LSC Performance Criteria

LSC's Performance Criteria incorporate LSC's grant oversight experience with the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid.  LSC is currently revising the Performance Criteria—materials for comment are available in the Matters for Comment section.

Acknowledgements

The Legal Services Corporation sincerely thanks the following individuals who generously gave their time and talents to help draft the revised LSC Performance Criteria. Their skill, experience, creativity, and commitment to high-quality legal services substantially enhanced the depth and scope of the Criteria. 

LSC PERFORMANCE CRITERIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Jonathan Asher, Colorado Legal Services
Alan Houseman, Center for Law and Social Policy
Hannah Lieberman, Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland
Yvonne Mariajimenez, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
De Miller, Legal Services of New Jersey
Linda Rexer, Michigan Bar Foundation
John Tull, Consultant

DRAFT REVIEWERS

John Arango, Consultant
Ramon Arias, Bay Area Legal Aid
Mary Asbury, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
Paul Doyle, Florida Bar Foundation
Phyllis Holmen, Georgia Legal Services Program
Luis Jaramillo, California Rural Legal Assistance
Neil McBride, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands
Lillian Moy, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc.
Lois Wood, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.

LSC BOARD AND STAFF

A special thanks to David Hall, Chairman of the Provision for the Delivery of Legal Services Committee and liaison for the LSC Board of Directors; and LSC Staff Willie Abrams, Michael Genz, Janet LaBella, Karen Sarjeant, Cynthia Schneider, and Bertrand Thomas.

LSC PROGRAMS

A special thanks to LSC program Executive Directors and other advocates who reviewed the final draft and submitted comments to LSC.

REFERENCES TO ABA STANDARDS REVIEWERS

Terry Brooks, Counsel, American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants
Beverly Groudine, Counsel, American Bar Association Commission on Interest on Lawyers’Trust Accounts
De Miller, Legal Services of New Jersey Sarah Singleton, American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Task Force on Standards Revision
John Tull, Consultant

Helaine M. Barnett
President,
Legal Services Corporation
March 2007

Introduction

These introductory comments explain the background and purpose of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Performance Criteria that follow. This edition of the Criteria is based on earlier versions first developed for the Legal Services Comparative Demonstration Project during 1993 and Legal Services Corporation peer review evaluations during 1994, and then for LSC program reviews and the competitive grants process from 1995 to the present.

This revision to the Criteria is a key part of the LSC’s overall quality initiative, a multi-pronged strategy with a goal of ensuring that all Legal Services programs provide high-quality legal assistance.1 LSC will continue to use the Criteria to guide LSC’s assessments of program performance generally and in the competitive grants process. LSC has statutory responsibility to ensure the provision of economical and effective delivery of legal assistance by Legal Services programs to eligible persons in all parts of the country, including U.S. territories.2 Consistent with that obligation, the Criteria are designed to guide the examination of Legal Services programs that provide comprehensive legal assistance to low-income persons in a geographical service area, including limited and full representation and other forms of legal services. In addition, the Criteria are designed to provide the basis for evaluation of Legal Services programs that, through a state planning process are designated as providers primarily of limited assistance, for example, intake or hotline operations in connection with a comprehensive delivery system that provides a full range of services, including full representation. For purposes of LSC’s evaluations, Legal Services programs that primarily provide limited representation are subject to the requirements of Performance Areas One, Two and Four, as well as the relevant portions of Performance Area Three.

LSC intends that the Criteria will continue to be a useful framework for internal program self-evaluations, planning, and program development, as well as external peer reviews and expert assessments by other funding sources, such as IOLTA programs and government agencies. Use by such other funding sources may require some adaptation to reflect differences in mission, authorization, or restrictions.

Since the adoption of the original Criteria in the early 1990’s, there has been significant change and evolution in Legal Services programs around the country. State planning, mergers, closing or modification of many support centers, rapidly developing technology and applications, and explosion of the Internet all have had major impact. The reduction in federal funding in 1995-1996 and restrictions adopted by the 104th Congress changed the face of Legal Services in many parts of the country. Legal Services programs, while still part of the only national civil legal assistance delivery system, in many states have become one of an expanded number of providers. Many of these other providers do not offer comprehensive services, nor are they subject to congressional restrictions on LSC funding. This new landscape makes efforts at coordination, collaboration, and statewide planning essential. The Criteria now reflect the importance of such coordination and planning, consistent with, and subject to, potential differences in mission, authority, and perspective. The Criteria also recognize that part of the responsibility of the Legal Services grantee or grantees in each state is to function as a part of an integrated delivery system, to the extent possible in coordination with other legal assistance providers. If the Legal Services program primarily provides limited representation, such as intake, advice, referral, and brief services, then the program is responsible for ensuring, through the state planning process, that there is a comprehensive and integrated delivery system utilizing LSC as well as non-LSC funded providers.

Since 1993, the low-income population also has undergone many demographic and other changes. These Criteria highlight the importance of Legal Services programs taking full account of the significance of such changes, and the need to be aware of evolving legal needs, demographics, and characteristics of the low-income population in programs’ service areas.

The creation of larger, more complex programs through the designation of larger service areas makes effective program governance and management even more essential, and often more challenging. In addition, the reductions in federal funding in 1995-1996 accelerated efforts to diversify and increase non- LSC funding for Legal Services programs, adding still more management challenges. These Criteria take account of such changes.

This edition of the LSC Performance Criteria incorporates footnote references to the 2006 American Bar Association Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid. The revisions to the Performance Criteria and the 2006 ABA Standards were created during overlapping time periods, with similar goals and with several mutual contributors. The purpose of the footnotes is to allow readers of the Performance Criteria ready access to the Standards, which often include more detail and analysis than the Criteria. The ABA Standards are cross-referenced to the most applicable Criterion or Criteria. Not every cross reference that could be made has been included, just those that are the most relevant. Not all ABA Standards are cross- referenced in the Performance Criteria. Reference to a particular ABA Standard does not imply that every dictate in the Standard comports with congressional restrictions on LSC funding.

At least three factors distinguish the Criteria from the Standards: (1) the Criteria are designed by the major national funding source for Legal Services programs, and in the first instance are meant to meet the needs of LSC and its programs, whereas the Standards apply to all providers of legal aid to low-income persons; (2) as noted, the Criteria are primarily intended to support program evaluation; and the Standards are designed to serve a broader range of purposes; and (3) the Criteria reflect congressional directives and restrictions and should be applied consistent with funding source requirements, while the Standards do not directly address these issues. However, the Criteria and Standards share many common values and perspectives.

The Criteria should be used with several perspectives in mind:

(1) The Criteria are designed to be used in program evaluations, self-assessments, and external reviews by peers or other experts.3

Ongoing self-assessment and periodic external evaluation by individuals outside the program with relevant experience and expertise (peers or other experts) are important ways for programs to gain perspectives and ideas that can make them more effective. The Criteria provide a framework for evaluation of Legal Services programs, and improvement of program performance and accountability. Within this framework, peers and other experts can offer judgments about program effectiveness. The Criteria do not themselves present quantitative standards. The vision behind the original Criteria remains applicable: by providing a single framework for structured evaluations by peers or other experts, the Criteria support a consistent national system for measuring program performance.

To promote utility as a measurement device, in each Performance Area the Criteria express three levels of increasing detail: (a) the individual criteria themselves, which describe in broad terms the desired effectiveness for that area; (b) the indicators, a set of specific markers or factors, which are suggestive of whether the criteria are being met; and (c) the areas of inquiry, a third level of detail, which provide specific guidance to reviewers in terms of questions to be asked and topics to be examined. Both the indicators and the areas of inquiry are intended to be illustrative of factors to be considered for each criterion. It is not required that all aspects of indicators and areas of inquiry be examined, nor should reviewers be limited to them. At the heart of the idea of review by experienced peers is the conviction that such experts are able to supply additional factors on their own and make appropriate judgments about areas to pursue based on circumstances of the particular program.

(2) The Criteria are designed to take account of the reality that Legal Services programs do not have sufficient resources to provide comprehensive services that fully meet all of the major civil legal needs of low-income people in an entire service area.

Nationally, funding limitations prevent Legal Services programs from meeting more than a fraction of the need for their services.4 As a consequence, such programs continually must make difficult choices among very important needs and possible activities, and constantly face tradeoffs in which an increased commitment in one Performance Area may mean a lessening of emphasis in another. The Criteria are constructed with the awareness that at current resource levels programs may not be able to achieve the maximum theoretically possible in each of the major Performance Areas. In conducting assessments under the Criteria, reviewers must keep in mind that programs are compelled to balance competing needs: to assist as many as possible; to have maximum effectiveness for those who are clients; to have the broadest beneficial impact on the communities they serve; and to excel in each of the four Performance Areas.

The combination of limited resources and comprehensive responsibility for an entire service area creates a duty to focus on the most pressing civil legal needs. This concept of focusing on most pressing civil legal needs is central to the Criteria as a way of addressing the choice and triage compelled by less than full funding.

(3) The Criteria focus particularly on results and outcomes.

The Criteria emphasize looking at: (a) the outcomes and results of program activity for clients and the low-income population; (b) processes and systems; and (c) other “input” factors such as staff experience, equipment, office space, research capabilities, and many more. While results and outcomes for clients are central, examination of systems, processes, and inputs is also important, since their presence makes it more likely that successful outcomes can be replicated consistently over time.

The Criteria embody and give content to the requirements of effective and economical delivery required by Section 1007(a)(3) of the Legal Services Corporation Act. “Effectiveness” entails looking at the results achieved, while “economical” means trying to achieve a particular result as efficiently as possible.

(4) The Criteria embody a dynamic vision of program work, related to the specific needs, resources and situations in each particular community.

Perhaps most important, the Criteria are driven by a vision that a highly effective program is, within the limits of its resources, continually engaged in a dynamic process involving planning, delineating objectives, working to achieve those objectives, assessing results, and incorporating the resultant experience and learning into plans for future work. The most effective programs are constantly in processes of motion and change and are innovative and experimental. They continually adjust their approaches and strategies in response to new circumstances and ongoing judgments about which legal needs are most critical, which avenues do and do not work, what resources are available, what to do about changed laws or court precedent, and many other factors. The most effective programs constantly engage in informal assessment, and periodically incorporate more formal evaluative processes. To capture this dynamism in the evaluation framework, the Criteria begin with an examination of the effectiveness of the program’s assessments of legal needs, and follow a logical flow: identification of the most pressing problems; setting goals, priorities, and objectives; developing delivery and advocacy strategies; targeting resources based upon the most pressing legal needs; implementing the objectives and working toward the desired, expressed outcomes; and then assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of the efforts before making a new determination of need and going through the entire process again.

The Criteria contemplate an assessment process that takes full account of the different situations in each program and community. They make no effort to predetermine which legal needs or types of cases are most important, what kinds or levels of service should be provided, or how specific cases should be pursued. Such categorical and quantitative absolutes are not possible or helpful, given the enormous variety in circumstances from community to community. Similarly, there is no strict checklist of specific processes, systems or factors, the presence or absence of which define whether or not a program is effective. These Criteria, however, collectively reflect LSC’s sense of current best practices that promote delivery of high-quality legal services.

2018 Revisions to Performance Area Four

To provide grantees with the most effective guidance, in 2018 the Legal Services Corporation revised Performance Area Four to refine and expand the areas of inquiry to focus attention on those criteria for which LSC has found the most deficiencies, particularly Criteria 1 (Board Governance), 4 (Financial Administration), and 7 (General Resource Development). The 2018 revisions codify the work of LSC staff with numerous grantees and provide evidence-based guidance to recipients on how to run a high-performing nonprofit organization.

Performance Area 4: Criterion Ordering

Current Ordering of Performance Area 4 Criteria

2018 Revised Ordering of Performance Area 4 Criteria

Criterion 1: Board Governance

Criterion 1: Board Governance

Criterion 2: Leadership

Criterion 2: Leadership

Criterion 3: Overall Management and Administration

Criterion 3: Technology Infrastructure and Administration

Criterion 4: Financial Administration

Criterion 4: Financial Administration

Criterion 5: Human Resources Administration

Criterion 5: Human Resources Administration

Criterion 6: Internal Communication

Criterion 6: Overall Management and Administration

Criterion 7: General Resource Development and Maintenance

Criterion 7: General Resource Development and Maintenance

Click here to view the 2007 Performance Area Four criteria, indicators, and areas of inquiry.

All background material on the changes can be found at the links below:

Public Comments on Proposed Changes to Performance Area Four

Proposed Revisions to Performance Area Four Criteria, with Public Comments

Performance Area One

Effectiveness in identifying the most pressing civil legal needs of low-income people in the service area and targeting resources to address those needs.

The Performance Criteria acknowledge the central importance of strategic planning, and envision a dynamic model in which such planning is followed by, and interwoven with, implementation and evaluation, constantly adjusting objectives, and strategies to better address the most critical civil legal needs of the low-income population. While much of a Legal Services program’s work is necessarily reactive, responding both to major issues affecting the low-income population and to the problems faced by individual clients, such reaction should occur within a well thought-out framework, designed to enable the program to be as effective as possible in staying focused upon, and addressing, the most pressing legal needs of the low-income population it serves.5

Performance Area One does not require one particular form or method of assessment, such as written surveys, nor does it require extensive documentation of the planning process. Rather, the program should be able to demonstrate that it has, through whatever approaches it uses, come to a reasoned, thorough assessment of the most pressing legal needs in the communities it serves. Based on this assessment, the program should set out clearly how it is trying to address the identified needs.

