Legal Services Corporation
Board Of Directors
Search Committee For Lsc President
And Inspector General
Saturday, June 28, 2003
The Latham Hotel
3000 M Street, N.W.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:
Frank B. Strickland, Chair
Lillian R. BeVier
Robert J. Dieter
Ernestine P. Watlington
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John T. Broderick, Jr.
Thomas A. Fuentes
Herbert S. Garten
Thomas R. Meites
Maria Luisa Mercado
Michael D. McKay
STAFF AND PUBLIC PRESENT:
John N. Erlenborn, LSC President
Victor M. Fortuno, Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Randi Youells, Vice President for Programs
Mauricio Vivero, Vice President for Government Relations & Public Affairs
John Eidleman, Acting Vice President for Compliance
Leonard Koczur, Acting Inspector General
Laurie Tarantowicz, Assistant Inspector General and Legal Counsel
David Maddox, Assistant Inspector General for Resource Management
David Richardson, Acting Vice President for Administration, Treasurer, and Comptroller
Mattie C. Condray, Senior Assistant General Counsel
Michael Genz, Director, Office of Program Performance
Alice Dickerson, Director, Office of Human Resources
Lisa Rosenberg, Congressional Liaison
David Hall, Professor, Northeastern University and Board Nominee
Julie Clark, Vice President for Government Relations, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association
Don Saunders, Director for Civil Legal Services, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association
Linda Perle, Senior Attorney/Legal Services, Center for Law and Social Policy
L. Jonathan Ross, Chairman, ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants
Elizabeth Arledge, Communications Director, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association
Clint Lyons, President and CEO, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association
Richard Forza, Forza Associates
|C O N T E N T S|
|P A G E|
Presentations by representatives of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) and the ABA's Standing Committee for Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID)
P R O C E E D I N G S
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Let me call our meeting to order for Saturday, June 28.
And the first order of business this morning actually is a meeting of our search committee that was appointed yesterday. Is this microphone functioning? Can you all hear via microphone?
Before we begin the regular board of directors meeting for this morning, we will actually have a -- or first have a meeting of our search committee, at the end of which, as we voted yesterday, the search committee will go into a closed session to take up some matters relative to the possible selection of a professional search firm.
And then we will reconvene and go through the rest of our board business this morning. And at the end of that session, we will have public comment, if there is any, and go into another closed session to receive our litigation report and the closed portion of the inspector general's report.
But the idea is we're going to have the public comment so members of the public can make their remarks and then be excused rather than go into an executive session and come back out of the session to hear public comment.
But the first order of business this morning with respect to the search committee is we have invited interested groups to come before us this morning and present their views and comments relative to our search process.
And the first presenter will be from the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association. If Clint is ready, we'll be glad to receive you at this time if you would come forward to the microphone. And first identify yourself for our court reporter, and then we'll be glad to hear from you. We're delighted to have you today.
MR. LYONS: Good morning. Welcome to Washington. My name is Clint Lyons. I serve as the president and chief executive officer of the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association here in Washington, D.C. Is it okay to proceed?
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Yes. Go right ahead. Can everybody in the audience hear Clint? Is the microphone volume working? My ears are a little bit clogged today, so I'm not sure whether I'm hearing as well as I should. I wondered if you are hearing well.
A show of hands: Are you hearing things over the PA system and can you hear Clint? Fine. Go ahead, Clint.
MR. LYONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. What I'd like to do is first of all to congratulate all of you on your appointments as Legal Services Corporation directors. You will be carrying out a vital responsibility in this nation, and I congratulate you on that.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about NLADA, the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, commonly referred to as NLADA, so that you'll know a little bit more about what we do and how we do it.
NLADA is a nonprofit corporation within Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is a membership association drawing its membership from among civil legal services providers, indigent defense and assigned counsel providers on the criminal side, and from other programs, civil legal services programs, pro bono programs, throughout the country.
NLADA's mission, simply stated, is to promote and advocate for access to America's justice system, civil and criminal, and quality representation within that system for those who cannot otherwise afford to pay for legal representation.
NLADA was started in 1911 by members of the organized bar in various cities and urban areas of the country, and it was started because of the need to respond to some of the legal conditions that existed in the large cities, particularly among immigrant populations who were in need of legal help to respond to housing, working conditions, and other issues.
So a group of lawyers in those cities formed an alliance of legal services program, and over time it grew into the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association. There has been a continuum of the organizations.
