Advisory Opinions

Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) Advisory Opinions

Section Dropdown

Advisory Opinions

This page lists Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) Advisory Opinions (formerly “External Opinions”) from 2010 to the present. It also provides most Advisory Opinions issued after 2000 and some from before then.
Please note that these opinions may be modified or superseded by later opinions or changes to the law or regulations.
For questions about OLA opinions please contact Stefanie Davis, Senior Associate General Counsel for Regulations and Ethics Officer at

2024 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date           Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2024-001Feb. 12, 2024Grantee Participation in a Government Task Force that Engages in Part 1612 Lobbying
AO-2024-002April. 4, 2024Group representation - VOAD tax exemption set up advisory opinion 

2023 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date           Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2023-001Aug. 7, 2023Limited Scope Representation in PAI Bankruptcy Cases 

2021 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #           Date            Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2021-001 Aug. 31, 2021 Part 1607 Conflicts for Judge Nominated to a Grantee Governing Body
AO-2021-002 Dec. 4, 2021 Limits on LSC authority to vary from the statutory formula for distribution of Basic Field Grant funding.

2020 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2020-005Nov. 6, 2020Non-Federal Status of LSC and LSC Grants and Contracts
AO-2020-004June 24, 2020Application of 45 C.F.R Part 1638 Restriction on Solicitation to Outreach Conducted by LSC Grantees
AO-2020-003June 11, 2020Part 1611 Income and Extra $600 Pandemic Payments
AO-2020-002Feb. 18, 2020Ongoing Monitoring of Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law
AO-2020-001Feb 11, 2020Part 1611 Asset Screening for Household Goods and Personal Effects

2019 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2019-004Dec. 13, 2019Use of LSC Funds as Non-Federal Matching Funds
AO-2019-003Oct. 30, 2019Application of 45 CFR Part 1610 to Child in Need of Care Proceedings with a Right to an Attorney
AO-2019-002Aug. 29, 2019Application of 45 CFR Part 1629 to LSC Funding Recipient Unable to Obtain Fidelity Bond or Similar Coverage
AO-2019-001April 22, 2019Recipients’ Participation in Research Studies

2018 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2018-002Nov. 14, 2018Restrictive Clauses in Medical-Legal Partnership Contracts Between Recipients and Health Care Partners
AO-2018-001Sept. 26, 2018Part 1607 Requirements for Appointing Bar Associations

2015 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2015-003Nov. 10, 2015Multi-Entity Housing Initiative Coordinator Employed at an LSC Grantee
AO-2015-002June 17, 2015Applicability of Restrictions on Fee-Generating Cases to Advice and Counsel or Brief Services
AO-2015-001June 15, 2015Permissibility of Recipient Subscription to Agency Mailing Lists Under 45 CFR 1612.6(e)

2012 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2012-002Aug. 22, 2012Part 1626 Eligibility of Aliens and the DHS Deferred Action Policy for DREAM Act Eligible Aliens
AO-2012-001Aug. 21, 2012Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law and Court-Appointed Artibrators in Pennsylvania


2011 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2011-001May 2, 2011PAI Allocability of Costs Related to Intake and Referral of Applicants to Certain Pro Bono Volunteer Lawyer Programs


Archive of Advisory Opinions Issued Before 2010

The following are selected pre-2010 opinions. 
Please contact the Office of Legal Affairs for other pre-2010 opinions.

