RECOMMENDATION OF THE MINNESOTA LEGAL SERVICES PLANNING COMMISSION ON THE CONFIGURATION OF LSC-FUNDED PROGRAMS Published Sprin !

""# In$r%du&$i%n In the summer of 2003, the Minnesota Supreme Court convened the Legal Services Planning Commission. Chaired b !ustice Sam "anson and !udge #erri Stoneburner, the Commission $as charged $ith, first, evaluating the present configuration of legal services programs receiving funding from the federal Legal Services Corporation %LSC&' second, recommending a reconfiguration of those programs' and, third, engaging in state$ide strategic planning of the deliver of civil legal services to the disadvantaged. #he Commission finished its first t$o tas(s at the end of 2003, and issued a report about the reconfiguration of the legal aid programs that received LSC funding. #he first part of this report summari)es the $or( the Commission did in connection $ith those issues.* #he remainder of this report details the results of a ear of $or( done b the full Commission and its Committees. +cross the course of that ear, members of the Commission continued to meet and discuss ho$ Minnesota,s s stem of delivering civil legal services to the disadvantaged could be improved. +s set out belo$, that -s stem. consists of a net$or( of staffed legal aid programs, some receiving LSC funding and some not' a host of volunteer programs' and thousands of private attorne s contributing pro bono services. #he Commission struggled $ith ho$ to improve the communication and cooperation among all the contributors to this s stem and, at the same time, preserve the s stem,s energ , creativit , fle/ibilit , and capacit . 0ith an e e firml fi/ed on the ma/im, -1irst, do no harm,. the Commission adopted the recommendations contained in this report.2 '(&) r%und #he Legal Services Planning Commission $as certainl not the first group to e/amine the issue of state$ide planning of civil legal services for the disadvantaged. Minnesota has a strong legac of cooperation and communication among the different programs providing civil legal services to the disadvantaged, and the Commission $as fortunate to inherit this legac .3 #he genesis for the Supreme Court,s creation of the Commission had more immediate national and local roots.
1

Recommendation of the Legal Services Planning Commission of the Configuration of LSC-Funded Programs, December 19, 2003. The full report of the Commission to the LSC is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-servicesplanning/finalreport.pdf 2 The Commission issued an interim report at the end of May, 2004. The Minnesota Legal Services Planning Commission May 31, 2004, Interim Report is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-services-planning/InterimReport.pdf.
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A* 3ational In *224, in anticipation of Congressional funding cuts to the Legal Services Corporation %LSC&, LSC grantees in each state $ere as(ed to participate in the development of a plan for the design, configuration and operation of LSC5funded programs. #hree ears later, in *226, LSC called upon its grantees to re5e/amine and reconfigure their state deliver plans to improve and e/pand legal services to eligible clients $ithin the state. LSC re7uired each of the fift states to report bac( on their state$ide planning process in several different areas8 • • • • • • • Inta(e and the Provision of +dvice and 9rief Services :ffective ;se of #echnolog Increased +ccess to Self5"elp and Prevention Information Capacities for #raining and +ccess to Information and :/pert +ssistance :ngagement of Pro 9ono +ttorne s <evelopment of +dditional =esources Configuration of a Comprehensive, Integrated State$ide <eliver S stem

Minnesota $as one of the last states to be as(ed to report on its configuration and planning, but eventuall our turn came. In late 2002, the LSC formall notified the si/ LSC5funded programs in Minnesota of its concerns about the configuration of LSC recipient programs in Minnesota. #he designated state planning bod $as as(ed to provide the LSC $ith a recommended configuration of LSC service areas b <ecember 3*, 2003.> 0hile a state,s recommendations for reconfiguration en?o a presumption of validit , LSC standards ma(e it clear that the final ?udgment on reconfiguration belongs to the LSC8 LSC values the ?udgments of designated state planning bodies that have addressed the 7uestion @of configurationA and $ill normall give great $eight to those ?udgments that have been developed through an inclusive, thoughtful, and client5centered process. LSC $ill onl adopt a different configuration based upon good and substantial reasons clearl articulated in $riting and tied to the specific standards enumerated herein.4 #he LSC staff member charged $ith the responsibilit of evaluating Minnesota,s programs suggested the need for an -overarching vision or agenda that guides all planning ta(ing place in the state. and -an ongoing broad5based entit or group $ith the Bbig5picture, that ensures the participation of clients, staff, board members and other
3

Joint Legal Services Access and Funding Committee, Final Report (“the PennStageberg Report”), December 31, 1995. 4 December 3, 2002 letter from Melissa A. Pershing, LSC Program Counsel. A copy of the letter is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/lad/configurationconcerns.pdf. 5 LSC Program Letter 02-03.
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sta(eholders in a full integrated and coordinated planning process, including the planning processes..C '* Minnesota In 200>, there $ere si/ programs in Minnesota receiving funding from LSC8 • • • • • • +nishinabe Legal Services @+LSA Central Minnesota Legal Services @CMLSA !udicare of +no(a Count @!+CA Legal +id Service of 3ortheastern Minnesota @L+S3:MA Legal Services of 3orth$est Minnesota @LS3MA Southern Minnesota =egional Legal Services @SM=LSA

#he larger, comprehensive Minnesota deliver s stem also includes a -t$inned. program, Mid5Minnesota Legal +ssistance %MML+& $ith a 205 count service area identical to LSC5funded CMLS.D MML+ also houses the state$ide Minnesota <isabilit La$ Center and the state$ide Legal Services +dvocac Pro?ect. #hese seven programs comprise the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition %Coalition&. In 2003, the si/ LSC5funded programs received E3.6 million of LSC funding for direct deliver of civil legal services.6 #here are also at least t$ent additional direct services providers that target special populations andFor particular geographic areas. 0ith so man independent programs together providing comprehensive services, collaboration is the (e to the effectiveness of the Minnesota civil legal services deliver s stem. Minnesota has carried out state planning since *26*. :fforts at that time b the Coalition and the Minnesota State 9ar +ssociation %MS9+& led to creation of the MS9+ Legal +ssistance to the <isadvantaged %L+<& Committee, establishment of the +ccess to !ustice <irector position on the MS9+ staff, creation of the Coalition State Support Center, creation in Minnesota of the first mandator IGL#+ program, enactment of a
6

Letter of Melissa Pershing, February 11, 2003. A copy of the letter is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/lad/plan-to-plan.pdf. 7 Federal LSC funding carries with it certain restrictions on the type of legal work that may be done. LSC dollars, for example, cannot be used for the litigation of class actions. “Twinning” refers to the creation of a separate program, identical in service area to an LSC-funded program, which itself receives no LSC dollars. This “twinned” program is free to undertake work that would otherwise be precluded due to LSC funding restrictions. MMLA relies on funding from sources other than the LSC, such as state legislative funding, to carry out its work. 6 This figure includes special Native American funding to ALS and migrant funding to SMRLS. The programs received over $8.9 million in other funds for a total of close to $12.7 million for direct delivery of services.
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civil filing fee surcharge to support state funding for legal aid, and development and enhancement of volunteer attorne programs to serve all 6D counties. #he *220,s brought further advances. <uring that decade, L+< Committee FCoalition planning led to revision of =ule C.* 2' the countr ,s first petition to the Supreme Court for re7uired annual Pro 9ono reporting %the petition $as denied&' creation of a state$ide Loan =epa ment +ssistance Program' the state$ide comprehensive La$ School Public Service Program, uni7ue in the nation*0' introduction of the MS9+,s 9ernard P. 9ec(er +$ards for legal aid staff and volunteer la$ students' development of La$ 1irm and Hovernment Model Pro 9ono Policies' passage of an improved in forma pauperis statute**' and establishment of a pattern of e/panded MS9+ leadership involvement. +s a result of reductions in federal government funding, the *224 session of the Minnesota Legislature re7uested that the Minnesota Supreme Court create a ?oint committee $ith the MS9+ to prepare recommendations for state funding changes or alternatives to maintain an ade7uate level of funding for both staff and volunteer services to address the critical civil legal needs of lo$5income persons. In response, the Minnesota Supreme Court established the !oint Legal Services +ccess and 1unding Committee, $hich issued its report on <ecember 3*, *224.*2 #hat report led directl to an unprecedented initiative. 0ith the active support of the state bar association and the legal profession, Minnesota enacted the nation,s first attorne registration fee increase earmar(ed for legal aid. Gther important measures follo$ed, includinge Coalition technolog initiatives %a separate *05 ear plan&, increased legislative funding, enhanced collaboration and coordination of all civil legal aid providers, ?udicial district pro se and Pro 9ono action plans, cy pres initiatives, creation of the Minnesota Legal +id 1oundation 1und, IGL#+ interest rate initiatives, Minnesota,s second Pro 9ono reporting petition to the Court %denied&, and more.*3
9