Criterion 1. Periodic comprehensive assessment and ongoing consideration of legal needs. The program periodically undertakes comprehensive assessment of the most pressing legal problems and needs, both addressed and unaddressed, of the low-income population in its service area, including all major segments of that population with special and similar legal needs or access challenges. These comprehensive assessments should be made frequently enough, in light of their cost and administrative burden, to be reasonably calculated to identify new developments and opportunities affecting that population. In between these periodic comprehensive assessments, the program is flexible and responsive enough, and has procedures and systems in place, to recognize and adjust to major new needs of its target population that emerge or develop.6

Criterion 2. Setting goals and objectives, developing strategies, and allocating resources. In light of its comprehensive and ongoing assessments of need, and its available resources, the program periodically sets explicit goals and objectives and develops strategies to achieve them. Insofar as possible, these objectives should be expressed in terms of desired outcomes for both individual clients and the low-income population as a whole or any of its major segments, as may be applicable. The program should consider and adopt strategies for its delivery approaches and its representation and advocacy that are calculated to achieve the goals and objectives. Next, the program should express its objectives, to the extent possible, in terms of outcomes that can be measured or assessed, and allocate and target its resources, consistent with these goals, objectives, and strategies. To the extent that pressing legal needs have been identified which the program will not, because of resources or other limitations, be able to address directly, the program should consider what other methods, including innovative or alternative delivery approaches, other legal assistance activity, or collaboration with or referral to other entities, might be employed to provide some measure of assistance to affected individuals or communities.7

Criterion 3. Implementation. The program pursues these goals, objectives, and strategies, working to achieve the desired outcomes through legal representation and assistance, advocacy, and other program work.8

Criterion 4. Evaluation and adjustment. The program regularly analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of its delivery strategies and work, in major part by comparing the results actually achieved with the outcomes originally intended, and utilizes this analysis and evaluation to make appropriate changes in its goals, objectives, strategies, and legal assistance activity. Such adjustments should be made on a flexible and ongoing basis, not just after the periodic comprehensive assessments.9

Criterion 1. Periodic comprehensive assessment and ongoing consideration of legal needs

The program periodically undertakes comprehensive assessment of the most pressing legal problems and needs, both addressed and unaddressed, of the low-income population in its service area, including all major segments of that population with special and similar legal needs or access challenges. These comprehensive assessments should be made frequently enough, in light of their cost and administrative burden, to be reasonably calculated to identify new developments and opportunities affecting that population. In between these periodic comprehensive assessments, the program is flexible and responsive enough, and has procedures and systems in place, to recognize and adjust to major new needs of its target population that emerge or develop.

Indicators

The program carries out the assessment comprehensively, considering approaches that involve: (a) getting the views of those eligible for service (methods could include questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, dialogue and meetings with clients and community members, or other suitable techniques); (b) getting the views of people and agencies that work with or know the problems of low-income people (possible sources include advocacy and social service agencies, community organizations, judges who hear cases involving low-income people, representatives of the organized bar, and Legal Services staff and board members); (c) analyzing available relevant data and other information, including census figures and any legal needs studies for the state or program service area(s); and (d) utilizing available or emerging technology, e.g., GIS mapping, to shed the greatest possible light on the problems of the low-income population.

The program considers all civil legal problems and needs, broadly encompassing any matters susceptible to resolution through legal representation and other program activity, including all primary needs such as decent and affordable shelter, adequate nutrition, access to quality health care, income sufficient for a decent and secure life, physical and environmental safety and security, protection of civil rights and fundamental dignity, education and employment necessary to earn adequate income and function as a member of society, and problems that affect the safety, security, and stability of families.

Areas of Inquiry

How does the program assess the legal needs and problems of the client community? How does the program determine which of the needs identified merit the program’s attention? Did the program determine the views of client-eligible people as to which needs were most pressing and important? Did the program take into account any recent formal social science legal needs study in the area or state? Did the program create opportunities for representatives of the low-income population to express their legal needs orally, in their own words?

Did the program make inquiry into all relevant legal problem areas? Was it reasonably calculated to identify emerging and non-traditional needs?

What population groups, particularly those with a high incidence of poverty, exist in the program’s service area? Were available technological aids, such as GIS mapping, utilized? Was relevant data examined? Who received and responded to any needs assessment instrument? Which segments of the client population responded and which did not? In what languages were surveys administered? Were individuals without telephones able to participate? Taken as a whole, did the assessment reasonably examine the special needs of all major poverty population segments?

Indicators

The program takes account of any problems or issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect distinct and significant segments of the eligible population, such as children, seniors, indigenous people, farmworkers, ethnic and racial groups, rural and urban dwellers, people with disabilities, immigrants, people recently released from incarceration, and people who are not able to communicate well in English.

As part of the assessment, the program analyzes other providers and resources in the service area that can help meet the identified needs and considers the relative impact on eligible clients of addressing or not addressing the identified needs.

The program has systems and approaches reasonably calculated to identify new pressing issues and legal needs, both of individuals and the target population as a whole, including continuing engagement with and input from the low-income population, regular review of intake and case information, monitoring of local, state, and national legal developments, and other appropriate strategies. Such new legal needs may be either short or long term.

The program demonstrates actual awareness of such new pressing issues and legal needs. The program is able to identify developments, problems and needs in substantive areas not aligned with or expressly covered by any existing specialty units or practice concentrations it may employ.

The program has in fact, when viewed over time, made adjustments in its goals and objectives in response to such emerging issues and needs, including emergency changes where necessary, e.g., to respond to major natural disasters, or changes in law or policy, and also including, where necessary and appropriate, modifications in specialized units and practice concentrations.

Areas of Inquiry

Has the program identified events during the past twelve months, or since the last formal assessment, which compel or suggest the need for change in goals or objectives? Has it actually made changes? Has it done so on an emergency basis if necessary?

How do such identified events compare with those identified by others outside the program?

What screening for other types of problems is done at intake? What systematic review of intake and intake data is done to identify repetitive problems?

What specialty units or practice concentrations does the program employ? Does it identify needs and problems, and accept cases, outside of those areas?

Criterion 2. Setting goals and objectives, developing strategies, and allocating resources.

In light of its comprehensive and ongoing assessments of need, and its available resources, the program periodically sets explicit goals and objectives and develops strategies to achieve them. Insofar as possible, these objectives should be expressed in terms of desired outcomes for both individual clients and the low-income population as a whole or any of its major segments, as may be applicable. The program should then consider and adopt strategies for its delivery approaches and its representation and advocacy that are calculated to achieve the goals and objectives. Next, the program should express its objectives, to the extent possible, in terms of outcomes that can be measured or assessed, and allocate and target its resources, consistent with these goals, objectives, and strategies. To the extent that pressing legal needs have been identified which the program will not, because of resources or other limitations, be able to address directly through such full representation, the program should consider what other methods, including innovative or alternative delivery approaches, other legal assistance activity, or collaboration with or referral to other entities, might be employed to provide some measure of assistance to affected individuals or communities.

Indicators

The program periodically articulates the problems it intends to address and the goals and objectives it seeks to achieve, expressed to the extent possible in terms of specific desired outcomes, and communicates these goals and objectives. Staff are aware of the goals, objectives, and desired outcomes.

Strategies are developed to achieve the specified objectives. These strategies are reasonably calculated to achieve the specified objectives, and are reevaluated regularly and modified as appropriate.

Resource allocation and staffing responsibilities reflect such objectives.

In targeting resources, the program weighs the likely costs to be incurred against the likely benefit for clients and other low-income people.

Specialized units and practice concentrations reflect such objectives, including such modifications as may be appropriate from time to time.

The program has explicit, clear and specific case acceptance policies, consistent with these goals and objectives, and staff are aware of them.

Areas of Inquiry

Has the program set forth specific goals and objectives for its legal work in major substantive areas, or through its projects, specialty units, or branch offices? Were the strategies selected after consideration of a full range of available legal representation and advocacy approaches? Are the strategies selected reasonable and promising? Are resources allocated accordingly?

Are staff aware of the goals, objectives, and case acceptance policies?

Are there identified pressing problems that the program goals and objectives do not address? Are there other sources of assistance to help address those problems that are being utilized?

Do the program’s case acceptance policies provide clear guidance regarding the legal work it will undertake and the cases it will accept?

Do the case acceptance policies reasonably relate to the objectives it has identified?

Has the program considered alternative delivery approaches? Has it assessed their likely benefit? Were the consideration and assessment thoughtfully and carefully done?

Indicators

With respect to pressing legal needs that the program does not have sufficient resources to address through full representation, or which do not require such representation to achieve the outcomes desired, it considers the possibility of alternative approaches such as providing advice only, limited or brief service, group clinics, interactive aids available through the Internet, kiosks or other technologies, other self-help materials, community legal education, training of, collaboration with and referral to other providers, and other available responses. Before employing such alternatives, the program assesses their likely effectiveness for individual clients and the low- income population, and continues to make such assessments on an ongoing basis.

When setting goals and objectives, the program considers the need for legal assistance in all types of civil legal cases and all types of representation identified through its assessment processes that are consistent with funding requirements and restrictions, without regard to whether it has current staff expertise or specialization in the particular area, making its decision on the basis of what areas of work are most important to meet the most pressing legal needs of the eligible client population.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the program open to considering representation in all types of civil legal problems consistent with funding requirements and restrictions, or does it rule out certain types of cases or representation, e.g., transactional work, because of a current lack of expertise, specialty units, or capacity on staff?

Criterion 3. Implementation.

The program implements these goals, objectives, and strategies, working to achieve the desired outcomes, through legal representation and assistance, advocacy, and other program work.

Indicators

Given the goals, objectives, and strategies, effective advocacy approaches are selected, after considering all possible forums, legal approaches and available methods of achieving the desired outcomes, in light of what is appropriate, likely to succeed, and cost-effective.

Areas of Inquiry

What are the advocacy and delivery approaches undertaken by the program? What options and approaches have been considered to address the issues that have been targeted or have been presented? Is the scope of options considered comprehensive and thoughtful? Which options and approaches have been adopted? How successful were the chosen strategies?

Criterion 4. Evaluation and adjustment.

The program regularly analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of its delivery strategies and work, in major part by comparing the results actually achieved with the outcomes originally intended, and utilizes this analysis and evaluation to make appropriate changes in its goals, objectives, strategies, and legal assistance activity. Such adjustments should be made on a flexible and ongoing basis, not just after the periodic comprehensive assessments.

Indicators

The program engages in ongoing evaluation, both formal and informal, of the effectiveness of its delivery strategies and work, and makes changes in program goals, objectives, and strategies where indicated by such internal or other external evaluations.

The program regularly collects information and analyzes the effectiveness of its work, especially in achieving the articulated objectives and desired results.

In its analysis and evaluation, the program considers the perspectives of clients and affected members of the low-income population, advocacy and other organizations that serve it, and others in a position to judge the effectiveness of the program’s efforts.

The evaluations carefully examine the reasons why particular strategies and approaches did or did not work, and whether alternative or innovative methods hold greater potential for future success.

In considering adjustments, the program examines available information concerning the effectiveness of other legal assistance providers in the service area.

After considering evaluations of its work and all other relevant information, the program in fact makes appropriate adjustments in its goals, objectives, strategies, and legal assistance activities.

Areas of Inquiry

What processes does the program use to assess the effectiveness and results of its work on an ongoing basis? Do program staff examine the effectiveness of the program’s advocacy? Does the program generate regular reports?

Does the program make use of other available information and data concerning the target population and its needs, as well as delivery, representation, and advocacy approaches that have worked in similar circumstances? Does the program show evidence of periodically adjusting its approach to pressing client issues and needs after self-assessment and evaluation?

In between periodic formal needs assessments, is the program continually engaged on a number of levels with the population it is serving? Does the program engage members of the client population in discussions of the results of the program’s work? Are evaluations documented, inclusive of the views of a wide range of individuals and organizations likely to have helpful perspectives and information, and thoughtful in their analysis? Is there evidence that the program actually made changes in goals, objectives, strategies, or work after such evaluations?

What results have been achieved by the program’s advocacy? Are results or significant progress reported with regard to each of the substantive objectives identified by the program?

What have been the principal benefits for clients as a result of the program’s advocacy?

Performance Area Two

Effectiveness in engaging and serving the low-income population throughout the service area.

A program must have effective relations with its clients, on both an individual and service area- wide basis. Performance Area Two sets forth the core values and tenets for creating and maintaining effective relations with clients.

Criterion 1. Dignity and sensitivity. The program conducts its work in a way that affirms and reinforces the dignity of clients, is sensitive to clients’ individual circumstances, is responsive to each client’s legal problems, and is culturally and linguistically competent.10

Criterion 2. Engagement with the low-income population. The program is engaged effectively with the population eligible for its services, including major and distinct segments of that population and, where appropriate and feasible, incorporates perspectives from that population and its major segments in its work and operations.11

Criterion 3. Access and utilization by the low-income population. Consistent with its goals, objectives, and strategies, a program should, within the limits of its resources, be accessible to and facilitate effective utilization by the low-income population in its service area, including all major segments of that population, and all categories of people who traditionally have had difficulties in getting access to or utilizing civil legal assistance.12

Criterion 1. Dignity and sensitivity

The program conducts its work in a way that affirms and reinforces the dignity of clients, is sensitive to clients’ individual circumstances, is responsive to each client’s legal problems, and is culturally and linguistically competent.