Opinion #          Date              Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2009-1008Dec. 4, 20091626 Eligibility Screening and Statutory Exceptions
AO-2009-1007Nov. 29, 2009"Incubator Program" Attorneys Status as Staff Attorneys
AO-2009-1006Sept. 3, 2009Inquiry into Income Prospects Pursuant to 45 CFR 1611.7(a)
AO-2009-1005June 23, 20091612 Public Demonstrations and Working Hours
AO-2009-1004June 19, 2009Subgrants to Staff-Model Legal Services Provider; Qualification as PAI under 45 CFR Part 1614
AO-2009-1003June 18, 2009Group Eligibility Under 45 CFR Part 1611
AO-2009-1002June 10, 2009Application of 1626 Documentation Verification Requirements
EX-2009-1001March 6, 20091610.6 Appointment of Counsel in Civil Family Law Right to Counsel Cases
EX-2008-1005Dec. 8, 2008Receipt of Court Ordered Guardian Fees
EX-2008-1004Sept. 10, 20081610 Program Integrity Analysis of Subleasing Arrangement
EX-2008-1003Sept. 10, 2008Minors Represented through Court: Retainers and Eligibility Issues
EX-2008-1002April 17, 2008Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees in Social Security cases
EX-2008-1001March 19, 2009 Requirement for Persons Assisted by PAI Attorneys to be Eligible Program Clients
EX-2006-1008Nov. 2, 2006Financial Eligibility of Client Member of Board of Directors
EX-2006-1007Oct. 16, 2006Application of Part 1608 to Newly Hired Attorney
EX-2006-1006Oct. 5, 2006Inquiry Regarding 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1005Oct. 5, 2006Meaning of "intentionally identify" in 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1004July 11, 2006Request for Reconsideration of EX-2003-1010
EX-2006-1003June 7, 2006Permissibility of Grantee Board Member Fundraising Lobbying Activities Under Part 1612
EX-2006-1002May 8, 2006Criminal Cases, Part 1613 and CSR Reporting
EX 2006-1001Jan. 6, 2006Financial Eligibility for Eligible Client Board Members
EX-2005-1004June 10, 20051618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law - Notary Service
EX-2005-1003Dec. 16, 2005Clarification of OLA External Opinion EX-2002-1004 Regarding PAI Cases and Attorneys' Fees
EX-2005-1002July 15, 2005Program Integrity Analysis of Configuration Proposal
EX-2005-1001March 7, 2005Whether Work with Law Students May Count Towards PAI Requirement.
*Superseded by the 2014 revision of 45 C.F.R. Part 1614
EX-2004-1006Sept. 21, 2004Duty to Ensure Continued Financial Eligibility
EX-2004-1005Sept. 17, 2004Review of Relationship Between MidPenn Legal Services and Dauphin County Bar Association
EX-2004-1004June 2, 2004Eligibility of Citizens of FSM and RMI for Legal Assistance under Compact of Free Association Amendments
EX-2004-1003Feb. 23, 2004Permissibility of Retroactive Payment of Wages
EX-2004-1002Feb. 17, 2004Representation of Persons in Actions Under Arkansas Criminal Eviction Statute
EX-2004-1001Jan. 8, 2004Attorney-Client Privilege and Access to Recipient Client Names, Problem Codes and Descriptions of Services
EX-2003-1015Dec. 1, 2003Program Integrity Analysis of Relationship Between LSC Recipient ALSC and non-LSC entity APBP
EX-2003-1014Oct. 27, 2003Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to Lease
EX-2003-1013Sept. 16, 2003Permissibility of PRLS Attorney Participation in Legislative Compilation of Puerto Rican Labor Laws
EX-2003-1012July 23, 20031618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1011July 9, 2003Interpretation of 45 CFR 1638 (Restriction on Solicitation).
*Superseded by AO-2016-001*
EX-2003-1010July 9, 2003Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Claims Pursuant to State Contract Reciprocity Statutes
EX-2003-1009June 24, 2003Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1008May 8, 2003Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1007April 2, 2003Definition of Family Unit When Household is Split into Two Residences
EX-2003-1006March 26, 2003Priorities Requirements and non-LSC Funds
EX-2003-1005March 20, 2003Clarification of November 12, 1999 External Opinion on Attorneys' Fees
EX-2003-1004March 7, 2003Prohibited Political Activity under 45 C.F.R. Part 1608
EX-2003-1003Feb. 10, 2003Part 1604/Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1002Jan. 21, 2003Potential Conflict of Interest Where PAI Coordinator is Spouse of PAI Attorney
EX-2003-1001Jan. 13, 2003Transfer, Subgrant and PAI Questions Involving Technology Grants
EX-2002-1011Dec. 13, 2002Internal Opinion 2002-2008: Transfer, Subgrant and Subsidy Considerations for LSC Grantees Participating in Statewide Websites using LSC funds
EX-2002-1010Dec. 8, 2002Propriety of Judicial Custody Master Serving on NLS Board of Directors
EX-2002-1009July 19, 2002Subgrantee Timekeeping Requirements