NLADA's income is generated from member dues, training, technical assistance work, and other fundraising efforts. We also receive foundation grants and financial support from the legal and corporate communities.
NLADA's operational programs include advocacy and educational communications with government and private entities, the bar, the media, and the general public in promoting legal services for the poor.
We also provide training and technical assistance to our members as well as other goods and services. For example, we have a professional liability program that is available to our members at very low cost. And since instituted that program, the cost of professional liability insurance for your grantees has gone down approximately 50 percent.
We work very closely with LSC, the organized bar on the state and local level, the ABA, on issues related to the delivery of several indigent defense legal services. NLADA is governed by a 26-member board of directors composed of legal and defender program representatives, representatives of the organized bar, members of the public, and clients served by your programs and by indigent defense programs.
Mr. Chairman, let me begin the main portion of my remarks by thanking you and the board for providing NLADA the opportunity to give input regarding your search process for a new president.
I realize the committee's search is for a president and an inspector general, but I would like to limit my remarks to the president's position, other than to comment that the successful applicant for inspector general must be a person who is knowledgeable about the lawyering process and what lawyers do, and sensitive to the ethical and professional framework in which lawyers do their work.
As a lawyer with over 30 years of experience in legal services and as a former LSC president, albeit briefly, I hope my remarks can provide you with some helpful insights as you proceed on your search for and selection of a new president.
I tried to think about how I would be most helpful to you in my remarks, and consequently I have organized my remarks or presentation to touch on the following themes: the mission of the LSC; the role of the LSC board; the role of the LSC president; the specific operational and programmatic imperatives that flow from the LSC mission, and the board's policy pronouncements in terms of the role and responsibilities of the president; specific qualifications and experiences required of the president; and finally, specific challenges, current and emerging, that the new board and the new president will face that may help inform your decision-making in regard to the selection of a new president.
Of course, the board and a new LSC president are directed by the legislative mandate they have been given by Congress. And I believe that the mission of LSC is broadly stated in the statement of findings and declaration of purpose of the LSC Act itself.
That particular provision articulates goals of equal access to justice, quality representation, preserving and perpetuating the vital legal services program for those who face economic barriers to adequate legal counsel.
It is a powerful statement of a commitment to make real and operational the blessings of our democracy, and the President of the United States and the United States Congress has passed on to you the day-to-day responsibility for executing that commitment.
It is my view that the new board, as a prelude to selecting a new president, must have a shared interpretation and present a clear articulation of its mission and a shared vision of specific goals and outcomes to be achieved in carrying out the mission.
This should engender clarity of purpose and a clear sense of direction that the board can use to measure experience, talent, and capacity in those who aspire to be president. It will also provide clarity to the applicants about your expectations, leading to a better-informed discussion and dialogue between you and each applicant as you seek to determine who is best suited for the position.
Based on this premise, the board should take steps to clearly articulate the qualifications that are most important for the job and consider the full range and diversity of potential candidates for the position of LSC president.
The board should consult with those people in the field and the bar who have significant knowledge about the program. And this is part of your process right now, insights into the characteristics that are critical to success in the position, as well as views regarding past LSC presidents and presidential searches.
The board should recruit widely to ensure that the pool of candidates considered for the LSC president reflects the diversity of the legal profession and the legal services community. The LSC Act requires the LSC president to be a member of the bar, a lawyer. The LSC Act also prohibits the use of political tests or political qualifications in selection of the president.
Beyond these considerations, it is clear that the president will lead a corporation that is, A, a creation of the political process, and therefore the Corporation is dependent on bipartisan support in Congress as well as support of the President and his Administration and the legal profession for its continued existence. That is the formula I believe for success for the Corporation to maintain that support in those three areas.
B, the Corporation is a $336 million going concern -- maybe some would call it a business -- with approximately 100 employees that is responsible for efficiently operating and managing itself as well as providing funding to and regulatory oversight of 169 grantees across this country.
What flows from these two critical factors, in my view, are the following criteria and experience requirements for the LSC president. It is essential for the LSC president to have stature within the legal profession in order to ensure that he or she is viewed s a leader with gravitas who can communicate with moral authority to all of the constituencies who have an interest in the legal services program.
