Whether to Provide Civil Legal Representation to Prisoners

Office of the General Counsel
External Opinion: 98-41
. . . whether RLS must disclose information on a case

William L. Botts, III, Executive Director
Rappahannock Legal Services, Inc.
910 Princess Anne Street, Suite 216
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Dear Mr. Botts:

This letter confirms the advice I provided you by phone on July 2, 1998, regarding whether Rappahannock Legal Services, Inc. (RLS) must disclose information on a case when the client filed a petition for divorce pro se, and later sought legal assistance from your program.

Part 1644, the Corporation's regulation on disclosure of case information, requires Legal Services Corporation (LSC) recipients to disclose certain information for each case filed in court by a recipient attorney on behalf of a client of the recipient. According to the plain terms of the regulation, the disclosure requirement only applies to cases "filed by a recipient attorney" and only "to the original filing of a case." See §§1644.4(a) and 1644.3(a)(2). Thus, RLS is not required to disclose information for cases where the client files the case pro se and then later seeks and is provided legal assistance in the matter by your program.

I hope this adequately responds to your inquiry. Please let me know if I can provide any additional assistance in this matter.

/s/ Suzanne B. Glasow
Senior Assistant General Counsel

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