AOPA Panel Attorney Application Form

  • LEGAL SERVICES PLAN
    PANEL ATTORNEY AGREEMENT


    Recitals

    WHEREAS, AHC administers the AOPA Legal Services Plan ("Plan") which was established by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as a benefit for its members, and

    WHEREAS, the Plan maintains a list of qualified attorneys (identified as Panel Attorneys) to refer to members who may request legal assistance in aviation-related legal matters as covered by the Plan, and

    WHEREAS, Attorney is qualified to and desires to assist AOPA members by rendering professional legal services on their behalf in matters covered by the Plan and this Agreement.

  • Terms

    NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and the mutual promises contained herein, the parties agree as follows:

    A. Attorney agrees:

    1. That Attorney is currently in good standing and will maintain good standing as a member of the bars in the states in which he/she maintains offices for the practice of law and will notify AHC immediately upon any change in such status;

    2. To become and to be known as a Panel Attorney under the Plan;

    3. To verify that services to be performed under this Agreement are properly covered by the Plan;

    4. To accept payment from AHC as payment in full for hourly attorney fees for the following legal services to a Plan member accepted as a client under the Plan, and for members of the PLUS level, only, not to bill AHC or the Plan member for more than the maximum number of hours specified;

    a. Consultation and representation in an FAA action to suspend or revoke a Plan member's pilot, flight instructor, flight engineer, or airman medical certificate, prior to an appeal to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - BASIC level - 10 hours and PLUS level - 20 hours;

    b. Consultation and representation in an FAA civil penalty action against the Plan member at the FAA regional office level based on an incident wherein the Plan member was acting as a pilot, flight instructor, or flight engineer - BASIC level - 10 hours and PLUS level - 20 hours;

    c. Consultation regarding an aircraft accident wherein the Plan member was a crewmember or owner of the aircraft, or if the Plan member is asked to submit to a test for alcohol or drugs in conjunction with flight activities - BASIC level - 3 hours and PLUS level - 9 hours (legal services beyond 3 and 9 hours are not covered by the Plan and are not subject to the terms of this Agreement);

    d. For certain eligible Plan members, consultation regarding the purchase or sale of an aircraft BASIC level - 1 hour and PLUS level - 2 hours (legal services beyond 1 and 2 hours are not covered by the Plan and are not subject to the terms of this Agreement);

    5. To accept payment from AHC for 80% of hourly attorney fees for the following legal services to Plan member accepted as a client under the Plan, and for members of the PLUS level, only, not to bill AHC or the Plan member for more than the maximum number of hours specified:

    a. Appeal of an FAA certificate action or civil penalty action against the Plan member to the NTSB at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) level - BASIC level - 25 hours and PLUS level - 50 hours;

    b. Appeal of an ALJ decision to the full NTSB - BASIC level - 15 hours and PLUS level – 30 hours;

    c. Defense of a petition by the FAA for judicial review of an NTSB - Order BASIC level and PLUS level - 50 hours;

    6. To accept payment from AHC for 80% of hourly attorney fees for the specified number of hours of legal services to a Plan member accepted as a client under the Plan in the following matters (legal services beyond the hours specified are not covered by the Plan and are not subject to the terms of this Agreement):

    a. Defense of an FAA civil penalty action prosecuted in U.S. District Court – BASIC level and PLUS level - 20 hours;

    b. Defense of a state or local government action based on alleged violations of state or local flight rules BASIC level and PLUS level - 20 hours;

    c. Representation in administrative proceedings and defense in U.S. District Court of an action involving: (a) seizure/forfeiture by U.S. Customs of an aircraft owned by the Plan member resulting from his/her alleged violation of any Customs or FAA flight rule during the operation of the aircraft; or (b) assessment of a civil penalty by U.S. Customs resulting from the Plan member's alleged violation of any Customs or FAA flight rule during the Plan member's operation of an aircraft - BASIC level and PLUS level- 20 hours;

  • d. Representation at an IRS Appeals Conference if the IRS has examined the Plan member's individual tax return and disallowed aircraft operating expenses and/or pilot educational expenses claimed by the Plan member- BASIC level and PLUS level- 8 hours;

    e. Representation in Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court or U.S. District Court for matters covered in 6d above - BASIC level and PLUS level - 15 hours;