Legal services throughout this nation is a broad-based enterprise. It is an $800 million enterprise with the minority of funding at this point coming from the Legal Services Corporation. The bar, local governments, foundations, and others have come together to help fund the legal services program. I think the federally funded program is the bedrock anchor of that level of cooperation and coordination, so consequently I believe it is important that your president be able to bring those constituencies together and communicate with them in a way to continue trying to meet the need which is by no means met at this point in our history.
Because LSC is dependent for its continued existence on the support of Congress and the Administration, the president should have significant experience in the political arena. It is essential. Because LSC depends on bipartisan support for its continued existence, the LSC president must have the capacity to work in a bipartisan manner; and not only that, the president must have the able to communicate effectively with legislators across the political spectrum.
The LSC president should have substantial executive managerial experience appropriate to qualify him or her to successfully run a $336 million enterprise and perform the duties and responsibilities of the position, for the following specific reasons.
The president is the one person authorized to make grants and contracts under the LSC Act, and as such, it is essential that the president has experience with and/or a substantial knowledge of the delivery of civil legal services and the provision of legal assistance to low-income clients.
As I said, the delivery structure is more complex than it has been. There are more contributors, and so the knowledge that is required of the Legal Services president of that system is critical.
The president is the chief executive officer of the Corporation. And I think John can tell you, from where he sits and from where I sit, the buck always stops at the chief executive's desk. So therefore, you must have a person who's willing to and able to exercise that -- and to discharge the responsibilities you give that person, and who holds other persons accountable for carrying out your mandate and the day-to-day operations of the Corporation.
The president has the responsibility and authority for the day-to-day administration of the Corporation and the supervision of other officers, as I have said. The exercise of powers incident to putting in place programs and services with 100 employees dealing with 169 grantees is a substantial undertaking, and I think the staff at the Corporation will support my view on that.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to just list a few ongoing challenges I think that you will face. And I think that some discussion of some of these challenges among the board members may, in fact, inform -- help to inform your decision-making as you seek out and probe the experience and qualifications and capacity of the applicants for president.
First of all, one of the continuing challenges for the Legal Services Corporation is the preservation of LSC itself and the continuing federally funded system. The legal services program is a product of political compromise throughout this nation, and certain incidents can send shock waves through the system.
So it is upon you and your president to be able to manage those things so that Congress and the Administration and the American people will continue to have confidence that the Legal Services Corporation will and can carry out its mandate.
In conjunction with that, I think you must also work very closely with state and local officials, people who run the interest on lawyers trust account programs throughout the country, and the bar to ensure that we continue to diversify the funding for legal services, and all of the interested parties and beneficiaries of the legal services program make a contribution. It should not all be placed on the shoulders of federal funding.
However, increasing the federal funding support to help meet the need for legal services is critical. We are not getting enough funds on the federal level to support the current need, and of course there will be emerging need.
One controversial area, I think, is the restrictions. I think a reexamination of the restrictions and the easing of those that do great harm as measured against need and the value of providing a full range of legal services to clients must be undertaken at some point.
Working with the legal community to ensure quality representation is also important. Attracting more community support for legal services among local government entities, religious groups, nonprofit groups, and the bar, as well as the business community, is critically important.
In my dealings with corporate America, they are ready and willing and able to help support, and do support, the continuation of the Legal Services Corporation, and they contribute to legal services at the state and local level.
They are cognizant of the fact that a strong legal services program contributes to a well-ordered society in which they can do business, so they have a vested interest in that support. But we have to reach out to them, and I think they will be there when we need them.
Finally, I think working cooperatively with groups such as NLADA, the American Bar Association, and the Center on Law and Social Policy is really important. It has ben a very good cooperative relationship over time among those organizations and the Legal Services Corporation, and we can help and assist each other in meeting our respective goals. And certainly we have a vested interest in the success of the Legal Services Corporation.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks. I thank you for the opportunity. I thank you for your attention. And if you have questions, I'm happy to answer them.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Mr. Lyons, we thank you for your presentation today. And I'd be delighted to entertain any questions from board members that they may have for Clint at this point. Go ahead.
MR. FUENTES: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lyons, thank you very much. I think you offered us some thoughtful and insightful valuable comment. I would like to have a copy of those remarks, if possible. I think that they might be a guideline for us for reference as we go through this process.
I think it's going to be a learning process for some of us who are new board members and do not come to this activity with the experience and background and wisdom that you obviously do. And I hope that that will become a part of the record, and that we directors might have a copy of it early in the process. Thank you.