Indicators

Consistent with the applicable rules of professional conduct and funding requirements, and within the limits of the legal assistance that the program has agreed to provide a particular client, the program identifies and attempts to achieve each client’s objective.

Program operations are carried out in ways that affirm client dignity and are sensitive to client circumstances.

The program has effective methods to assess clients’ reactions to its services, and addresses problems identified through such assessments.

Legal Services programs in a state, and to the extent feasible other legal assistance providers in that state, collaborate so that clients do not experience multiple referrals before they reach the provider that will offer the maximum level of service.

Program services, communications and activities are conducted in a culturally and linguistically competent fashion, and reach the significant low-income population segments, given the program’s explicit goals and objectives and available resources.

The program places primary importance on establishing a relationship of trust and confidence with each client, ensuring that each client understands the scope of representation, adhering to the client’s objectives, and informing and consulting with the client about all significant developments in the matter.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the intake policy and procedure reflect a concern for the client’s needs? Are office hours convenient, including for those who work, such as being available during lunch or in the evening? How long are clients required to wait for an eligibility determination? For an initial substantive interview? For a determination of case acceptance? Are clients required to return more than once for such determinations? What is done for those for whom access is limited by geography, disability, limited English proficiency, or other factors?

Is telephone intake conducted so as to minimize waiting time and the possibility of lost calls, such as by offering callback or other alternatives? How long are clients kept in queue? Are they offered information during the time in queue?

If representation is limited or denied, how are clients informed? Is there notification of a grievance procedure? Is there referral of clients who are denied service or given limited assistance?

How well does the program keep clients informed of developments in their case? Are clients consulted if a significant change in case strategy is contemplated?

What is the reputation of the program among client and community groups? What do they say about telephone and in-person reception and intake? About the courtesy extended to clients by program staff? How does the program gauge client satisfaction?

Areas of Inquiry

From observations of facilities: Are waiting rooms clean and comfortable? Are educational materials available in the waiting rooms? Is privacy provided for interviews, intake (by telephone or in-person), and for client meetings?

Do the Legal Services providers in the state articulate and follow a policy of minimizing the number of times a client is referred from one provider to another? Is this followed by non- LSC funded legal assistance providers as well? Do potential clients experience a seamless and efficient referral from their first point of contact to the eventual provider of service, without unnecessary delay? Does the program facilitate referrals to other non-LSC providers, including Web-based resources?

Does the program provide cultural competency training for staff? Are the staff reasonably diverse? Do they reflect the diversity of the community served? Does the staff demonstrate cultural sensitivity in their work?

Criterion 2. Engagement with the low-income population.

The program is engaged effectively with the population eligible for its services, including major and distinct segments of that population and, where appropriate and feasible, incorporates perspectives from that population and its major segments in its work and operations.

Indicators

Program staff regularly interact with the low- income population as a whole and its major segments.

The program is known to, and has the trust and confidence of, the target population and its major segments. The program staff and governing body continually work to get information, perspectives, and advice from appropriate representatives of significant segments of the low-income client population on major program decisions concerning priorities, objectives, plans, and strategies, and where appropriate and effective, involve members of the low-income population in the program’s work.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the program aware of and does it do outreach to all major segments of the low-income population in its service area?

Do staff members attend meetings or other gatherings in the communities they serve? Is there regular communication and outreach through printed materials, television and radio, and the Internet, including where appropriate in languages other than English? Are there meetings with leaders of major organizations in the communities served, such as groups of tenants and parents, service providers, neighborhood associations, and similar entities? Are staff otherwise engaged with such organizations?

Is there evidence of target population participation at board meetings or other forums?

Is the program well known and respected among the low-income population and its major segments throughout the service area? Does the program represent eligible community groups?

Criterion 3. Access and utilization by the low-income population

Consistent with its goals, objectives and strategies, a program should, within the limits of its resources, be accessible to and facilitate effective utilization by the low-income population in its service area, including all major segments of that population, and all categories of people who traditionally have had difficulties in getting access to or utilizing civil legal assistance.

Indicators

The program regularly gathers and reviews information as to utilization by people who traditionally have access difficulties (seniors, youth, indigenous people, those with physical and mental disabilities, the geographically isolated, homebound, immigrants, people recently released from prison, people who are in institutions or incarcerated, those who are illiterate or marginally literate in any language, those with limited English-speaking ability, migrants, and others), and seeks to address, consistent with funding requirements and restrictions and within the limits of its resources and program priorities, any significant access problems revealed by such analysis. In conducting such analysis, the program utilizes available data sources and technological applications.

Consistent with program strategies and objectives and within the limits of its available resources:

  • The program in fact provides services to each of the major low-income racial, ethnic, and limited English proficient populations in its area, and regularly assesses anomalies between caseload and service area demographics that suggest access barriers, and takes steps to address them.
  • Program staff evidence knowledge of substantive issues and problems that have unique or disproportionate incidence or effect upon particular segments or categories of the low- income population.

Areas of Inquiry

What do community members say about access to and utilization of the program by people who traditionally have had difficulties in getting access to or utilizing civil legal assistance? Are program management and staff aware of the specific factors that affect particular populations’ access to and utilization of the program, such as local transportation, particular cultural or linguistic barriers, divisions within the client population that may affect the willingness of one group to utilize the program’s office, and other relevant factors? Do management and staff make deliberate and informed decisions regarding outreach to isolated population segments?

Has the program in fact identified isolated population segments and overcome specific barriers to their access to the program? Has the program engaged in periodic assessment of their effectiveness and addressed inadequacies?

Are staff and management able to articulate specific substantive issues that affect particular isolated populations in the program’s service area?

Do such staff articulations conform to the issues identified by community members? Has the program considered these specific issues as it has developed its goals, objectives, and strategies?

Facilities review – was there actual observation of methods for providing services to non- English speaking people, the disabled, and other groups that traditionally have access difficulties?

Program offices, office hours, intake and telephone procedures, language capabilities of staff, procedures for communicating with non- English speaking people, and other facilities and procedures are all reasonably calculated to achieve the broadest possible access and utilization by clients, including populations with traditional access difficulties, and make reasonable accommodation for their special needs.

Areas of Inquiry

Was there actual observation of telephone and in-person reception and intake systems? Was there review and evaluation of office setting and office hours?

Is the program in fact readily accessible to persons eligible to be clients? Are program offices easy to find and clearly marked? Are they accessible to public transportation? Is there accessible parking? Do office hours make it possible for the working poor to seek services? Are facilities accessible to disabled persons?

Are forms, community education materials, letters to clients and other communications written at a level that marginally literate persons can understand? Do staff have clear protocols of how to work with persons of any language who are illiterate?

Performance Area Three

Effectiveness of legal representation and other program activities intended to benefit the low-income population in the service area.

Performance Area Three addresses the program’s implementation of its goals, objectives, and strategies through the delivery of services. These services include direct legal representation, activity by private attorneys, and additional services and efforts to benefit the low-income population.13

Criterion 1. Legal representation. The program conducts its direct legal representation, in both full and more limited forms, in an effective and high-quality fashion which comports with relevant state requirements, governing professional ethics and practice of law, funding source requirements, relevant portions of the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid, and these Criteria, and in particular:

a. The program has in place adequate capacity to carry out its work, insofar as its resources permit.14

b. The program utilizes systems, approaches, and techniques sufficient to ensure that the representation is carried out with maximum effectiveness.15

c. The program’s legal representation achieves as much as is reasonably attainable for the client, given the extent of the representation, the client’s objectives, and the circumstances of the case. Consistent with applicable rules and decisions governing professional responsibility, program goals and objectives, client objectives, and funding requirements, in its representation and work the program maximizes the use of its resources and achieves in its representation and work the greatest possible benefits and systemic solutions for other low-income people who may face similar legal problems, and for the eligible population as a whole.16

Criterion 2. Private attorney involvement. The program effectively integrates private attorneys in its work in order to supplement the amount and effectiveness of its representation and other services to achieve its goals and objectives.17

Criterion 3. Other program services to the eligible client population. Consistent with its goals, objectives, and strategies, the program provides services in addition to direct client representation that are designed to help low-income people address their legal needs and problems. Such services may include, but are not limited to, community legal education (general legal information not predicated upon a client’s particular case or facts), assistance for self-help activities and pro se appearances, offering or facilitating participation in alternative dispute resolution, and other available approaches, utilizing the Internet, websites, interactive media, and other available technologies as appropriate. The program continually seeks to find innovative ways to deliver services and meet client needs.18

Criterion 4. Other program activities on behalf of the eligible client population. Consistent with its goals, objectives, and strategies, and within the limits of available resources and the terms of its funding, a program engages in other activities on behalf of its eligible client community that have a beneficial effect on systemic legal problems and economic opportunities of the eligible client population. These activities include, but are not limited to, communication and liaison with the judiciary, organized bar, government agencies, academic and research centers, social service agencies, and other information sources, state and national legal advocacy organizations, other organizations working on behalf of low-income people, and other entities whose activities have a significant effect on the eligible client population.19

Criterion 1. Legal representation

The program conducts its direct legal representation, in both full and more limited forms, in an effective and high-quality fashion which comports with relevant state requirements governing professional ethics and practice of law, funding source requirements, relevant portions of the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid, and these Criteria, and in particular:

a. The program has in place adequate capacity and resources to carry out its work, insofar as its resources permit.

Indicators

Adequate capacity and resources include but are not limited to:

  • Diverse casehandlers and support staff who are qualified to do the work assigned, have necessary expertise in the legal areas in which the program works, have the commitment, cultural competency, language capacity, skill, and preparation necessary to carry out their responsibilities.
  • Access to necessary law library and research capacity, including prior relevant work produced by the program and other similar providers.
  • Necessary up-to-date equipment and technology to support law office work.
  • Adequate access to experts and litigation support systems.
  • Systems for ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of legal work, at both program-wide and individual casehandler levels, examining both the results obtained and the efficiency and quality of the methods utilized to produce those results.
  • Other relevant representation support systems, including a uniform system for maintaining client files, a system for noting and meeting deadlines in representation, and a system for handling client trust funds separate from provider funds.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the experience level, education, and knowledge of staff?

  • Experience in legal services?
  • Other relevant experience?
  • Knowledge of relevant aspects of substantive law and procedure?
  • Cultural competency?
  • Language capacity?

Are advocates aware of key issues related to their areas of substantive work? Do they regularly consider the relationship between individual case issues and the broader issues affecting the client community? Does the program have strategies and procedures in place to stay abreast of relevant developments and issues affecting the low-income population? Can staff discuss new legal developments and the relationship of such developments to their cases? Do they stay in touch with resources that are likely to keep them apprised of new developments and methodologies, such as specialized organizations and list serves? Are staff able to identify key client issues outside of their areas of expertise?

Does the program have a comprehensive knowledge management strategy, so that it collects and retains information and documents from staff and others in a readily accessible fashion? Are the documents and information in fact used?

Is there significant state and federal on-line research capacity available to all casehandlers and advocates?

Indicators

  • Internal performance standards which express expectations for casehandlers and other staff.

Where necessary to meet the identified most pressing needs of the eligible client population, the program takes such steps as are required to develop the capacity to do the type of case or representation. Such steps may be more frequently required to deal with legal problems or types of representation, e.g., transactional work, which are traditionally less common in Legal Services program caseloads. Where necessary, the program supplements its staff capacity with outside expertise.

Areas of Inquiry

Do all staff have reasonably up-to-date computers, software, telephone systems and other technology? Are intake, case management, statistics, production of routinized legal work, legal research, document assembly, and inter-and intra-office communications thoroughly integrated with the program’s telephone and computer system? Is other appropriate up-to-date technology available and utilized?

Do program advocates appropriately consider and utilize experts in their representation of clients? Does the program have a policy that encourages and pays for the costs of necessary discovery, such as depositions, and do case- handlers routinely use all appropriate methods of discovery?

Are staff members aware of the policy and procedures for approval of such expenditures?

Does the program have systems in place to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of work by case type and activity, including systems to collect information about and assess the results of its work?

Does the program have systems and written policies regarding case file maintenance standards, multiple tickler systems, case docketing, and a central calendar?

Are the systems utilized by staff? Do they describe them the same way as their supervisors and the written policy?

Does the program conduct periodic review of open cases?

Does the program have written performance standards for staff?

Has the program recently developed new staff capacity in additional areas of law or types of representation, after they have been identified through a periodic or ongoing needs assessment or in response to changes in the law?

b. The program utilizes systems, approaches, and techniques sufficient to ensure that the representation is carried out with maximum effectiveness.

