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“Pioneers in Self-Help: A 21st Century Vision for Libraries, Self-help Centers, Legal Aid Websites and Pro Bono Partners

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“Pioneers in Self-Help: A 21st Century Vision for Libraries, Self-help Centers, Legal Aid Websites and Pro Bono Partners” . Introductions What Potential Partners Are Seeking in Library Partnerships (15 min) Discussion of sample collaborative initiatives (40 min)

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slide1

“Pioneers in Self-Help: A 21st Century Vision for Libraries, Self-help Centers, Legal Aid Websites and Pro Bono Partners”

Introductions

What Potential Partners Are Seeking in Library Partnerships (15 min)

Discussion of sample collaborative initiatives (40 min)

Lessons Learned About Collaboration (15 min)

Closing – Additional questions and comments

Panel:

Sara Galligan, Dakota County Law Library - moderator

Ayn Crawley, MD Legal Assistance Network (Legal Aid partnerships/websites)

Pamela Gregory, Peoples Law Library Outreach (Libraries / Pro Bono partnerships/websites)

Susan Ledray, Self-Help Service Center, Hennepin County District Court(Court partnerships/Self help programs)

discussion 1 what are potential partners looking for

Discussion 1 – What are potential partners looking for?

  • Access to Justice regardless of ability or willingness to hire an attorney
  • Interest in fair, efficient and just resolution of legal problems
  • "Traditional" models are no longer working
slide3

Discussion 2 – What are potential partners looking for?(And what are the benefits of partnerships to Libraries?)

county law libraries and collaborating with courts
County Law Libraries and Collaborating with Courts

Court attitudes about helping SRLs vary from enthusiastic to reluctant

Attitude of Reluctant Courts

    • “It is like self-help brain surgery”
    • Pro se litigants are time consuming and should be banned
    • Forms and help just encourage more self-representation
    • Help to SRLs
      • is unauthorized practice of law
      • violates court neutrality
      • is “unfair” to lawyers

Impact on Law Libraries

  • Court sends everyone to the library –the library is a public space in the courthouse
  • Court attempts to restrict library help
  • Court refuses to cooperate on forms and instructions
county law libraries and collaborating with courts5
County Law Libraries and Collaborating with Courts

Attitude of Enthusiastic Courts

  • Constitutional right to represent self
  • Court goals are to increase access to justice
  • Good forms help to make SRLs present a info needed by courts
  • Good instructions help explain steps and process
  • Self-help Centers mean better outcomes & pleadings/ hearing prep, ↓ cancelled hearings
  • Lawyers benefit thru help to SRLs

Impact on Law Libraries

  • Desire to partner with library
  • May not understand role library can play
  • Look to library for resources: space, materials, funding, computers, technology advice etc.
  • Look to library to help identify common questions
  • Look to library to provide forms and materials not available at Court; website assistance
law libraries and the courts
Similarities

Shared clientele

Shared limitations

Shared interest in a smooth running justice system

Legal knowledge

Lack of knowledge about services the other provides

Differences

Focus on issues (case specific vs broad)

Knowledge (fragmented vs holistic)

Time spent with SRLs

Scope of assistance

Who comes in for service

Law Libraries and the Courts
law and public librarians collaborating with legal services
Law and Public Librarians Collaborating with Legal Services

What legal services agencies are looking for

  • Website content ideas from the broader public,
  • Help in website content development,
  • New ways to reach the public via a network of reliable professionals active in the community,
  • Ways to have a community presence for SRLs needing access to on-line website resources,
  • Justice system gatekeepers who can help guide website development, and
  • A means to provide some help to SRLs where legal services cannot provide representation.
law and public librarians collaborating with legal services8
Law and Public Librarians Collaborating with Legal Services

Why partnerships on legal services self-help websites are a great match

  • Legal services mandate: create statewide justice communities via partnerships
  • Shared commitment to help low income people on legal matters (esp.SRLs)
  • Complementary attitudes towards public demand for services (stemming the tide vs. ↑info services)
  • Librarians are expert knowledge managers
      • essential skills to develop self –help websites, and
      • skills that are not generally the strength of legal services staff
  • Legal services websites support and complement the work of law librarians (and public librarians)
  • Virtually all states have funding for statewide self-help legal websites (see flyer)
slide9
Pro Bono Attorneys and Librarians – Survey Results

June 2006 survey of AALL’s SCCLL-SIS and LISP-SIS members

  • 9 of the 32 respondent libraries collaborate with volunteer attorneys
  • to offer self-help clinics
  • County Law Libraries (MI) (MN) (CA - 2) (WA) (TX) – County Legal Resource Center (WI)– Supreme Court Law Library (NV) – State Law Library (MT)
  • Survey Questions
      • Does the library partner with pro bono attorneys to help SRLs?
      • Other partners in serving SRLs?
      • Top 3 areas for SRL referrals
      • Offer legal research support to pro bono attorneys?
      • Partner with state or local bar associations?
      • Partner with legal aid/services offices?
      • Maintain list of pro bono opportunities?
discussion 2 sample collaborative initiatives

Discussion 2 – Sample Collaborative Initiatives

Libraries Partner with Legal Services Websites, Courts and Self-Help Programs, Pro Bono Attorneys

law and public librarians collaborating with legal services11
Law and Public Librarians Collaborating with Legal Services

Sample joint MLAN –Library Initiatives in Maryland

  • Librarians as Self-Help Website Stakeholder Committee Members
  • Librarians are Primary Source of Website Content Ideas
  • Placement of Website Self-Help Outreach Sites in Libraries
  • Legal Services Website Navigation as Librarian Professional Development Topic
  • Librarians as “Legal Research” Content Developers for Self-Help Websites
  • Joint Content Development between a State Law Library & Legal Services Website
  • Interesting Possibilities for Joint Funding Proposals (Legal Services & Libraries)
  • Librarians as “Gatekeepers” to the Justice Resource in the Community
minnesota collaboration examples
Minnesota Collaboration Examples
  • Task Force on Law Libraries and Pro Se
  • Statewide Virtual Self Help Center
  • Hennepin County Self Help Center, Bar,

Legal Services, Library partnerships

  • Other county initiatives (Dakota, Stearns, Wright, Washington)
  • Grant Opportunities
lessons learned in collaboration
Lessons Learned in Collaboration
  • Lesson 1 – Each partner must find value in the partnership  
  • Lesson 2 – The mission and needs of legal services providers, courts and self-help programs dovetail with the knowledge management strengths of librarians
  • Lesson 3 - Take time to build relationships and regularly reconnect
  • Lesson 4 - Each partner has different funding sources and connections, which can be leveraged for the benefit of all
lessons learned in collaboration16
Lessons Learned in Collaboration
  • Lesson 5 - Training
  • Lesson 6 - Buy-in by parent organization/active leadership
  • Lesson 7 - Seek Opportunities for Recognition of the Partnership
  • Lesson 8- Benchmarks
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