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Standard 6.1 on Ensuring Delivery of High-Quality Legal Services

Standard 5.8 | Table of Contents | Standard 6.2


A legal aid organization should ensure that its staff provides high-quality and effective legal assistance to the clients and communities served. This duty extends to all areas in which the legal aid organization's staff provides assistance, including, but not limited to, full representation, limited-scope representation and brief services, advice and counseling, advocacy, and through community legal clinics and legal education efforts.


Standards and best practices in the practice of law and in the delivery of high-quality legal aid services are evolving rapidly and will change over time. The guidelines found in the appendices to these Standards reflect current best practices and will be updated as circumstances warrant. In order to meet this Standard, legal aid organizations should strive to ensure that their practitioners adhere to the guidelines contained in the appendices.

The staffs of legal aid organizations and the ways in the which they provide legal services are, in many ways, unique in the legal community. A legal aid organization's staff is often charged with the seemingly impossible task of providing legal help to a client population in numbers greatly exceeding the available resources of the organization. Despite this, legal aid advocates have a long history of rising to this challenge and pioneering innovative delivery methods to help meet the legal needs of their client populations, even when there are more applicants seeking services than the organization has the resources to provide. In so doing, it is important for the organization to ensure that its attorney and non-attorney advocates provide zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients, while also adhering to the highest standards of ethics and client care. Legal aid client communities are typically comprised of those with the fewest resources and, as such, are ill-equipped to weather the outcomes of anything less than the highest-quality legal assistance. The legal aid organization's staff should not seek to accept more clients, or provide more assistance, than can be handled effectively and ethically.