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Legal Advice Omaha Ne - PowerPoint

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					THINKING OUTSIDE THE PHONE:
    STAFFING MODELS AND
  TECHNOLOGY TO MAXIMIZE
     HOTLINE RESOURCES

  Laurel Heer Dale, Legal Aid of Nebraska
     AccessLine® Managing Attorney
       LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA
• State-wide law firm, consisting of 7 offices,
  assisting low income individuals in 93 counties,
  with free, civil legal services
• Services provided by Legal Aid of Nebraska (LAN)
  include: direct representation, brief services (or
  limited action), legal advice, legal information,
  referrals and community legal education
• Generally, services begin through at least one of
  LAN’s hotlines
• In 2009, more than 13,000 cases were processed
  by LAN’s hotlines
 LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA’S HOTLINES
• AccessLine®
  – Provides legal advice, information, limited action
    and referrals
  – Staffed with 5 intake professionals, 4 of which are
    bilingual, and 3 attorneys
  – Includes a separate Spanish line component
  – Interpretation services available in 150 languages
    through Language Lines
  – Open Monday through Thursday, 9-4, Friday 9-12,
    CST
LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA’S HOTLINES,
              cont’d.
• ElderAccessLine®
  – Serves folks 60 years of age and older
  – Provides legal advice, information, limited action
    and referrals
  – Staffed with an intake professional and 1 attorney
  – Interpretation services available in 150 languages
    through Language Lines
  – Open Monday through Thursday, 9-12, 1-3 and
    Friday 9-12, CST
LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA’S HOTLINES,
              cont’d.
• Native American AccessLine®
  – Serves Native Americans and individuals with
    Native American legal issues
  – Provides legal advice, information, limited action
    and referrals
  – Staffed with an intake professional/program
    director and 2 attorneys
  – Interpretation services available through Language
    Lines
  – Open Monday through Friday, 9-12, CST
 LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA HOTLINES,
              cont’d.
• Rural Response Hotline
  – Serves Nebraskan farmers and ranchers
  – Provides legal, financial and risk management
    counseling services; provides educational clinics
    and referrals to other community services
  – Staffed with an intake professional and attorney
  – Interpretation services available through Language
    Lines
  – Open Monday through Friday, 8-5, CST
   INTAKE THROUGH THE HOTLINE
• Calls processed through a queue system
• Intake professionals screen each caller for the legal
  issue, conflict of interest and income and asset
  qualification
• If qualified for services, intake professionals obtain the
  facts related to the legal issue(s) and relay legal advice
  relevant to the issue(s) to callers; they also inform
  callers how their cases will be handled, including
  whether they will be sent to one of LAN’s office for
  extended representation or closed at the hotline level
  with advice and referral
    INTAKE THROUGH THE HOTLINE,
               cont’d.
• Former method of intake on the AccessLine®:
  – Each intake professional processed entire application,
    including qualifying the applicant, obtaining the legal
    issue/facts, relaying the legal advice, and providing
    the case disposition.
  – Common method; however, it’s a difficult method for
    training purposes; it can take upwards of 3 months to
    fully train new staff
  – Does not lend itself well to utilizing volunteers of any
    type on the hotline; they often cannot be fully trained
    before their commitment has expired
    INTAKE THROUGH THE HOTLINE,
               cont’d.
• Current method of intake on the AccessLine®:
   – Front/Back: divides intake into 2 sections: intake
     professionals on the front end assess for conflicts, income
     and assets and obtain legal issue; if qualified, applicant is
     transferred to the back end wherein the intake
     professional obtains facts regarding the legal issue(s),
     relays legal advice and provides case disposition
   – Additional queues built into the queue system
   – Allows for easier use of volunteers, of all types, on the
     hotline, as they must only be trained in one section
     (eligibility or substantive law) of intake
   – Equalizes call distribution and decreases wait time for
     applicants; those who are not qualified for services are
     quickly screened out
    TYPES OF VOLUNTEERS ON THE
              HOTLINE

