« PreviousContinue »
Forms have been developed for office use in certain types of cases, such as divorce, which allow the attorney to check the appropriate sentences for inclusion in the pleadings, which can be put into final form by the legal secretary, thus removing the necessity for the attorney to dictate the entire pleading. This work has been developed first in the device area, and is being carried over into other appropriate areas. Further developments along these lines call for an initial interview by the secretary, during which she will obtain certain factual data from the client.
All non-professionals dealing with clients will continue to be closely supervised by attorneys.
V.d. How will non-professional employees be helped to advance to higher level positions within the program?
Clerks and clerk-receptionists are encouraged to develop typing and shorthand skills in order to become qualified as secretaries. Non-legal secretaries are given on the job training in preparing of pleadings and other court papers in order to become qualified as legal secretaries.
V.e. How will non-professional employees be helped to gain employment with agencies other than the CAA?
The Society encourages its non-professional employees to be alert for advancement opportunities within our own organization. However, our program itself has been constantly searching for qualified non-professional employees and can ill afford to lose trained and skilled staff to other agencies. We do not hinder employees who are offered advancement opportunities with other employers, but we do not feel that at the present time we are in a position to actively encourage our staff to seek advancement outside of the Society.
V.f. What volunteer services are required in the program?
The Society operates a volunteer program under which private lawyers sign up for 12 or more hours of volunteer service per lawyer per year. If our office has a case which will not require more time than the private lawyer has offered, the case may be referred to a volunteer lawyer instead of being handled by our own staff attorneys. The volunteer lawyers are also called upon in case where there is confict of interest.
UMKC law school faculty members offer their services for consulation and assistance with staff training. Law students participate in the Legal Aid Clinic and law research project during the regular school year and during the summer months. Volunteer assistance has also been received in helping prepare the interviewers' manual and in work toward development of a para-professional program. The CoSwap program furnishes us with volunteer work of a college student, who is customarily assigned to one of the neighborhood offices for miscellaneous duties.
The Lawyers Committee for Urban Problems is a group of dedicated private lawyers from the Kansas City Bar who work closely with our Society in law improvement activities. The chairman of this group of volunteers meets with our department heads frequently in order to achieve coordination of efforts.
Members of the Clay County Bar Association have shown interest in organizing a volunteer lawyer program similar to the one in Kansas City, and it is hoped that such a program may become operational during the coming year. Members of our Board of Trustees serve without pay, and Board activities often entail many hours of work and attendance at meetings.
During the current program year, hundreds of hours of volunteer time have been given by students and faculty at the Kansas City Art Institute in developing community legal education materials, described at III.v above.
V.g. How will volunteers be recruited?
Members of our volunteer lawyer program are recruited through the Kansas City Bar Association. Services of law professors are obtained through close contacts maintained between the Society and the law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The dean of the law school is our current Board president, and has been most helpful in this regard.
Law student volunteers are recruited through our Legal Aid Clinic and law research programs, described at V.c above and Vi.f and g below.
Staff and students from the Kansas City Art Institute who have already assisted us in developing visual community education materials will continue to do so in the coming program year, and will assist us in recruiting new members of this volunteer program.
We plan to continue our program with the CoSwap organization, discussed at
V.f above, which provides us with one volunteer college student each term. V.h. What consultant or technical assistance will be needed?
In addition to the volunteer help given to us in technical fields of the law by private lawyers and in staff training by law professors, we will need consultant or technical assistance in developing a fully implemented para-professional program. It is hoped that the national OEO Legal Services office will be able to provide such consultant or technical assistance to us during the coming program year. Preliminary work in this field has been already undertaken by our staff. V.i. What staff training will be provided?
Staff training will consist of 3 types: (a) orientation; (b) continuing; and (c) law students.
2. Forms and procedures manual now being developed.
3. Informing of back-up centers and other local, state and national resources. 4. Methods of handling routine matters handled at all offices.
