Advisory Opinions

This section lists Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) Advisory Opinions (formerly known as External Opinions) from March 1997 to the present and some pre-1997 opinions of significant interest.  

For questions or research, including opinions going back to 1975, please contact the General Counsel, Ronald S. Flagg,

Please note that opinions may be modified or superceded by subsequent opinions or changes in applicable laws or regulations.

Opinion Number



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
AO-2019-004 Dec. 13, 2019 Use of LSC Funds as Non-Federal Matching Funds
AO-2019-003 Oct. 30, 2019 Application of 45 CFR Part 1610 to Child in Need of Care Proceedings with a Right to an Attorney
AO-2019-002 Aug. 29, 2019 Application of 45 CFR Part 1629 to LSC Funding Recipient Unable to Obtain Fidelity Bond or Similar Coverage
AO-2019-001 April 22, 2019 Recipients’ Participation in Research Studies
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
AO-2017-009 Dec. 27, 2017 Fees and Fee Sharing in Part 1609-Permissible Fee-Generating Cases
AO-2017-008 Dec. 1, 2017 Legal Information and Assistance Involving Voting Rights
AO-2017-007 Sept. 8, 2017 Part 1626 and Services by a U.S. Grantee to Micronesians living in Micronesia
AO-2017-006 Aug. 31, 2017 Qualification of a Bar Association to Appoint Attorney Members of a Recipient’s Governing Body as Required by 45 C.F.R. § 1607.3(b)(1)
AO-2017-005 June 30, 2017 Definition of “full-time attorney” in 45 C.F.R. Part 1604
AO-2017-004 June 28, 2017 Online “Free Legal Answers” Systems and LSC Screening
AO-2017-003 May 22, 2017 Application of 45 C.F.R. Part 1610 to Civil Commitment Proceedings with a Right to an Attorney
AO-2017-002 May 17, 2017 Use of LSC Funds to Offer Incentives to Recruit Client Volunteers for Intake System User Testing
AO-2017-001 May 1, 2017 Application of 45 C.F.R. Part 1607 and 45 C.F.R. Part 1619 to Board Meeting Minutes, Board Meeting Agendas, and Public Notice Requirements
AO-2016-007 Dec. 12, 2016 LSC Restrictions on non-LSC Funded Self Help Centers
AO-2016-006 Nov.r 18, 2016 Application of 45 C.F.R. Part 1613 and LSC’s 1996 Appropriations Legislation § 504(a)(15) to Reduction of Conviction and Resentencing Cases Under Utah and California Law
AO-2016-005 Sept. 9, 2016 Application of 45 C.F.R. § 1610.6 to Proceedings Involving Compelled Medication, Involuntary Commitment, or Voluntary Commitment 
AO-2016-004 Aug. 19, 2016 Financial Eligibility and Income Attributable to Foster Children in Group Homes and Nursing Homes (45 C.F.R. Part 1611)
AO-2016-003 Aug. 17, 2016 Part 1626 Eligibility Screening for Group Clients
AO-2016-002 July 11, 2016 Permissibility of Providing Legal Services to Noncitizen Parents and Noncitizen Guardians of Children Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
AO-2016-001 Feb. 11, 2016 Applicability of the Restriction on Solicitation (45 C.F.R. Part 1638) to Mailings Sent by LSC Recipients
AO-2015-003 11-10-2015 Multi-Entity Housing Initiative Coordinator Employed at an LSC Grantee
AO-2015-002 06-17-2015 Applicability of Restrictions on Fee-Generating Cases to Advice and Counsel or Brief Services
AO-2015-001 06-15-2015 Permissibility of Recipient Subscription to Agency Mailing Lists Under 45 CFR 1612.6(e)
AO-2014-008 12-05-2014 Applicability of Section 504(a)(11) and Part 1626 Alienage Restrictions in American Samoa
AO-2014-007 11-11-2014 Financial Eligibility Requirements for Eligible Client Members of a Recipient Governing Body Established by LSC Act & Regulations
AO-2014-006 09-04-2014 Discretion to Grant Part 1628 Waivers for Fund Balances Exceeding 25% of LSC Support
AO-2014-005 06-09-2014 Part 1612 Lobbying Activities
AO-2014-004 04-17-2014 Method to Determine Complaince With Governing Body Composition Requirements Under 45 C.F.R. 1607
AO-2014-003 04-04-2014 Part 1610 Program Integrity Involving an Attorney Incubator Project
AO-2014-002 03-07-2014 Allocations to PAI Requirement of Costs Associated With Services Provided During Common Interest Litigation