  • d. Representation at an IRS Appeals Conference if the IRS has examined the Plan member's individual tax return and disallowed aircraft operating expenses and/or pilot educational expenses claimed by the Plan member- BASIC level and PLUS level- 8 hours;

    e. Representation in Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court or U.S. District Court for matters covered in 6d above - BASIC level and PLUS level - 15 hours;

  • 7. To accept and not to charge more than $200/hour for attorney fees in all matters covered by the Plan and this Agreement and for those hourly attorney fees charged to the BASIC level member in excess of the limits as described in 4a and b and 5a, b and c. AHC may increase the hourly rate allowed by the Plan by providing written notice to Attorney;

    8. Not to charge more for matters covered by the Plan than would be charged in the absence of this Plan and Agreement;

  • 9. Not to charge for an initial one-half hour consultation with a Plan member regarding an aviation related legal matter involving the Plan member and not specifically covered by the Plan;

  • 9. Not to charge for an initial one-half hour consultation with a Plan member regarding an aviation related legal matter involving the Plan member and not specifically covered by the Plan;

  • 10. To attend, at his/her expense, at least one AHC sponsored legal seminar every two years;

    11. To supply such data as AHC may reasonably require to administer matters handled under this Agreement, provided that privileged or confidential information shall not be disclosed by Attorney without the consent of his/her Client;

    12. To respond promptly to inquiries by AHC on the status of pending matters;

    13. To cooperate with AHC in any review of the reasonableness of any fees charged AHC or a Plan member (Attorney will have Plan members verify that services billed for were received prior to or at the time that the bill for fees is submitted to AHC for payment);

    14. To give 30 days’ notice of withdrawal from the Plan, and to complete any cases begun prior to withdrawal as if withdrawal had not occurred (Attorney may withdraw for any reason);

    15. To make such filings regarding his/her participation in the Plan as may be required by any State Bar or State court;

    16. To maintain flight proficiency appropriate to his/her pilot certificates and ratings.


    B. AHC agrees:

    1. To put Attorney's name on the list of Panel Attorneys;

    2. To refer Plan members to Attorney for matters covered by the Plan on a fair and reasonable basis with other Panel Attorneys, taking into account the location of the enforcement action, the residence of the Plan member, the location of Attorney's office, and relevant details of the situation giving rise to the referral;

    3. To pay promptly all properly documented and invoiced attorney fees to the extent they are in accord with this Agreement;

    4. To sponsor seminars at reasonable cost for Panel Attorneys to facilitate communication among Panel Attorneys and Plan Staff and to promote the highest quality and efficiency possible in handling matters for Plan members;

    5. To inform Attorney of any written complaints by a Plan member against him/her and to afford him/her an opportunity to respond;

    6. To give 30 days’ notice of any changes in Plan terms, conditions or procedures, and to provide prompt notice of Attorney's removal as a Panel Attorney, which may be done for any reason;

    7. To make such filings with government entities as may be required of legal plans or plan sponsors,

    8. Not to interfere with the attorney/client relationship or the independent professional judgment of Attorney.


    C. AHC and Attorney further agree that:

    1. They are familiar with the Plan Description;

    2. Nothing in this agreement shall affect Attorney's professional responsibility to any client or prerogative to withdraw from a case in accordance with established rules of ethical conduct;

    3. That for matters not covered by the Plan, any legal services rendered to a member referred to the Attorney will be at a rate agreed upon by Attorney and member, and AHC is not responsible for payment of such fees;

    4. Attorney may not use the logo of AOPA or AHC. Attorney may not promote or publicize his/her status as a Panel Attorney, except as permitted by AHC and the applicable state code of professional responsibility;

    5. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties and may not be modified except in writing signed by the parties or as provided herein.


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  • e-Signature Instructions:

    Please check the box below acknowledging your agreement to use an electronic signature for this agreement and enter your name in the Signature section.

    After we have received your submitted application and AHC has completed the internal review process, you will receive a fully executed panel attorney agreement with no need to return a signed agreement to AHC.

  • Physical Signature Instructions:

    After we have received your submitted application and AHC has completed the internal review process, you will receive a PDF version signed by AOPA’s General Counsel via email. You will need to co-sign and return this agreement to AHC prior to the agreement becoming active.

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