Minn. R. Prof. Resp. 6.1 provides in part that, “A lawyer should aspire to render at least 50

hours of pro bono publico service per year !
10

During the 1990’s, Minnesota’s three law schools worked together with the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) and legal service providers to create a single, cooperative volunteer program for law students. Today, MJF administers the law-related public service programs at William Mitchell, the University of Minnesota, Hamline, and St. Thomas. 11 See Minn. Stat. § 563.01 et seq. 12 Joint Legal Services Access and Funding Committee, Final Report ( hereinafter “PennStageberg Report”), December 31, 1995, p. 6. The report can be found at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-servicesplanning/StagebergPenn1995Report.pdf *3 These efforts did not go unnoticed. In July, 1999 an LSC consultant spent a week in Minnesota reviewing its planning processes, goals and achievements. Following submission of the report, Minnesota received LSC’s official response on December 9, 1999. That response was highly complimentary. Excerpts follow: We . . . applaud the collaborative relationship between the Coalition programs and the Minnesota State Bar Association. The goodwill and good work that has
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In short, the Minnesota ?ustice s stem has been developing a comprehensive state$ide plan for the deliver of legal services to the poor and disadvantaged for over 20 ears. #he Commission,s decision regarding the optimal configuration for the LSC5funded programs $as grounded in the larger conte/t of the evolving state plan. Li(e$ise, the Commission,s recommendations for further development of state$ide planning are made in the hope of building on the $or( alread done. THE MINNESOTA LEGAL SERVICES PLANNING COMMISSION A* 9ac(ground In !ul , 2003 the Chief !ustice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, in cooperation $ith the MS9+ and the Coalition, appointed the Minnesota Legal Services Planning Commission to serve as the <esignated State Planning 9od . #$o co5chairs $ere appointed b the Chief !ustice8 Supreme Court !ustice Sam "anson and Court of +ppeals !udge #erri Stoneburner. In addition, a Steering Committee $as established to advise the Commission co5chairs on managing the Commission process and appointment of Commission members. '* Commission Composition #he Commission is an inclusive, e/perienced group of sta(eholders regarding the deliver of legal services to the poor and disadvantaged in Minnesota. #he membership

resulted has done much to expand resources for Minnesota’s low-income clients. Minnesota’s programs have been working and planning together in coalition, and with the State Bar Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee, for 17 years. This continuous planning process has lead to many impressive collaborative and coordinated efforts. Minnesota programs have demonstrated a willingness to be flexible, consider needs other than their own and respect each others’ abilities. The programs do not appear to be constrained by "turf" concerns and seem willing to continue to make decisions focused on what is best for clients, not what is best for individual programs. We applaud this approach. Following a similar review in 2002 of Minnesota’s planning and collaboration efforts, LSC was again complimentary: Minnesota has shown national leadership in a significant number of the initiatives it has undertaken. . . . Minnesota's justice community should be proud of its history, all the progress made in the last several years, and, of course, of the excellent client representation that continues despite the ongoing challenges.
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includes a full cross5section of the relevant constituencies and it serves as the <esignated State Planning 9od for the purposes of LSC,s Program Letter 02502.

S$()eh%lder+C%ns$i$uen&, 1unders %including legislators& !udiciar LSC Providers %current J former staff, directors, boards& Gther Providers %current J former staff, directors, boards& 9usiness, education, government Client Communit HroupsFclients 9ar +ssociationsFLa$ ers Gender Male 1emale Race/Ethnicity +frican +merican +sian "ispanic +merican Indian Caucasian Geography #$in Cities Suburbs Southern 3ortheast 3orth$est Central

Nu-ber *0 6 *> *4 *0 D 34 2D *6 3 3 2 2 34 24 > 3 4 3 4

Per&en$ %. C%--issi%n 22I *6I 3*I 33I 22I *CI D6I C0I >0I DI DI >I >I D6I 44I 2I DI **I DI **I

#he Commission included >4 members. #he Commission maintained a mailing list of an additional >3 persons. Gver 24 of the latter $ere regular observers to the process and man served on committees and contributed to the diversit of the Commission. 1rom +ugust, 2003, through mid53ovember, 2003, the Commission focused its efforts on the 7uestion of reconfiguration of the programs receiving LSC funding. Committees met, $or(ed $ith the Steering Committee to hire a consultant %Le+nna "art Hipson&, intervie$ed planning leaders and staff of reconfigured programs in other states, collected data regarding client needs, developed detailed information about the Coalition programs and ho$ the deliver services %the first step of a broader revie$ of all of the programs in the deliver s stem&, discussed standards and options for configuration, and began an intensive e/amination of pro bono services in Minnesota.
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C* Committee Structure #he full Commission met for the first time on !ul 26, 2003, and continued meeting about once a month. Its first ma?or tas( $as to form committees to carr on bet$een full Commission meetings to collect necessar substantive information and to develop recommendations to ta(e to the full bod . #he resulting five committees and their missions, for both reconfiguration and further state$ide planning, $ere as follo$s8 Pr% r(-s (nd Deli/er,8 Conduct an inventor of current programs' revie$ current and potential deliver models' and identif efficiencies and gaps in current s stems. + long term mission of the committee $as to design a -continuous improvement s stem. and address staff recruitment and retention. Clien$ Needs8 Conduct an assessment of client needs, both -7ualitative and possibl 7uantitative.' identif underserved populations and problems and barriers to access' consider means to address holistic needs of the clients. Long5term, this committee,s mission $as to e/plore different $a s to evaluate outcomes and measures. 'es$ Pr(&$i&es8 =esearch best practices and models from other states and services for centrali)ed inta(e, resource development, and cost reductions' and identif resource materials to assist the Commission in its reconfiguration tas(, including collecting information about the problems and opportunities from those $ho had completed the process in other states. Res%ur&es8 Stud and assess options for resource development' loo( at desirabilit of coordination and oversight of funding, fundraising and grant ma(ing' consider coordination of support and cost reductions and efficiencies. #he long5term mission of this committee $as to assess and improve public (no$ledge of legal services, and e/plore the most efficient allocation of resources. Pr% '%n%8 #his committee $as charged $ith e/ploring different means to enhance pro bono $or(. #his included considering, in both long and short run, re7uired reporting, mandator Pro 9ono, barriers to volunteers, ne$ resources for volunteers, incentives for Pro 9ono, and other innovative ideas. CONSIDERATION OF PROGRAM CONFIGURATION #he LSC had given Minnesota a deadline of <ecember 3*, 2003, to complete its recommendation on LSC program configuration, and the Commission and its committees $or(ed to meet that deadline. #he Commission revie$ed information collected b the 9est Practices Committee concerning other states, e/periences $ith reconfiguration. #he Programs and <eliver Committee discussed a $ide variet of possible configuration alternatives, ranging from no change at all to state$ide t$inning of programs. #he committee stressed the need to remain open to reconfiguration, but,
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the committee could not conclude that there $as a compelling reason at that time to reconfigure. #he Client 3eeds Committee e/plored a variet of different methods for assessing needs and setting priorities and, especiall relevant to the $or( on configuration, identified barriers to access that prevented clients from obtaining available legal resources. #he Pro 9ono Committee emphasi)ed the need to enhance the $or( done b the private bar and ma(e that $or( a full partner in the provision of civil legal services. #he Commission $as mindful of the need to avoid decisions on configuration that $ould adversel effect other non5LSC service providers.*> !udicare of +no(a Count %!+C& served clients in a single count . #hough the program had a long histor of success, the LSC had made it clear that it $ould not continue to fund smaller single5count programs. In light of this LSC directive, the Commission discussed the best possible outcome for the clients in +no(a Count and reluctantl determined that +no(a Count should become a part of CMLS,s service area for LSC funding purposes. CMLS $ill be able to best serve clients in +no(a Count because of their close pro/imit , because services are alread being provided to +no(a Count b MML+, CMLS,s partner, $ith #itle III %Senior Citi)en& federal funds, and because +no(a Count has been part of the Minneapolis ;nited 0a service area for man ears. #he Commission also concluded that the other four regional program service areas should remain other$ise unchanged. In particular, $ith respect to +nishinabe Legal Services %+LS&, the Commission concluded that it $ould be best to (eep +LS as a separate LSC5funded program. Commission members stressed the continuing importance of +LS, given the need for Indian people to (eep control of priorit setting and staffing to meet the uni7ue concerns of on5reservation Indians. Commission members, $hile ac(no$ledging the need to continue to see( $a s to improve the present s stem, indicated the desire not to harm a s stem that is functioning $ell. Man of the administrative efficiencies that might come from a centrali)ed administration have been and can be accomplished through the proven collaboration of the Coalition programs. #he Commission concluded that consolidating LSC funding into one program at this time, perhaps to do state$ide inta(e and adviceFbrief service, $ould not solve an of the ma?or issues facing the Commission8 coordination $ithin the s stem, allocation of state and IGL#+ dollars, and increasing salaries and benefits. Indeed, state$ide consolidation might create additional concerns, including a potential loss of regional and local connections $ith clients, volunteers, and donors. 9ased on input from e/isting providers and discussions $ith providers in other states, the Commission $as also concerned that creation of a single state$ide administrative structure could result in increased competition for funding' blurring of the role of pro bono' duplication of the coordination bet$een the LSC entit and the present Coalition programs' the loss of staff interaction $hen inta(e and advice services are separated
14