1. Attorney Volunteers

2. Law Student Volunteers

3. Other Volunteers (Paralegals, Students,
   Retired Individuals, etc.)
     ATTORNEY VOLUNTEERS ON THE
               HOTLINE
• THINK: SIMPLE AND EASY! If the process is too
  convoluted, it will be difficult to obtain and keep volunteer
  attorneys!
• Nebraska Rule of Professional Conduct 3-506.5 permits
  volunteer attorneys to provide limited legal services on a
  nonprofit organization’s legal advice hotline without having
  to adhere to strict conflict rules and conduct systematic
  conflict checks. However, volunteer attorneys must decline
  providing services if they have actual knowledge of a
  conflict of interest. (See attached Rule)
• LAN clients must provide informed consent to receiving
  limited scope services from the volunteer attorney. (See
  attached example) The informed consent is made a part of
  the client’s electronic case file.
     ATTORNEY VOLUNTEERS ON THE
           HOTLINE, cont’d.
• Volunteer attorneys determine the substantive areas in which the
  prefer to provide legal advice; and, cases within those substantive
  areas only are assigned to them.
• Volunteer attorneys are asked to provide a commitment, whether
  measured by time or number of cases. If the commitment is
  measured by time, the volunteer attorney must provide weekly or
  monthly number of hours and set date(s) and time(s) s/he is
  available.
• Volunteer attorneys have limited access to LAN’s case management
  system, PIKA. They have access to only the cases assigned to them;
  and, because PIKA is internet based, they can access the case
  management system, and cases, from their offices. In PIKA, they
  can find advice scripts for many “routine” calls and locate referrals
  to other organizations.
    ATTORNEY VOLUNTEERS ON THE
          HOTLINE, cont’d.
3 WAYS LAN USES VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS ON
  THE HOTLINE:
1. Immediate hotline services: taking calls from
   the queue
2. Scheduled callbacks from volunteer
   attorneys’ offices
3. Limited Action (Wills, POAs)
      IMMEDIATE HOTLINE SERVICES:
     TAKING CALLS FROM THE QUEUE
• Volunteer attorneys staff the back end, speaking with LAN’s clients
  after they have been qualified for services by an intake professional
  staffing the front end. They gather the facts surrounding the legal
  issue(s) and provide detailed legal advice to clients.
• Volunteer attorneys place all notes, including their advice, in the
  PIKA case file. They also record their time spent on each case in the
  electronic case file. Intake professionals appropriately code the
  cases and close them when the attorneys’ work is complete. Intake
  professionals also mail any educational
  brochures/pamphlets/handbooks to the clients.
• This method allows the volunteer attorneys to conduct “attorney”
  work, while intake professionals ,who are well versed in eligibility
  (LSC) requirements, qualify applicants for services.
• See Volunteer Attorney Protocol, attached, for more details.
       SCHEDULED CALLBACKS FROM
      VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS’ OFFICES
•   Similar process to that of providing immediate services to clients, in that the
    volunteer attorneys “staff” the “back end”, advising LAN clients after they have
    been qualified for services by an intake professional staffing the front end.
•   Difference: attorney services are provided from their respective offices at another
    time.
•   Volunteer attorneys either provide date(s) and time(s) they are available to
    conduct callbacks to LAN clients OR they make themselves available at a date and
    time convenient for the LAN client.
•   Volunteer attorneys are assigned advice cases only; those cases that are potential
    extended representation cases for LAN’s local offices are not assigned to volunteer
    attorneys. Any cases requiring multiple consultations or third party advocacy on
    behalf of the client are not assigned to volunteer attorneys unless requested by
    the attorney; and, before assigning, a systematic conflict of interest check must be
    completed with the volunteer attorney, as the services in these cases are not
    “limited services” covered by Nebraska Rule of Professional Conduct 3-506.5
•   All cases assigned to volunteer attorneys for callbacks are placed on the attorney’s
    caselist in PIKA; and, an email is sent to the attorney, informing him/her of the
    callback date and time.
      SCHEDULED CALLBACKS FROM
     VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS’ OFFICES,
•
                cont’d.
    Contact with client: volunteer attorneys shall attempt to contact clients within the
    dates/times assigned. If the client does not answer, the attorney shall leave a message, if
    possible, indicating s/he will attempt to contact one additional time and document all
    attempts to contact in the PIKA file. If, upon the second attempted contact, the client does
    not answer, the attorney shall document the attempt in the PIKA file and cease further
    contact. At that point, the AccessLine® staff correspond in writing with the client, asking the
    client to contact the AccessLine® if s/he still needs legal assistance.
•   Volunteer attorneys DO NOT provide their direct phone numbers to LAN clients. This process
    minimizes confusion on the part of the client regarding if, and/or when, s/he should contact
    the volunteer attorney. Additionally, it minimizes the likelihood a client will contact a
    volunteer attorney in the future regarding legal issues to be addressed by LAN.
•   Upon contact with the client, volunteer attorneys obtain informed consent from the client
    and place all notes, including their advice, in the PIKA case file. They also record their time
    spent on each case in the electronic case file. Intake professionals appropriately code the
    cases and close them when the attorneys’ work is complete. Intake professionals also mail
    any educational brochures/pamphlets/handbooks to the clients.
•   See Remote Volunteer Attorney Protocol for more details.
             LIMITED ACTION
• Volunteer attorneys are drafting wills and
  power of attorney documents for elderly
  clients contacting LAN’s ElderAccessLine®