Indicators

The program utilizes:

  • Intake systems and case acceptance procedures that follow program priorities and case acceptance policies and restrictions, clearly describe the appropriate roles for both intake and casehandling staff, and adequately capture all relevant information and encourage exploration of appropriate issues beyond the problem identified by the client.
  • Case assignment procedures that appropriately take account of staff expertise and capacity, staff caseload and other work responsibilities, and other factors affecting the ability of staff to provide representation, and effectively maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of specialization.
  • Effective supervision of legal work, which includes regular and detailed supervisory review of cases.
  • Effective training and personnel development policies and procedures, with sufficient training, either within the program, at the state level, or utilizing outside resources, to ensure that staff receive necessary initial instruction and continue to learn and stay abreast of new legal developments, strategies, and techniques.
  • Effective utilization of available outside resources, expertise, and other support.
  • Specific case handler standards that address such issues as file maintenance practices and documentation of case activity.

Areas of Inquiry

Is appropriate information gathered at each step of the process to support necessary decisions? Do staff have adequate expertise for the interview for which they are responsible? Are priorities and case acceptance policies followed? Are expectations and roles for staff clearly expressed? Does the program use technology appropriately to support the intake and case acceptance process? Does the program regularly review case acceptance policies and adjust them as necessary and appropriate?

Is there an effective program policy regarding appropriate caseloads?

How does the program keep track of and manage caseloads?

Has the program undertaken a thoughtful analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of specialization, in the context of its funding, staff size, geographical service area, office locations, emergent client need, and other relevant factors? Has this analysis guided the program’s actual decisions?

How are case assignments made? Are the appropriate staff responsible for case assignment?

Is there a clear system for the supervision of employees and of legal work? Is it written? Does the program review significant legal work and hold moot courts in significant cases? Are lines of authority and responsibility clear? Do supervisors know what is expected of them? Does the system include regular affirmative supervisory review of cases? Is the system and procedure followed with a frequency for each staff member appropriate to the staffer’s level of experience and recent performance? Is the supervisor engaged in oversight of the development of case objectives and strategies? Are the supervisory efforts also reviewed regularly by more senior supervisors?

Does the program have a clear policy with regard to training and staff development? Is it followed? Is there effective training and orientation of new employees? Are there individual professional development plans that are periodically updated? Is there sufficient training for managers, supervisors, casehandlers, and other program staff? Are there regular staff evaluations?

Does program staff make use of available support from state and national advocacy and information organizations? Do they utilize other outside resources when possible? Is there a coordinated and integrated system for sharing in-house expertise? Does the program and its staff systematically contribute to and utilize knowledge management efforts, including electronic and other document and form banks, intellectual work product files, web sites, task force and other in-house list serves, and similar efforts?

Are there written standards for casehandlers?

Indicators

Individual staff engage in:

  • Appropriate problem diagnosis and definition that elicits pertinent facts, identifies the relevant legal issues and apprises the client of likely next steps and developments to be expected.
  • Development and ongoing refinement of case objectives and strategy, including definition of the lawyer’s role and the choice of the most effective forum (e.g., court, legislative body, administrative agency, alternative dispute resolution forum, other), with appropriate input from the client at relevant points.
  • Effective implementation of the case strategy, including appropriate and high- quality pursuit of informal, nonadversarial strategies, negotiation and settlement, alternative dispute resolution, preparation of pleadings and motions, conduct of necessary discovery, preparation for and conduct of hearings and trials, pursuit of necessary appeals (within program guidelines), memorialization and enforcement of judgments, and pursuit of representation in non-judicial forums or approaches other than litigation.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the casehandler able to demonstrate from discussion of case files that the indicators are satisfied?

Did the advocate develop and take necessary steps to implement a coherent case strategy? Did the advocate appropriately use other available resources in pursuing the case? Did the advocate reassess the strategy appropriately as the case progressed?

Was the client’s problem considered in relation to other similar problems, in order to assess whether strategies to achieve broader impact would be more efficient and appropriate?

Was the client informed and consulted in the formulation of the case objectives and major assessments of advantages, disadvantages, and risks in various options as the case was pursued?

What is the quality of analysis, and of the strategic options pursued? Were the most appropriate avenues for advocacy and representation pursued? Were the methods selected executed in a high-quality and effective way?

Indicators

To the extent a program engages in limited representation, as distinguished from full representation, in addition to the foregoing processes and indicators that are applicable, it:

  • Takes steps to ensure that the client understands and agrees to accept the more limited form of assistance, consistent with the applicable rules of professional conduct and the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid.
  • Periodically evaluates the effectiveness of such limited representation for the clients it is intended to benefit, and then makes such adjustments in scope and approach that may be indicated in order to increase effectiveness.
  • Takes steps to increase the likelihood that, as may be indicated in the circumstances, each particular client understands and is able to benefit from the limited assistance that the program is attempting to give, including appropriate follow-up steps where indicated.
  • Utilizes available external information, studies and analyses, as well as the program’s own experience, in making the determination as to which types of eligible client populations, individual clients and legal problems benefit most, and least, from the various forms of limited representation.
  • Ensures, if it provides such limited representation as its sole or predominant delivery approach, that it does so as a part of a more comprehensive delivery system in the service area in which other, non- LSC entities provide a full range of services, including full representation.
  • Utilizes available technology to assist in such service delivery.

Areas of Inquiry

In general, has the program given careful thought to the likely effectiveness of limited representation for the particular types of cases and problems? Are its conclusions reasonable, given all of the relevant circumstances?

Does the program effectively explain the nature of the limited representation to the client?

Does the program evaluate the effectiveness of its limited representation efforts, and make indicated changes?

Does the program follow up with clients to make the representations as effective as possible?

Has the program thoughtfully considered which types of clients are best able to benefit from limited representation? Are its conclusions reasonable?

Is there evidence that the limited representation fits into a comprehensive system which also provides full representation?

Is there effective use of technology in delivery?

For cases that the program refers to other providers in certain substantive areas, does it have clear referral protocols with the receiving program?

c. The program’s legal representation achieves as much as is reasonably attainable for the client, given the extent of the representation, the client’s objectives, and the circumstances of the case. Consistent with applicable rules and decisions governing professional responsibility, program goals and objectives, client objectives, and funding requirements, the program maximizes the use of its resources and achieves in its representation and work the greatest possible benefits and systemic solutions for other low-income people who may face similar legal problems, and for the eligible population as a whole.

Indicators

Results achieved are consistent, to the extent reasonably achievable, with the client’s objectives.

Results have achieved as much as reasonably attainable for the client, given the circumstances of the case, and, consistent with applicable rules and decisions governing professional responsibility, also have achieved as much as reasonably possible for other low-income people similarly situated, and for the eligible population as a whole.

The program tracks the benefits it achieves for clients through representation and other activities.

Areas of Inquiry

What does the casehandler describe as the results of representation? What is the relationship of the results to the client’s objectives? What was reasonably attainable in the case? What in fact was attained? Was there a benefit to other low-income people with a similar problem, or for the client population as a whole? Did the program and casehandler seek to maximize any such benefits? Is it clear from the casehandlers’ responses to questions about the files that they took reasonable steps on behalf of the client — affirmative defenses, counterclaims, joinder of other parties, discovery and other opportunities for investigation and development of claims, use of experts, pursuit of motions, trial preparation and conduct, pursuit of appeals — as appropriate to the particular case?

What information does the program collect and use about the benefits it achieves for clients and the communities in which they live?

Criterion 2. Private attorney involvement.

The program effectively integrates private attorneys in its work in order to supplement the amount and effectiveness of its representation and other services and achieve its goals and objectives.

Indicators

The program has a private attorney involvement system and plan that seeks to fully involve private attorneys in the program’s delivery of legal services to eligible clients, and that includes effective recruitment, training, referral, support, oversight, evaluation, and recognition. Where necessary and feasible, the program addresses typical needs of private attorneys handling cases, such as malpractice coverage, costs of experts, depositions and the like (to the extent they would be addressed for program staff handling such cases), form pleadings, practice manuals, costs, and other issues.

Subject to availability, the program utilizes private attorneys in a full range of program activities, including direct representation (both full and limited), counsel or support in major and complex litigation, transactional work, community legal education, assistance to pro se parties (including clinics), training, representation in non-judicial forums, and other work.

In general, the program is thoughtful and innovative in the ways that it uses the services of available private attorneys.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have a thoughtful, comprehensive and effective written private attorney involvement plan which seeks to engage private attorneys in a wide range of program activities, consistent with the possibilities and practicalities presented by the private bar in the particular service area? Is it followed?

Have the program’s recruitment efforts been successful? How many private attorneys have signed up to take pro bono cases? How many private attorneys took pro bono cases within the last twelve months? How many private attorneys have signed up to take Judicare cases? How many private attorneys took Judicare cases within the last twelve months? Are Judicare cases assigned to attorneys directly rather than requiring clients to work from a list?

How do referrals to private attorneys compare with the stated goals and objectives of the program? If they are not consistent, what is the explanation? Who decides which cases are sent to the private bar? What criteria are used?

What do private attorneys say about their work with the program? Does the staff support the private attorney involvement component? Does the director?

Are procedures for referral, oversight, and follow- up effective and reasonable? Are they written and are they followed? How does the program gauge client satisfaction?

What training is offered to participating attorneys? Does the program address private attorney support needs effectively?

Is there private attorney involvement in the wide range of program activity specified in the Indicators? If not, are there appropriate explanatory factors and justifications? Has the program been thoughtful and innovative in the ways that it utilizes private attorneys?

Is there effective recognition of contributing attorneys?

Criterion 3. Other program services to the eligible client population.

Consistent with its goals, objectives, and strategies, the program provides services in addition to direct client representation that are designed to help low-income people address their legal needs and problems. Such services may include, but are not limited to, community legal education (general legal information not predicated upon a client’s particular case or facts), assistance for self-help activities and pro se appearances, offering or facilitating participation in alternative dispute resolution, and other available approaches, utilizing the Internet, websites, interactive media, and other available technologies as appropriate. The program continually seeks to find innovative ways to deliver services and meet client needs.

Indicators

To the extent that the program engages in community legal education work, it:

  • Has in place adequate capacity and resources to carry out its work, and stays abreast of, compiles and utilizes relevant material previously produced by others.
  • Selects a clearly defined audience for the community legal education activity, consistent with program goals, objectives, and desired outcomes.
  • Utilizes the most appropriate methods, given the subject matter, the audience, and available resources. Methods considered should include Web sites, written materials, videos, computers, other audiovisual technology, and in- person presentations, including meetings and trainings.
  • Communicates effectively with its intended audience, in ways that are culturally and linguistically competent and understandable to an audience with low literacy skills.
  • Conducts periodic evaluations of the effectiveness of its community legal education efforts, measured against objectives, expectations, and realistic possibilities, and compares the costs of the results achieved with the costs of achieving equivalent or better results through other methods.
  • Attempts to assess results, including efforts to assess actual outcomes for individuals who were the target of the community legal education activity.

Areas of Inquiry

Are the objectives of the community legal education effort clear and reasonable? Do they relate appropriately to the program’s goals and objectives? Is the approach designed to educate its target population effectively?

Does the program creatively use written materials, videos, computers, audiovisual, and other available technology?

Is the target audience considered in determining the methods used?

Does the program evaluate the effectiveness of its community legal education efforts in light of the costs involved?

Does the program collaborate appropriately with other providers and social service agencies in the writing and distribution of community education and client self-help materials?

Indicators

To the extent that the program facilitates self-help or pro se efforts, including Internet-based material and interactive technologies, the program:

  • Has in place adequate capacity and resources to carry out such work, and compiles available relevant information on the strengths and weaknesses of such pro se, self-help efforts.
  • Experiments with and where indicated utilizes a range of self-help assistance strategies, including development of self- help materials and videos, clinics and other group sessions, media, training other agencies, groups and individuals to be presenters, Internet-based materials, kiosks, and other available technologies.
  • Utilizes past experiences, research, and evaluation to design future program strategies.
  • Targets a clearly defined audience which has the ability to carry out self-help activities in the legal problem areas chosen for concentration.
  • Effectively informs and assists its intended audience, and then regularly assesses the effectiveness and limitations of such efforts, evaluating whether the potential dangers and weaknesses of pro se approaches are outweighed by the benefits, and whether the program and client objectives are being met effectively, consistent with applicable rules and decisions of professional responsibility To the extent possible, assesses the benefits achieved by persons assisted by pro se efforts in relation to the costs of those efforts and compared to the results achieved by persons assisted by other methods.

The program deliberately seeks to experiment with alternative and innovative means of providing assistance to low-income people in legal matters.

Areas of Inquiry

Has the program given consideration to pro se alternatives where appropriate?

Are persons who proceed pro se successful? How does the program know?

How does the program address the need for individualized help for pro se persons? How many are assisted?

Has the program carefully considered the extent to which it will provide follow-up assistance to pro se litigants? Has it coordinated its pro se efforts with the courts? Is the program aware of the areas in which self-help clients are most likely to fail or drop out? Has it attempted to develop means to address those “failure points”?

Does the program experiment with alternative delivery approaches, or otherwise demonstrate innovation?

Criterion 4. Other program activities on behalf of the eligible client population

Consistent with its goals, objectives, and strategies and within the limits of available resources and the terms of its funding, a program engages in other activities on behalf of its eligible client community that have a beneficial effect on systemic legal problems and economic opportunities of the eligible client population. These activities may include, but are not limited to, communication and liaison with the judiciary, organized bar, government agencies, academic and research centers, social service agencies, and other information sources, state and national legal advocacy organizations, and other entities working on behalf of or serving low-income people, whose activities have a significant effect on the eligible client population.