EX-2002-1008July 15, 2002Attorneys' Fees Demand for Private Attorney Co-Counsel
EX-2002-1007July 12, 2002Subgrantee Timekeeping.
*Superseded by EX-2002-1009*  
EX-2002-1006June 14, 2002Advice and Counsel or Brief Services for Prisoners
EX-2002-1005May 7, 2002Representation of homeless people on misdemeanor warrants and tickets
EX-2002-1004May 7, 2002Private attorneys claiming fees in cases under contract with recipients
EX-2002-1003March 21, 2002Inability of State or Local Judge to Overrule Executive Director's Determination About Outside Practice of Law or Circumvent LSC's Regulations Related Thereto
EX-2002-1002Jan. 25, 2002Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for National Reservists
EX-2002-1001Jan. 25, 2002Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for Victims of 9/11
EX-2001-1015Oct. 22, 2001The impact of the factors in 45 CFR sec. 1611.5(b)(1) on the determination of income eligibility
EX-2001-1014Sept. 21, 2001Acceptance of attorneys' fees as part of bankruptcy-related settlement
EX-2001-1013Aug. 31, 2001Representation of person involuntarily held in psychiatric facility pending determination of competency to stand trial for criminal charges
EX-2001-1012July 30, 2001Release of Client Intake Information in Response to Non-Judicial Subpoena
EX-2001-1011July 11, 2001Eligibility of Older Americans Act Client to Serve as ‘Eligible Client Member’ on Recipient Board of Directors
EX-2001-1010May 7, 2001Eligibility of Marshall Islanders for Legal Services
EX-2001-1009April 9, 2001Eligibility of Privately Funded, Non-Profit to Apply for LSC Grant Pursuant to Part 1634
EX-2001-1008April 3, 2001Health Insurance Premiums as Medical Expenses under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1007March 20, 2001Assignment of Unsolicited Attorneys' Fees to Grantee by Judge
EX-2001-1006March 19, 2001Attorney's Fees Check Mistakenly Listing a Recipient as a Co-Payee
EX-2001-1005Jan. 29, 2001Representation of Legal Permanent Resident Who Has Left the U.S.
EX-2001-1004March 14, 2001Release of Subgrant to Reinstated Non-profit Subrecipient
EX-2001-1003Feb. 16, 2001Recipient Representation of Complainants in Domestic Violence Criminal Proceedings
EX-2001-1002Feb. 2, 2001Current Income Taxes and Client Income Eligibility under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1001Jan. 29, 2001Request for an Opinion Regarding Composition of New, Merged Board of Directors
EX-2000-1023Dec. 22, 2000Disposal of Property with No Current Monetary Value
EX-2000-1022 Number not used 
EX-2000-1021Dec. 7, 2000Substitution of Relay Center Service for TDD Equipment Pursuant to 45 CFR Part 1624
EX-2000-1020Nov. 6, 20001618 Consultation -- 1604 Outside Practice of Law -- Previous Practice Cases after three years and the Definition of ‘Consulting.’ 
EX-2000-1019Nov. 1, 2000Eligibility of Citizen of American Samoa for Legal Services in Oklahoma; Applicability of Part 1635 Timekeeping Requirements to Public Defenders Employed by LAWO but Funded from Non-LSC Funds
EX-2000-1018Aug. 25, 2000LARC/NHLA Board Integration
EX-2000-1017July 20, 2000Permissibility of Contracts for Public Defender Services by LSC Recipients
EX-2000-1016July 20, 2000Use of LSC Funds as matching funds for VOCA grant
EX-2000-1015July 20, 2000Regarding the deductibility of current income taxes from gross income under 45 CFR Part 1611 in determining income eligibility
EX-2000-1014Aug. 8, 2000H-2A Worker Eligibility
EX-2000-1013July 5, 2000PASS Program Funds and Client Eligibility [Clarification of November 1, 1999 Opinion]
EX-2000-1012June 21, 2000Definition of Family Unit for 1611 Client Eligibility Purposes
EX-2000-1011May 16, 2000Outside Practice of Law - Consulting Services for Legal Helpline
EX-2000-1010May 5, 2000Outside Practice of Law - Date of Termination of Employment
EX-2000-1009March 13, 2000Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Grants from TOP
*Superseded by AO-2019-004*
EX-2000-1008Feb. 23, 2000Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law and Referrals from Charitable Organizations
EX-2000-1007Feb. 15, 2000Part 1626 Eligibility for Immigrants
EX-2000-1006Feb. 15, 2000Guardian Ad Litem Requirements
EX-2000-1005Feb. 15, 2000Running for non-partisan position
EX-2000-1004Feb. 7, 2000Waiver of Governing Body Restriction
EX-2000-1003Feb. 1, 2000Overlap of Board or Staff of Grantees and Subgrantees or Competing Organizations
Special ReleaseJan. 29, 2000Internal Opinion on LSC Access to Grantee Client Information   [On 01.29.00, the Board of Directors of LSC voted to make this Internal Opinion available to the public.] 
*Superseded by EX 2004-1001* 