AO-2014-001 01-08-2014 Collection of Attorneys’ Fees in Social Security Disability Cases
AO-2013-011 12-11-2013 Attestation of Citzenship by PAI Attorneys
AO-2013-010 12-10-2013 Management Information Exchange Journal Article-LSC Restrictions on Lobbying, Legislative, and Administrative Activities
AO-2013-009 11-26-2013 Applicability of LSC's Rules of Eligibility to Court Appointments
AO-2013-008 11-05-2013 Recipient Use of Tribal Funds to Represent Clients Without Verifying Citizenship or Eligible Alien Status
AO-2013-007 10-01-2013 MLSC’s Eligibility for Governing Body Waivers
AO-2013-006 08-12-2013 Use of Paralegal Support for Outside Practice of Law
AO-2013-005 07-30-2013 Citizenship Attestation by Minors
AO-2013-004 06-24-2013 Representation of briefly incarcerated client under 45 C.F.R.1637
AO-2013-003 06-13-2013 Derivative U Visas for Family Members of U Visa Applicants Represented by LSC Recipients
AO-2013-002 02-21-2013 Use of Older American Act Funds for Representation of Ineligible Aliens
AO-2013-001 01-17-2013 Prior Approval for Purchases of Personal Property and Services Under Part 1630 and the PAMM
AO-2012-002 08-22-2012 Part 1626 Eligibility of Aliens and the DHS Deferred Action Policy for DREAM Act Eligible Aliens
AO-2012-001 08-21-2012 Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law and Court-Appointed Artibrators in Pennsylvania
AO-2011-001 05-02-2011 PAI Allocability of Costs Related to Intake and Referral of Applicants to Certain Pro Bono Volunteer Lawyer Programs
AO-2010-004 09-13-2010 Inclusion of Costs in PAI Subgrant Threshold under 45 CFR Part 1627
AO-2010-003 09-13-2010 Candidacy in Local Election Without Party Affiliation Not Sufficient to Render Candidacy Permissible under 45 CFR Part 1608
AO-2010-002 04-14-2010 Legal Assistance to Ineligible Aliens with U.S. Citizen Children (Part 1626)
AO-2010-001 03-05-2010 Permissibility of Using LSC Funds to File an Amicus Curiae Brief
AO-2009-1008 11-02-2009 1626 Eligibility Screening and Statutory Exceptions
AO-2009-1007 11-25-2009 "Incubator Program" Attorneys Status as Staff Attorneys
AO-2009-1006 09-03-2009 Inquiry into Income Prospects Pursuant to 45 CFR 1611.7(a)
AO-2009-1005 06-23-2009 1612 Public Demonstrations and Working Hours
AO-2009-1004 06-19-2009 Subgrants to Staff-Model Legal Services Provider; Qualification as PAI under 45 CFR Part 1614
AO-2009-1003 06-18-2009 Group Eligibility Under 45 CFR Part 1611
AO-2009-1002 06-10-2009 Application of 1626 Documentation Verification Requirements
EX-2009-1001 03-06-2009 1610.6 Appointment of Counsel in Civil Family Law Right to Counsel Cases
EX-2008-1005 12-08-2008 Receipt of Court Ordered Guardian Fees
EX-2008-1004 09-10-2008 1610 Program Integrity Analysis of Subleasing Arrangement
EX-2008-1003 09-10-2008 Minors Represented through Court: Retainers and Eligibility Issues
EX-2008-1002 04-17-2008 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees in Social Security cases
EX-2008-1001 03-19-2008 Requirement for Persons Assisted by PAI Attorneys to be Eligible Program Clients
EX-2006-1008 11-02-2006 Financial Eligibility of Client Member of Board of Directors
EX-2006-1007 10-16-2006 Application of Part 1608 to Newly Hired Attorney
EX-2006-1006 10-05-2006 Inquiry Regarding 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1005 10-05-2006 Meaning of "intentionally identify" in 45 CFR 1608.4(a)
EX-2006-1004 07-11-2006 Request for Reconsideration of EX-2003-1010
EX-2006-1003 06-07-2006 Permissibility of Grantee Board Member Fundraising Lobbying Activities Under Part 1612
EX-2006-1002 05-08-2006 Criminal Cases, Part 1613 and CSR Reporting
EX 2006-1001 01-06-2006 Financial Eligibility for Eligible Client Board Members
EX-2005-1004 06-10-2005 1618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law - Notary Service
EX-2005-1003 12-16-2005 Clarification of OLA External Opinion EX-2002-1004 Regarding PAI Cases and Attorneys' Fees
EX-2005-1002 07-15-2005 Program Integrity Analysis of Configuration Proposal
EX-2005-1001 03-07-2005 Whether Work with Law Students May Count Towards PAI Requirement
EX-2004-1006 09-21-2004 Duty to Ensure Continued Financial Eligibility
