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Please note that these opinions may be modified or superseded by later opinions or changes to the law or regulations.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

2023 Advisory Opinions

Opinion #           Date            Advisory Opinion Title 
AO-2023-001 Aug. 7, 2023 Limited 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-2020-005 Nov. 6, 2020 Non-Federal Status of LSC and LSC Grants and Contracts
AO-2020-004 June 24, 2020 Application of 45 C.F.R Part 1638 Restriction on Solicitation to Outreach Conducted by LSC Grantees
AO-2020-003 June 11, 2020 Part 1611 Income and Extra $600 Pandemic Payments
AO-2020-002 Feb. 18, 2020 Ongoing Monitoring of Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law
AO-2020-001 Feb 11, 2020 Part 1611 Asset Screening for Household Goods and Personal Effects

2018 Advisory Opinions

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

2015 Advisory Opinions

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

2012 Advisory Opinions

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


2011 Advisory Opinions

Opinion # Date                   Advisory Opinion Title
AO-2011-001 May 2, 2011 PAI 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-2009-1008 Dec. 4, 2009 1626 Eligibility Screening and Statutory Exceptions
AO-2009-1007 Nov. 29, 2009 "Incubator Program" Attorneys Status as Staff Attorneys
AO-2009-1006 Sept. 3, 2009 Inquiry into Income Prospects Pursuant to 45 CFR 1611.7(a)
AO-2009-1005 June 23, 2009 1612 Public Demonstrations and Working Hours
AO-2009-1004 June 19, 2009 Subgrants to Staff-Model Legal Services Provider; Qualification as PAI under 45 CFR Part 1614
AO-2009-1003 June 18, 2009 Group Eligibility Under 45 CFR Part 1611
AO-2009-1002 June 10, 2009 Application of 1626 Documentation Verification Requirements
EX-2009-1001 March 6, 2009 1610.6 Appointment of Counsel in Civil Family Law Right to Counsel Cases
EX-2008-1005 Dec. 8, 2008 Receipt of Court Ordered Guardian Fees
EX-2008-1004 Sept. 10, 2008 1610 Program Integrity Analysis of Subleasing Arrangement
EX-2008-1003 Sept. 10, 2008 Minors Represented through Court: Retainers and Eligibility Issues
EX-2008-1002 April 17, 2008 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees in Social Security cases
EX-2008-1001 March 19, 2009  Requirement for Persons Assisted by PAI Attorneys to be Eligible Program Clients
EX-2006-1008 Nov. 2, 2006 Financial Eligibility of Client Member of Board of Directors
EX-2006-1007 Oct. 16, 2006 Application of Part 1608 to Newly Hired Attorney
EX-2006-1006 Oct. 5, 2006 Inquiry Regarding 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1005 Oct. 5, 2006 Meaning of "intentionally identify" in 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1004 July 11, 2006 Request for Reconsideration of EX-2003-1010
EX-2006-1003 June 7, 2006 Permissibility of Grantee Board Member Fundraising Lobbying Activities Under Part 1612
EX-2006-1002 May 8, 2006 Criminal Cases, Part 1613 and CSR Reporting
EX 2006-1001 Jan. 6, 2006 Financial Eligibility for Eligible Client Board Members
EX-2005-1004 June 10, 2005 1618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law - Notary Service
EX-2005-1003 Dec. 16, 2005 Clarification of OLA External Opinion EX-2002-1004 Regarding PAI Cases and Attorneys' Fees
EX-2005-1002 July 15, 2005 Program Integrity Analysis of Configuration Proposal
EX-2005-1001 March 7, 2005 Whether Work with Law Students May Count Towards PAI Requirement.
*Superseded by the 2014 revision of 45 C.F.R. Part 1614
EX-2004-1006 Sept. 21, 2004 Duty to Ensure Continued Financial Eligibility
EX-2004-1005 Sept. 17, 2004 Review of Relationship Between MidPenn Legal Services and Dauphin County Bar Association
