Management & Supervision of Legal Work

To ensure high-quality legal services for low-income people in your service area, it is important to have standards and systems in place that provide guidance for supervision, effective case management, adherence to practice standards, and training and staff development. Policies for case management can also establish areas of responsibility and expectations for all staff.

The Oregon State Bar created standards and guidelines for legal aid organizations in order to ensure that organizations deliver high-quality services and operate in partnership with one another. The standards, which were created in 1998 but revised in 2010, provide standards and guidelines for providers, cooperative collaboration by providers, and oversight by the Oregon State Bar.

Legal Work Supervision Standards and Guidelines

Legal Services NYC 2010 'Standards for Legal Supervision'

Supervisors at Legal Services NYC drafted "Standards for Legal Supervision" in 2010. The standards list 16 aspects of supervisor responsibilities in addition to:

  • Establishing minimum expectations for supervisors and case handlers
  • Ensuring regular communication with case handlers
  • Facilitating accountability throughout the organizations

2011 Supervision and Attorney Evaluation Guidelines

In 2011, Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, and Legal Aid Service of Collier County created a unified set of supervision and attorney evaluation guidelines. The guidelines are divided into two sections: supervision guidelines and evaluation guidelines for supervising attorneys.

Legal Services of Greater Miami 2007 Supervision Guidelines

The supervision guidelines at Legal Services of Greater Miami provide detailed guidelines for the supervision of attorneys with various levels of experience. The guidelines provide more detailed information for new hires and include the following sections, divided according to the experience level of the attorney:

  • Introduction
  • Supervisors
  • New attorneys: 30 day training and orientation period
  • New attorneys: the first year
  • New attorneys with prior legal services experience
  • Attorneys with more than one year experience with Legal Services of Greater Miami
  • Supervisor's case review notes

Legal Services Delivery Standards

Arkansas' Shared 2009 Legal Work Standards

Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services developed legal work standards to serve as a guide for legal services delivery across Arkansas. The standards, which are still in place, focus on day-to-day client representation and performance and are divided into three sections:

  • Client relations in order to establish effective relationships and clear mutual understanding through use of retainer agreements, preservation of confidences, and fees and costs
  • Internal controls and quality assurance regarding timely action and meeting deadlines in addition to professional records and files, zealous representation, and work of non-attorney staff
  • Practice standards for the initial analysis of client problems, case planning, litigation, and termination of representation

Bay Area Legal Aid 2016 Advocacy Manual

By drafting an advocacy manual, Bay Area Legal Aid provided consistent guidelines for its staff. The manual provides detailed information about:

  • Organizing substantive advocacy
  • Assisting and representing clients
  • Informing staff of LSC prohibitions and restrictions on substantive advocacy

Performance Standards

LAF 2012 Performance Standards

LAFformerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicagodrafted performance standards, divided by job category, to establish clear responsibilities for LAF staff. Separate standards were established for supervisors, attorneys, and paralegals.

MidPenn Legal Services 2011 Performance Standards

MidPenn Legal Services offers its staff guidance through the organization's 2011 performance standards. Staff is given guidance on three areas of responsibility:

  • Building client relationships and projecting a positive public image of the organization
  • Providing information on program policies and procedures
  • Resolving client problems effectively

Each area of responsibility is divided into specific performance standards, which include individual objectives.

Legal Assistance of Western New York 2011 Attorney Performance Standards

Legal Assistance of Western New York adopted uniform professional standards in 2011 for its advocates. The professional standards address:

  • How to establish an effective relationship and a clear understanding with the client
  • Client participation in the conduct of representation
  • Practitioner's responsibilities to protect client confidence
  • Initial exploration and investigation of the client's legal problems
  • Legal analysis and research
  • Case planning
  • Legal counseling
  • Negotiation
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Litigation
  • Administrative hearings