A more complete account of the committee work is set forth in Recommendation of the Legal Services Planning Commission of the Configuration of LSC-Funded Programs, December 19, 2003. The full text of that report is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-services-planning/finalreport.pdf.
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from e/tended representation' and, most significantl , a huge diversion of resources at a time $hen the Coalition programs are alread facing a cumulative reduction in funding b the end of 200> of more than 30I. #he Commission concluded that the present deliver s stem $or(s, that (eeping the present s stem intact is the least disruptive and has the least cost, that the Coalition has alread derived man benefits through collaboration and cooperation, that the four ma?or regions match the state,s vie$ of itself, and that there $as not sufficient information about client needs and ho$ configuration affects the abilit to meet those needs to merit ma?or change. #he Commission completed its 345page report on reconfiguration and submitted it to the LSC on <ecember *2, 2003.*4 #he report detailed the comprehensive effort b the Commission to address all 7uestions posed b the LSC staff in an informed manner. #he final recommendation $as that there should be four regional service areas in Minnesota, along $ith the independent 3ative +merican program %+LS&. :ach of the five service areas $as identical to respective present service areas, $ith the e/ception of the +no(a Count service area, $hich had been the sole single5count area. +no(a Count $ould be combined $ith the CMLS service area for LSC funding. #he Commission also e/pressed its commitment to continue a strategic planning process for further e/amination and improvement of the legal services deliver s stem $ithin the state. LSC accepted the Commission,s recommendation in full b letter dated !anuar 2*, 200>. LSC,s letter recogni)ed the Commission,s -meticulous consideration. of the issues, and -applaud@edA the methodical and inclusive process emplo ed . . . in designing a comprehensive and integrated deliver s stem . . . that ta(es into account the compelling needs of eligible clients..*C THE STATE0IDE PLANNING PROCESS "aving completed its $or( on configuration of the LSC programs, the Commission turned its full attention to improvement of state$ide planning of deliver of civil legal services to the disadvantaged. Some $or( on planning issues had alread been accomplished. 9ased on a recommendation from the =esources Committee, in <ecember, 2003, the Commission adopted a 200> state legislative funding
15

Recommendation of the Legal Services Planning Commission of the Configuration of LSC-Funded Programs, December 19, 2003. The full text of that report is available at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-services-planning/finalreport.pdf.
*C

Letter from LSC dated January 21, 2004. That letter can be found at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-services-planning/LSC-01-04reconfig-ltr.pdf The new configuration was published in the Federal Register in April, 2004. The change means that for LSC funding, Anoka County will be added to the current CMLS service area in 2005. JAC will continue to operate as a non-LSC program.
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recommendation urging an annuali)ed increase of at least E2 million. =ecogni)ing the importance of Pro 9ono efforts, the Commission also recommended that8 %*& in the event the ne$ legislative funding is obtained, LS+C allocate all of the *4I discretionar portion of ne$ funds to meritorious applications directed to the deliver or support of pro bono services' and %2& in the event of an increase of the attorne registration fee, a minimum of one5third of the additional funds raised be allocated to programs for support and administration of pro bono services.*D #he Commission also identified a need for more uniformit in the data submitted to various funders b the man legal services programs in Minnesota. #he Commission concluded that uniformit $ould improve the funding process b enhancing the abilit of funders to compare programs, efficienc and effectiveness. #he Commission therefore recommended that L#+9 and LS+C, the t$o largest state5level funders of civil legal services, adopt a uniform application form. +cting on this recommendation, and $ith ma?or assistance from the MS9+,s L+< Committee and Commission members, L#+9 and LS+C have alread developed and adopted a form used during the 200>52004 funding c cle. #he ne$ form $ill be evaluated and then revised as needed. Prior to the close of 2003, the Commission also adopted a number of principles to guide further efforts of the Commission and its successor. #he most important include the principles that8 • Planning and allocating resources should flo$ from client need. • State$ide e7uit in access to services is important. • State planning must have broad participation and o$nership and should focus on overall resources and programming issues. • Pro 9ono should be a full partner in the deliver of legal services. + significant e/pansion of Pro 9ono participation is needed to meet the legal needs of lo$5income persons. #his $ill re7uire both a significant increase of funding for the initiation and e/pansion of ne$ and e/isting programs, and a recommitment b Minnesota la$ ers to satisf their obligations under =ules of Professional =esponsibilit C.*.

THE NEED FOR LEGAL SERVICES Nationwide, there is a well documented and longstanding unmet need of the disadvantaged for access to justice. The American Bar Association (ABA) has found that approximately half of all low and moderate income households face at least one civil legal need each year.18 The Association of American Law Schools, in its Equal Justice Project, has found the maldistribution of legal resources was harming what some estimate to be 45-75 million low and moderate income people who have legal problems in which interested and competent lawyers might be of benefit.19
17 1"

For further discussion of these recommendations, see below at 22 and 19. Agenda for Access: The American People and Civil Justice (American Bar Association, 1996). 19 American Association of Law Schools Equal Justice Project Report, Pursuing Equal Justice: Law Schools and the Provision of Legal Services, March, 2002. The full text of
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The Legal Services Corporation has recognized this longstanding problem and has stated: Despite the success of LSC and its many contributions to equal justice in this country, the need for legal services is still overwhelming. More than 43 million Americans are potentially eligible for LSC-funded services. Yet because of insufficient resources, local legal services programs are forced to turn away the majority of low-income individuals who seek out their help. A benchmark legal needs study conducted in the mid-1990s by the American Bar Association concluded that 80 percent of eligible clients do not secure legal assistance when they are in serious situations in which a lawyer’s advice and assistance could make a difference. Since the ABA study’s release, more than 15 individual state legal needs studies have reached similar conclusions. LSC is committed to promoting a new vision of legal services that will reverse these statistics and dramatically increase the number of low-income Americans who can access the civil justice system through the provision of quality legal services.20 0hat is true across the nation is also true in Minnesota. In *224, the !oint Legal Services +ccess and 1unding Committee found that there $as a -large and gro$ing unmet need for civil legal assistance..2* Sadl , in the intervening decade that need has continued to grow. While Minnesota’s Coalition programs have worked diligently to provide service to thousands of clients each year, the Coalition programs can serve only between 2% and 19% of the estimated legal needs in their respective service areas.22 The efforts of noncoalition programs and private pro bono programs help meet some of this need. Nevertheless, in Minnesota, as in the rest of America, a very large percentage, perhaps more than three-quarters, of the legal needs of the disadvantaged remain unaddressed. #he needs of clients must be paramount in the development and deliver of services to lo$ income people.23 Simpl recogni)ing the e/istence of an aggregated, unmet need for legal services is of little value in determining ho$ best to respond to those needs. Some states have gone to great length and e/pense to conduct surve s of the legal needs of the disadvantaged $ithin their borders. #he Client 3eeds Committee found that e/tensive, costl surve s in other states reached a consistent conclusion8 that the level of serious need %meaning a client $as unli(el to be able to solve the problem $ithout legal help& the final report is available at http://www.aals.org/equaljustice/final_report.pdf. 20 Legal Services Corporation, 2000-2001 Annual Report.
21