Indicators

Consistent with its goals and objectives, as a part of its strategic advocacy, a program maintains effective communication, coordination, and a general presence with the indicated institutions and entities and any others that can have a significant effect on its target population, to the end of reducing the effect or extent of problems faced by that population through collaborative work.

To the extent that a program engages in such activities, it should have contacts, credibility, reputation, and experience sufficient to allow it to conduct such activities effectively.

The program continuously evaluates the effectiveness of such activities, measured against program objectives and what was reasonably attainable, in relation to the costs of such efforts.

Areas of Inquiry

Are program staff aware of legislative developments that affect the low-income population in the service area? Have they considered strategies that address problems at policy levels?

Does the program expect and support work to address systemic legal problems and improved economic opportunities benefiting the low- income population? Does it collaborate with the private bar and others to achieve such change? Are program personnel engaged in undertakings such as committees and task forces that relate to program objectives? Do they have sufficient experience, reputation, and credibility to be effective?

Do staff work with government agencies, social service agencies, or research centers concerned with issues affecting the service area? Do they work with the organized bar and judiciary when possible to address legal access or other problems faced by the low-income population?

Does the program have access to and review current literature and research concerning innovations in delivery methods?

Is management aware of innovative possibilities and developments in legal services delivery and receptive to their application in the program?

Does the program train or have regular communication with lay professionals who work with low-income people?

Performance Area Four

Effectiveness of governance, leadership and administration.

Performance Area Four establishes that the program should be led and managed effectively with high-quality governance, administrative systems, procedures and performance. Good leadership and strong internal operations increase the likelihood of effective services, and decrease the risk that effective program services will be adversely affected by organizational problems.

Criterion 1.  Board Governance. The program articulates a clear mission for the organization.  Each board member demonstrates commitment to the program and its mission through consistent engagement in Board activities that involve all other board members. The board effectively engages in strategic organizational planning with program leadership and staff. It is responsible for major policy decisions, while holding organizational management accountable for effective performance of their responsibilities. The board exercises its fiduciary responsibility to develop and maintain resources for the organization. The board also promotes public awareness of the program in the community in a manner that aims to enhance the program’s overall effectiveness and influence.20

Criterion 2. Leadership. The program has effective leadership that establishes and maintains a shared sense of vision and mission.  Program leadership emphasizes and models teamwork, transparency, excellence, and innovation, along with commitment to and achievement of the program’s goals, and objectives.21

Criterion 3. Technology infrastructure and administration. The program provides a stable and secure technology infrastructure sufficient for staff to work efficiently and effectively in the delivery of legal services and to support the operations of the organization. It devotes appropriate resources to provide the capacities outlined in LSC’s "Technologies That Should Be in Place in a Legal Aid Office Today."22

Criterion 4. Financial administration. The program has and follows financial policies, procedures, and practices that comport with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), requirements of the program’s funding sources, and comply with federal, state and local government regulations. The program has established sound internal controls and conducts effective budget planning and oversight.23

Criterion 5. Human resources administration. The program promotes organizational excellence through the recruitment, management, and retention of a high- performing, diverse workforce consistent with its mission and goals.  The program develops and communicates sound policies and procedures that ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and has a knowledgeable, accessible, and professional staff to the program in the areas of recruitment and retention, training, professional development, compensation and benefits, performance appraisal, and organizational governing personnel development.24

Criterion 6. Overall management and administration. The program is well managed and administered: including management structure; processes and systems to ensure compliance with all funder requirements and state and federal law; capacity to address problems quickly and effectively, robust intra-staff and staff-management communications; effective administrative procedures; allocation of appropriate resources to management functions; and periodic evaluations of administrative operations.25

Criterion 7. General resource development. Consistent with the program’s mission, the program seeks to maintain and expand its base of funding with the goal of enhancing program services and organizational sustainability. The program implements a strategy designed to identify funding sources to advance the mission and goals of the program.26

Criterion 8. Coherent and comprehensive delivery structure. Overall, the program management maintains a delivery structure and approach that effectively utilizes and integrates staff, private attorneys, and other components; emphasizes innovation and creativity in delivery; is informed by current information concerning delivery research; is well-suited to meeting the most pressing legal needs of the service area; and, given available resources, constitutes an effective and economical balancing of expenditures on the various functions and activities described in the four Performance Areas.27

Criterion 9. Participation in an integrated legal services delivery system. The program participates in, and seeks to expand and improve, statewide (and regional if relevant) legal assistance delivery systems to achieve equal access to justice and to meet the civil legal needs for low-income persons in the state.28

Criterion 1. Board governance

The program articulates a clear mission for the organization.  Each board member demonstrates commitment to the program and its mission through consistent engagement in Board activities that involve all other board members. The board effectively engages in strategic organizational planning with program leadership and staff. It is responsible for major policy decisions, while holding organizational management accountable for effective performance of their responsibilities. The board exercises its fiduciary responsibility to develop and maintain resources for the organization. The board also promotes public awareness of the program in the community in a manner that aims to enhance the program’s overall effectiveness and influence.

Indicators: Board Composition, Size and Tenure

As a whole, the board is appropriately diverse and representative of the various geographical areas and low-income populations served by the program.

The size of the board is conducive to effective oversight.

When determining board tenure, the board struck a balance between longevity and board experience and the need for new ideas and insights.

The board has processes and procedures for recruiting and orienting new board members.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the board membership diverse and representative of the service area?

Is the board either composed of an appropriate mix of members that are sufficiently expert in areas applicable to the program’s operations and achievement of overall goals related to the mission – e.g. non-profit management, financial oversight, fundraising, community engagement – or has it taken steps to ensure that such expertise is available to the board on a consistent basis?

Does the board adhere to LSC regulations regarding board composition?

Is there evidence that the board's size facilitates the effectiveness of its operation?

What is the tenure of each of the board members, including the board chair(s)?

Does the organization impose term limits on board membership?

If so, what are the term limits?

Does the board have a policy or practice regarding length of service on the board and on its Executive Committee?

If the board imposes term limits, how does the organization avoid the loss of the experience and expertise of valued directors?

Is there a process for removing board members?

Does the board have and follow established policies and practices regarding recruitment, qualification and retention and engagement of new members?

Is there a job description for board members explaining their role and duties?

Is the job description provided to board members?

Is there an onboarding process for new members?

Are board members given appropriate orientation and continuing training, including: training on the role of the board, potential conflicts of interest, and on fiscal, fiduciary, and other responsibilities?

Is there training on the LSC Act, LSC regulations, LSC performance criteria, and other best practices?

Indicators: Board Committees

The board’s committees structure promotes effective oversight of the organization.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the board’s committee structure? 

What is the composition of each committee?

Does each committee have clearly defined responsibilities that are documented in written form?

If so, is there periodic review and updating of the documents?

Is there a committee responsible for assessing the performance of the board?

Is there an executive committee, and, if so, what is its composition?

How often does the executive committee meet?

What is the scope of business usually conducted?

Is there a separate Finance or Audit Committee?

Does a member of the audit or finance committee have a financial background?

If not, does the committee engage sufficient assistance from non-board sources to provide consistent and competent guidance on financial matters?

Is there a separate fundraising committee?

Indicators: Board Meetings and Deliberations

The board fulfills the meeting requirements of LSC regulations.

The board has quorum requirements that are adhered to.

The board and committee meetings are well planned and focused to ensure that the board and its committees can carry out their oversight function.

Meeting materials

Executive session

The board members are engaged and regularly attend and participate in board and committee meetings.

Board and committee decisions are appropriately documented.

Areas of Inquiry

The board of directors meets at least four times a year.

There is public notice of meeting and meetings are public.

Is the board required to reach a membership attendance quorum before it can take formal action?

What is the percentage or number requirement for a quorum?

How many times within the past two years has the board tried to meet but has not had a quorum?

If there is no quorum, what percentage of the board attended each meeting?

Does the organization permit its board to act through virtual meetings such as email voting, in addition to remote participation by teleconferences or videoconference?

Are there guidelines or a protocol for virtual meetings?

Are there pre-circulated agendas for all board and committee meetings?

If so, who sets the agenda?

Do the board chair or committee chair and the executive officer contribute to the agenda?

Do individual members feel that the board packets distributed in the board and committee meetings provide them with useful information about the program and equip them to participate meaningfully in the board or committee meeting?

What is the quality of the materials?

How far in advance is board information circulated?

Do board materials contain updated financial information?

Do board meetings include an executive session without any staff (including the executive director)?

What is the level of attendance at board and committee meetings?

Do individual members prepare for and participate in meetings?

Are client board members actively engaged in board meetings and decisions?

Are board decisions appropriately documented in board minutes?

Minutes of full board and committee meetings are prepared, reviewed and approved by the board at least by the next scheduled meeting.

Who prepares the meeting minutes?

Apart from minutes of board meetings, does the board maintain a separately indexed chronological record of resolutions that reference their initial date of adoption and subsequent actions?

Indicators: Board Transparency and Accountability

The board and members individually, are committed to the program and its mission. The board properly discloses and manages any organizational or personal conflicts.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the board supportive of the program?

Does the board have a policy or practice that effectively deals with conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest?

Is the policy or practice in writing?

Are organizational or individual conflicts addressed quickly and effectively?

Indicators: Board Engagement with Strategic Planning

The board ensures that the program establishes and adheres to effective strategic planning.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the board adopt a mission statement, that has been collaboratively developed with management?

Does the board establish a vision for the future?

Does the board approve strategic goals?

Does the board articulate core values/principles?

What is the board’s role in developing the strategic plan?

Does the board work in close partnership with the management to ensure a successful planning process?

Does the board regularly review progress in accomplishing the goals of the strategic plan and take appropriate action to ensure implementation?

Does it periodically discuss progress toward strategic goals with program management?

Indicators: Board Oversight of the Organization – Programmatic

The board is involved in major policy decisions, aware of issues in and performance of the program, while leaving day-to-day management of program operations to program management personnel.

Areas of Inquiry

How are major policy decisions made?

Do board members understand and adhere to clear distinctions between board governance and program management?

Do board members understand the major issues at stake for the program?

How does the board exercise its oversight of program operations? 

Does the board receive regular reports providing objective data on program performance?

Monitoring:  Does the board receive periodic information on the work of the program?

Evaluating:  Does the board seek information to evaluate the effectiveness of the program’s services?

Indicators: Board Oversight of the Organization – Financial

The board exercises effective financial oversight.

Ensure funds are used for intended charitable purposes, and funds are appropriately accounted for.

The board safeguards investments.

Areas of Inquiry

Are board members aware of and accurate in their perception have a general understanding of the requirements of the program’s funding sources.

What systems and procedures does the board have to ensure effective financial oversight?

How often does the board review financial statements and do they understand what the financial statements say?

Do they have experience in or guidance from board members or other advisors in interpreting the financial statements?  

Is there a finance and/or audit committee to select the independent auditor?

Is the Form 990 presented to the board and management team prior to or after it is filed with the IRS?

Are there opportunities for the CFO/Controller or highest ranking financial officer to confer with the board, or members of the board?

Has the board established budget guidelines?

Are policies in place to evaluate the organization’s investment decisions and performance?

Are policies in place to safeguard the organization’s assets and tax-exempt status?

Indicators: Evaluation of the Executive Director

The board effectively evaluates the chief executive officer or executive director.

The boards practices appropriate oversight over the Executive Director’s Compensation plan.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the process for evaluating the Executive Director and other top officers in the organization?

Do they employ a 360 evaluation?

Who is involved in the evaluation process?

How frequently does the board evaluate the chief executive officer or executive director?

What, if any, are the criteria used for evaluating the Executive Director?

Is there a process for reviewing and setting executive compensation?

If so, what is the process?

Who is involved in this process?

Are all board members aware of the Executive Director’s entire compensation package?

Is the Executive Director’s compensation based on market data?

Is there contemporaneous substantiation of the board’s deliberation and decision on the Executive Director’s compensation?

Indicators: Board's Role as Ambassador for the Organization

The board effectively promotes and expands the reach and influence of the program in the communities it serves.

Areas of Inquiry

Do individual members, including client members, speak on behalf of the organization to external audiences at appropriate opportunities? 

Is there a protocol for who speaks on behalf of the board and the organization?

Does everyone know the “elevator speech?”

Do individual members represent the community to the organization by bringing back concerns, ideas, suggestions and compliments when they have merit or possibility?

Indicators: Board's Role in Resource Development

The board effectively promotes and expands the reach and influence of the program in the communities it serves, and develops additional resources for the program.

The board ensures that the program is in compliance with state and local laws related to solicitation.

The board ensures donations comply with LSC Requirements.

Areas of Inquiry

Do board members assist effectively in fundraising and development activity?

Does the board consult and communicate with the Executive Director to identify and, where appropriate, pursue all types of needed resources?

Determines how board members will participate in fundraising from sources where they have knowledge or influence, such as the private bar?

Does the board receive regular reports on staff fundraising activity?

Has the organization adopted policies to ensure compliance with federal/state laws on solicitation of funds?

Are solicitation materials accurate?

Donations are properly recorded pursuant to LSC regulations.

Indicators: Continuous Learning and Assessment

The board is committed to continuous improvement.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the organization maintain and provide its board members with an up-to-date board handbook or on-line resources?

Do members keep up with issues that affect the functioning and future of the organization?

Does the board engage in periodic formal or informal self-assessment processes?