EX-2004-1004 June 2, 2004 Eligibility of Citizens of FSM and RMI for Legal Assistance under Compact of Free Association Amendments
EX-2004-1003 Feb. 23, 2004 Permissibility of Retroactive Payment of Wages
EX-2004-1002 Feb. 17, 2004 Representation of Persons in Actions Under Arkansas Criminal Eviction Statute
EX-2004-1001 Jan. 8, 2004 Attorney-Client Privilege and Access to Recipient Client Names, Problem Codes and Descriptions of Services
EX-2003-1015 Dec. 1, 2003 Program Integrity Analysis of Relationship Between LSC Recipient ALSC and non-LSC entity APBP
EX-2003-1014 Oct. 27, 2003 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to Lease
EX-2003-1013 Sept. 16, 2003 Permissibility of PRLS Attorney Participation in Legislative Compilation of Puerto Rican Labor Laws
EX-2003-1012 July 23, 2003 1618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1011 July 9, 2003 Interpretation of 45 CFR 1638 (Restriction on Solicitation).
*Superseded by AO-2016-001*
EX-2003-1010 July 9, 2003 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Claims Pursuant to State Contract Reciprocity Statutes
EX-2003-1009 June 24, 2003 Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1008 May 8, 2003 Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1007 April 2, 2003 Definition of Family Unit When Household is Split into Two Residences
EX-2003-1006 March 26, 2003 Priorities Requirements and non-LSC Funds
EX-2003-1005 March 20, 2003 Clarification of November 12, 1999 External Opinion on Attorneys' Fees
EX-2003-1004 March 7, 2003 Prohibited Political Activity under 45 C.F.R. Part 1608
EX-2003-1003 Feb. 10, 2003 Part 1604/Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1002 Jan. 21, 2003 Potential Conflict of Interest Where PAI Coordinator is Spouse of PAI Attorney
EX-2003-1001 Jan. 13, 2003 Transfer, Subgrant and PAI Questions Involving Technology Grants
EX-2002-1011 Dec. 13, 2002 Internal Opinion 2002-2008: Transfer, Subgrant and Subsidy Considerations for LSC Grantees Participating in Statewide Websites using LSC funds
EX-2002-1010 Dec. 8, 2002 Propriety of Judicial Custody Master Serving on NLS Board of Directors
EX-2002-1009 July 19, 2002 Subgrantee Timekeeping Requirements
EX-2002-1008 July 15, 2002 Attorneys' Fees Demand for Private Attorney Co-Counsel
EX-2002-1007 July 12, 2002 Subgrantee Timekeeping.
*Superseded by EX-2002-1009*  
EX-2002-1006 June 14, 2002 Advice and Counsel or Brief Services for Prisoners
EX-2002-1005 May 7, 2002 Representation of homeless people on misdemeanor warrants and tickets
EX-2002-1004 May 7, 2002 Private attorneys claiming fees in cases under contract with recipients
EX-2002-1003 March 21, 2002 Inability of State or Local Judge to Overrule Executive Director's Determination About Outside Practice of Law or Circumvent LSC's Regulations Related Thereto
EX-2002-1002 Jan. 25, 2002 Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for National Reservists
EX-2002-1001 Jan. 25, 2002 Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for Victims of 9/11
EX-2001-1015 Oct. 22, 2001 The impact of the factors in 45 CFR sec. 1611.5(b)(1) on the determination of income eligibility
EX-2001-1014 Sept. 21, 2001 Acceptance of attorneys' fees as part of bankruptcy-related settlement
EX-2001-1013 Aug. 31, 2001 Representation of person involuntarily held in psychiatric facility pending determination of competency to stand trial for criminal charges
EX-2001-1012 July 30, 2001 Release of Client Intake Information in Response to Non-Judicial Subpoena
EX-2001-1011 July 11, 2001 Eligibility of Older Americans Act Client to Serve as ‘Eligible Client Member’ on Recipient Board of Directors
EX-2001-1010 May 7, 2001 Eligibility of Marshall Islanders for Legal Services