MR. LYONS: I'll be happy to make available those remarks as soon as Julie, my government relations vice president, takes a look at it and makes sure that my grammar is correct. Thank you all very much.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Thank you for being here today.
I think the sequence, as I understand it, this morning is our next presenter will be Jon Ross, chairman of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. Isn't that the correct terminology?
MR. ROSS: Yes, thank you.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: I sometimes get the words confused at the very end of your long name of your committee. We welcome you this morning, and if you would state your name for the record. And please proceed.
MR. ROSS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's nice to be here, and I appreciate the invitation. I'm the decennial speaker on this. I last addressed this board on December 18, 1993, when it was putting together a search committee. And I'm pleased to be able to do it again.
I appear before you -- my name is Jonathan Ross and I'm a private practitioner from Manchester, New Hampshire. But I appear before you today as chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.
The ABA and the standing committee appreciate your invitation to participate in this public meeting called by the board's presidential search committee. The ABA and the standing committee offer their assistance to the board and this search committee in any manner that would be helpful to the committee and consistent with the policies of the American Bar Association.
The job description for president of the Legal Services Corporation should be drawn in some detail by the search committee. We suggest that the committee try to incorporate within the job description reference to specific duties, responsibilities, and qualifications that will be required.
The job description provides an opportunity to set forth the qualifications that are required to not only do the work, but also to bring to the position the necessary character, determination, stature, vision, and commitment that the job requires.
We suggest that the job description emphasize certain key leadership qualities that the position demands: a commitment to the vision of the LSC Act that there be equal access to justice for all persons in this country; a willingness and an ability to promote that vision on a national basis; an ability to represent the Corporation effectively nationally, to Congress, the executive branch, programs, clients, and the organized bar; preferably, past experience and relationships with key members of Congress and the Administration; a current knowledge of the activities of LSC and its grantees, and a sensitive and personal understanding of issues relating to poverty in this country; and an ability to manage a complex organization and to work in close harmony with all members of this board.
We believe that in addition to the key leadership qualities set forth above, a successful candidate should have these additional qualifications.
Leadership: Demonstrated leadership ability of several types. A person who by statute and reputation, knowledge of the issues, and personal integrity can be a leader with internal and external groups. A person who can build bridges. A communicator. One who listens, is sensitive to people and issues, and who can mediate differences.
A person who can engage constructively with legal services field programs and grantees. Respect for the work of and dedication of program attorneys and staff. An ability to inspire and motivate those people. A person who can engage, inspire, and work in close coordination with related organizations. And a person who can establish good relations with the organized bar, and who has stature within the bar.
Integrity: The president must be of impeccable integrity. A natural ethical sense for what is morally right, not merely within the rules, and one who has demonstrated a commitment to professionalism.
Diplomacy and strong political judgment: The ability to work effectively with Congress and other key supporters and opponents of the program.
Management skill: A person who can assemble, administer, and manage a staff which will be committed to make the Corporation think, act, and dream of the vision that created and should maintain and sustain this Corporation.
Knowledge: Familiarity with the legal needs of the poor, and an ability to identify with the clients served through legal aid programs. Knowledge of the practice of law, especially poverty law.
Freedom from any conflicts of interest with the Corporation or its mission, or perceived conflicts of interest.
Commitment to a strong national legal services program to be reasonably unfettered legal service advocates.
We urge you to promote the highest standards for your president. This person need not come from a program or have actually worked in legal services, but this person must be fully knowledgeable regarding the issues and circumstances of the Corporation, its grantees, and their clients.
The person must have knowledge of Congress, the programs, and clients, and the organized bar in order to work effectively with each of them.
Each of you, when the search is over, should be able to say, I am proud to serve with you, to the successful candidate.
The process should be designed to convey an unequivocal message that you represent an open, interested, and committed group of people who have been entrusted with the duties of board members of the Legal Services Corporation. The process selected can and should confirm the expectations of fairness and inclusion about this board.
SCLAID and the ABA are ready to assist you in that regard in any way that you can. The process, the search, and the decision are matters for the board. We wish to take advantage of this opportunity to comment on directions that you might consider about the process.
Your search should be proactive and national in scope. Those who immediately and actively seek the position may or may not fill the qualifications that you set for the next president. There will be people who may not think of applying, but who should apply, and who might very well epitomize the person we all need. You should make an effort to find such people, and not rely merely on advertising to develop your pool of candidates.