5. Specialized training in areas of specialization conducted by managing attorneys at each office.
1. Continuing training by senior staff members in trial, research and legal writing work.
2. Continuing training of all staff by use of local bar and university resources and by continuing educational programs of state and local bar, NLADA, and OEO programs.
3. Continuing training by monthly presentations by specialists to update other staff members in fields of poverty law in which they may not practice daily. C ordination by Director of Law Research Project and Chief of Civil Divisio~ (c) Law Students:
1. Clinic courses (described at V.c above) and continuing day-to-day training by staff attorneys.
Non-professional staff training under the direction of the Administrator consists of an initial orientation program and the distribution of materials relating to office procedures, office policies, operation of office machines, and an internal training program whereby non-professional staff learn addition skills.
V.j. Attach as Appendix C the name, position, office location and a brief résumé of all personnel currently in the program.
See Appendix C.
V.k. What are the job title, salaries and justifications for any proposed new positions?
Field representative. Salary $4,800 to $6,000 annually.
Because of the wide decentralization of our seven offices, a field representative is needed to maintain closer contacts between the various neighborhood offices and the central office. The field representative will have broad duties in the areas of liaison and distribution of materials, such as case files, court papers, periodicals, correspondence, inter-office communications, supplies, etc. His duties will remain flexible and will be determined by the day-to-day communications problems encountered. Department heads and managing attorneys will be able to call upon these services by coordinating requests through the administration department, which will supervise and direct the duties of the field representative.
V.I. What salary increases are proposed for staff personnel and what is the justification for such increase?
All staff personnel will be eligible to receive salary increases during the twelvemonth period covered by this grant, in keeping with the Society's review procedures. Cost-of-living increases and adjustments necessary to meet salaries offered for comparable positions by comparable employers must also be considered. VI.a. Checkpoint procedures have been followed and forms are attached. [No further answer is required.]
VI.b. What other agencies in the community are dealing with problems related to the program account?
The Lawyers Committee for Urban Problems is a group of private lawyers who donate time for work on certain of the problems related to our program, particularly those concerning procedures and practices in local law-enforcement agen
cies, such as the police and the local courts. The Kansas City chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is similarly involved on a volunteer basis with cases which concern civil rights. We maintain close liaison with both of these organizations and refer appropriate cases to them.
Non-legal agencies or organizations working with related problems include the local CAA, other programs funded through the CAA, the Model Cities programs and projects in this area, a multitude of social welfare organizations, housing groups, welfare rights groups, tenants' groups, church groups, school groups, CORE, the Black Economic Union, etc.
Our activities are necessarily closely related to work of the courts, the police, juvenile authorities, and the Bar associations. With all of the above organizations our Society maintains close working relationships.
VI.C. What arrangements do you have with these agencies to coordinate their programs with the activities of the program account?
Relations with other legal organizations have been described at VI.b above. We maintain close contacts with our CAP agency, the Human Resources Corporation. One-third of our Board members are chosen by means of HRC elections in the neighborhoods. We submit monthly reports to HRC, and make quarterly narrative reports which include quarterly evaluations of our progress toward our objectives and HRC's goals. Our Society is regularly represented at monthly program director meetings of both HRC and Model Cities, as well as at meetings of HRC's neighborhood advisory boards and the Model Cities neighborhood planning boards.
Many of our clients are referred to us by HRC, and we refer clients to HRC or other delegate agencies when appropriate. An example of Legal Aid coordination with HRC is evidenced in the CEP (Concentrated Employment) program. We screen CEP applicants for legal problems before applicants begin their employment training.
Our program has been assisted during the current year by a Model Cities grant, which has enabled us to receive a good deal of input into our program from this agency and persons connected with it, particularly in regard to needs felt in the Model Cities neighborhoods.
VI.d. How have you encouraged other agencies to provide or help finance activities of the program?