Joint Legal Services Access and Funding Committee, Final Report (“the PennStageberg Report”), December 31, 1995, p. 6. 22 Minnesota Legal Services Planning Commission’s Program Delivery Committee, in its Program Delivery Report, November 6, 2003. 23 The term “client,” as it is used throughout this report, is intended to be inclusive of all potential prospective low-income individuals and entitities in need of free or substantially-redueced-fee legal services, whether delivered through staff, volunteer, Judicare or other programs. The term includes individuals who may not have previously established an attorney-client relationship with any of Minnesota’s existing legal service or pro bono service providers.
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$as roughl t$ice the level of estimates dra$n from an +9+ surve done over ten ears ago. 1urthermore, $hile these surve s give important insight into the nature of client needs at a given moment in histor , the ma have a ver limited utilit across time. Client needs are varied and comple/, and do not remain static. Hiven the consistent results of other states, surve s, $hich cost in e/cess of E*00,000 each, the Commission determined that it made more sense to appl the results of the other surve s to Minnesota,s lo$5income population to determine the level of need in Minnesota, rather than do a Minnesota5 specific surve .2> In addition, rather than devoting substantial ne$ resources to conducting such a surve here in Minnesota, it ma(es more sense to attempt to coordinate the e/isting collection of data about client needs.24 +s set forth in the =ecommendations section belo$, Minnesota $ould be better served b having a single entit pool collected data and then anal )e that information in the hope of identif ing those client needs that are the most pressing. +ssessing the needs of clients is the first and most important step in allocating resources, and this assessment must be done in a $a that can capture and address shifting or emerging needs. #his assessment is, of course, onl a first step. #o ma(e ?ustice available to disadvantaged Minnesotans, Minnesota also needs8 * :ducation so that persons (no$ $hen legal services $ould help them' 2 Information about ho$ to access legal services' and, 3 Services that are available and accessible. "and in hand $ith meeting the needs of clients is the commitment to assure that there is e7ual access for all, regardless of age, race, gender, se/ual orientation, religion, language, disabilit , national origin, or place of residence.

OUR E1ISTING RESOURCES +gainst this bac(drop of rising need, there has been a disheartening loss of resources. In the past decade, funding for legal services and pro bono services has decreased substantiall . #he current patch$or( of funding for civil legal services is comple/. #$o of the primar sources of funds are %a& public funds, consisting of federal funds from the
2>

The Massachusetts study was recommended by the committee as a good model to follow. That study, if extrapolated to Minnesota, indicates that tens of thousands of critical civil legal problems of low income persons are not being handled each year because of lack of funds. Given the decline in several funding sources in recent years, and the significant increases in the costs of delivering services, the committee concluded, and the Commission agreed, that the immediate need for increased funding is overwhelmingly clear. The study is available at http://www.mlac.org/legal_needs_survey. 25 For example, as set forth above, Commission members worked with LSAC and LTAB to develop the new unified grant application.
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Legal Services Corporation %-LSC.& and state5appropriated funds' and %b& $hat might be termed -7uasi5 public dollars. from attorne registration fees, interest on la$ ers, trust accounts %-IGL#+. funds&, and ma?or foundation funding. #here has been a significant decline in revenues from the public and 7uasi5public funds since fiscal ear 2002. 9 $a of e/ample, the overall decline in these funds bet$een 2002 and anticipated revenues for 2004 $ill be *CI or appro/imatel E3.C million dollars. IGL#+ funding has decreased about 30I in each of the last t$o ears. 1oundation funding has also decreased substantiall . Minnesota,s overall share of LSC funding dropped about *DI after the 2000 census.2C +t the same time, program costs have risen dramaticall . +t present, no single bod collects information on overall funding for all legal service and pro bono service programs, so it is difficult to 7uantif the total decline in revenues available for these programs. In addition to public and 7uasi5public funding, these programs also engage in fundraising from private sources, and in particular, have raised substantial revenue from corporations, la$ firms, and the private bar. + revie$ of the current public and 7uasi5public funding for the LSC programs gives a sense of the loss of resources for civil legal services for the disadvantaged8 LSC Fundin LSC funding goes to Minnesota,s si/ regional programs, SM=LS, CMLS, LS3M, L+S3:M, +LS, and !+C %the -=egional Programs.&.2D LSC funding is allocated to each of these programs on a povert population basis. 9et$een 2002 and 2004, LSC dollars for Minnesota programs have declined b over EC>0,000, or appro/imatel *CI, including a decline from E3.6 million in 2003 to an anticipated E3.> million in 2004.26 S$($e Fundin State funding for legal aid began in *262 and $as a direct response to a 24I cut in LSC funds at that time. ;ntil the 200* session, civil legal services had not had an increase in the funding base since *22D. 9et$een 2002 and the present, the funding base has been reduced b over 6I or E434,000 per ear. #he 200>52004 appropriation $as EC,>>3,000.22
26

The percentage decline for particular LSC programs varied from roughly 30% for Northwest Minnesota to less than 17% for other programs. 27 In the future, JAC will not be separately funded by LSC. LSC dollars which formerly funded JAC will go instead to CMLS. 26 In 2004 the buying power of every LSC dollar appropriated is only 43% of what it was in 1980; the dollars themselves are now only 11.5% more than they were in 1980 and some years have been lower than the 1980 appropriation.
22

By statute, state funding is allocated on an 85/15% formula with 85% of the state funds being allocated on the same geographic/poverty population formula as the federal LSC
Page *3 of 22

A$$%rne, Re is$r($i%n Fee Currentl , E40 of each +ttorne =egistration 1ee is allocated to civil legal services %$ith certain limited e/ceptions&. #hese funds totaled E*,034,000 in 1K 2004 and are allocated on the 64F*4I formula applied to state funding.30 IOLTA IGL#+ funds have declined significantl from E2,>>C,200 in 1K200* to E*,202,*00 in 1K2004. #hese funds are allocated b the La$ er #rust +ccount 9oard. %-L#+9.& F%und($i%ns (nd Uni$ed 0(, 1oundations and ;nited 0a have provided additional funds to civil legal service programs, ho$ever support from these sources is also declining. 1oundation funding to the Coalition programs in 200> $as E*,22*,23*, a decline of over E>00,000 from 2003. Similarl , ;nited 0a 1unding in 200> $as E*,32*,4>6 and is pro?ected to decline b appro/imatel 4I in 2004.

0hile client needs are gro$ing and resources declining, the costs of providing services have increased significantl . #he impact of inflation magnifies the significance of the funding dollars lost. 1or e/ample, bet$een *226 and 2002, health care costs for the Minnesota legal aid programs increased C3I. #he costs of interpretation and translation services for an increasingl diverse population have also risen dramaticall . School debt loads for starting attorne s have increased dramaticall and no$ ma reach or e/ceed E*00,000. #he starting salar for attorne s in the legal aid programs is appro/imatel E32,000, roughl D2I of the starting salar for a state public defender. The impact of the combined cuts and cost increases has been substantial on all civil legal services programs. For example, the seven Coalition programs have cut staff from 178 FTE attorneys in 2001 to 149 FTE attorneys in January 2004. While data is most readily available for Minnesota’s LSC programs, other legal services programs have also lost resources. For example, state funding for Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners money to the Regional Programs, except that funds are not allocated to CMLS, but instead to MMLA. The remaining 15% (in FY2005 $966,450) is distributed by the Legal Services Advisory Committee (“LSAC”), based upon a grant application process.
30

The 15% (in FY2005 $155,250) is also distributed by LSAC, based upon the grant application process.

