August 06, 2020 SCLAID 100

Updating Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid

As a part of the 100th anniversary celebration of its founding, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID) has undertaken a project to revise its Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid, which have not been updated since 2006. Following a listening session conduced at the Fall 2019 NLADA Annual Conference, SCLAID has developed a framework for approaching the revision process during 2020. Specifically, the revision process will address standards that require updating in four broad, substantive areas that have evolved significantly since 2006:

  • Changes in the conception of the legal aid delivery system/ecosystem and the role of legal aid broadly.
  • Changes in technology (meaning technology available to attorneys and its use in their practices).
  • Changes in regulatory standards and ethics rules (some of which may also pertain to use of technology, including by clients, more broadly).
  • Changes in how promotion of staff diversity, application of race equity principles, and institutionalization of cultural competency training and practices impact the quality of services and the ability to effectively serve the entire client community.

In March 2020, SCLAID launched an online survey to collect feedback from the field on its plan to pursue amendment of the Standards within these four areas of focus. We received a significant amount of very good, thoughtful input to our proposal, which has helped to shape our strategy going forward.

With the development of the COVID-19 crisis, however, we have now reevaluated our timeline for undertaking the revision process. There will undoubtedly be many new developments and lessons learned that will arise from the current situation, and we expect that these will shape and influence the revisions of the standards.

We are therefore reopening the survey and invite your further input now that we are in a very different environment than what existed when the survey was first opened. If you have not yet taken the survey, we invite you to do so; if you have already completed the survey, we welcome you to provide further input. We will continue posting updates on our progress on this page as we move forward on this project. If you have any questions, please email