EX-2001-1009 April 9, 2001 Eligibility of Privately Funded, Non-Profit to Apply for LSC Grant Pursuant to Part 1634
EX-2001-1008 April 3, 2001 Health Insurance Premiums as Medical Expenses under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1007 March 20, 2001 Assignment of Unsolicited Attorneys' Fees to Grantee by Judge
EX-2001-1006 March 19, 2001 Attorney's Fees Check Mistakenly Listing a Recipient as a Co-Payee
EX-2001-1005 Jan. 29, 2001 Representation of Legal Permanent Resident Who Has Left the U.S.
EX-2001-1004 March 14, 2001 Release of Subgrant to Reinstated Non-profit Subrecipient
EX-2001-1003 Feb. 16, 2001 Recipient Representation of Complainants in Domestic Violence Criminal Proceedings
EX-2001-1002 Feb. 2, 2001 Current Income Taxes and Client Income Eligibility under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1001 Jan. 29, 2001 Request for an Opinion Regarding Composition of New, Merged Board of Directors
EX-2000-1023 Dec. 22, 2000 Disposal of Property with No Current Monetary Value
EX-2000-1022   Number not used 
EX-2000-1021 Dec. 7, 2000 Substitution of Relay Center Service for TDD Equipment Pursuant to 45 CFR Part 1624
EX-2000-1020 Nov. 6, 2000 1618 Consultation -- 1604 Outside Practice of Law -- Previous Practice Cases after three years and the Definition of ‘Consulting.’ 
EX-2000-1019 Nov. 1, 2000 Eligibility 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-2000-1018 Aug. 25, 2000 LARC/NHLA Board Integration
EX-2000-1017 July 20, 2000 Permissibility of Contracts for Public Defender Services by LSC Recipients
EX-2000-1016 July 20, 2000 Use of LSC Funds as matching funds for VOCA grant
EX-2000-1015 July 20, 2000 Regarding the deductibility of current income taxes from gross income under 45 CFR Part 1611 in determining income eligibility
EX-2000-1014 Aug. 8, 2000 H-2A Worker Eligibility
EX-2000-1013 July 5, 2000 PASS Program Funds and Client Eligibility [Clarification of November 1, 1999 Opinion]
EX-2000-1012 June 21, 2000 Definition of Family Unit for 1611 Client Eligibility Purposes
EX-2000-1011 May 16, 2000 Outside Practice of Law - Consulting Services for Legal Helpline
EX-2000-1010 May 5, 2000 Outside Practice of Law - Date of Termination of Employment
EX-2000-1009 March 13, 2000 Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Grants from TOP
*Superseded by AO-2019-004*
EX-2000-1008 Feb. 23, 2000 Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law and Referrals from Charitable Organizations
EX-2000-1007 Feb. 15, 2000 Part 1626 Eligibility for Immigrants
EX-2000-1006 Feb. 15, 2000 Guardian Ad Litem Requirements
EX-2000-1005 Feb. 15, 2000 Running for non-partisan position
EX-2000-1004 Feb. 7, 2000 Waiver of Governing Body Restriction
EX-2000-1003 Feb. 1, 2000 Overlap of Board or Staff of Grantees and Subgrantees or Competing Organizations
Special Release Jan. 29, 2000 Internal 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-2000-1002 Jan. 28, 2000 Services to Alien Victim of Domestic Violence
EX-2000-1001 Jan. 11, 2000 Residency of Eligible Client Board Members of LSC Recipients
EX-1999-34 Dec. 8, 1999 Income Eligibility for FEMA Cases
EX-1999-29 Dec. 6, 1999 Transfer of IOLTA Funds and Program Integrity Guidelines
EX-1999-28 Dec. 3, 1999 Farm Expenses as Eligibility Deductions and Citizenship Eligibility for Group Clients
EX-1999-26 Nov. 12, 1999 Providing Time Records to Private Attorney for Fees Claim
*Clarified in EX-2003-1005*
  Nov. 1, 1999 Client Eligibility under Part 1611
  Oct. 26, 1999 Part 1629 Purchase of Employee Dishonesty Insurance in Lieu of a Fidelity Bond
EX-1999-22 Oct. 15, 1999 Meaning of Income in Part 1611
EX-1999-19 Sept. 16, 1999 Program Integrity Plan [45 CFR Part 1610 & Part 1642]
EX-1999-18 Sept. 8, 1999 PSLS - Eligibility of Juveniles in State Foster Care.