• Limited action = systematic conflict analysis;
  not covered by Nebraska Rule of Professional
  Conduct 3-506.5
              LAW STUDENTS
• Educational experience
• Prefer semester commitment, at minimum
• Staff back end queue; this provides the law
  student the opportunity to interview clients and
  relay legal advice
• Have full access to the case management system
• Follow same intake protocol as intake
  professionals staffing the back end queue: code
  and dispose of cases as appropriate, mail/email
  educational brochures/handbooks/pamphlets,
  record time spent on case
            OTHER VOLUNTEERS
• Comparable to intake professionals
• Prefer at least a 6 month commitment; but, can be
  flexible based upon current needs of hotline
• Staff front or back end, depending upon experience
  and training (ie paralegal may best serve the back end);
  but, prefer to train on both sections, if commitment
  and experience will allow
• Have full access to the case management system
• Follow same intake protocol as intake professionals
• Can serve as a hired staff pool for the hotline
                           TRAINING
• THINK: Can the volunteer be trained before s/he will no longer be
  available to volunteer? If so, how soon before his/her commitment
  expires? Think about program needs and whether the volunteer will
  benefit from the services s/he provides.

• Former intake method prohibited use of volunteers because they
  generally couldn’t be fully trained before their commitment expired

• Amount of time it takes to train is dependent upon:
   – Role the volunteer will fulfill
   – Knowledge/expertise volunteer brings to the hotline
   – Frequency
                          TRAINING, cont’d.
•   Type of training depends upon the type of volunteer and what role s/he will fulfill on
    the hotline:
     – Attorneys may need to be educated in the substantive areas of law: educate
         through informational handbooks/brochures, access to scripted advice in the case
         management system; conversations regarding substantive law
     – Folks staffing the back end queue receive more substantive law training, initially
     – Those staffing front end are trained to recognize a potential conflict of interest and
         must learn eligibility guidelines
•   At a minimum, all volunteers receive:
     –   Education about Legal Aid of Nebraska, including who we are and what we do
     –   Eligibility guidelines
     –   Information about the types of cases handled on an extended representation basis and those in
         which we provide legal advice and/or limited action
     –   Informational handbooks and brochures addressing substantive areas of law practiced by LAN
         attorneys and case handlers
     –   Listing of referral agencies most commonly provided to LAN clients
     –   Opportunity to listen to calls coming through the queue system (listen as intake professionals and
         attorneys handle the calls)
     –   Education and instruction regarding use of the case management system (remote volunteer
         attorneys receive separate instructions concerning limited access)
    TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES
     AVAILABLE TO VOLUNTEERS
1. PIKA case management system
   a. Scripted questions for areas of substantive
   law handled by LAN
   b. Advice scripts (good for quality assurance
   & uniformity)
   c. Referrals to other organizations (approx.
   500 organizations, searchable by problem
   type and county)
     TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES
      AVAILABLE TO VOLUNTEERS
2. LAN Website
   a. Many educational and informational
   documents (all
   brochures/handbooks/pamphlets used by
   the AccessLine®)
   b. Information regarding eligibility guidelines
   and intake process (intake manual)
   c. Referral agencies
     TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES
      AVAILABLE TO VOLUNTEERS
3. Westlaw access by computer (used by on-site
   volunteer attorneys)
4. Substantive materials on library shelves (ie Divorce,
   Custody, Child Support, Bankruptcy, LL/T, SSDI/SSI
   handbooks)
5. Books in our library
6. Internet access (search for information and forms
   available on line)
7. Experienced AccessLine® attorneys available on-site,
   Monday through Friday, 8-5; available to remote
   volunteer attorneys via phone and email during these
   hours
   SUPERVISION OF VOLUNTEERS
• Supervision for all volunteers:
  – Review of all cases they handle
  – Monitoring calls (frequent monitoring of law
    students and other volunteers; monitoring
    volunteer attorneys on case-by-case basis)

  Supervision of remote volunteer attorneys:
  – Routine monitoring attorneys’ caselists
  – Follow up calls to clients they advised
       POTENTIAL ISSUES USING
     VOLUNTEERS ON THE HOTLINE
• Staffing and commitment: are there benefits
  to both the program and volunteer?
• Support—is it enough?
• Administrative oversight—does the benefit of
  having volunteers outweigh the administrative
  burdens?
• Quality control: are services provided to the
  clients by volunteers the same or better?
        CONTACT INFORMATION

• Laurel Heer Dale
  Legal Aid of Nebraska
  AccessLine® Managing Attorney
  1904 Farnam St., Suite 500
  Omaha, NE 68102
  888.991.9921, ext. 202
  lheerdale@legalaidofnebraska.com
  www.legalaidofnebraska.com

				
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