher Mills*
  • Anthony Morelli
  • Kathleen A. Nielson
  • Kyran D. Nigro
  • Scott M. Peterson*
  • Karl J. Sleight*
  • Bruce D. Steves
  • Ann Flower E. Stitt
  • Elena Jaffe Tastensen*
  • Hon. Francine Vero

*Past President of the Bar



State Bar Delegates


  • Nancy Montagnino
  • Kathleen A. Nielson
  • Michelle M. Kulak (Alt.)

*Past President of the Bar


Executive Coordinator

Patricia L. Clute P.O. Box 994 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Telephone/Fax: 518-280-1974 pclute@saratogacountybar.org