Serving Erie County

Welcome to the Assigned Counsel Program


The Assigned Counsel Program is a project of the Bar Association of Erie County. The Program coordinates the assignment of attorneys to represent, at no cost to the client, individuals who are charged with a crime or a violation which could result in incarceration and who cannot afford to retain an attorney.

The Program handles all matters, both misdemeanor and felony, in each of the 40 Justice Courts in Erie County, as well as most of the felony work in Superior Court. In addition, it handles cases in Buffalo City Court which the Legal Aid Bureau cannot accept because of conflicts among multiple defendants.

Representation is also provided at final parole revocation hearings, on parole appeals, on criminal appeals from local courts to County Court, and on appeals to the Appellate Division in both criminal and Family Court matters that cannot be handled by the Legal Aid Bureau because of a conflict.

In addition, the Program coordinates the assignment of lawyers for certain Family Court matters. These Family Court matters include representation of respondents in neglect, abuse, termination of parental rights, paternity, and support order violation matters, as well as both petitioners and respondents in family offense, custody and visitation matters. They do not include divorces, modification of child support orders, or representation of paternity petitioners.

All clients must first be referred to the Program by the Court, and are required to document their financial need. Clients seeking counsel should not contact the Program unless they have been referred by the Court.