Page *> of 22

(LAMP) which provided civil legal services to incarcerated persons, ended in 2003. IOLTA and foundation funding cuts also affected both non-coalition programs, such as the Volunteer Lawyers Network and the Minnesota Volunteer Attorney Program. In light of d$indling resources, it is especiall important to enhance the role of pro bono provision of civil legal services. #he Pro 9ono Committee and the Commission heard from Steve Scudder, Director of the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Center. In part, Mr. Scudder stated: [I]t is important that pro bono be an equal partner with the legal services community: Pro bono connects LSC programs to the larger community. LSC programs can’t provide all services needed; [we] need to bring all resources to bear; visible efforts by private attorneys on behalf of the poor promote the public image of everyone involved in serving the poor. Pro bono expands the range of services beyond those traditionally provided by LSC programs (e.g., business bankruptcy.); and broadens the universe of community leaders who support legal services which impacts decision making, for example at state legislatures.31 In part because of the specter of diminishing resources, the Commission recommended pro bono become a full partner in the provision of civil legal services to the disadvantaged. COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STATE0IDE PLANNING Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he Cre($i%n %. ( S$($e2ide Pl(nnin '%d, In its Ma 3*, 200>, Interim =eport, the Minnesota Legal Services Planning Commission enumerated several tas(s to be completed b <ecember 3*, 200>. #he first of these tas(s $as to8 <esign a ne$, ongoing planning bod , $hich $ill have broad participation, $ill focus on overall resources and planning issues, and $ill have sufficient time for appropriate decision5ma(ing.32 #he Commission ma(es the follo$ing specific recommendations concerning the creation of this ne$ planning bod 8 1. The Minnesota State Supreme Court should serve as the sponsoring entity for the statewide planning body. #he Commission recommends that the Minnesota State
3*

Legal Services Planning Commission, MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee, February 26, 2004, Meeting Notes. The complete summary of Scudder’s testimony is attached to the Pro Bono Committee’s Final Report at Appendix F. That report is available at .
32

See Interim Report, at 11. This report can be found at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legal-services-planning/InterimReport.pdf.
Page *4 of 22

Supreme Court serve as the sponsoring entit for the ne$ bod . #here are several reasons for this recommendation8 • #he Supreme Court has plenar responsibilit for ensuring access to ?ustice in Minnesota and the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged is an integral part of this mission. #he court has had long e/perience $or(ing successfull $ith its essential partners in that mission8 the broad range of programs providing legal services to the disadvantaged. Supreme Court sponsorship connotes broad, state$ide concern for the issues that $ill confront the ne$ planning bod . Conse7uentl , Supreme Court sponsorship $ill be of benefit to the ne$ planning bod in its $or( $ith, for e/ample, the Minnesota state legislature and enhanced pro bono efforts. 0hile not uninterested in the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged, the Supreme Court is a disinterested entit . Simpl put, Supreme Court sponsorship carries $ith it an imprimatur of even5handed neutralit . #his neutralit $ill be helpful to the $or( of the ne$ planning bod . It $ill be essential to have the Minnesota ?udiciar participate in the $or( of the ne$ planning bod . "aving the Supreme Court serve as the sponsoring entit for the ne$ bod $ill help encourage that participation. #he state court s stem has e/pertise and resources that $ould be valuable to the $or( of the ne$ planning bod . "aving the Supreme Court serve as the sponsoring entit might ma(e it easier for the ne$ bod to tap into these resources and e/pertise.

2. The planning body should focus its efforts on three sets of tasks. 0hile there are a variet of tas(s that might be effectivel underta(en b a state$ide planning bod , the Commission recommends that the ne$ bod focus its efforts on the follo$ing three sets of tas(s8 • Hather and disseminate information. Gn a periodic basis, in con?unction $ith current LSC reporting re7uirements, the planning bod should collate information on state$ide needs and resources. #o the e/tent possible, the planning bod should8 o Ma(e use of e/isting collections of client needs data. o ;se e/pertise from other agencies and entities %e.g. State <emographer,s Gffice& to assess needs. o 0or( to improve collection of data that is done for other purposes %e.g. LSC or grant reporting& so that it is more useful for planning. o <isseminate information on available resources to funders.

Page *C of 22

+dvocate for increased funding and resources for provision of services, serving as a bull pulpit for the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged. #o help accomplish this goal, the planning bod should e/plore the possibilit of8 o 1orming ne$ partnerships to ma(e use of e/isting e/pertise from other entities. o 1inding ne$ allies to support increased funding. o 1inding ne$ sources for funding.

Provide a forum for a discussion of Minnesota,s e/isting s stem for providing these services and a forum for e/ploration of possibilities for revision of that s stem. #he planning bod should8 o Share information on -best practices. $ith respect to access to services, deliver of services, and program coordination. #o help accomplish this, the planning bod should also see( input from client communities. o =evie$ and discuss possible innovations %e.g. state$ide single telephone number inta(e&. o See( evaluation of providers to help ensure that the s stem is accountable to the client communit . #o accomplish this, the planning bod should see( input from a $ide range of sources, including those outside the provider and client communit %e.g. private industr or management consultants&.

Since one of the primar functions of the ne$ planning bod $ill be the gathering and assessing of information, the Commission ma(es a number of specific recommendations to the ne$ planning bod concerning the collection of information.33 Henerall , ho$ever, to the e/tent possible, the ne$ planning bod should ma(e use of $or( alread being done and information alread being gathered, rather than increasing the e/isting administrative burdens alread shouldered b service providers. In particular, LSC programs maintain a variet of data about the services the provide clients. 0hile there is a great deal of program5based local collection of data, there needs to be a forum in $hich data is collected from different programs and then anal )ed on a state$ide or regional basis. #he ne$ planning bod should ma(e this a (e goal. #he Commission recogni)es that ho$ever valuable, this information $ill not necessaril be a complete, statisticall valid overvie$ of client needs in Minnesota. Instead, the Committee hopes to create a repositor of information that $ill facilitate informed, if not scientific, decision5ma(ing. 3. The new planning body should have a two part structure! so that it can be both broadly representative and appropriately "nimble.# #he composition of the ne$ planning bod must serve a variet of different goals, some of $hich seem in competition $ith each other. 1or e/ample, the ne$ planning bod should be representative of a $ide
33

See below at p. 24 ff.
Page *D of 22

arra of constituencies and et, at the same time, the bod should also be -nimble,. able to respond 7uic(l to ne$ needs and ne$ developments. Gn the one hand, it is important to have people serve on the ne$ planning bod $ho are (no$ledgeable about Minnesota,s current programs providing legal services to the disadvantaged. Gn the other hand, it is also important that the ne$ bod be composed of members $ho are sufficientl disinterested so as to be able to engage in fran( assessment of those current programs. Conse7uentl , the Commission recommends a t$o5part structure for the ne$ planning bod . a. Legal Services Planning +ssembl Gnce a ear, the ne$ planning bod ma convene a meeting $ith representatives from a broad set of constituencies. #his larger group $ill not onl revie$ available information about client needs, but ma also discuss and anal )e issues of particular moment for the coming ear. #his larger group should include representatives of man different constituencies, such as8 • • • • • • • • • • • • #he ?udiciar La$ ers and staff currentl providing representation LSC programs #he ne$ Pro 9ono Council L#+9 LS+C #he L+< Committee MS9+ Client representatives 3on5la$ er communit representatives from social service providers such as $omen,s shelters, ethnic groups, and neighborhood groups Pro se pro?ects Staffed non5coalition programs

#here ma $ell be other constituencies that need to be included. #he Commission recommends that once the list of constituencies is identified, the supreme court solicit nominations for individual participants from those constituencies and ma(e appropriate appointments for both the larger and smaller bodies. b. Legal Services Planning Committee #his larger bod $ill help ma(e the ne$ bod broadl representative, but it does not ans$er the need for nimble planning. #o that end, the Commission recommends the creation of a smaller steering committee that could meet t$o or three times a ear, first to help frame the issues for discussion b the larger group and, subse7uentl , to assess the input from that discussion.

Page *6 of 22

1rom t$elve to t$ent members $ould serve on this steering committee. Gf those, perhaps half $ould come from designated constituencies. In particular, the Commission recommends including one member from each of the follo$ing8 • • • • • • #he ?udiciar #he Legal Services Coalition #he ne$ Pro 9ono Council #he MS9+,s L+< committee Leadership of the MS9+ + client constituenc

#his group could provide a firm (no$ledge base for the steering committee. #he remaining members should be appointed $ith an e e to$ard achieving diversit , including geographic and racial diversit and diversit of insights. #he hope $ould be to ield a steering committee that $as both (no$ledgeable and disinterested. Members $ould be appointed to the steering committee for staggered terms of three ears and could serve a second consecutive term. $. %ew resources must be found to help the planning body accomplish its work. 3o matter ho$ efficient, an attempt to collect and revie$ information $ill re7uire resources, and especiall staff. #he Commission recommends that ne$ resources be found to help the planning bod accomplish its $or(. 1or e/ample, the state court s stem has staff adept at information5gathering and anal sis and other state offices, such as the state demographer, ma be able to lend assistance. #he MS9+ ma be able to devote some staff time to this effort from the t$o staff positions that $or( on these and related issues. It might ma(e sense to obtain LS+CFL#+9 funding for some of this $or( on a periodic basis. #he LSC might also have support available for data collection. Gutside groups, such as a management consultant firm, might be persuaded to lend support on a volunteer basis.

Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he C%ur$ S,s$eIn addition to ta(ing the necessar steps to create and inaugurate the ne$ state$ide planning bod , the Commission recommends that the Minnesota Supreme Court and state court s stem do the follo$ing to help address the critical civil legal needs of lo$5income persons83> 1. &ncrease the 'ttorney (egistration )ee. #he current attorne registration fee is E2*6 %$ith some e/ceptions for attorne s in certain categories&. Gf that amount, E40 is earmar(ed for civil legal services. #he Commission recommends a ED4 increase in the general attorne registration fee, and a E24 increase in the registration fee for ne$ and lo$5income la$ ers. #his increase $ill raise appro/imatel E*.4 million of additional
34

Justice Hanson abstained from voting on these recommendations.
Page *2 of 22

funding. + portion of the increase %one dollar of each fee& should be allocated to fund the implementation of the pro bono reporting s stem, discussed belo$. + minimum of one5 third of the additional funds raised b increasing the registration fees should be allocated to programs for the support and administration of pro bono services, to enhance those services and assist in ma(ing pro bono a full partner in the deliver of legal services. Pro bono programs should be free to vie for a larger share of the funds raised b the increase of the registration fees. #he remainder of the additional funds, li(e current funds raised through registration fees, should be distributed b LS+C on the 64F*4I formula. #he Commission recommends that broad bar support be obtained for this increase. #o that end, an initial set of tal(ing points regarding the proposal has been developed. #he tal(ing points include data regarding the benefit of civil legal services to the ?ustice s stem and broader communit , including the number of cases $hich are screened, settled, andFor other$ise managed more efficientl as a result of the involvement of legal services la$ ers, as $ell as the role of legal services in helping prevent domestic violence, homelessness and other $ell5documented problems that carr ver large human and financial costs. #he tal(ing points should also include data regarding benefits associated $ith increasing funding for pro bono in terms of leveraging and increasing the services available to meet the critical legal needs of lo$ income persons 2. &mplement *ro +ono (eporting. #he Commission recommends that the Supreme Court re7uire Minnesota attorne s to report pro bono hours and recommends that E* of a ne$ registration fee be dedicated to covering the Court,s costs of implementing that program. Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he Pri/($e '(r 0ithout a la$ er, a Minnesota citi)en ma not have effective access to the ?ustice s stem. 1or thousands of Minnesotans, ho$ever, the availabilit of a la$ er $ill depend entirel on $hether a member of the private bar is $illing to volunteer his or her time and talents on a pro bono basis. Minnesota la$ ers have a long tradition of stepping for$ard to provide pro bono services to those $ho cannot afford to hire a la$ er. #here are organi)ed volunteer attorne programs covering ever Minnesota count , and some of these have been in e/istence for almost fort ears. Minnesota la$ ers $ill continue to support these programs, and, of course, $ill continue to contribute pro bono efforts on an individual, case5b 5case basis. #he Commission recogni)es the value of this $or( and also recogni)es that broad5based support of the private bar is essential to the success of the Commission,s recommendations concerning the establishment of pro bono reporting and the increase of attorne registration fees. #he Commission also recogni)es that financial contributions from the bar have been an important source of funding for both legal service and volunteer pro bono programs. #he Commission encourages the private bar to increase its financial support for these programs. In addition, the Commission recommends the private bar increase its support of the provision of civil legal services to the disadvantaged in the follo$ing $a s8
Page 20 of 22

1. Make pro bono a full partner in the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged. + significant e/pansion of pro bono participation is needed to meet the legal needs of the disadvantaged. #his $ill re7uire a recommitment b Minnesota la$ ers to satisf their obligations under Minn. =. Prof. =esp. C.*. It $ill also re7uire a significant increase of funding for the initiation and e/pansion of ne$ and e/isting programs, and the Commission recommends that increase. 2. *romote cooperation and coordination of pro bono efforts. #he Commission recommends funding partnerships' relevant constituencies should $or( together to discourage unhealth competition from funding sources and promote cooperation and creativit in see(ing funding. #he Commission recogni)es and affirms the effectiveness of diverse programs and local programs, and recogni)es and affirms the high level of commitment of volunteer attorne s. +t the same time, the Commission encourages coordination of programs and deliver of services on a state5$ide basis. 3. Create a *ro +ono Council to help in this work. #he Commission supports the establishment of a Pro 9ono Council to foster communication among all pro bono programs in the state. $. 'de,uately staff pro bono development efforts. #he Commission recommends that the MS9+ full and ade7uatel staff pro bono development efforts $ith at least one 1#: professional %in addition to other access to ?ustice staffing&.34 -. .evelop some statewide delivery of pro bono. #he Commission affirms the importance of local pro bono programs. +t the same time, the Commission recommends the development of additional methods to deliver some pro bono services on a state$ide basis, across provider lines, in coordination $ith local programs.

Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he Le (l Ser/i&es Pr% r(-s Minnesota,s legal services programs have a national reputation for their organi)ation, creativit , and effectiveness. In the course of its $or( across the last several months, the Commission has been repeatedl impressed b the e/tent to $hich Minnesota,s Legal Service Coalition programs have $or(ed to cooperate $ith each other and achieve efficienc and cost5savings. #his has been essential in an era of progressivel leaner budgets. Some current e/amples of these efforts include8 Pro?ect <irector and Staff Coordination. Coalition staff coordinate regular meetings of the program pro?ect directors. In addition, Coalition staff facilitates communication among legal services staff b maintaining email listservs and publication of a bi$ee(l online ne$sletter.
35

This recommendation has already been implemented with the addition of the Access to Justice Director position to the MSBA staff.
Page 2* of 22

#raining. #he Coalition coordinates training for its staff attorne s, volunteer attorne s, paralegals, and support staff. Staff from non5Coalition programs also participate in Coalition5sponsored trainings. #he Coalition provides training on *4 to 20 topics each ear, focusing on both substantive la$ and professional s(ills development. Its efforts include a t$o and a half da legal services state$ide conference ever t$o ears, bringing national and regional trainers to Minnesota. Communit :ducation. #he Coalition publishes communit legal education boo(lets on povert la$ topics important to lo$5income Minnesotans. 9oo(lets are $ritten for lo$5 literac persons and include such topics as tenants, rights, public assistance programs, dissolution of marriage, child support, paternit , domestic abuse and seniors, rights. Some boo(lets are available in foreign languages. 9oo(lets are distributed to Coalition and non5Coalition programs, public libraries and communit agencies throughout the state. 0ebsites and ;se of #echnolog . #he Coalition has developed La$"elpM3.org for clients, and Pro!usticeM3.org for staff and volunteers. #he Coalition staff maintain up5 to5date materials on the $ebsites $ith help from other legal service providers. Coalition staff are also developing more resources for clients, and ma(ing those available state$ide. 1or e/ample, Coalition staff recentl developed an online Grder for Protection s stem using interactive soft$are to create the documents needed to file for a court protective order. Persons needing protection from abuse, their advocates or attorne s can access the s stem via the internet, ma(ing services readil available to people in remote rural areas throughout the state. #he Coalition is also partnering $ith the 1ourth !udicial <istrict Court %"ennepin Count & to develop a similar interactive s stem %I5C+3L& including video technolog , to enable a client to complete dissolution of marriage pleadings in his or her o$n language and produce an :nglish version for filing. Leglislative and +dministrative =ule Ma(ing. Hro$ing out of a ?oint effort b the si/ Minnesota regional civil legal services programs, the Legal Services +dvocac Pro?ect %LS+P&, a part of MML+, $as created over t$ent ears ago to represent the interests of lo$5income persons before legislative and administrative bodies. LS+P engages in legislative and administrative advocac , conducts research and polic anal sis, and provides training and education for, and on behalf of, lo$5income persons state$ide. #he polic advocac function, $hich is critical to protecting and furthering the interests of lo$5income persons in Minnesota, should be provided stable funding at a level sufficient to carr out its purpose. #his function could be e/panded to underta(e s stems change and polic advocac in different substantive areas and to spea( for a broader range of legal services providers. Participants in the discussion do not support a strict separation bet$een polic and legal representation, because man good polic ideas come from those involved in direct client representation