During the current year we have received financial assistance from the United Fund, the City of Kansas City, Model Cities, and the Kansas City Bar Association. In-kind donations of time and of used office equipment have been received from local sources. One large law firm donated used office furniture sufficient to equip twelve lawyers' offices.
We have encouraged local donations of money, time and equipment to our Society.
Assistance has also been received through the Reginald Heber Smith fellowship program in the form of "Reggie" lawyers assigned to our office. (We currently have one Reggie lawyer assigned to our Society.) Similarly, during part of the current year we have had a number of VISTA lawyers assigned to our program. However, as of November, 1970, we have no VISTA lawyers, and there has been a net loss of three lawyers under the Reggie program. It is hoped that more Reggies and at least some VISTA lawyers will be assigned to our program in the future.
VI.e. What changes in approaches to poverty problems do you foresee as a result of the operation of the program account?
Our efforts in community education have included vigorous activities in presenting the legal services program to the public at large. Our Newsletter, which is circulated to civic-minded citizens in the Kansas City area and to members of the Bar, as well as to persons directly concerned with poverty problems, has elicited favorable responses from members of the more affluent community who are becoming aware of our existence and of the types of services we are offering to the poverty community.
Along similar lines, the impressive visual exhibit which we have completed and displayed during the current year has elicited much favorable comment. This exhibit, which was done by our Community Legal Education department working with students and faculty at the Kansas City Art Institute, depicts poverty through large photographs taken in Kansas City, and is supported by appropriate brief texts which point up the poverty community's need for legal representation in our system of justice.
This exhibit has been on constant display at community gatherings in the Kansas City area, and also has been shown at the American Bar convention in St. Louis, the national Legal Services offices at OEO headquarters in Washington, and the NLADA convention in San Antonio. It will continue to be shown during the coming year, and plans are under contemplation for making copies of the exhibit available to other legal services programs.
Our efforts in group representation and economic development are designed to help individuals and groups get themselves out of the poverty classification, as well as to become involved directly in the legal processes of our system of laws. The continuance of these efforts will in the long run change attitudes in the poor community, and may help to reduce the size of the poverty community itself.
As the law improvement and economic development activities of legal services programs continue, it is possible to visualize these programs as eventually becoming true public service law firms, representing all individuals and groups who are not able to hire private lawyers. Changes in consumer protection laws, pollution-control laws, tax assessment procedures, in school recognition of students' rights-these are examples of areas in which we have become involved in law improvement activities. The community as a whole, the man on the street, your neighbor and mine, all of us will be benefited by any such improvement actually accomplished. Although we have entered the arena as advocates of the poor, the results of our successes will be available to the entire citizenry.
VI.f. Describe your relationship with the law schools located in your community, including the use of the law school as a research resource facility, the use of part-time and summer law students, participation in legal aid courses or substantive courses on law and poverty, etc.
Our relationship with the law school of the University of Missouri-Kansas City is particularly close. The Dean of the law school is the president of our Board of Trustees. The offices of our Community Legal Education program are located on the campus in the law school building; its director also serves as head of the Legal Aid Clinic offered for credit to law students each semester and teaches the substantive course on poverty law. A number of our staff members are enrolled in evening courses leading to advanced law degrees.
Law students work on a volunteer basis through the Legal Aid Clinic, and also on an hourly-pay basis during the summer student program and throughout the year on legal research projects. Our attorneys have free access to the law school's excellent library, and constant use is being made of this facility. Groundwork has been laid for establishing working relationships with the law schools of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Columbia. A recent change in Missouri court rules will allow fuller law student participation in legal services program after February 1, 1971. This change and how it will affect our program are discussed at V.c. above.
VI.g. What are your plans concerning law school coordination under the proposed program?
Changes in Missouri court rules, to become effective February 1, 1971, will allow expansion of the use of law students in our program. This is discussed more fully at V.c. above.