EX-2000-1002Jan. 28, 2000Services to Alien Victim of Domestic Violence
EX-2000-1001Jan. 11, 2000Residency of Eligible Client Board Members of LSC Recipients
EX-1999-34Dec. 8, 1999Income Eligibility for FEMA Cases
EX-1999-29Dec. 6, 1999Transfer of IOLTA Funds and Program Integrity Guidelines
EX-1999-28Dec. 3, 1999Farm Expenses as Eligibility Deductions and Citizenship Eligibility for Group Clients
EX-1999-26Nov. 12, 1999Providing Time Records to Private Attorney for Fees Claim
*Clarified in EX-2003-1005*
 Nov. 1, 1999Client Eligibility under Part 1611
 Oct. 26, 1999Part 1629 Purchase of Employee Dishonesty Insurance in Lieu of a Fidelity Bond
EX-1999-22Oct. 15, 1999Meaning of Income in Part 1611
EX-1999-19Sept. 16, 1999Program Integrity Plan [45 CFR Part 1610 & Part 1642]
EX-1999-18Sept. 8, 1999PSLS - Eligibility of Juveniles in State Foster Care.
*Partially superseded by AO-2016-004*
EX-1999-17Aug. 27, 1999Tribal Trust Funds & 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-1999-15Aug. 16, 1999Enforcement Procedures & Outside Practice of Law
EX-1999-12July 1, 1999[W]hether Recipients May Use LSC Funds for Fundraising Activities
EX-1999-08July 16, 1999Reporting Requirements of 45 C.F.R. § 1609
EX-1999-07June 21, 1999[W]hether Section 1610.6(b) Provides a Safe Harbor for Court Appointments to Civil Cases
EX-1999-06June 21, 1999[R]egarding the Corporation's Attorneys' Fees Regulation, 45 CFR Part 1642
EX-1999-05March 4, 1999Part 1637: Contract with Court to Represent Persons Likely to be Incarcerated
EX-1999-03Aug 9, 1999Retainer Agreement Requirement and PAI
EX-1999-02June 18, 1999[W]hether... Staff Member’s Potential Employment Constitutes “The Outside Practice of Law” or Falls Under the Exception of “Evaluations.”
EX-1999-01Jan. 25, 1999[R]Egarding the Ability of ...(A)... Full-Time Staff Attorney to Work to Supplement Her Income
EX-1998-63Jan. 8, 1999[R]egarding the Outside Practice of Law by a Legal Services Attorney
EX-1998-55Nov. 6, 1998The Application of Part 1626 to... Telephone Information, Advice and Referral System
EX-1998-53Oct. 27, 1998The Meaning of “Private Attorney” in 45 CFR Part 1614.
*Obsolete and removed based on the change to the definition 2014.*
EX-1998-47Sept. 8, 1998Whether 45 CFR Part 1608 Prohibits Voter Registration Activities by Non-Attorney Personnel in LSC-Funded Legal Services Programs
 July 27, 1998Part 1618 Case Acceptance Procedures
EX-1998-41July 13, 1998Whether RLS Must Disclose Information on a Case
 July 10, 1998Part 1637 Prisoner Representation and Clients Under House Arrest
EX-1998-38June 25, 1998Whether to Provide Civil Legal Representation to Prisoners
 June 23, 1998Part 1627 Use of LSC Funds for Pension Plan Association Dues
 May 13, 1998Part 1642 Attorneys' Fees in Administrative ERISA Case Files Prior to April 26, 1996
 April 17, 1998Part 1609 Charging Clients Small Processing Fees
 April 14, 1998Part 1604 Appointment of Staff Attorney as Paid Guardian Ad Litem 
 April 13, 1998Part 1610 Separately Funded Public Defender Program
 April 10, 1998Parts 1611 and 1626 Financial and Alien Eligibility Requirements As Applied to Violence Against Women Act Funds
 April 9, 1998Parts 1611 and 1626 Financial and Alien Eligibility Requirements As Applied to Court Grant for Pro Se Courthouse Assistance  
*Superseded by AO-2016-007* 
 Jan. 27, 1998Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal.  
 Oct. 22, 1997Part 1630 Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Victims of Crime Act Grant
*Superseded by AO-2019-004*
 Sept. 23, 19971607 Definition of Grantee Board Meeting Quorum
 Sept. 12, 1997Part 1608 Program Attorney Who Ran for City Judgeship-Partially Overruled by EX-2003-1004
1997-09-10-aSept. 10, 1997LSC is Not an Executive Agency, Department or Instrumentality of the Federal Government
1997-09-10-bSept. 10, 1997Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal
1997-09-10-cSept. 10, 1997Provisions of Grantee Board Documents to Employee Union
 Sept. 4, 1997Part 1607 Availability of a Waiver For Native American Program For Potential Attorney Board Members Not Licensed in the LSC Grant Service Area 
1997-07-29-aJuly. 29, 1997Parts 1604 & 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Cases Handled by Full Time or Part Time Grantee Attorneys
1997-07-29-bJuly 29, 1997Part 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Social Security Cases Claimed Prior to Effective Date of Part 1642
 May 29, 1997Part 1637 Application to Persons in Mental Institutions or Under House Arrest
 May 20, 1997Part 1642 Application to Presentation of Attorney Time As Evidence in Re-Trial on Punitive Damages Claim
 Oct. 7, 1994Fees Paid by Clients in a Part 1614 PAI Program