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Standard 1.2-1 on Individual Members’ Commitment to the Organization

Standard 1.2 | Table of Contents | Standard 1.2‑2


All members of the governing body should be committed to the mission of the legal aid organization and devote adequate time to meet governing body responsibilities.


General Considerations

The governing body needs to make prudent decisions that are responsive to the needs of communities being served in order to deliver effective legal assistance. This calls for its members to support the mission of the organization and to commit adequate time and resources to carry out their responsibilities.

Support for high-quality, responsive legal assistance. Members of the governing body should be persons who recognize the essential role of assertive advocacy in the U.S. system of justice. They should also be sympathetic to the challenges facing persons without financial means and should support forceful legal representation to respond to their legal problems. They should appreciate how their decisions significantly affect how the needs of client communities for effective legal assistance are met.

Effective communication with the client and legal communities. Members should recognize the importance of the organization communicating effectively with the client population regarding how best to serve the client communities.Governing body members should be open to communicating with representatives of the client community and to open discussion among all members of the governing body. All governing body members should participate fully in deciding important issues.

Members of the governing body should also appreciate the importance of establishing a firm link between the organization and the legal community to develop a more informed understanding of the legal needs of communities being served and to encourage participation by members of the bar in representation of clients.

Commitment of adequate time and resources. Membership in the governing body of a legal aid organization involves significant responsibilities. The governing body cannot carry out its essential functions without the informed, committed involvement of its individual members. Effective participation begins with a willingness to learn about the organization's mission, how it operates, how it is funded, and what the legal requirements are that govern its operation. It also calls for each governing body member to learn about the important characteristics of the communities served by the organization and the legal problems they face.Such knowledge and awareness is important to the governing body making appropriate decisions regarding service delivery, budgeting, financial management, and other pertinent matters.

Members also need to commit adequate time to carrying out their responsibilities. They should commit to regular attendance at meetings of the governing body and any committees to which they are assigned. They also need to commit time to completing any projects or tasks they agree to take on, including the direct support of the organization's resource development strategies.