In addition to increased use of law students from the University of MissouriKansas City under the new rules, we expect to involve law students and faculty from the University of Missouri-Columbia and from the University of Kansas in aspects of our program during the coming program year. Discussions will be he'd with faculty at these law schools about arranging for law school credit to participating law students for clinical work done under our auspices. VII.a. How will the effectiveness of the program be evaluated?
We will continue to provide the local CAA with a monthly progress report in narrative form and a quarterly narrative report, along with a quarterly narrative evaluation of progress toward goals and objectives. A quarterly narrative report is also submitted to OEO Legal Services regional office.
Present procedures call for an annual outside evaluation by OEO in July, preceded by preparation of a comprehensive self-evaluation for use by the outside evaluators.
During the present program year our Society received an additional outside evaluation in October of 1970, lasting two weeks. This "impact" evaluation was performed by Kettelle Corporation under contract with OEO. In preparation
of this second evaluation, other materials were prepared as requested which served as exercises in self-evaluation for the Society. The October evaluation included a program review similar to that done in July, plus an evaluation of the program's impact on the community.
We anticipate similar evaluations during the coming year plus an additional external evaluation by Model Cities.
Internally, self-evaluation of office and individual lawyer performance will be regularly carried out by the Chief of the Civil Division, and, within each office, by the managing atttorney.
VII.b. How will recommendations for improvements be put into effect?
Reports of staff members gathered in the course of preparing the self-evaluations mentioned at VII.a will be given careful consideration by the Executive Director, and suggestions for improvement will be acted upon by either the director or by the Board of Trustees.
Suggestions for improvements submitted by the outside evaluators will be presented to the Board of Trustees for further action if the suggestions involve policy change. If the suggested changes fall within the policy lines already established by the Board of Trustees, changes will be implemented by the Executive Director and the department heads.
VIII.a. Provide other information you consider important in describing the purpose and operation of the program account. No further comments.
APPENDIX A-STANDARDS OF ELIGIBILITY
The following standards of eligibility and services of The Legal Aid and Defender Society of Greater Kansas City have been established in cooperation with the organized bar and various interested governmental and social agencies, and will govern the acceptance or rejection of cases presented.
1. Income and property:
a. Any resident of Jackson, Clay or Platte County, Missouri, receiving public assistance from the Department of Welfare of the State of Missouri will automatically be eligible for legal assistance from the Society.
b. The following persons shall be ineligible for legal assistance from the Society:
(1) Single persons having an income in excess of $175.00 per month. They shall be allowed an additional $25.00 per month for each dependent. (2) Married couples residing together having an income in excess of $200.00 per month. An additional $25.00 per month for each dependent. (3) Any single person having cash in excess of $175.00, or married couples residing together having cash in excess of $200.00. In addition, $25.00 to be added for each dependent; or single persons having other personal property of the value of more than $200.00 and married couples having other personal property of the value in excess of $400.00. Any individual owning real estate other than his residence shall not be eligible.
c. Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph 1(b), the following factors shall be considered in determining eligibility:
Unemployment, outstanding debts, chronic illness, and expenditures for the necessities of life.
If the family take-home income together with all other resources is merely enough to purchase the minimum necessities of life and would preclude retaining of private counsel, representation of the applicant will be accepted.
2. The following types of matters and cases will not be handled by the Society: a. Traffic court cases, unless there is a reasonable danger of substantial fine or imprisonment or loss of driving privileges, and the accused has not obtained a professional bond for premium.
b. Workmen's compensation cases.
c. Private cases where an estate is involved.
d. Collection cases where the amount due plus interest, if any, exceeds $100 unless rejected by two members of Lawyer Referral as provided in Section 4 hereof.
e. Child support cases (to be referred to the Prosecutor's office).
3. No case shall be handled by the Society when the applicant has sufficient funds to employ a private attorney, nor shall cases be handled in which a private attorney can earn a fee and is willing to be employed. This would include damage suits or similar matters where a contingent fee may be earned or recovered from the proceedings.