*Partially superseded by AO-2016-004*
EX-1999-17 Aug. 27, 1999 Tribal Trust Funds & 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-1999-15 Aug. 16, 1999 Enforcement Procedures & Outside Practice of Law
EX-1999-12 July 1, 1999 [W]hether Recipients May Use LSC Funds for Fundraising Activities
EX-1999-08 July 16, 1999 Reporting Requirements of 45 C.F.R. § 1609
EX-1999-07 June 21, 1999 [W]hether Section 1610.6(b) Provides a Safe Harbor for Court Appointments to Civil Cases
EX-1999-06 June 21, 1999 [R]egarding the Corporation's Attorneys' Fees Regulation, 45 CFR Part 1642
EX-1999-05 March 4, 1999 Part 1637: Contract with Court to Represent Persons Likely to be Incarcerated
EX-1999-03 Aug 9, 1999 Retainer Agreement Requirement and PAI
EX-1999-02 June 18, 1999 [W]hether... Staff Member’s Potential Employment Constitutes “The Outside Practice of Law” or Falls Under the Exception of “Evaluations.”
EX-1999-01 Jan. 25, 1999 [R]Egarding the Ability of ...(A)... Full-Time Staff Attorney to Work to Supplement Her Income
EX-1998-63 Jan. 8, 1999 [R]egarding the Outside Practice of Law by a Legal Services Attorney
EX-1998-55 Nov. 6, 1998 The Application of Part 1626 to... Telephone Information, Advice and Referral System
EX-1998-53 Oct. 27, 1998 The Meaning of “Private Attorney” in 45 CFR Part 1614.
*Obsolete and removed based on the change to the definition 2014.*
EX-1998-47 Sept. 8, 1998 Whether 45 CFR Part 1608 Prohibits Voter Registration Activities by Non-Attorney Personnel in LSC-Funded Legal Services Programs
  July 27, 1998 Part 1618 Case Acceptance Procedures
EX-1998-41 July 13, 1998 Whether RLS Must Disclose Information on a Case
  July 10, 1998 Part 1637 Prisoner Representation and Clients Under House Arrest
EX-1998-38 June 25, 1998 Whether to Provide Civil Legal Representation to Prisoners
  June 23, 1998 Part 1627 Use of LSC Funds for Pension Plan Association Dues
  May 13, 1998 Part 1642 Attorneys' Fees in Administrative ERISA Case Files Prior to April 26, 1996
  April 17, 1998 Part 1609 Charging Clients Small Processing Fees
  April 14, 1998 Part 1604 Appointment of Staff Attorney as Paid Guardian Ad Litem 
  April 13, 1998 Part 1610 Separately Funded Public Defender Program
  April 10, 1998 Parts 1611 and 1626 Financial and Alien Eligibility Requirements As Applied to Violence Against Women Act Funds
  April 9, 1998 Parts 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, 1998 Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal.  
  Oct. 22, 1997 Part 1630 Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Victims of Crime Act Grant
*Superseded by AO-2019-004*
  Sept. 23, 1997 1607 Definition of Grantee Board Meeting Quorum
  Sept. 12, 1997 Part 1608 Program Attorney Who Ran for City Judgeship-Partially Overruled by EX-2003-1004
1997-09-10-a Sept. 10, 1997 LSC is Not an Executive Agency, Department or Instrumentality of the Federal Government
1997-09-10-b Sept. 10, 1997 Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal
1997-09-10-c Sept. 10, 1997 Provisions of Grantee Board Documents to Employee Union
  Sept. 4, 1997 Part 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-a July. 29, 1997 Parts 1604 & 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Cases Handled by Full Time or Part Time Grantee Attorneys
1997-07-29-b July 29, 1997 Part 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Social Security Cases Claimed Prior to Effective Date of Part 1642
  May 29, 1997 Part 1637 Application to Persons in Mental Institutions or Under House Arrest
  May 20, 1997 Part 1642 Application to Presentation of Attorney Time As Evidence in Re-Trial on Punitive Damages Claim
  Oct. 7, 1994 Fees Paid by Clients in a Part 1614 PAI Program

Stay Informed with LSC Updates