EX-2004-1005 09-17-2004 Review of Relationship Between MidPenn Legal Services and Dauphin County Bar Association
EX-2004-1004 06-02-2004 Eligibility of Citizens of FSM and RMI for Legal Assistance under Compact of Free Association Amendments
EX-2004-1003 02-23-2004 Permissibility of Retroactive Payment of Wages
EX-2004-1002 02-17-2004 Representation of Persons in Actions Under Arkansas Criminal Eviction Statute
EX-2004-1001 01-08-2004 Attorney-Client Privilege and Access to Recipient Client Names, Problem Codes and Descriptions of Services
EX-2003-1015 12-01-2003 Program Integrity Analysis of Relationship Between LSC Recipient ALSC and non-LSC entity APBP
EX-2003-1014 10-27-2003 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to Lease
EX-2003-1013 09-16-2003 Permissibility of PRLS Attorney Participation in Legislative Compilation of Puerto Rican Labor Laws
EX-2003-1012 07-23-2003 1618 Compliance; 1604 Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1011 07-09-2003 Interpretation of 45 CFR 1638 (Restriction on Solicitation) *Superseded by AO-2016-001
EX-2003-1010 07-09-2003 Permissibility of Attorneys' Fees Claims Pursuant to State Contract Reciprocity Statutes
EX-2003-1009 06-24-2003 Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1008 05-08-2003 Part 1610 Program Integrity Configuration Proposal
EX-2003-1007 04-02-2003 Definition of Family Unit When Household is Split into Two Residences
EX-2003-1006 03-26-2003 Priorities Requirements and non-LSC Funds
EX-2003-1005 03-20-2003 Clarification of November 12, 1999 External Opinion on Attorneys' Fees
EX-2003-1004 03-07-2003 Prohibited Political Activity under 45 C.F.R. Part 1608
EX-2003-1003 02-10-2003 Part 1604/Outside Practice of Law
EX-2003-1002 01-21-2003 Potential Conflict of Interest Where PAI Coordinator is Spouse of PAI Attorney
EX-2003-1001 01-13-2003 Transfer, Subgrant and PAI Questions Involving Technology Grants
EX-2002-1011 12-13-2002 Internal Opinion 2002-2008: Transfer, Subgrant and Subsidy Considerations for LSC Grantees Participating in Statewide Websites using LSC funds
EX-2002-1010 10-08-2002 Propriety of Judicial Custody Master Serving on NLS Board of Directors
EX-2002-1009 07-19-2002 Subgrantee Timekeeping Requirements
EX-2002-1008 07-15-2002 Attorneys' Fees Demand for Private Attorney Co-Counsel
EX-2002-1007 07-12-2002 Subgrantee Timekeeping *Superseded by EX-2002-1009*  
EX-2002-1006 06-14-2002 Advice and Counsel or Brief Services for Prisoners
EX-2002-1005 05-07-2002 Representation of homeless people on misdemeanor warrants and tickets
EX-2002-1004 05-07-2002 Private attorneys claiming fees in cases under contract with recipients
EX-2002-1003 03-21-2002 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 01-25-2002 Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for National Reservists
EX-2002-1001 01-25-2002 Requested Waiver of Income Eligibility Guidelines for Victims of 9/11
EX-2001-1015 10-22-2001 The impact of the factors in 45 CFR sec. 1611.5(b)(1) on the determination of income eligibility
EX-2001-1014 09-21-2001 Acceptance of attorneys' fees as part of bankruptcy-related settlement
EX-2001-1013 08-31-2001 Representation of person involuntarily held in psychiatric facility pending determination of competency to stand trial for criminal charges
EX-2001-1012 07-30-2001 Release of Client Intake Information in Response to Non-Judicial Subpoena
EX-2001-1011 07-11-2001 Eligibility of Older Americans Act Client to Serve as ´Eligible Client Member' on Recipient Board of Directors
EX-2001-1010 05-07-2001 Eligibility of Marshall Islanders for Legal Services
EX-2001-1009 04-09-2001 Eligibility of Privately Funded, Non-Profit to Apply for LSC Grant Pursuant to Part 1634
EX-2001-1008 04-03-2001 Health Insurance Premiums as Medical Expenses under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1007 03-20-2001 Assignment of Unsolicited Attorneys' Fees to Grantee by Judge
EX-2001-1006 03-19-2001 Attorney's Fees Check Mistakenly Listing a Recipient as a Co-Payee
EX-2001-1005 01-29-2001 Representation of Legal Permanent Resident Who Has Left the U.S.