Page 22 of 22

#he Commission recommends that the Coalition programs, perhaps in con?unction $ith other programs, consider the follo$ing proposals8 1. /0plore mechanisms for lowering health care costs. Increases in these costs are the single largest recent cost increase %up nearl E*,000,000 for the Coalition programs from *226 to 2002&. Gne possibilit for containing costs is pooling health care coverage. In some states, legal aid has ?oined in the state health care program. 1or e/ample, the =esource Committee $as advised that in Mentuc( , legal aid became a part of the Mentuc( state retirement s stem $hich provided the programs $ith lo$er cost medical insurance and better long term retirement benefits. :/periences in Mar land and G(lahoma should also be e/amined. + 7uic(, informal surve in Minnesota suggested that at least some of the programs are pa ing amounts similar to $hat the state is currentl pa ing for health insurance, so that the benefits of ?oining a state program in Minnesota are not clear. 1urther stud should be done. 1urther $or( should also be done in con?unction $ith the $or( the Council on 3onprofits is or $ill be doing on this issue. 2. Consider other possibilities for "pooled# support. Careful consideration should be given to $hat other support services can be combined for greater cost savings. :/amples include human resources processes, administrative services, grant5$riting assistance, technolog , training, case management, financial accounting and research. 33 Consider coordination of intake programs3 #he Commission recommends consideration of $hether an inta(e s stems can be consolidated %r coordinated so as to avoid duplicate collection of the same demographic information from clients, to have a simplified entr point for clients, and to more 7uic(l facilitate referrals to appropriate programs. It might be possible to improve referrals b creating an accessible list of all providers, service priorities and client eligibilit criteria. Client trac(ing information could be coordinated to help ma(e reasonable comparisons and compilations. "otline programs andFor coordinated telephone services should also be considered. #his could result in cases being handled more 7uic(l and efficientl and could enhance the availabilit of services, particularl in non5metro areas. Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he Le isl($ure Li(e public safet , health, shelter, and food, access to ?ustice is a fundamental human need. #he Commission is convinced that the bench and bar of Minnesota $ill $or( to improve the deliver of legal services to disadvantaged Minnesotans. +t the same time, ho$ever, it is critical that this effort be ade7uatel funded. #he Commission no$ recommends that the Minnesota Legislature increase the funding for deliver of civil legal services to the disadvantaged8 1. The surcharge on real estate filing fees should be increased. #he Commission recommends the legislature increase the funding for civil legal services, using an increase in the surcharge on real estate filing fees as a funding source. #here is an important connection bet$een legal services and a surcharge on the real estate filing fees, given that
Page 23 of 22

ma?or areas of legal problems e/perienced b lo$ income persons include homelessness, substandard housing, and lac( of affordable housing opportunities. #he Legislature recogni)ed this connection in *222 and *223 $hen the first surcharge on real estate filing fees $as passed. 2. These additional funds should be distributed according to the Minn. Stat. 1 $23.2$2 formula. #he Commission further recommends that an increase obtained as a result of an increase in legislative funding continue to be allocated b reference to the 64F*4I formula in Minn. Stat. N>60.2>2, and also recommends that, as to the *4I discretionar portion of an increased appropriation, LS+C allocate these ne$ funds to meritorious applications directed to the deliver or support of pro bono services. Splitting increased funds on the 64F*4I formula helps ensure that a significant portion of the mone $ill be distributed on a state$ide povert 5based basis. Re&%--end($i%ns .%r $he Ne2 S$($e2ide Pl(nnin '%d, Much of the $or( done b the Commission has been done b its committees. #he Pro 9ono Committee, for e/ample, has alread ta(en significant steps to establish a ne$ Pro 9ono Council. #$o other committees have devoted a substantial amount of time to the e/amination of t$o issues that are critical to the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged. #he Client 3eeds Committee has e/amined man different strategies for assessing the level of unmet client need. #he =esources Committee has $or(ed to ans$er the 7uestion that lies at the heart of effective provision of legal services to the disadvantaged8 ho$ additional can resources be developed to meet these legal needs. #he Commission recommends that the ne$ planning bod ma(e full use of the important $or( done b both of these committees. Client %eeds Committee #he Client 3eeds Committee gave detailed attention to different strategies for gathering information on unmet client needs. Gut of that $or(, the Committee $as able to develop a set of recommendations for the ne$ state$ide planning bod . 1. .evelop simple! consistent guidelines for collection of relevant data. Man legal services organi)ations alread have a process in place to assess client need. =ather than dictate one method for assessing client need, the Commission recommends that the ne$ state$ide planning bod develop a fe$, simple guidelines that encourage each organi)ation see(ing LS+C or L#+9 funding to assess client needs and barriers, and to focus services on identified needs. #he same information could be used b other funders and to trac( trends or gaps in services. Such guidelines ma encourage the organi)ation to8 • <escribe the process it follo$ed to assess client need and barriers to service in the region it serves, and can describe ho$ it implemented its assessment process.
Page 2> of 22

• • • •

<ocument the actual involvement of clients and communit groups in its needs assessment process, and that those clients and groups $ere representative of the region that it serves. Summari)e the results of its process, including ne$ or shifting needs, the barriers the clients identified in obtaining necessar services, and its plans to address the results. <emonstrate that it has consulted $ith other organi)ations providing service to lo$ income people in its region to coordinate service deliver , to clarif its role, and to minimi)e unnecessar duplication. :/plain ho$ the client needs information informs its allocation of staff and the t pe of assistance offered.

2. *eriodically review and disseminate this information. #he Commission recommends that the state$ide planning bod periodicall revie$ the information reported b the service providers, summari)e it, and distribute information about identified need, effective deliver methods and barriers to client service to8 the legal service providers, funders, the Legislature, and others $ith an interest in assuring ade7uate legal services to lo$ income people. 1or e/ample, a cursor revie$ of the L#+9 and LS+C applications filed in 200> revealed some recurring themes. =esponses identified the challenges for pro se clients $ho need assistance $ith paper$or( to participate in court proceedings, and the burden that places on court staff. Providing services to people $ho ma not have transportation, the impact of charging a fee for service, the large unmet need for famil la$ assistance, the specific needs of migrants and immigrants, and the associated cultural and language barriers, the shortage of resources to assist children, and the barriers created b telephone inta(e $ere all identified in the applications. #his is useful information that can inform the planning, development and funding of legal services. 3. Coordinate with social service providers. #he state$ide planning bod should maintain contact $ith social service providers. In a brief surve of communit organi)ations, the Client 3eeds Committee not onl received feedbac( on identified barriers, but received some ver specific feedbac( about the dra$bac(s of a telephone inta(e s stem, and the lac( of bilingual assistance to get simple information about driving directions, courtroom locations, re7uests for a continuance, and to complete government or court forms. In addition, the communit organi)ations emphasi)ed that co5locating legal services $ith social services helps overcome some of the barriers faced b lo$ income people. Man legal service providers are tr ing this approach $ith good results. Publici)ing these ideas and successes ma help legal service providers improve service, and give the funders some conte/t for evaluating the applications the receive. $. *romote uniform data collection whenever and wherever possible. <uring the course of the Commission,s deliberations, and in response to the lac( of consistent data about the clients currentl served b legal service providers, a ?oint committee of LS+C and L#+9 designed a ?oint application for their grant processes. +s part of the redesign, applicants $ere as(ed to report certain demographic information about the clients served b their programs. "aving a uniform set of data $ill assure that the planning bod can
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compare services delivered $ith the census data for the state to identif $here groups of individuals ma be proportionall underserved. #he Commission recommends that the state$ide planning bod encourage the collection, anal sis, and distribution of this aggregate information to assure that services are e7uitabl distributed among eligible clients. -. 4se data collected by other entities. In addition to the information collected b legal service providers about client needs, the Commission recommends that the state$ide planning bod serve as a -clearinghouse. to identif information alread collected b other governmental and non5governmental entities that $ould complement and provide conte/t for the client needs information collected b legal services providers. 1or e/ample, there is a great deal of census data about lo$ income people and $here the live throughout the state that can be matched $ith the availabilit of la$ ers in private practice, LSC5funded programs and pro bono programs. +lso, organi)ations such as the 0ilder 1oundation collect information about homelessness that ma reveal unmet need for service. #he Center for ;rban and =egional +ffairs at the ;niversit of Minnesota studies relevant topics and publishes its results. Communit organi)ations, including ;nited 0a s and C+P agencies, conduct needs assessments. Since the resources of the state$ide planning bod are li(el to be limited, it $ould be important to identif e/isting information sources such as these, facilitate the spread of the information to the legal service providers, and summari)e some of the trends for the funding decisionma(ers. 5. Collect information about unmet need. +t several points in the Commission deliberations, the participants e/pressed an interest in collecting information about the number and t pe of re7uests for legal assistance that are turned do$n b legal service providers. It $ould be helpful to (no$ the characteristics of the persons $ho are denied service, and the reasons for denial. #he data is not consistentl trac(ed b service providers. Gn the other hand, the Commission ma(es no specific recommendation at this time as to e/actl $hat data should be collected to identif high5priorit unmet needs. +lthough some anal sis could be made of the persons $ho call and are denied assistance, that anal sis $ould not ta(e into account the persons $ho do not see( assistance, or $ho are under the impression that there are no resources available to them. +lso, it is important to separate those instances $here the caller is provided $ith basic information, but no assistance, from those instances $here no help is offered. #he state$ide planning bod should continue to consider methods for measuring unmet needs and gaps in service. 6. +e mindful of barriers to access. In the course of its deliberations the Client 3eeds Committee discussed the barriers that prevent or inhibit lo$5income people from receiving legal services. If client needs are going to set the direction for service deliver , these barriers must be considered to assure that lo$5income people recogni)e $hen the have a problem that could benefit from legal services, that the can contact an appropriate service provider and that the $ill receive timel information and assistance at the level necessar to address the problem presented. #he state$ide planning bod

