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Legal Services Program: Questions and Answers

Program Questions and Answers:

Q - What's the value of the Union Plus Legal Service to the average union member?

A - This service most often helps members avoid and resolve potential legal problems -- and usually for little or no money. Unlike corporations or the rich, the average union member may not know where to turn when in need of help or advice from a lawyer. But through the Union Plus Legal Service, he or she can get expert legal advice at an affordable price -- and sometimes for free.

Q - How is quality legal service ensured?

A - First, the member signs a written fee agreement with the Legal Service lawyer he or she has selected. Then, after the legal matter is resolved, the member submits a written evaluation of the lawyer's performance. And finally, the member has the option of following an informal grievance procedure that was set up to handle any disputes that might arise. Through these means, Union Plus is able to evaluate the performance of every attorney who participates in the program. If an attorney does not measure up to program performance standards, Union Plus can have that person dismissed from the panel.

Q - How does a member find an attorney?

A - Visit

Program Facts:

   1. Because it costs nothing to join, the Union Plus Legal Service has an automatic advantage over other similar services, which often charge membership fees as high as $150 per year.

   2. The Union Plus Legal Service offers a 30 percent discount on additional services. So if a member has a complex legal matter, he or she pays only 70 percent of the lawyer's normal fee. (However, smaller discounts apply to contingency cases, and the discount does not apply to the member's ownership or operation of a business.)

   3. Research shows that over 75 percent of Union Plus Legal Service cases are handled free of charge. Among the services provided:

  • AFSCME members also get one free consultation of up to 30 minutes on almost any legal matter -- either over the phone or in person (which saves the member an average of $50). A member may consult with a lawyer as many times as he or she needs, provided it is about a separate matter each time.
  • Free document reviews. Under this provision, members can have important papers, leases, insurance policies or other contracts reviewed and explained. (However, written evaluations are not part of the service, nor are documents written by the member or for use in a business capacity.)
  • Free follow-up services. In other words, if the member's lawyer thinks a phone call or letter will solve the problem, then it will be done -- without charge.

For attorney referrals, see the Union Plus Legal Service Attorney Search.

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