Indicators: General Good Governance Practices

The board ensures legal and ethical integrity and maintains accountability.

The board ensures transparency and accountability by making information available to the public on the program’s mission, activities, finance and governance.

The members of the board exercise independent judgment in general board decision-making.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the board adopt and regularly evaluate a code of ethics that describes behaviors it wants to encourage and behavior it wants to discourage?

Did the board adopt a policy for handling employee and client complaints? 

Are there established procedures for employees to report financial impropriety or misuse of the organization’s resources?

Does the organization have a whistleblower policy?

Does the board periodically review the bylaws to ensure that the organization is in compliance with its governing documents and relevant laws?

Does the board have policies establishing standards for document retention and destruction?

Does the organization keep books and records relevant to its tax-exempt status and IRS filings for appropriate time periods?

Are the program’s Form 990 and annual report reported on its public website? Are these documents available to the public upon request?

Is there evidence that board members engage in independent analysis of materials and information provided to them?

Criterion 2. Leadership

The program has effective leadership that establishes and maintains a shared sense of vision and mission.  Program leadership means a commitment to and achievement of the program’s goals and objectives according to a model that emphasizes teamwork, transparency, excellence, effectiveness, efficiency, and innovation. 

Indicators: General Leadership

Key program staff, starting with the executive director or chief executive officer, are respected and recognized as the program leaders. 

Program leaders hold themselves accountable for motivating staff, and for promoting an environment that embraces mentoring and the professional development of all staff, helping them to achieve their fullest potential.

Key staff are appropriately involved in decision-making processes.

The program’s leadership demonstrates strong, effective communication skills and the capacity to engage in positive conflict resolution.

Areas of Inquiry

Starting with the chief executive officer, are there recognized, positive, and effective leaders in the program? 

Do board members, community leaders, clients and the legal community express confidence in the program’s leadership?

What specific leadership and professional development training and activities has the program provided? 

What are the outcomes of these efforts?

What opportunities are afforded staff to develop and exercise leadership skills?

Do staff see themselves as valued members of the program’s team?

Do program leaders model and encourage teamwork?

Do program leaders delegate effectively?

Does the program’s leadership seek the opinions and input of staff and other stakeholders in its decision-making processes?

Beginning with the executive director or chief executive officer, is there evidence that the leadership of the program communicates effectively with the board, staff and community stakeholders?

Do program leaders effectively address challenges and issues that impede the program’s progress in accomplishing its mission?

Starting with the executive director or chief executive officer, is there evidence that program leadership effectively models, motivates and inspires creativity, innovation, excellence, and achievement?

Indicators: Mission and Vision

Program leaders frame a vision and mission.

Program leaders model a high level of energy, commitment and integrity in carrying out the program’s mission.

Areas of Inquiry

Is there a shared sense of vision and mission?

Is it expressed in written form?

Are staff aware of it?

What mechanisms does the program’s leadership use to measure program effectiveness and adherence to the mission and vision?

In what ways does the program’s stated mission and vision guide the program’s planning and decision-making?

Indicators: Diversity

Starting with the executive director or chief executive officer, the program values and embraces diversity and provides opportunities for the development of a diverse group of leaders.

Areas of Inquiry

In what ways does the program and its leadership demonstrate inclusion and an appreciation for diversity?

Is the program’s leadership and management diverse, and, is there evidence that diversity and inclusion are valued by the program?

Indicators: Succession Plan

The program has a leadership succession plan that addresses preserving institutional knowledge and strong leadership across all levels of program management.

Areas of  Inquiry

Does the program have a clear and reasonable succession plan? 

Is it written?

Criterion 3. Technology infrastructure and administration.

The program provides a stable and secure technology infrastructure sufficient for staff to work efficiently and effectively in the delivery of legal services and to support the operations of the organization. It devotes appropriate resources to provide the capacities outlined in LSC’s “Technologies That Should Be in Place in a Legal Aid Office Today.”

Indicators

Technology planning is ongoing and integrated into the overall strategic plan of the program, includes staff input, and is reviewed and updated at least annually.

The program has competent IT staff and/or consultants with appropriate training and certifications to properly maintain and support its technology systems.

The grantee informs employees of their rights when using grantee-owned computers.

The program devotes appropriate resources to establish and maintain its technological infrastructure, including planning and budgeting appropriately for ongoing replacement/upgrades of its technology systems.

The program has a proper written IT security program to include robust IT security policies and procedures regarding protecting client and case data, ensuring the security and integrity of passwords, use of the Internet and social media, policies for the use of mobile devices, and if staff can bring their own devices (BYOD) to access work documents. Staff are familiar with and follow such policies and procedures.

The program has sufficient procedures to back up its data and has testing protocols to demonstrate that data recovery/protection policies work in practice.

The program stays informed of new technology developments and how it can make better use of technology to meet its mission.

Areas of Inquiry

Who is involved in technology planning?

Does the program get input from staff on technology needs?

Has the program ever had an outside technology audit?

How often is the technology plan reviewed and updated?

Does the plan include deadlines for implementation?

What type of network does the program have?

Are there appropriate firewalls?

Are servers hosted on-site, off-site, cloud-based?

If on-site, where are they and how are they secured (locked office, server room, appropriate A/C)?

What is the program’s IT security program, its policies, user security training and are the servers, computers and devices patched and kept up to on a regular schedule?  Is the network scanned for IT vulnerabilities regularly?

Does the grantee have a warning banner that appears while employees are logging on and notifies employees of their rights when using their grantee-owned computer?

What is the internet bandwidth in each office (any redundant connection available)?

Do offices have Wi-Fi available (is it password protected)?

Is server equipment kept in a secure environment with appropriate ventilation and cooling? Are IT systems currently patched and updated?

Is there a disaster recovery plan (that includes periodic testing) for mission critical technology systems?

Are there security policies and procedures for protecting client and case data, sensitive personal and personnel data, and all communications from loss or unauthorized intrusion? 

Are there security policies and procedures for use of the Internet and social media, content security on all devices, and integrity of passwords, retention and deletion of data? 

Are employees given notice concerning prohibited uses of their computer equipment including a warning banner that notifies employees of their rights (including no expectation of privacy) when using their grantee-owned computer?

Is there routine IT security training for staff?

Is the user’s system access granted based on roles and responsibilities?

What are the backup procedures?

Are test restores done periodically from the backups?

What is the replacement cycle for technology equipment (desktops/laptops, servers, printers, scanners, copiers, telephones, etc.)?

What type of phone system does the program use?

How old is it?

When was the last upgrade?

What reports can it provide?

Who maintains it?

Indicators: Extent to Which Technology Enhances Program Operations and Service Delivery

Maximum use of technology is made to facilitate and enhance internal communication.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program use technology effectively to enhance the efficiency of program operations and service delivery?

How does the program use technology to facilitate and enhance communication?

Does the program’s website effectively follow the Ernst and Young Best Practices?

Indicators: Staff Training

Program staff are provided with appropriate training on the use of technology.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have a policy for the secure use of its technology, including protecting data (including Personally Identifiable Information), use of the Internet and social media, password policies and if/when staff can bring their own devices?

Do staff understand and follow the policy?

What software does the program use, including case management system manufacturer and version?

Are staff provided with ongoing training in its use?

Criterion 4. Financial administration.

The program has and follows financial policies, procedures, and practices that comport with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), requirements of the program’s funding sources, and comply with federal, state and local government regulations. The program has established sound internal controls and conducts effective budget planning and oversight.

Indicators: Fiscal Policies and Staff

The program has detailed written policies and procedures describing its financial operations which comply with all applicable requirements.  The program follows such policies and procedures.

The program has sufficient, capable, trained and effective staff dedicated to financial administration.

Top management and the governing body are actively involved in the budgeting process. The budget is updated periodically and changes/variances are reviewed. The program engages in financial planning beyond the current year.

The program maintains LSC funds held for immediate operating expenses in federally-insured bank accounts.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the program’s accounting manual current and updated as appropriate?

How many financial staff does the program have?

Does the program have competent financial personnel?

What is the training and background of the financial staff?

The job descriptions of personnel are clear and lay out the roles and responsibilities of each position.

Is periodic training given to program staff, management, and the governing body regarding LSC regulations and accounting guide, as applicable?

Is the budget consistent with the program’s mission, goals, and objectives?

Does the program effectively adhere to its budget? 

Is the budget updated monthly (or at least quarterly), based on changes in revenues or expenditures?

Does the program engage in financial planning beyond the current year?

Does the recipient adhere to LSC Investment Guidelines? 

Indicators: Board of Directors

The recipient's governing body has fulfilled its fiduciary responsibility to the program through the establishment of a financial oversight committee or committees. The financial oversight committee(s) has at least one member who is a financial expert or the board has access to a financial expert.

The governing body regularly determines the compensation of the program’s Executive Director.

The Executive Director’s expenses are approved by a member of the board.

Areas of Inquiry

Has the board established a financial oversight committee or committees that perform the roles of a finance committee and an audit committee?

Does the financial oversight committee collectively possess the knowledge to set the strategic, financial course for the recipient and oversee management in execution of the strategy?

Dos the financial oversight committee have the leadership of individual well-versed in non-profit GAAP, COSO Internal Control Framework, and other relevant standards and guidelines?

Does the financial oversight committee meet on a regular basis? 

Does the committee have a charter or governing document and fulfill the responsibilities outlined therein?

Does the financial oversight committee set the strategic direction of the recipient for financial and audit related matters?

Does a governing body set and review the compensation of the Executive Director using an independent compensation consultant, comparable pay studies from other nonprofit organizations, and/or a compensation survey?

Are there procedures in place that require approval of the Executive Director’s expenses by a member of the governing body?

Indicators: Audited Financial Statements

The program issues accurate financial statements on a timely basis.

Executed one-time grants, such as TIG and PBIF awards, are reported separately in the program’s audited financial statements in accordance with 45 CFR §1628.3(e). 

Annual program audits do not reveal any significant problems or issues; where such items have been identified, the program addresses them effectively and promptly.

Areas of Inquiry

Are the audited financial statements submitted to LSC in accordance with the LSC Audit Guide for Recipients and Auditors?

Has the program submitted their audited financial statements in a timely manner over the last 3 years?

Are executed one-time grants, such as TIG and PBIF awards, reported either as a supplemental schedule of related revenue and expense or a separate column within the financial statement?

Do past audits or outside reports and evaluations reflect problems? 

Have any such problems been addressed? 

Is there any evidence of failure to comply with applicable funder or governmental requirements?

What type of auditor’s report did the IPA issue regarding the financial statements?  Unmodified or modified?  If modified, why?

What type of auditor’s report did the IPA issue regarding Federal Awards?  Unqualified or Qualified? If qualified, why?

Did the IPA issue findings in the audited financial statements?  What were the findings?  Have they been addressed?

Did the IPA issue a management letter?  What did it contain?  Has the recipient addressed the issues?

Are audit findings repeated from one fiscal year end to the next in the audited financial statements?

Does the recipient adequately address audit findings by performing the corrective actions outlined in the audited financial statements?

Indicators: Internal Controls

The recipient has established and maintains adequate accounting records and internal control procedures. which is designed to provide reasonable assurance of achieving the following objectives: 1. safeguarding of assets against unauthorized use or disposition; 2. reliability of financial information and reporting; and 3. compliance with regulations and laws that have a direct and material effect on the program.

Areas of Inquiry

There is sufficient segregation of duties.

Do the accounting policies and procedures require an appropriate level of supervisory review and adequate checks and balances to ensure the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of transaction processing?

The recipient has established and adheres to an adequate system of internal control following the principles of the COSO Integrated Internal Control Framework.

Indicators: Contracting

The program has a contracting policy to prevent abuse, limit waste of scarce funds, and prevent possible questioned cost proceeding. 

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have a contracting policy?

Does the policy identify the contracting procedures for the various types of contracts, dollar thresholds, and competition requirements?

Is the process used for each contract action fully documented and is the documentation maintained in a central file?

Is the required approval level (including items that need to be approved by LSC) established for each contract type and dollar threshold, including when the board of directors should be notified and/or give approval?

Do policies include procedures for documenting and deviating from the approved contracting process, such as when sole-source contracts are executed?

Is each contract or agreement executed with a price, time-period, and services to be performed?

Indicators: Fraud Prevention

The program has robust policies and safeguards in place to prevent fraud.

Areas of Inquiry

Assess the organization’s segregation of duties.

Who has access to the program’s bank accounts?

How are permissions and authorizations assigned?

Does the program have Whistleblower and Conflict of Interest Policies?

Is the program’s IT infrastructure adequately secure?

Is the physical and logical access to the program’s computer network adequately secure?

Does the program’s governance and management of IT resources promote effective operations and provide a robust system of internal control?

Do the program’s computer applications incorporate and facilitate a robust system of internal control? 

Have thorough and well documented hiring practices and procedures?

Are staff periodically trained or reminded of the Whistleblower and Conflict of Interest Policies?

Does the program employ computer banners on all servers, computers and devices to inform employees of prohibited use activities and no right to privacy of grantee equipment?

Indicators: Cash Disbursements

The program’s disbursements are approved in writing by an authorized individual.

The program’s criteria and procedures for purchases are documented. 

Areas of Inquiry

Are procedures adequate to provide that salary and wage rates are approved by an authorized individual and employees are paid in accordance with approved wage and salary plans?