EX-2001-1004 03-14-2001 Release of Subgrant to Reinstated Non-profit Subrecipient
EX-2001-1003 02-16-2001 Recipient Representation of Complainants in Domestic Violence Criminal Proceedings
EX-2001-1002 02-02-2001 Current Income Taxes and Client Income Eligibility under 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-2001-1001 01-29-2001 Request for an Opinion Regarding Composition of New, Merged Board of Directors
EX-2000-1023 12-22-2000 Disposal of Property with No Current Monetary Value
EX-2000-1022   Number not used 
EX-2000-1021 12-07-2000 Substitution of Relay Center Service for TDD Equipment Pursuant to 45 CFR Part 1624
EX-2000-1020 11-06-2000 1618 Consultation -- 1604 Outside Practice of Law -- Previous Practice Cases after three years and the Definition of ´Consulting.' 
EX-2000-1019 11-01-2000 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 08-25-2000 LARC/NHLA Board Integration
EX-2000-1017 07-20-2000 Permissibility of Contracts for Public Defender Services by LSC Recipients
EX-2000-1016 07-20-2000 Use of LSC Funds as matching funds for VOCA grant
EX-2000-1015 07-20-2000 Regarding the deductibility of current income taxes from gross income under 45 CFR Part 1611 in determining income eligibility
EX-2000-1014 08-08-2000 H-2A Worker Eligibility
EX-2000-1013 07-05-2000 PASS Program Funds and Client Eligibility[Clarification of November 1, 1999 Opinion]
EX-2000-1012 06-21-2000 Definition of Family Unit for 1611 Client Eligibility Purposes
EX-2000-1011 05-16-2000 Outside Practice of Law - Consulting Services for Legal Helpline
EX-2000-1010 05-05-2000 Outside Practice of Law - Date of Termination of Employment
EX-2000-1009 03-13-2000 Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Grants from TOP—Supersceded by AO-2019-004
EX-2000-1008 02-23-2000 Part 1604 Outside Practice of Law and Referrals from Charitable Organizations
EX-2000-1007 02-15-2000 Part 1626 Eligibility for Immigrants
EX-2000-1006 02-15-2000 Guardian Ad Litem Requirements
EX-2000-1005 02-15-2000 Running for non-partisan position
EX-2000-1004 02-07-2000 Waiver of Governing Body Restriction
EX-2000-1003 02-01-2000 Overlap of Board or Staff of Grantees and Subgrantees or Competing Organizations
Special Release 01-29-2000 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 01-28-2000 Services to Alien Victim of Domestic Violence
EX-2000-1001 01-11-2000 Residency of Eligible Client Board Members of LSC Recipients
EX-1999-34 12-08-1999 Income Eligibility for FEMA Cases
EX-1999-29 12-06-1999 Transfer of IOLTA Funds and Program Integrity Guidelines
EX-1999-28 12-03-1999 Farm Expenses as Eligibility Deductions and Citizenship Eligibility for Group Clients
EX-1999-26 11-12-1999 Providing Time Records to Private Attorney for Fees Claim  *Clarified in EX-2003-1005*
  11-01-1999 Client Eligibility under Part 1611
  10-26-1999 Part 1629 Purchase of Employee Dishonesty Insurance in Lieu of a Fidelity Bond
EX-1999-22 10-15-1999 Meaning of Income in Part 1611
EX-1999-19 09-16-1999 Program Integrity Plan [45 CFR Part 1610 & Part 1642]
EX-1999-18 09-08-2099 PSLS - Eligibility of Juveniles in State Foster Care *Partially superseded by AO-2016-004*
EX-1999-17 08-27-1999 Tribal Trust Funds & 45 CFR Part 1611
EX-1999-15 08-16-1999 Enforcement Procedures & Outside Practice of Law
EX-1999-12 07-01-1999 [W]hether Recipients May Use LSC Funds for Fundraising Activities
EX-1999-08 07-16-1999 Reporting Requirements of 45 C.F.R. § 1609
EX-1999-07 06-21-1999 [W]hether Section 1610.6(b) Provides a Safe Harbor for Court Appointments to Civil Cases
EX-1999-06 06-21-1999 [R]egarding the Corporation's Attorneys' Fees Regulation, 45 CFR Part 1642
EX-1999-05 03-04-1999 Part 1637: Contract with Court to Represent Persons Likely to be Incarcerated
EX-1999-03 08-09-1999 Retainer Agreement Requirement and PAI
EX-1999-02 06-18-1999 [W]hether... Staff Member’s Potential Employment Constitutes “The Outside Practice of Law” or Falls Under the Exception of “Evaluations.”