You should be willing to persuade such persons to apply when discovered. The organized bar, the programs, their boards, law schools, clients, and others may act as resources to find names, suggest candidates that will make the end result what we all truly want.
Your process should not be hurried. It should take as much time as necessary to produce a successful result. We're all impressed with how quickly this board has become organized and conversant with the issues. To be inclusive and credible, the presidential search process will take time and thought.
Your process should be open and inclusive. There must be a commitment to diversity in the search process. The knowledge, experience, judgment, and viewpoints of those intimately involved in the delivery of legal services to the poor should be sought out and used, not just in this general advice public format, but during the process of search and evaluation.
We believe that the process must be such that the result will be accepted by the grantees, the clients, the organized bar, and the Corporation staff. An open process in which the Corporation's constituency feels it has been consulted and included will help to assure that the new president has the support in all spectrums at the time the job begins. Suspicion, doubt, and distrust will be minimized, and a sense of goodwill should then help the new CEO to succeed.
Much of what I have said applies equally and with equal importance to the search for an inspector general. This is very critical position. The person selected must have the same sensitivity to and belief in the mission of the Corporation, its grantees, and the persons to be served. In my opinion, this is not a cop's job.
The inspector general must approach all of the issues with the first thought of, how can we improve the process? How can we make things better? While there are special requirements under law and the inspector general has certain prescribed duties, the IG is not an island of authority within the Corporation. He is part of the Corporation, and subject when and wherever appropriate to the authority of this board.
We urge this board to search for and find a very competent person, perhaps a lawyer, to do this job who has skill, compassion, forcefulness, and an ability to work with the Corporation and its grantees. We look for an IG who has the ability and desire to identify issues and work toward negotiated solutions, not a burnt-earth, litigate-first enforcer who is more interested in OIG statistics than the mission of equal access to justice under the laws that apply to all at the Legal Services Corporation.
You should find someone who understands and respects attorney-client privileges and confidences, privacy issues, and ethical issues in sharing client information.
Mr. Chairman, I again thank you for your kindness in listening to our views. We have every confidence that you and your committee and its board will do the right thing, and we stand ready to help in any way that we can. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Jon, we thank you for your presentation this morning and taking the time to come from New Hampshire to join us today. And I'll echo Tom Fuentes' remarks that we'd certainly like to have a copy of your presentation if you could provide us with that, either today or at your convenience, so that each board member may have a copy and we may include it in our materials as we go through the search process.
Now, having said that, does any board member have a question they'd like to ask Jon Ross?
MR. FUENTES: Mr. Chairman?
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Go ahead.
MR. FUENTES: I'd just like to add, Jon, that I appreciate your good words, and also to state, as I mentioned to some of my colleagues here, that President Archer was with us at our graduation ceremony at Whittier Law School, where I'm chairman of the law school.
And he personally expressed his commitment to the assistance of the ABA to our efforts, and a very outreaching and kind personal contact to back up everything you said. And I think that that is very well received. I was certainly touched by the genuine expression by your president.
And so I think that your good comments today come to us and are well received, and we know that that is not just your opinion but it is the sentiment of the association. And for that, I thank you.
MR. ROSS: And I thank you. Mr. Archer is a former chair of this committee, and my expectation is that he and Robert Gray of Virginia, who follow, have a common interest in the issues that we're talking about, and that this cooperation and interest will continue for a long time. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Any other questions from board members for Jon? If not, Jon, thank you again for joining us today, and we appreciate your remarks and look forward to receiving a copy for all of us.
MR. ROSS: Thank you, sir.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Thanks very much.
I think at this point we'll go into the closed session of the search committee, which shouldn't last more than ten or fifteen minutes, to take up some -- and we voted on this yesterday, so that the record is clear on that, that authorized us to go into executive session. So we'd appreciate the accommodation of our visitors for a few moments so we can do that.
MS. MERCADO: Mr. Chairman, I do move that we go into executive session. Oh, no. I can't. I'm not a committee member. But one of your committee members needs to do that.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: Okay.
M O T I O N
MS. BeVIER: I move that we go into executive session.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: All right. A second?
MR. GARTEN: Second.
CHAIRMAN STRICKLAND: All right. All those in favor of that motion, please signify by saying aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
(Whereupon, the meeting adjourned to closed session.)
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