Were invoices properly approved, with dates, before disbursement checks were processed?

Do policies and procedures for disbursements address unallowable expenses, purchase approvals, securing and approving new vendors, segregation of purchasing duties, and duplicate payment controls?

Is there a procedure for proper payment and approval of expenditures at an appropriate level of management?

Indicators: Cash Receipts

The program has established internal control procedures related to cash receipts.

The program maintains a client trust fund and accounting system to account for funds held on the client's behalf.  

Areas of Inquiry

Is initial accountability for cash established as soon as a cash item is received?

Do the accounting records adequately identify all cash receipts as to source and purpose?

Is an effective chain of custody in place for cash receipts?

Has the program established a method to determine the balance for each client trust account?

Does the program have a process to ensure that dormant funds are escheated to the state in compliance with state requirements?

Indicators: Asset and Property Records

A physical inventory of property purchased with LSC funds is conducted at least once every two (2) years and the results are reconciled with property records.

The program has established adequate internal controls to safeguard its petty cash funds.

Areas of Inquiry

Is a physical inventory conducted at least once every two (2) years?

Are any differences between the physical inventory and the accounting records reconciled?

Is there a surprise count of petty cash conducted periodically?

Are the petty cash and client trust funds secured in locked location? 

Are all petty cash disbursements supported by an original receipt or appropriate supporting documentation?

Indicators: Subgrants

The program has established adequate procedures related to the subgranting of LSC funds to ensure compliance and proper fiscal oversight.   

Areas of Inquiry

Does the subgrant agreement or contract with the sub recipient specify financial reporting responsibility?

Where a relationship with a sub recipient exists, do the notes to the financial statements of the recipient and subrecipient fully disclose the nature of that relationship? 

Indicators: Bonding of Recipients

The program maintains fidelity bond coverage at a minimum level of at least ten (10) percent of the program’s annualized LSC funding level for the previous fiscal year, or of the initial grant or contract.

The program carries adequate fidelity bond coverage for all staff required to be bonded. 

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program carry at least the minimum level of fidelity bond coverage for fraud and employee dishonesty as described in 45 CFR Part 1629?  

Does the program carry fidelity bond coverage for all staff required to be bonded: Every director, officer, employee and agent of a program who handles funds?

Indicators: Accounting Software

The program’s accounting software is appropriate to support the operations and financial oversight of the organization.

The program limits access to its accounting software.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program use up-to-date technology to enhance efficient financial operation?

Is the software appropriate to support the operations of the organization?

Does the accounting software incorporate adequate internal controls? 

Is the recipient effectively using the software to ensure internal controls are in place?

Does the program limit access to its accounting software?  

Does each user have his/her own password security based on their fiscal functions and are accounting software passwords changed periodically? 

Is a user’s system access granted based on roles and responsibilities?

Criterion 5. Human resources administration.

The program promotes organizational excellence through the recruitment, management, and retention of a high- performing, diverse workforce consistent with its mission and goals.  The program develops and communicates sound policies and procedures that ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and has a knowledgeable, accessible, and professional staff to the program in the areas of recruitment and retention, training, professional development, compensation and benefits, performance appraisal, and organizational governing personnel development.

Indicators: Human Resources Staffing and Workplace Policies

The program has sufficient, capable, trained, and effective professional staff assigned to human resources administration.

The program has an employment handbook or manual with policies on hiring, supervision, promotion, compensation, and termination that are in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

The program engages in human resources planning and policies are reviewed periodically.

The program maintains accurate and timely personnel files and protects the confidentiality of personnel records as required by applicable law and contract.

The program has a document retention policy for personnel files and that policy is adhered to by managers.

Areas of Inquiry

Who is responsible for the human resources functions within the program?

If responsibilities are shared, how are duties defined?

What is the background, experience and training of staff responsible for handling human resources?

What is the interaction between the human resources and finance staff?

Does the program have an employment handbook or manual with human resources policies?

Does the handbook or manual include Conflict of Interest and Whistleblower policies? 

Does the handbook or manual include an ethics policy?

What is the program’s plan to maintain HR’s knowledge of best practices?

How often are the policies reviewed and updated?

Where are personnel files kept?

Are they paper or electronic?

Who is responsible for maintaining personnel files?

Are there procedures to control access to personnel files and protect the confidentiality of employees?

Does the program have a document retention policy for personnel files?

How long are they kept?

Where are they stored after employees separate from the organization?

Indicators: Program Staffing, Recruitment, and Retention

The program has a capable, culturally competent, and diverse staff.

The program has a comprehensive recruitment strategy that employs a variety of methods and sources to recruit highly qualified candidates.

The program has a formal orientation process for all new hires.

The program is able to forecast and determine its human resource needs and tracks fluctuations in the workforce, including turnover rates.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the current composition of the staff?

Is the current composition of the program staff diverse in terms of experience, gender, race, and disability status?

Does management create and sustain an environment that values and supports a diverse workforce?

Has the program adopted a disability inclusion plan?

What are the program’s recruitment practices?

What recruitment methods and sources are used? (e.g., online employment sites, job boards, referrals, social media, search firms)?

Are the job descriptions up-to-date and do they accurately explain job functions and separate essential from nonessential functions?

Are there job descriptions for all positions?

Is there a new hire orientation and is the orientation period defined?

What is the rate of turnover in the program?

Does the program evaluate internal and external factors related to turnover?

What is the average length of time an employee stays with the organization, by position type and category?

Does the program experience a high level of employee grievances?

Does the program have an effective plan to develop and retain new attorneys and paralegals (e.g. professional advancement along a defined career path)?

Are individual development plans created for each employee?

Indicators: Compensation & Benefits Policies

The program has a compensation and benefits structure that promotes staff recruitment, retention and professional development.

The program periodically assesses salaries, employee benefits, bonuses and COLAs.

Areas of Inquiry

What are the program’s fringe benefits and retention policies, such as a loan repayment assistance program, retirement plans, health insurance, and other financial and non-financial benefits?

Does the program regularly review its compensation structure and benefits?

Does that review include assessing market-based compensation studies?

Indicators: Staff Evaluation and Training

The program conducts regular and effective evaluations of all staff.

The program leverages its budget appropriately for training opportunities that would benefit its entire staff.

The program conducts ongoing training for all staff on program policies, procedures, technology, and in substantive legal areas and advocacy skills.

The program provides effective training for management and administrative staff.

The program regularly conducts cultural competency training for all staff.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program conduct performance evaluations or appraisals?

If yes, how often?

Does the program use a performance evaluation instrument?

Is this evaluation linked to the program’s goals, vision, or strategic initiatives?

Do such evaluations include setting goals for staff? 

Does the program foster an environment that emphasizes continuous learning, constructive feedback, improvement and excellence?

What training is available to staff?

Do all staff members have access to training opportunities?

Is there a formal, ongoing training for employees and managers (e.g., procedures, policies, technology, substantive legal areas)?

Who is responsible for planning and conducting training of existing employees?

Does the program ensure all staff receive regular training on the LSC Code of Conduct and LSC’s Grant Terms and Compliance requirements?

Does the program have a policy highlighting the importance of alerting the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to potential indicators of fraud, waste, and abuse of program funds and the requirement to do so promptly for loss over $200?

Does the program have a policy for identifying compliance concerns? Does the program train staff on the policy and reporting compliance concerns?

Does the program provide effective leadership and management training and support to mid-level supervisors and personnel engaged in administration and management?

Is there cultural competency training for all staff? 

Have they attended?

Indicators: Staff Morale and Workplace Climate

To the extent that there are or have been serious morale or other internal personnel problems, the program is addressing or has addressed them effectively, and is taking or has taken appropriate steps to prevent their recurrence.

The program has developed a process to address internal complaints, suggestions, and feedback.

Program offices are professional and provide adequate space for conducting the program’s work.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the recent history and current status of staff morale? 

Does LSC’s employee survey indicate significant leadership challenges?

Does LSC’s employee survey indicate friction among staff members?

Does the program have a process accepting and resolving employee grievances?

Are program offices professional?

Do they provide adequate space for conducting the program’s work, provide appropriate privacy?

Does the program provide adequate maintenance services?

Criterion 6. Overall management and administration

The program is well managed and administered: including management structure; processes and systems to ensure compliance with all funder requirements and state and federal law; capacity to address problems quickly and effectively, robust intra-staff and staff-management communications; effective administrative procedures; allocation of appropriate resources to management functions; and periodic evaluations of administrative operations.

Indicators: Allocation of Resources

The program devotes appropriate resources to management.

The program has a management structure that effectively uses middle managers.

The mix of program staff (managers, case handlers, and administrative staff) maximizes program resources to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of client services.  

The program allocates appropriate resources to internal compliance. 

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program devote an appropriate level of resources to management and administration?

What is the span of control in each division (i.e. what is the management to direct reporting ratios within the organization)?

How many middle managers are there?

Has the program made considered choices regarding the proportionality of non-advocacy staff as compared to case handlers, consistent with program resources, number of case handlers, and type of work?

Has the program established a risk management program/group to review and mitigate management systems risks? Such risks could include: performance management (failure to achieve performance goals including implementation of the Strategic Plan); human capital management (failure to attract, motivate, and retain high quality staff); information management (failure to collect and share vital operational data and inability to support stable and safe IT operations, including the case management system); acquisitions management (higher contract costs and possible fraud, waste, and abuse risks).

Does the program have a compliance officer (or someone who serves in that role) to ensure compliance concerns are reported and managed effectively and efficiently?

Indicators: Decision Making Processes

The program makes major decisions in a way that incorporates relevant information and input.

The program has procedures for obtaining input on significant decisions, and for resolving complaints and problems effectively and timely.

The program’s administrative structure, processes, and systems support compliance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

The program’s administrative structure, processes, and systems support compliance with funder requirements.

Areas of Inquiry

What is the program’s decision making process?

Is decision making authority clear when delegated?

Is decision making timely and effective?

Do staff members know whom to go to for decisions?

Do staff feel that their input is sought on significant decisions?

Do staff feel that decisions are quickly and effectively communicated to all who are affected?

Does the program resolve employee complaints and problems effectively and timely?

Is there any evidence of non-compliance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations?

Is there any evidence of non-compliance with funder requirements?

Indicators: Continuity of Operations

The program has developed and regularly updates an emergency plan to maintain operations and to minimize disruption in the event of an emergency. 

The program has a plan for providing client services in the event of a disaster or emergency affecting its client community.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have a plan in the event of an emergency or disaster?

If yes, does the plan include:

  • the preservation of files, equipment, and computer data bases;
  • a process for communication between staff and management;
  • for the relocation of the program's work sites?

Does the program attempt to coordinate with state/local emergency response and preparedness entities?

Does the program have a plan for providing client services in the event of a disaster or emergency affecting the client population?

Criterion 7. General resource development

Consistent with the program’s mission, the program seeks to maintain and expand its base of funding with the goal of enhancing program services and organizational sustainability.  The program implements a strategy designed to identify funding sources to advance the mission and goals of the program.

Indicators: Staffing

The program has attempted to develop, and to the extent possible, has effective relationships with other major institutional resources in the service area that are involved or might be able to provide some support in the provision of legal assistance to eligible clients, as well as help in expanding program funding.

The program has sufficient, capable, trained, and effective staff dedicated to resource development, or uses consultant(s) or other organizations to supplement or lead that effort.

The program has delineated responsibilities for resource development staff and communication (if applicable) staff.

The program has engaged the board and staff in resource development and has provided adequate training.

Areas of  Inquiry

Who are the program’s other major funders?

What percentage of non-LSC funding does the program receive?

How many of the funders have funded before or made multi-year commitments?

Who is responsible for the resource development efforts within the program? 

Is the number of staff assigned to resource development appropriate given the size of the program and level of funding?

What are the duties for the person(s) responsible for these efforts?

How are those responsible for resource development evaluated for this work?

How are the resource development activities integrated with the program’s external communication efforts?

Does the program employ a separate staff person to handle the program’s communications?

Are staff and board actively engaged around resource development efforts?

Have staff and/or board members received training on resource development or fundraising?

If yes, who conducted the training?

Does the program have an advisory board that focuses on resource development, or does the board have a resource development committee focused on such activities?

Does the program’s governing body involve non-members with expertise in resource development?

Indicators: Resource Development Plan & Implementation

The program has a written plan describing its strategy to ensure that the program is supported by sufficient financial resources consistent with its mission.

The program has a diverse funding stream and continually explores opportunities for increased funding.

The program is innovative in trying to develop new sources.

The program uses former and existing clients and former board members as a part of its funding efforts.

The program sponsors events and activities to recognize its individual donors and supporters.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have a written resource development plan, and is resource development a part of its overall strategic plan?

Does the plan identify possible funding sources and specific and realistic fundraising goals?

How often is this plan reviewed by management?  By the board? 

Does the program employ social media as a tool for increasing program revenue?

Has the program achieved diversity in funding: federal, state, local governments; individual donors; law firms; foundations; bar campaigns, restricted/unrestricted gifts?

What is the percentage of each funder type of the current budget?

What tools does the program employ to engage new and existing donors?

How are new and existing donors cultivated?

How are donors acknowledged?

Has the program conducted a feasibility study to determine the benefits and risks associated with its funding efforts?

Does the program have an endowment?