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should also ta(e into account the barriers that lo$ income people ma face, be ond the lac( of financial resources, such as8 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • remote location, isolation' lac( of transportation' lac( of telephone' illiterac ' mentalFph sical healthFdisabilit ' homelessnessFlac( of stable housing' language barriers' cultural differences' housing andFor transportation controlled b emplo er' $or( hours' famil problems, including caregiver responsibilities' lac( of access to computers %none at home, no access to school or librar , no training&' lac( of (no$ledge about available services' $eather' fear of la$ ers or the legal s stem.

Coupled $ith the barriers faced b individuals are the barriers associated $ith the legal service providers, limited resources. #hese include the limited hours that offices are open, the distance to services in rural areas, long $aiting lists to get services, legal needs that fall outside the priorities of the provider, a conflict because the legal service provider represents another part to the controvers , and failure to meet the lo$ income guidelines. + sampling of social service agencies intervie$ed b members of the Client 3eeds Committee affirmed the problems created b these barriers and the benefits of social service agencies and legal service providers $or(ing together to develop and maintain communication $ith clients, and to distribute educational materials. #he state$ide planning bod ma $ish to encourage greater cooperation bet$een legal service and social service organi)ations. (esource Committee In the course of its $or(, the =esource Committee discussed a $ide variet of possible $a s to increase resources for the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged, in addition to increases in state funding and in the attorne registration fee described above. #he Commission recommends that the ne$ state$ide planning bod consider the follo$ing strategies3C8
3C

The Commission also recommends as a reference source a recent ABA publication entitled “Innovative Fundraising Ideas for Legal Services – 2004 Edition,” which contains a collection of descriptions of fundraising efforts in other states, including bar dues add- on and opt-out programs.

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Pr% h(& /i&e .ees3 +n MS9+ Multi5?urisdictional Practice %-M!P.& tas( force is also loo(ing at the process for admitting attorne s to practice on a pro hac vice basis. #he Committee has been informed that currentl the number of pro hac vice filings state$ide is not trac(ed b the state court s stem. +s a result, $e do not have a current estimate of ho$ much a fee $ould raise. M!P has discussed doing a surve of ?udges, but has not et done so. Gregon, Mississippi and #e/as have recentl adopted pro hac vice fees $here a substantial amount is directed to$ard legal aid programs. :stimates of revenues in those states range from EC4,000 to over E200,000 annuall . See, -Innovative 1undraising Ideas for Legal Services. O 200> :dition, +merican 9ar +ssociation. Fur$her de/el%p-en$ %. $he MN Le (l Aid F%und($i%n Fund ($ $he Minnes%$( C%--uni$, F%und($i%n3 Currentl this fund has assets of over E* million and has contributed appro/imatel E*00,000 to IGL#+ for state$ide distribution. C, Pres Fund De/el%p-en$3 #he Commission recommended that .ur$her $or( be done to educate ?udges and la$ ers on directing c pres funds to legal aid programs. #here have been substantial successes in this regard. More $or( needs to be done on identif ing class and collective action la$suits and connecting the legal aid communit $ith la$ ers and ?udges handling those cases, including the +ttorne Heneral,s office, the Minnesota #rial La$ ers +ssociation and the Minnesota <efense La$ ers +ssociation. IOLTA e..%r$s $% in&re(se in$eres$ r($es (nd de&re(se .ees3 #he Commission recommends that L#+9 and MS9+ continue to $or( to increase interest rates on IGL#+ accounts %particularl ban(s $ith a significant number of accountsFdeposit amounts&. Slidin Fees3 #he Commission recommends that this concept be e/plored further' particularl the possibilit of providing services on a sliding fee basis to persons bet$een *24I and 240I of povert as a means of enhancing access and providing resources to serve eligible clients. #he *224 Penn5Stageberg =eport recommended a E*0 administrative fee, sub?ect to a hardship e/ception and recommended that programs report to LS+C $ith respect to their e/periences $ith such fees. Since then, SM=LS and other programs have developed fee structures for limited programs. #he e/periences in those programs should be assessed and considered for more $idespread application. Issues to be considered include the income eligibilit guidelines, the fee structure %$hether flat or trul sliding&, the amount of revenue raised, the costs of administering the fees, the impact on clients, including their access and use of services, and the impact on the nature of the services delivered. E4p(ndin Fundr(isin 'e,%nd $he Pr(&$i&in Le (l C%--uni$,3 #here are several lesser tapped resources. 1undraising campaigns focusing on corporate contributions and planned giving are e/amples of potential ne$ areas of focus.

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Le (l ser/i&es pr%/iders p(r$nerin 2i$h e(&h %$her (nd 2i$h %$her ( en&ies ser/in si-il(r &lien$s3 Such partnering opportunities should be anal )ed in appl ing for government and foundation grants. 0here another agenc is the preferable applicant, legal aid ma be an appropriate contractor for some of the funds. C%%rdin($ed .undr(isin 3 Consider regional and possibl state$ide fundraising campaigns. Re&rui$ (nd use publi& rel($i%ns res%ur&es %pro bono to the e/tent possible& to better educate the bar and the public about legal services including pro bono O $ith the goal of increasing pro bono support from the bar and financial support from the bar and the public. Gre($er s$(..in .%r s$($e2ide res%ur&e de/el%p-en$3 0hether or not ?oint fundraising efforts are underta(en, additional staffing $ould help programs identif funding sources, appl for grants, conduct fundraising activities, and assist in some of the state$ide education and coordination efforts, such as including the development of c pres funding, large la$ firm recoveries, fundraising be ond the legal communit , one time ma?or gifts from la$ firms, and individual be7uests to establish an endo$ment %possibl in connection $ith the Minnesota 1oundation 1und&. Such a position could be housed $ith the MS9+ or in connection $ith the ne$ state$ide planning bod .

• •

CONCLUSION +ccess to ?ustice is a fundamental need in a democrac . +ccess to ?ustice is also a value that cuts across political lines. "ere in Minnesota, $e are all the beneficiaries of a long5 standing tradition of $or(ing to ma(e access to ?ustice a realit for all Minnesotans. #hat $or( has been done, across time, b la$ ers $or(ing in a $ide variet of programs. In the course of its $or(, the Commission came to appreciate that man other states have not en?o ed the cooperation and communication that e/ists among the different programs that provide civil legal services to the disadvantaged here in Minnesota. #he Commission e/pects that the creation of a ne$ state$ide planning bod $ill improve the communication and coordination among the la$ ers that do this important $or(. In the course of improving that communication and coordination, the Commission hopes that it $ill become possible to better meet our ultimate goal of serving client needs.

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