EX-1999-01 01-25-1999 [R]Egarding the Ability of ...(A)... Full-Time Staff Attorney to Work to Supplement Her Income
EX-1998-63 01-08-1999 [R]egarding the Outside Practice of Law by a Legal Services Attorney
EX-1998-55 11-06-1998 The Application of Part 1626 to... Telephone Information, Advice and Referral System
EX-1998-53 10-27-1998 The Meaning of “Private Attorney” in 45 CFR Part 1614
EX-1998-47 11-23-1998 Whether 45 CFR Part 1608 Prohibits Voter Registration Activities by Non-Attorney Personnel in LSC-Funded Legal Services Programs
  07-27-1998 Part 1618 Case Acceptance Procedures
EX-1998-41 07-13-1998 Whether RLS Must Disclose Information on a Case
  07-10-1998 Part 1637 Prisoner Representation and Clients Under House Arrest
EX-1998-38 06-26-1998 Whether to Provide Civil Legal Representation to Prisoners
  06-23-1998 Part 1627 Use of LSC Funds for Pension Plan Association Dues
  05-13-1998 Part 1642 Attoreys' Fees in Administrative ERISA Case Files Prior to April 26, 1996
  04-17-1998 Part 1609 Charging Clients Small Processing Fees
  04-14-1998 Part 1604 Appointment of Staff Attorney as Paid Guardian Ad Litem 
  04-13-1998 Part 1610 Separately Funded Public Defender Program
  04-10-1998 Parts 1611 and 1626 Financial and Alien Eligibility Requirements As Applied to Violence Against Women Act Funds
  04-09-1998 Parts 1611 and 1626 Financial and Alien Eligibility Requirements As Applied to Court Grant for Pro Se Courthouse Assistance  *Superseded by AO-2016-007* 
  01-27-1998 Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal
  10-22-1997 Part 1630 Use of LSC Funds as Matching Funds for Victims of Crime Act Grant—Supersceded by AO-2019-004
  09-23-1997 1607 Definition of Grantee Board Meeting Quorum
  09-12-1997 Part 1608 Program Attorney Who Ran for City Judgeship-Partially Overruled by EX-2003-1004
1997-09-10-a 09-10-1997 LSC is Not an Executive Agency, Department or Instrumentality of the Federal Government
1997-09-10-b 09-10-1997 Part 1610 Analysis of Affiliation Proposal
1997-09-10-c 09-10-1997 Provisions of Grantee Board Documents to Employee Union
  09-04-1997 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 07-29-1997 Parts 1604 & 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Cases Handled by Full Time or Part Time Grantee Attorneys
1997-07-29-b 07-29-1997 Part 1642 Attorneys' Fees for Social Security Cases Claimed Prior to Effective Date of Part 1642
  05-29-1997 Part 1637 Application to Persons in Mental Institutions or Under House Arrest
  05-20-1997 Part 1642 Application to Presentation of Attorney Time As Evidence in Re-Trial on Punitive Damages Claim
Pre-1997 Opinions of Interest    
  10-07-1994 Fees Paid by Clients in a Part 1614 PAI Program