If yes, what are the permissible uses of the endowment?

Does the program engage former clients in its funding efforts?

Does the program engage former board members in fundraising and encourage them to contribute themselves?

Does the program host donor recognition and cultivation events? How often?

Indicators: Monitoring and Evaluation

The resource development plan has been approved by the board, is reviewed annually, and is consistent with the program’s budget.

The program has a process to evaluate cost effectiveness of resource development activities.

The program has carefully evaluated whether the requirements of prospective funding sources are consistent with the program’s mission, goals, priorities, objectives, and strategies.

The program has developed a system to track donor gifts and other funding.  This system is integrated with other systems including the accounting software.

The program monitors its efforts to ensure that its mission is being communicated accurately and clearly to potential donors and funders.

The program seeks both monetary and in-kind support from donors, corporations, and other funders.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the cycle of organizational budgeting in line with the resource development plan?

How does the program evaluate the cost effectiveness?

How does the program decide the priorities for funding?

How does the program track gifts from donors and other funding sources?

Does the program use fundraising or donor software?

If so, which one?

What efforts does the program make to ensure that its mission is being communicated accurately and clearly to the potential donors and funders?

What is the mix of support the grantee receives from various donors?

Criterion 8. Coherent and comprehensive delivery structure

Overall, the program management maintains a delivery structure and approach that effectively utilizes and integrates staff, private attorneys, and other components; emphasizes innovation and creativity in delivery; is informed by current information concerning delivery research; is well-suited to meeting the most pressing legal needs of the service area; and, given available resources, constitutes an effective and economical balancing of expenditures on the various functions and activities described in the four Performance Areas.

Indicators

The program has a reasonable, thoughtful and effective overall delivery system, which utilizes and integrates staff, private attorneys, volunteers, branch offices, outreach, and alternative delivery methods, and which strikes an effective balance on key issues such as specialization, experience of staff, use of attorneys and paralegals, and other major design choices.

The program’s choices about allocation of resources to competing activities and functions are reasonable and balanced, and consistent with its mission, goals, priorities, objectives, and strategies.

Areas of Inquiry

Does the program have in place and regularly use systems to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of its overall delivery system?

Is there evidence of actual assessment of efficiency and effectiveness?

Is there evidence of change as a result of that assessment?

Is there evidence of experimentation and innovation?

Criterion 9. Participation in an integrated legal services delivery system

The program participates in, and seeks to expand and improve, statewide (and regional if relevant) legal assistance delivery systems to achieve equal access to justice and to meet the civil legal needs for low-income persons in the state.

Indicators

The program participates in statewide (and regional if relevant) efforts to provide low-income persons in the state with equal access to a full range of civil legal assistance services in all forums.

The program participates in local, statewide (and regional if relevant) efforts to maximize the effective use of available human and financial resources and to increase such resources to better address the civil legal needs of the state’s low-income populations.

The program coordinates with other providers, the bar, law schools, and other relevant entities in seeking to ensure that support is provided to advocates and managers, including training, dissemination and exchange of information, and communication and coordination among practitioners in key areas of law and practice.

The program participates in statewide planning and oversight activities to achieve an integrated statewide delivery system, and coordinates and collaborates with other civil legal aid providers, private attorneys, government and corporate attorneys, the organized bar, courts and court personnel, law schools, and other public and private entities that provide legal and other social services to low-income persons.

Areas of Inquiry

Is the program engaged in statewide efforts (and regional efforts if relevant) to achieve the availability of a full range of civil legal assistance in all available forums?

Does the program participate in statewide (and regional if relevant) oversight activities to achieve an integrated statewide delivery system?

Is the program engaged in statewide efforts (and regional efforts if relevant) to eliminate barriers to access and provide meaningful services to low-income persons in the state?

Is the program engaged in statewide efforts (and regional efforts if relevant) to utilize existing financial and human resources effectively and efficiently?

Is the program engaged in statewide efforts (and regional efforts if relevant) to increase potential sources of funding, including financial resources, volunteer and in-kind resources?

Is the program engaged in statewide efforts (and regional efforts if relevant) to provide support to advocates and managers, including training, dissemination and exchange of information, and communication and coordination among practitioners in key areas of law and practice?

As part of its efforts to expand access, provide a full range of services, maximize resources, and ensure support within the state, does the program coordinate and collaborate with other civil legal aid providers, private attorneys, government and corporate attorneys, the organized bar, courts and court personnel, law schools, and other public and private entities that provide legal and social services to low-income persons?

Endnotes

1 In these Criteria, the capitalized term “Legal Services” will be used to refer to programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation.

2 Pursuant to the Compact of Free Association, LSC also has the responsibility to ensure the provision of legal services to eligible clients in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

3 As indicated, LSC will continue to use the Criteria for assessments of grantees by using LSC staff and outside reviewers with the requisite expertise.

4 Legal Services Corporation. Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. Washington, DC. September 2005. Available at www.lsc.gov/JusticeGap.pdf.

5 Where the term “legal needs” is used in these Criteria, it refers to civil legal needs.

Note: References footnoted throughout the LSC Performance Criteria (“Performance Criteria” or “Criteria”) to “ABA Standard …” are to the Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid approved by the American Bar Association (“ABA”) House of Delegates in August 2006. The ABA Standards are cross-referenced to the most applicable Performance Criterion or Criteria. Not every cross reference that could be made has been included, just those that are the most relevant. Not all ABA Standards are cross-referenced in the Performance Criteria. The ABA Standards apply to LSC funded and non-LSC funded providers of civil legal aid and the Standards do not reflect the restrictions adopted by the 104th Congress in 1996. The Standards provide more extensive commentary than the Performance Criteria and sometimes refer to work that cannot be done by LSC grantees. The Criteria reflect congressional directives and restrictions and should be applied consistent with LSC regulations and requirements.

6 ABA Standard 2.1 (on Identifying Legal Needs and Planning to Respond)

7 The citation below to these ABA Standards underscores LSC’s emphasis on programs adopting strategies for delivery approaches that are geared to achieving lasting results for clients.

ABA Standard 2.1 (on Identifying Legal Needs and Planning to Respond)
ABA Standard 2.2 (on Delivery Structure)
ABA Standard 2.3 (on Participation in Statewide and Regional Systems)
ABA Standard 2.6 (on Achieving Lasting Results for Low Income Individuals and Communities)

8 ABA Standard 2.6 (on Achieving Lasting Results for Low Income Individuals and Communities)
See generally Section 3 of the ABA Standards, Standards Regarding Provider Effectiveness – Delivery Structure and Methods (3.1-3.6).

9 ABA Standard 2.11 (on Provider Evaluation)

10 ABA Standard 2.4 (on Cultural Competency)
ABA Standard 2.5 (on Staff Diversity)
ABA Standard 4.1 (on Provider’s Intake System)
ABA Standard 4.2 (on Establishing a Clear Understanding)
ABA Standard 4.6 (on Communication in the Primary Languages of Persons Served)
ABA Standard 6.1 (on Characteristics of Staff)

11 ABA Standard 1.2 (on Governing Body Members’ Responsiveness to the Communities Served) ABA Standard 2.1 (on Identifying Legal Needs and Planning to Respond)

12 ABA Standard 4.5 (on Access to Services)

13 Section 7 of the ABA Standards, Standards for Practitioners, referred to below are particularly valuable supplements to the Performance Criteria because they are addressed to advocates and contain detailed guidance on aspects of practice that programs should reinforce as applicable. These Standards provide guidance for effective lawyering in a broad range of advocacy from advice through litigation strategy to appellate practice. It is the program’s responsibility to ensure that its advocates employ effective practice standards.

ABA Standard 7.1 (on Establishing an Effective Relationship and a Clear Understanding with the Client)
ABA Standard 7.2 (on Client Participation in the Conduct of Representation)
ABA Standard 7.3 (on Practitioner’s Responsibilities to Protect Client Confidences)
ABA Standard 7.4 (on Initial Exploration of the Client’s Legal Problem)
ABA Standard 7.5 (on Investigation)
ABA Standard 7.6 (on Legal Analysis and Research)
ABA Standard 7.7 (on Case Planning)
ABA Standard 7.8 (on Legal Counseling)
ABA Standard 7.9 (on Negotiation)
ABA Standard 7.10 (on Alternative Dispute Resolution)
ABA Standard 7.11 (on Litigation)
ABA Standard 7.11-1 (on Litigation Strategy)
ABA Standard 7.11-2 (on Pleadings)
ABA Standard 7.11-3 (on Motion Practice)
ABA Standard 7.11-4 (on Discovery)
ABA Standard 7.11-5 (on Trial Practice)
ABA Standard 7.11-6 (on Enforcement of Orders)
ABA Standard 7.11-7 (on Appeals)
ABA Standard 7.12 (on Administrative Hearings)
ABA Standard 7.13 (on Legislative and Administrative Advocacy by Practitioners)
ABA Standard 7.14 (on Practitioner’s Responsibilities in Limited Representation)
ABA Standard 7.15 (on Transactional Representation)
ABA Standard 7.16 (on Representation of Groups and Organizations)
ABA Standard 7.17 (on Maintenance of Professional Competence)

14 ABA Standard 4.1 (on Provider’s Intake System)
ABA Standard 4.2 (on Establishing a Clear Understanding)
ABA Standard 6.1 (on Characteristics of Staff)
ABA Standard 6.2 (on Assignment and Management of Cases and Workload)
ABA Standard 6.3 (on Responsibility for the Conduct of Representation)
ABA Standard 6.5 (on Training)
ABA Standard 6.6 (on Providing Adequate Resources for Research and Investigation)

15 ABA Standard 2.9 (on Use of Non-attorney Practitioners)
ABA Standard 2.10 (on Effective Use of Technology)
ABA Standard 4.1 (on Provider’s Intake System)
ABA Standard 5.1 (on Eligibility Guidelines)
ABA Standard 5.2 (on Policy for Acceptance of Applicants for Service)
ABA Standard 6.2 (on Assignment and Management of Cases and Workload)
ABA Standard 6.4 (on Review of Representation)
ABA Standard 6.5 (on Training)
ABA Standard 6.6 (on Providing Adequate Resources for Research and Investigation)

16 ABA Standard 2.6 (on Achieving Lasting Results for Low Income Individuals and Communities)
ABA Standard 3.1 (on Full Legal Representation)
ABA Standard 3.4 (on Limited Representation)
ABA Standard 3.4-1 (on Representation Limited to Legal Advice)
ABA Standard 3.4-2 (on Representation Limited to Brief Service)

17 ABA Standard 2.7 (on Integrating the Resources of the Legal Profession and Involvement of Members of the Bar) ABA Standard 2.8 (on Relations with the Organized Bar)

18 ABA Standard 2.10 (on Effective Use of Technology) ABA Standard 3.3 (on Community Economic Development) ABA Standard 3.5 (on Assistance to Pro Se Litigants) ABA Standard 3.6 (on Provision of Legal Information)

19 The ABA Standards listed below emphasize the importance of collaboration with partners in addressing issues affecting low-income persons and communities.

ABA Standard 2.3 (on Participation in Statewide and Regional Systems)
ABA Standard 2.8 (on Relations with the Organized Bar)
ABA Standard 2.12 (on Institutional Stature and Credibility)

20 ABA Standard 1.1 (on Overall Functions and Responsibilities of the Governing Body)
ABA Standard 1.1-1 (on Governing Body Oversight of the Provider)
ABA Standard 1.1-2 (on Prohibition Against Interference in the Representation of Clients)
ABA Standard 1.1-3 (on Fiscal Matters)
ABA Standard 1.1-4 (on Relations with the Chief Executive)
ABA Standard 1.1-5 (on Serving as a Resource to the Provider)
ABA Standard 1.1-6 (on Resource Development)
ABA Standard 1.2 (on Governing Body Members’ Responsiveness to the Communities Served)
ABA Standard 1.2-1 (on Individual Members’ Commitment to the Provider)
ABA Standard 1.2-2 (on Board Members from the Communities Served by the Provider)
ABA Standard 1.2-3 (on Training of Members of the Governing Body)
ABA Standard 1.2-4 (on Governing Body Members’ Conflicts of Interest)
ABA Standard 1.3 (on Governing Body Communication with Low Income and Legal Communities)

21 ABA Standard 1.1-4 (on Relations with the Chief Executive)

ABA Standard 2.12 (on Institutional Stature and Credibility)

22 ABA Standard 2.10 (on Effective Use of Technology)

23 ABA Standard 1.1-3 (on Fiscal Matters)

24 While the ABA Standards listed below are cited in support of effective human resources administration, they reflect values that are important to the operation of the program as a whole.

ABA Standard 2.4 (on Cultural Competence)
ABA Standard 2.5 (on Staff Diversity)
ABA Standard 6.1 (on Characteristics of Staff)

25 ABA Standard 2.11 (on Provider Evaluation)

See generally Section 5 of the ABA Standards, Standards for Internal Systems and Procedure (5.1-5.5)

See generally Section 6 of the ABA Standards, Standards for Quality Assurance (6.1-6.6)

26 ABA Standard 1.1-6 (on Resource Development)

ABA Standard 2.3 (on Participation in Statewide and Regional Systems)

27 ABA Standard 2.2 (on Delivery Structure)

28 ABA Standard 2.3 (on Participation in Statewide and Regional Systems)